Become more #CyberAware during October Cyber Security Awareness Month

September 30, 2018

Cyber Security Awareness Month is an internationally recognized campaign held each October to inform the public of the importance of cyber security.

America’s National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) campaign – under leadership from the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – has grown exponentially, reaching consumers, small and medium-size businesses, corporations, educational institutions, and young people across the nation.

Fedhealth has been a proud Champion of NCSAM since 2004 promoting awareness about online safety on our blog, enews and in the U.S. First Responders Association’s Cyber news and safety tips group.

Cybersecurity begins with a simple message everyone using the Internet can adopt: STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Take security and safety precautions, understand the consequences of your actions and behaviors online, secure your IoT devices , and enjoy the benefits of the Internet.

NCSA has resources, weekly themes and social media tools to help families, businesses and educators get #CyberAware and involved at staysafeonline.org/ncsam. Follow NCSA on Facebook or on Twitter @STOPTHNKCONNECT and @StaySafeOnline and search #CyberAware for more cyber safety tips and resources.

 

Canada’s Cyber Security Awareness Month (CSAM) was created to educate Canadians about Internet security and the simple steps individuals can take to protect themselves online.

Canada’s #CSAM campaign is divided by themes which highlight different aspects of cyber security each week. Learn more at getcybersafe.ca and follow @GetCyberSafe or #CSAM on Twitter.

 

And the European Union advocacy campaign European Cyber Security Month (ECSM) aims to raise awareness of cyber security threats, promote cyber security among citizens and organizations; and provide resources to protect themselves online, through education and sharing of good practices.

Visit http://cybersecuritymonth.eu/ to learn more and to find events in Europe and follow @CyberSecMonth and ‪#‎cybersecmonth on Twitter.

 

Whether you use one computer, a smartphone or a massive network, it is critical to keep systems protected from viruses and attacks. Some things you can do include…

  • Make sure computers and all wireless devices have current anti-virus and anti-spyware software and firewalls … and schedule them to scan daily or weekly. Also set virus patterns, operating systems and browsers to update automatically. Encourage employees to protect their personal home devices too.
  • Set security preferences as high as possible on Internet browsers and anti-virus packages.
  • Use a strong password to protect your home wi-fi router and create a “Guest” password for people who visit and need internet access.
  • Be aware some flash drives may have trojans or viruses, or be used to copy sensitive data off secure systems, so consider limiting access to critical files and/or systems.
  • Although it is best to not open emails or attachments from unknown sources, that’s not feasible in the business world. But implement precautionary procedures like having employees save attached files into a temp directory and scan them before opening.
  • Discourage accessing financial institutions from mobile devices using apps or email links. Instead, visit banking and credit card sites directly using a browser window.
  • Be aware there are lots of “scareware” scams online! Do NOT download or click on a screen that says it found “X number of viruses or spyware on your system” suggesting you download their package — it will most likely be a virus.
  • Use long passwords (using both numbers and letters [and special characters if possible]) on banking, social media and other systems, change them often, and don’t share them with others.
  • Backup data often and keep a daily or weekly backup off-site.
  • Make sure someone knows how to download patches or fixes in case a computer or system gets infected. And have a backup plan in case that person (or team) is not available.
  • If your business is hacked, file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov
  • Stay current on cyber threats by joining DHS’s US Computer Emergency Readiness Team www.us-cert.gov and visit NCSA’s www.staysafeonline.org

Please share these resources with others and post your #CyberAware tips in comments below.

Happy, safe surfing, j & B

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Florence updates and state + federal preparedness resources on USFRA

September 14, 2018

For the past week we have been posting updates and resources about Florence in the U.S. First Responders Association’s Disaster Preparedness Group for those being impacted by the storm along the east coast and inland. (And our apologies for not sharing this here sooner!)

Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, NC at 0715 ET on 14-Sep-2018 and moving W about 6 mph (9 km/h). A west to WSW motion expected thru Sat bringing LOTS of rain, winds + a few possible tornadoes.

Download a free 59-pg portion of IT’S A DISASTER! book (in PDF) with tips on preparing for hurricanes, floods, evacuations, assembling disaster kits, making a family plan & more courtesy of USFRA and Fedhealth.

