Public libraries play an important role in the community year round, but during or after an emergency or disaster the public library is also an important resource for first responders. Public libraries provide important information centers in a community and are often equipped with computers, meetings spaces, and possibly access to the internet. After an emergency or disaster first responders working with their community public libraries can provide safe shelter spaces for survivors. In addition, public library technologies including computers, phones, printers, and internet access may serve as vital communication tools for survivors and first responders.
The video below was created by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, South Center Region (NN/LM SCR) to demonstrate how public libraries and first responders can work together to ensure community well-being and safety before and after a disaster or emergency.
Take a few moments to explore responsive web design by opening the pages in your desktop browser. Try changing the size of the browser window and see what happens. The text and images on the site will respond to the size of the browser window you create. Also try opening the pages on a tablet or other mobile device. The websites will again respond and present the information in a format that is appropriate for the device you are using. No data or information is lost, the pages simply respond to the device or window.
Several government agencies (FEMA, Citizen Corps, CDC, and others) as well as the American Public Health Association (APHA) have once again joined to promote the month of September as National Preparedness month. As Americans remember the events of 9/11, they also encourage all Americans to prepare themselves, their families and their communities for all disasters and hazards, including infectious disease, natural disasters and other emergencies. Throughout the month, more than 3,000 organizations nationwide are supporting efforts to help Americans prepare in case of emergency, with many events culminating on “Get Ready Day, ” September 18th (see http://www.getreadyforflu.org/ ).
With Hurricane Isaac expected to make landfall in the Louisiana area Wednesday morning, the Gulf Coast community is already preparing for the anticipated wind, rain, and possible rising waters. Google Crisis Response is a new website from Google that provides access to important information in the event of emergencies. A global tool, Google Crisis Responses brings together information from participating organizations and existing data to provide up to the minute information and updates for those in need and those responding to crisis events. The Crisis Map combines data and provides a map view of areas that are in danger. All in all, Google Crisis Response is a site supported by ““staff engineers, product managers, and partnership professionals who are dedicated to working on efforts that focus on making critical information more accessible during natural disasters”. Look to Google Crisis Response as an online tool in the event of future emergencies.
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has announced an update for the Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders (WISER) app. WISER for iOS 3.0 adds native support for the iPad in addition to support for the iPhone and iPod touch. This update also features some improved graphics and provides iPads with access to many WISER features including WISER’s protective distance mapping feature.
The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is funding a series of continuing education courses with the Medical Library Association (MLA). These courses may be used to lead to a Basic or Advanced certificate, “Disaster Information Specialization,” which will be available from MLA for completion of courses and other activities focused on the information aspects of disaster preparedness, response and recovery.
Three courses were taught the week of May 19 in-person at MLA in Seattle and are now (or will be) available online. These three courses, plus an additional two online courses from FEMA, meet the requirements for a Basic-level certificate.
• Disaster Information Sources: The Basics
• Information Roles in Disaster Management
• US Response to Disasters and Public Health Emergencies
Additional enrichment courses are being developed and their CE contact hours may be used toward the requirements for the Advanced-level certificate.
• Disaster Situations in an International Context
• A Seat at the Table: A Step-by-Step Approach to Working with Local Responders
• Ethical and Legal Aspects of Disaster Response
Most of these courses will be offered June-August in a classroom setting or online at no cost. Please see the following links for more information. If you have any questions about the planning of the Disaster Information Specialization program, please contact Kathleen Combs, Director, Professional Development, MLA at 312-419-9094 x29 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once again, hurricane season has begun. The official season for the Atlantic begins June 1 and ends November 30. The season for the Eastern Pacific begins slightly earlier on May 15, but also ends on November 30. At this time, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) predicts a “near normal 2012 hurricane season.” For the entire six-month season, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center says there’s a 70 percent chance of nine to 15 named storms, of which four to eight will strengthen to a hurricane and of those one to three will become major hurricanes (with top winds of 111 mph or higher, ranking Category 3, 4 or 5). Based on the period 1981-2010, an average season produces 12 named storms with six hurricanes, including three major hurricanes.
Regardless of the predictions, families, communities, and businesses are encouraged to prepare for a potential hurricane. Several organizations offer online resources to assist with these preparations. Some include widgets which can be used on library or other organizational websites to quickly link to valuable information.
Tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, floods, thunderstorms — folks in the South Central Region are familiar with severe weather!
The first-ever National Severe Weather Preparedness Week is this week, April 22 – 28, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have partnered together to raise awareness and save lives.
Last year during this week, storms raked the central and southern United States, spawning more than 300 tornadoes, claiming hundreds of lives and ranking as one of the largest tornado outbreaks in U.S. history. As the nation marks the first anniversary of that historic outbreak, from April 22-28 people across the country are encouraged to “Be a Force of Nature” by knowing the risk, taking action and being an example.
As part of NOAA’s campaign to Build a Weather-Ready Nation, this week is all about what individuals can do to take a stand against severe weather. Being a force of nature means taking appropriate actions before, during and after extreme weather strikes by knowing your risk, having a plan, building a kit and staying informed. It also means being connected to family, friends and neighbors and inspiring them to act.
For more information on how you can participate this week and increase both your and your community’s preparedness check out www.ready.gov/severeweather.
The recording of the March 21 edition of the SCR CONNECTions webinar, “Spring is in the Air: Get Ready with Help From the NLM Disaster Information Management Research Center” is now available in the SCR CONNECTions archives http://nnlm.gov/scr/training/webmeeting.html#Archives. Siobhan Champ-Blackwell, MSLIS Librarian, Aquilent, Inc., contractor with the National Library of Medicine Specialized Information Services Division, Disaster Information Management Research Center was the guest presenter.
MLA CE for 1 hour will be available through April 4 by using the URL at the end of the recording.
Next month’s webinar will take place one week earlier than normal on April 11, 2012 at 10:30 a.m. CT. The topic wil be: “So Your Poster Got Accepted–Now What? Poster Design Tips,” with guest speaker Tracy Volz, Assistant Director of the Cain Project in Engineering and Professional Communication at Rice University. MLA CE will NOT be available for the April SCR CONNECTions.
Join us Wednesday, March 21, 2012 from 10:30 – 11:30 am (CT) for the NN/LM SCR’s monthly webinar, SCR CONNECTions.
The topic for this month’s webinar will be: “Spring is in the Air: Get Ready with Help From the NLM Disaster Information Management Research Center.” This month’s guest presenter will be Siobhan Champ-Blackwell, MSLIS Librarian, Aquilent, Inc., contractor with the National Library of Medicine Specialized Information Services Division, Disaster Information Management Research Center.
Webinars are conducted via the Adobe Connect web meeting system. Join the webinar using the following URL: https://webmeeting.nih.gov/scr/. Once you enter the online meeting room, follow the instructions on the screen to have the system call you on your telephone.