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Archive for the ‘Emergency Preparedness’ Category

Wildfire Crisis in Washington State Highlights the Need for Emergency Communications with Immigrant and Refugee Communities

Monday, February 8th, 2016

The Washington State Coalition for Language Access (WASCLA), which works to promote collaborations to ensure language access for Limited English Proficient individuals in Washington State, received a PNR Professional Development Award. The purpose of the award was to support a presentation stressing the importance of language in emergency communications, such as wildfires, at the 2015 WASCLA Summit. Here is their report.

By Joana Ramos, Co-Chair, Washington State Coalition for Language Access

wascla

On the podium with Lillian McDonald is Mark Stewart, Communications Consultant for the WA Emergency Management , who also spoke.

The unusually hot and dry summer of in the entire Pacific Northwest 2015 will go down in the record books for several reasons, from its early start in June, to the number and intensity of wildfires it triggered mostly in the Central part of Washington. Just like in the 2014 fire season, many of this year’s fires occurred on forest and agricultural lands located in and around the areas known as Washington’s 10 Latino counties — Adams, Benton, Chelan, Douglas, Franklin, Grant, Okanogan, Skagit, Walla Walla, and Yakima—where Latinos are a large part of the population, and the majority in two counties (Adams and Franklin). Language assistance needs in the impacted areas were critical: while the average LEP rate in Washington is close to 9%, current data shows that among Spanish-speaking residents, rates of limited English proficiency range from 13-50% or more. Communication needs in these areas were not limited only to Spanish: increasing numbers of area residents speak only indigenous languages of the Americas, plus there are contingents of seasonal guest workers from various countries including those in Africa and Asia. As a result of the situation, the Washington State Coalition for Language Access (WASCLA) soon became aware that there was no dedicated plan in place at the state level to meet the communication needs of the significant population with limited English proficiency (LEP) during emergencies.

While we responded to requests for help relating to securing needed language services in the moment, we also were actively considering the bigger picture long-range. Our upcoming Language Access Summit in October would offer an ideal opportunity to focus on the issue of emergency communications, a new topic for us.

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Resource Guides on Recent Public Health Incidents

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) recently developed resource lists for three public health emergencies affecting both local and global communities. An incident Web page was created to gather resources on the emerging health issues arising from the Zika Virus. Two PDF documents on recent chemical incidents have been updated.  Links to these lists are included below and also can be found on our NLM Disaster Health home page. https://disasterinfo.nlm.nih.gov (more…)

Make 2016 the Year of Emergency and Disaster Preparedness

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

When setting your goals for the year ahead, why not include emergency or disaster preparedness? By tackling the preparation activities over several weeks — whether it’s a trip to the grocery or hardware store, making copies of valuable information, or agreeing on a plan with relatives—you can make be more prepared in 2016. The first post in this series on emergency and disaster preparedness focuses on preparedness at home and with family. (more…)

NLM’s Radiation Emergency Medical Management (REMM) Site Redesigned

Friday, October 9th, 2015

The National Library of Medicine’s Radiation Emergency Medical Management (REMM) site has been redesigned.  REMM now includes a more modern banner, a refreshed color palette and font style, and a new navigation system.

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September 30 is National PrepareAthon Day

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

National Preparedness Month culminates with  National PrepareAthon! Day on September 30. Participate in your community’s disaster planning during the PrepareAthon! by taking action, being counted and spreading the word about preparedness.

Take Action: Learn about hazards like earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and winter storms. You can download free, hazard-specific resources designed to help you plan, conduct, and promote your preparedness activities and discussions. Find out where preparedness events are happening in your community, connect with other communities of practice, and add your own activities to the map to demonstrate how you are taking action to prepare. Check out these ideas for participating:
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Disaster Preparedness Resources: September is National Preparedness Month

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Is your library disaster ready?  With wild fires occurring in every state of the Pacific Northwest Region emergency preparedness is especially important for those being affected in these areas and libraries can play an important role.  September is National Preparedness Month (NPM) and the theme for this year is Don’t Wait. Communicate. Make Your Emergency Plan Today.  Communication is an important part of the emergency plan whether it is preparing an emergency kit, an evacuation plan, or what to do in case of separation.

forest-fire-465617_640 Libraries have played an important part in disaster recovery, often being a place of refuge in the aftermath. But libraries can assist before the disaster by providing information and programs to inform their communities to better prepare for such emergencies by keeping them aware of the resources available and providing opportunities to create disaster plans which can lead to a smoother recovery and may lessen the losses during a disaster whether natural or human created. Such steps don’t necessarily eliminate the stress and anxiety associated with such events but it can help reduce it as well as reduce the impact.

The National Library of Medicine provides a wealth of resources in disaster planning for libraries.  MedlinePlus contains information for all sorts of disasters and an array of information for the public. DIMRC (Disaster Information Management Resource Center) contains information to prepare libraries to become educated and informed about their role in the community to better assist their communities when disasters strike. This informative website provides access to information resources specifically for disasters including focusing on preparedness, response and recovery.  (more…)