And visit USFRA.org’s Florence Updates and resources post to find information and links about…

  • Latest updates from National Hurricane Center and others;
  • USFRA posts about hurricanes, floods, evacuations, winds, generator safety, and more;
  • State web links, apps and resources for NC, SC, GA and VA (more will be added as storm moves inland);
  • Pets and Large animals/livestock tips;
  • FEMA, National Hurricane Center & Weather resources;
  • Disaster Assistance and Recovery efforts will be added in coming days/weeks/months as things progress.

Families, business owners, responders and volunteers can find above and more about Florence here.

And consider joining USFRA.org to find & share knowledge and expertise on training, tactics, safety, education and community outreach as it pertains to first responders, EMs, active duty military, veterans, volunteers and others.

Stay safe out there, j & B


Get Ready for September 2018 National Preparedness Month

August 23, 2018

September is National Preparedness Month (NPM) when Americans are encouraged to take action to prepare ~ now and throughout the year ~ for the types of emergencies that could affect us where we live, work, and visit.

The Ready Campaign’s 2018 #NatlPrep theme is “Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How.”

Use the month to focus on your preparedness efforts for various disasters and emergencies, and encourage others to get prepared too.

Ready‘s 2018 NPM social media toolkit provides graphics, hashtags, and content that can be customized to your needs. In addition to the theme for the month, each weekly theme highlights different preparedness actions.

Help promote preparedness using these #NatlPrep tools and themes:

  • September 1-8: Make and Practice Your Plan
  • September 9-15: Learn Life Saving Skills
  • September 15: National Day of Action
  • September 16-22: Check Your Insurance Coverage
  • September 23-29: Save For an Emergency

Learn more at www.ready.gov/september.

Also consider getting our disaster preparedness and first aid manuals for your family, co-workers, customers, neighbors, events and training sessions for only $4.50 U.S. each delivered (70% off $14.99 list) on 10 copies & up and we can customize them for free!

The 266-page paperback provides quick-reference instructional bullets in 2-color format with tips on what people should think about and do before, during and after specific types of emergencies and disasters (e.g. hurricanes, hazardous material spills, nuclear incidents, active shooter scenarios, etc.), as well as how to administer basic first aid.

Fedhealth can ship red books within 24 hours of your order … plus we donate a portion of bulk book orders to the U.S. First Responders Association in support of our nation’s first responders and veterans.

Learn how to order “IT’S A DISASTER!” books (and download a free 56-page portion of it in PDF) or get our 280-page ebook in PDF for $3 U.S. at www.fedhealth.net/how-to-order.html … or call Fedhealth at 520-907-2153.

Please share these tools with others and stay safe out there, j & B


Making book text and ads interactive with Augmented Reality

June 20, 2018

We have been in the process of updating our customizable preparedness and first aid manual and plan to include Augmented Reality on some topics (e.g. CPR, Stop The Bleed, etc.) so readers can view videos and data about procedures using their smartphone or tablet.

And since our printer does AR, it would be a great complement to our custom book projects filled with ads that pay for books (and help fund our nation’s first responders.)

Augmented Reality can be used on print ads to increase engagement by…

  • Bringing a picture to life or adding video to the printed page;
  • Making content jump off the page with 3D objects and data;
  • Allowing people to interact directly with data, photos, games, shopping carts and websites;
  • Updating content, special promos, discounts and customer experiences without changing a printed trigger / ad.

Check out this short video demonstrating some AR ads:

We are exploring to determine if several topics in our book and ads would be best viewed using free apps such as Blippar, Layar, Zappar or others on smartphones or tablets … or maybe through a common AR viewer or platform that everyone could use with or without an app.

But our goal is to bridge the gap between traditional print and digital experiences to generate excitement and engagement between our readers, advertisers and whole communities.

We are soooo looking forward to stepping into tomorrow today so stay tuned and stay safe, j & B

p.s. Feel free to share your experiences with AR and printed matter below or by emailing us at info@fedhealth.net


Please help us equip First Responders with pet oxygen masks and protective K9 gear

May 13, 2018

We’ve never done a GoFundMe campaign before but wanted to share an event and fundraiser that will help equip first responders with pet oxygen masks, K9 Rex Specs and K-9 vests in case you might like to attend or want to donate or share with others.

