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Archive for the ‘Emergency Preparedness’ Category

NLM Presentations at MLA Recordings Available

Friday, June 6th, 2014

MLA 2014 Annual Conference

Every year at the MLA Annual Meeting, the National Library of Medicine holds a variety of presentations in their exhibit booth to bring users up-to-date on NLM databases and services.  The recordings of the 13 presentations are now available from the NLM Technical Bulletin.   Learn about:

  1. The ACA, Hospital Community Benefit and Needs Assessment: NLM Resources
  2. Beau-TOX: TOXNET Gets a Facelift
  3. MedlinePlus: Usability, Mobile & Responsive Design
  4. Modernizing History: The New (and much improved) IndexCat Interface
  5. My NCBI Update: SciENcv & NIH Public Access
  6. NLM Resources & Electronic Health Records: MedlinePlusConnect, RxNorm & UMLS
  7. NLM Resources Used in Disasters
  8. PubMed Commons
  9. PubMed Health
  10. PubMed Update
  11. RDA One Year Later
  12. Still Scanning After All These Years: New Digital Projects from HMD
  13. Using the ClinicalTrials.gov Results Database

Hurricane Season 2014

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

NOAA 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook image and graph

The 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season has arrived and forecasters from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predict a near or below normal season. Predictions include anywhere from eight to thirteen tropical storms, three to six hurricanes, and one to two major hurricanes.  The driving force behind this year’s anticipated slow season is the development of El Niño this summer. El Niño “causes stsronger wind shear, which reduces the number and intensity of tropical storms and hurricanes”.

Despite these predictions, it is still always important to be prepared in the event of a hurricane or hurricane-related disaster. Hurricanes often cause other types of emergency situations, including storm surge and inland flooding.

To help you plan and be ready in case of a hurricane or hurricane related disaster, here are some useful resources:

Also, be sure to visit previous Blogadillo posts from the NN/LM SCR for additional resources!

2014/2015 Disaster Preparedness Award Recipient

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

NOAA image of a hurricane on the Texas coast

The NN/LM SCR is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2014-2015 Disaster Preparedness Award:

Institution: Texas Area Health Education Center East – Greater Houston Region
Project TitleHurricane Education through Library Preparedness (HELP)
Project Director: Alexander Reyna

The project will train public library staff to respond effectively in the event of a natural disaster and also provide disaster preparedness toolkits for dissemination at the library branch. The library will be promoted as an emergency resource center and a community preparedness event will be held in addition to ongoing information sessions during hurricane season.

Congratulations to Alex and the Greater Houston Region AHEC!

More information on all NN/LM SCR Funded Projects are available at our Previously Funded Projects website.

Disaster Health Information Outreach Funding Opportunity Available from NLM

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Hand holding money on laptop screen

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) announces a funding opportunity for small projects to improve access to disaster medicine and public health information for health care professionals, first responders and others that play a role in health-related disaster preparedness, response and recovery.

NLM is soliciting proposals from partnerships in the U.S. that include at least one library and at least one organization that has disaster-related responsibilities, such as health departments, public safety departments, emergency management departments, pre-hospital and emergency medical services, fire/rescue, or other local, regional, or state agencies with disaster health responsibilities; hospitals; faith-based and voluntary organizations active in disaster; and others.

NLM encourages submission of innovative proposals that enhance mutually beneficial collaboration among libraries and disaster-related agencies. For example, projects may increase awareness of health information resources, demonstrate how libraries and librarians can assist planners and responders with disaster-related information needs, show ways in which disaster workers can educate librarians about disaster management, and/or include collaboration among partners in developing information resources that support planning and response to public health emergencies.

Contract awards will be offered for a minimum of $15,000 to a maximum of $30,000 each for a one-year project.

The deadline for proposals is Thursday, June 19, 2014 at 5 pm ET.

For more information and instructions about the “Disaster Health Information Outreach and Collaboration Project 2014”  and summaries of the previous years’ funded projects, visit the NLM Disaster Information Management Resource Center website.

 

Social Media for Crisis Communications

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

Last week HowTo.gov hosted a free webinar devoted to social media communication use in crisis situations. Social Media for Crisis Communication; The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly presenter Nicole Stillwell from the United States Department of State provided ten best practices for using social media during a crisis. In this presentation Stillwell presented a crisis as not only a natural disaster or unexpected event but also a public relations crisis.

