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:
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.
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?
Stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol, which causes you to lose fluid more quickly. Always keep water on hand.
Take it easy on outdoor physical activity—if you can, do outdoor chores in the morning or evening when it’s less hot. Take frequent breaks.
Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing and a wide-brimmed hat if possible. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
Looking for a new way to get the word out on disaster preparedness? The National Association of County & City Health Officials (NACCHO) and the Public Health – Seattle & King County Advanced Practice Center have created the Survivor Tales series; three short comic books featuring real-life stories from natural disaster survivors. These three comics (all illustrated by David Lasky) cover preparedness and recovery stories for three different natural disasters including hurricanes (titled Eye Over Houston), flooding (titled In Deep Water), and earthquakes (titled Aftershocks). Listed after each story is more information on disaster preparedness, including emergency kit basics, creating a plan, and getting involved.
The goals and objectives of this project (as found on the NACCHO site) are as follows:
• Engage adults and youth in emergency preparedness through a compelling visual style and narrative that highlight positive messages of resilience, community support, and the benefits of preparedness.
• Provide basic information about emergency preparedness and specific hazards in a pictorial format that is more accessible and appealing to lower literacy and immigrant populations.
• Illustrate real-life disasters to help readers anticipate how a disaster might play out and determine what they need to be ready.
In order to access these comics, an account must be created on the NACCHO site. Users can register for an account for free (please note that an account on the website is not the same as membership to NACCHO) by selecting the “Sign In” button in the top right-hand corner and then choosing the “Create Account” option. Once the account is created, the comics will be available to download.
With hurricane season around the corner (June 1-November 30), it’s as important as ever to be prepared and have a plan! The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting an active to extremely active 2013 season for the Atlantic region with a 70 percent likelihood of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 7 to 11 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5; winds of 111 mph or higher). It’s important to remember that hurricanes are multifaceted storms and not only bring rain and strong winds but also prolonged rain that leads to flooding as well as the possibility of tornadoes.
To help you plan and be ready in case of a hurricane or hurricane related disaster, here are some useful resources:
The Hurricane app by the American Red Cross offers a one touch “I’m safe” messaging system that allows user to broadcast their safety status via social media , the locations of open Red Cross shelters, as well as a toolkit with a flashlight, strobe light, and audible alarm.
Institution: Louisiana Health Sciences Center Library – Shreveport, Shreveport LA ProjectTitle: Are You Prepared? Promoting Disaster Preparedness in Northwest Louisiana through the Public Libraries ProjectDirector: David Duggar
The National Network of Libraries of Medicine South Central Region (NN/LM SCR) and the entire South Central Region are deeply concerned about our friends and colleagues in the areas affected by the recent tornado in Oklahoma. We will be using this blog post to serve as a method of communication for the Region.
We have contacted academic centers, hospitals, public libraries and other groups in the Oklahoma City and surrounding areas. Thus far, we have received the following updates on the NN/LM SCR listerv and/or via direct contact:
University of Oklahoma Bird Health Sciences Library: All Bird Library staff are safe
Amy Picard, Norman RegionalHospital: Library staff is safe. The Moore Medical Center, which was damaged by the tornado, is a sister hospital to Norman Regional Health System. The Norman Regional Hospital campus was used briefly overnight as a discharge station until the number of patients outgrew the space and they relocated to the education center. They initially chose the library because they felt it was a good, quiet location where privacy could be afforded. But as the numbers grew, they needed more space.
Oklahoma Department of Libraries: Susan McVey, state librarian, reported that she is unaware of any loss of life among public library staff, a couple of staff members’ homes are damaged. None of the public library buildings in the immediate vicinity of the tornado were affected even though one of them was only a block away from the path. Several Pioneer Library System branches may have damages.
Dan Chandler,Integris Baptist: Library staff is safe.
Danell Ingle, VA Medical Center: Library staff is safe.
We will continue to revise this blog post as we hear from more Network members. The comments field on this post is open so feel free to post an update on your status.
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/ ).