In addition to being co-founder of Fedhealth and co-author (with Bill) of our customizable preparedness book, I am also Exec VP of the U.S. First Responders Association.

On May  26, 2018 The Starlight Singers and performers from Sara Dance Center will honor first responders and entertain the public at their Memorial Day Weekend First Responder Benefit in Sarasota Florida.

All donations and proceeds from ticket and concession sales (plus my GoFundMe campaign) will be donated to USFRA who will purchase and donate pet oxygen masks and K-9 gear to Fire, EMS and Law Enforcement departments.

Please visit my fundraiser and share it with others to help us equip as many Fire, EMS and K9 officials as possible.

Also learn more about The Starlight Singers 5/26 event here (which is free for first responders) or on USFRA’s Facebook post … and leave us a comment or email evp@usfra.org with any questions or needs.

Thank you! j ( & B )


FirstNet: Nationwide secure broadband network + communication tools for first responders

February 10, 2018

We’ve been writing about the progress of FirstNet in our enews since Mar 2014 (and Oct 2014 and Mar 2015). And now that AT&T is the official provider of services for FirstNet, the dedicated communications platform created with first responders for first responders is helping to enable simpler, safer, faster and more collaborative communications.

FirstNet will give the public safety community the 21st-century communication tools it needs to help save lives and keep communities and first responders safe.

As of late-December 2017, all 50 states, 5 U.S. territories and the District of Columbia officially Opted-In to FirstNet, so now FirstNet and AT&T have a clear line of sight to deliver a nationwide platform and communications tools being built for public safety officials.

The foundation of the FirstNet service is a highly reliable highly secure broadband network dedicated to public safety. This is the first time public safety communications will be based on global standards like Global System for Mobile Communications, realize the benefits of economies of scale, and see rapid evolution of advanced communication capabilities, on a network designed for public safety users.

Why is the FirstNet network a necessary and relevant undertaking?

Whether they’re responding to a local emergency or supporting a disaster in another city or state, public safety deserves a network that will be there for them whenever and wherever they need it. This unifying network will allow first responders and other public safety personnel to communicate across different agencies and jurisdictions throughout the country. Given current difficulties in doing this, the FirstNet network will allow public safety entities to better coordinate when jointly responding to human-caused and natural disasters.

Who can subscribe to FirstNet?

Subscribers can include primary user and extended primary users:

  • Primary users are public safety personnel whose primary mission and job is to provide services to the public in the areas of law enforcement, fire suppression and prevention, or emergency medical services.
  • Extended primary users are other entities that provide public safety services, and include individuals, agencies, organizations, non-profit or for-profit companies who are not primary users, but who may be called upon to support public safety personnel with the mitigation, remediation, overhaul, clean-up, restoration, or other such services that are required during the time of incident or post-incident. Extended primary users may be called on a temporary or on-going basis.

How does FirstNet compare to what’s currently available to public safety?

Today:

  • Networks get congested in disasters and emergencies, making it difficult for first responders and other public safety personnel to communicate, coordinate and do their jobs.
  • The public safety community uses more than 10,000 radio networks – which creates difficulty when trying to communicate across agencies or jurisdictions.

With the FirstNet network:

  • First responders and other public safety personnel will access one highly secure, nationwide, interoperable communications network that will support voice, data, text and video communications.
  • Public safety will have dedicated access to this network in times of crisis– their communications needs will come before non-public safety users.
  • FirstNet will also deliver specialized features to further the public safety mission, including priority, preemption and more network capacity; a resilient, hardened connection; and an applications ecosystem with innovative applications and services.
  • Devices connected to the network – such as wearables, drones and vehicles – will relay near real-time information to improve situational awareness and, ultimately, help save lives both of public safety responders on the front lines and the communities they protect. Mike Zeto, general manager of AT&T Smart Cities, sees a unique opportunity to bridge public safety’s capabilities with the Internet of Things (IoT) ~ read more on USFRA.org.

What types of devices will work on FirstNet?