An overview of the 10 best practices for the use of social media include:

  1. Cease Normal Operations – Halt any scheduled posts that were to be sent out once a crisis has been identified. Sending scheduled messages can make your organization appear uncaring of unaware of a crisis event.
  2. Acknowledge the situation immediately – Being a leader in the face of a crisis is important to earning and keeping your organization’s credibility. Acknowledging a situation as soon as it happens, even if it is a public relations related crisis, is best.
  3. Get your message to as many platforms as possible – Consider the use of new Twitter alerts to help send your messages out to the widest possible audience. Post messages about the event through all social media channels your organization uses.
  4. Be prepared to address vulnerabilities – Crises can bring increased attention to social media accounts. Be prepared to address or report hacking, bugs, or glitches.
  5. Find the right balance – Don’t change the content of a message, only edit so that is appropriate for social media or link to full or detailed information if necessary. Ensure that staff can continue operational tasks while balancing with social media content delivery.
  6. Don’t participate in a conversation when your brand doesn’t belong – Trying to insert your organization’s name into a conversation using hashtags to capitalize on publicity is not appropriate.
  7. Don’t feed the trolls – Social media accounts are seen by the public as the official voice of the organization. Engaging in debates with or getting defensive about comments to your social media accounts can be viewed negatively. Stay professional.
  8. Correct; don’t delete – If something has gone wrong on any of the social media accounts you manage don’t delete the posts or accounts. Deleting information or an account is viewed as suspect behavior and may harm your organization’s credibility.
  9. Listen to your audience – Social media outlets may provide your organization with unfiltered information from witness. Be sure to listen but also verify information through community managers.
  10. If you have to disengage; say so – If you are unable to updated a social media account for your organization as the result of a crisis, perhaps staff are needed elsewhere or our organization must close, provide a public statement on social media outlets with information about what is going on and when you expect to begin updating the account again.

Social media is an empowering tools that connects organizations and the public, often times to vital information. Proper use of social media in a crisis can ensure that your organization remains a credible source for information.

HowTo.gov provides free webinars and recordings on a variety of technology topics. Visit the DigitalGov University Course Catalog for a full list of topics.

Social Media Icons

Protecting Your Pets During a Disaster

Monday, September 9th, 2013

Emergency worker carrying puppy

At the beginning of hurricane season, we mentioned some resources to help prepare for the worst but in the event of a natural disaster or other emergency situation, it’s also important to have an emergency plan in place for pets!

The American Red Cross recommends taking the following steps to ensure pet safety during a disaster:

Keep your pet’s essential supplies in sturdy containers that can be easily accessed and carried (a duffle bag or covered trash containers, for example). Your pet emergency preparedness kit should include:

• Medications and medical records (stored in a waterproof container) and a First Aid kit.
• Sturdy leashes, harnesses, and/or carriers to transport pets safely and ensure that your animals can’t escape.
• Current photos of your pets in case they get lost.
• Food, drinkable water, bowls, cat litter/pan, and manual can opener.
• Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions, behavior problems, and the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to foster or board your pets.
• Pet bed or toys if easily transportable.

It’s also important to remember that should the need to evacuate arise, plan to take your pet with you or board them somewhere safe. Be sure to become familiar with nearby evacuation shelters that allow you to bring animals and be aware of the health risks involved when sheltering somewhere that allows a large number of animals and people in one location (See link to CDC’s Animals in Public Evacuation Centers).

For more information and resources:

American Red Cross – Plan and Prepare – Pets: http://www.redcross.org/prepare/location/home-family/pets

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Emergency Preparedness and Response – Animals in Public Evacuation Centers: http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/animalspubevac.asp

Ready.gov – Make a Plan – Caring for Animals: http://www.ready.gov/caring-animals

Disaster Information Management Resource Center – Disasters – Animals in Disasters: http://disaster.nlm.nih.gov/enviro/animals.html

Developing a Disaster Supplies Kit

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Emergency checklist

As part of National Preparedness Month, the Red Cross has created a great video with tips on what to include in a disaster supplies kit (along with good examples of what should be left out!): The Kit You Don’t Want to Have: National Preparedness Month.

Even though the video takes a humorous approach to educating the public, it also does a good job of highlighting the importance of being prepared. Although the contents of a disaster supplies kit may vary, depending on the type of disaster common to your geographical area, there are some basic supplies every kit should include:

  • Water— a good, general rule of thumb is one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
  • Food— the best foods to add to your kit are non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
  • Flashlight with fresh batteries
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries—these should be of various sizes, depending on the items for which you need them
  • First aid kit – items in a first aid kid can vary; for a good break down of what you should include, see the Red Cross’ Anatomy of a First Aid Kit
  • Medications (7-day supply) and any accompanying medical items
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cell phone with chargers (including car chargers, if you have them)
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Map(s) of the area—don’t rely on your cell phone or GPS device for this! During a disaster or emergency situation, internet access and connectivity is limited and may not be available to you.

When putting together your disaster supplies kit, be sure that you put into consideration the needs of every family member–including babies and pets! If you know that you might be hosting friends and family during a disaster, keep that in mind as well when purchasing/storing water and food. For more ideas and resources on putting together a disaster kit, see the list below.

American Red Cross – Plan and Prepare – Get a Survival Kit : http://www.redcross.org/prepare/location/home-family/get-kit

Ready.gov (Federal Emergency Management Agency) – Build a Kit: http://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Emergency Preparedness and Response – Gather Emergency Supplies: http://www.bt.cdc.gov/preparedness/kit/disasters/index.asp

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Emergency Preparedness and Response – Information for Pregnant Women: http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/pregnantfactsheet.asp

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Disaster Preparedness for your Pet: http://www.cdc.gov/features/Petsanddisasters/  as well as a checklist of items for a kit (cat and dog): http://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/resources/pet-preparedness.pdf

Are you ready?

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

Wet Cat

This September marks the 10-year-anniversary of National Preparedness Month (NPM)! Since its inception in 2004, The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has partnered with other government organizations (such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) in an effort to encourage communities and individuals to be prepared for the worst in emergency situations.

As one part of FEMA’s NPM initiative, the National Preparedness Community website offers a multitude of resources for users and community members. Included on the website is a tool-kit with marketing information and a comprehensive list of NPM videos, PDFs, and webpages. In addition, users can use the National Preparedness Community website to find NPM events happening in their area or register for free with the community and access additional resources, such as discussion forums and region-specific activity.

In addition to the National Preparedness Community website, the American Public Health Association (APHA) will be celebrating Get Ready Day on September 17th as part of NPM. The Get Ready website contains many fun and education resources for a variety of users and communities. These resources include factsheets, videos, podcasts, and other disaster preparedness-themed media for marketing use.

 

Additional information on National Preparedness Month can be found on these websites:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Be Ready! : http://www.cdc.gov/features/BeReady/index.html

National Library of Medicine Disaster Information Management and Resource Center homepage : http://sis.nlm.nih.gov/dimrc.html

APHA Get Ready : http://www.getreadyforflu.org/newsite.htm

Ready.gov (from FEMA) : http://www.ready.gov//www.getreadyforflu.org/newsite.htm

Mobile Devices Transform Disaster Relief

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Man on cell phone in flood

As reliance on and use of mobile devices continues to grow worldwide, the use of these devices to aid in disaster recovery and relief efforts is becoming more commonplace. Earlier this month the Center for Technology and Innovation at the Brookings Institute released the report “How Mobile Devices Are Transforming Disaster Relief and Public Safety” which provides a more in-depth assessment of how mobile devices and mobile technology are transforming disaster relief and public safety.

Mobile devices including smart phones and tablets are enabling both the general public and emergency responders to stay connected to important information in times of crisis. According to the report mobile devices provide early warning systems, aid in the coordination or emergency response, and improve public communications.

The report provides real world situational examples of how mobile technology has been used in response to natural disasters such as earthquakes and as well as for emergency preparedness. According tot he report, mobile devices are also playing an important role in alerting the public to events such as terrorist attacks and shooting incidents. The report includes examples of smartphone applications that have been created to help individuals in an attack scenario find safety. The use of mobile devices for improved public safety has also led to the development and use of mobile applications for sending alerts to notify users of events happening or reported in their area.

The report includes many examples of applications and uses of mobile technology for emergency preparedness, disaster recovery, emergency education, alert systems, and other forms of communication. The global reach of mobile devices continues to transform disaster response efforts around the world.

Surviving the Swelter

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

Thermometer and Sun According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), heat kills an average of 1,500 people a year in the US—a number higher than any other weather-related event.  The Red Cross defines some terms that you may hear regularly during hot weather months:

  • Excessive Heat Watch - Conditions are favorable for an excessive heat event to meet or exceed local Excessive Heat Warning criteria in the next 24 to 72 hours.
  • Excessive Heat Warning - Heat Index values are forecasting to meet or exceed locally defined warning criteria for at least 2 days (daytime highs=105-110° Fahrenheit).
  • Heat Advisory - Heat Index values are forecasting to meet locally defined advisory criteria for 1 to 2 days (daytime highs=100-105° Fahrenheit).

During times of extreme heat everyone–but especially infants, children and adults over the age of 65–are at an increased risk of suffering from a heat-related illness. Some of the most common include heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke (or sunstroke).

So what can you do to stay safe during the hot weather?

For more information about extreme heat safety, visit the following:

Center for Disease Control and Prevention site on Extreme Heat Emergency Preparedness and Response

Environmental Protection Agency’s Excessive Heat Events Guidebook

NOAA Tips for Staying Healthy and Cool During the Summer

National Weather Service/NOAA page on Heat (including heat index numbers and information)