Public safety users have access to an expansive catalog of LTE devices, ranging from purpose-built rugged units to the world’s most popular smart devices and tablets, complemented with a wide range of accessories. FirstNet enables public safety customers to get the priority, coverage, and interoperability they need without sacrificing choice in the devices they require to get the job done. Additionally, FirstNet will establish Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) capabilities to support volunteers and other personnel who use their personal devices for their public safety work if they meet the applicable requirements.

FirstNet rate plans support a wide variety of smartphones, tablets, laptops, modems, and network-ready devices using Android®, Apple® iOS, BlackBerry®, and Windows® Phones.

As of 22-Jan-2018 Mike Poth, First Responder Network Authority CEO announced AT&T launched a brand expressly designed for FirstNet products and services. Having a specialized brand and logo will help public safety identify the FirstNet solution and lifesaving technologies the network offers first responders across our nation.

How will this network withstand natural disasters, such as flooding or hurricanes?

The first line of defense against network impact from natural disasters is a hardened, strengthened network. AT&T builds network infrastructure to meet or exceed national standards and local wind and earthquake load requirements. They have continued to strengthen the network in hurricane-prone areas by:

  • Installing back-up and permanent generators at critical cell sites and switching facilities
  • Locating critical equipment in less vulnerable areas
  • Locating electronics critical to network operations above expected flood levels
  • Protecting physical facilities against flooding

Additionally, AT&T will provide power to the network in case commercial power is lost by adding more generators for use immediately after a storm hits. They will also place switches and generators critical to network operations in upper floors of buildings in case of flooding. AT&T has already elevated key distribution facilities in many low-lying areas and upgraded electronics in many locations, replacing copper wiring with fiber optic cable.

Learn about FirstNet network and services, rate plans, solutions, devices and apps, events and more at www.FirstNet.com.

And visit www.FirstNet.gov to learn about FirstNet’s programs and activities, including its consultation and outreach with public safety, the State Plans process, and how the Board plans to ensure the FirstNet network meets the needs of public safety – every day and in every emergency.

You can also find updates and an RSS feed in the U.S. First Responders Association’s FirstNet group

 

Source: Fedhealth 1Q2018 enews


As the world hurls (Volcanic eruption safety tips and resources)

January 23, 2018

A volcano is a mountain that opens downward to a reservoir of molten rock (like a huge pool of melted rocks) below the earth’s surface.

Unlike mountains, which are pushed up from the earth’s crust, volcanoes are formed by their buildup of lava, ash flows, and airborne ash and dust.

When pressure from gases and molten rock becomes strong enough to cause an explosion, it erupts and starts to spew gases and rocks through the opening.

Volcanic eruptions can hurl hot rocks (sometimes called tephra) for at least 20 miles (32 km) and cause sideways blasts, lava flows, hot ash flows, avalanches, landslides and mudflows (also called lahars).

They can also cause earthquakes, thunderstorms, flash floods, wildfires, and tsunamis. Sometimes volcanic eruptions can drive people from their homes forever.

Fresh volcanic ash is not like soft ash in a fireplace. Volcanic ash is made of crushed or powdery rocks, crystals from different types of minerals, and glass fragments that are extremely small like dust. But it is hard, gritty, smelly, sometimes corrosive or acidic (means it can wear away or burn things) and does not dissolve in water.

The ash is hot near the volcano but is cool when it falls over great distances. Ashfall is very irritating to skin and eyes and the combination of ash and burning gas can cause lung irritation or damage to small infants, the elderly or people with breathing problems.

Did you know…

  • there are about 1 million volcanoes on the ocean’s floor which pump out roughly 3/4 of the lava reaching the earth’s surface;
  • the Ring of Fire that encircles the Pacific Ocean has about 450 of the approximate 1,300 historically active volcanoes according to the Smithsonian Institute’s Global Volcanism Program;
  • the U.S. has over 65 active or potentially active volcanoes and over 40 of them are in Alaska;
  • volcanic eruptions can impact our global climate since they release ash and gases (like sulfur and carbon dioxide) into the earth’s atmosphere and warm the oceans;
  • floods, airborne ash or dangerous fumes can spread 100 miles (160 km) or more;
  • Yellowstone National Park actually sits on top of a supervolcano which erupted 3 times in the past 2 million years forming 3 massive calderas (or huge craters)? Some other supervolcanoes are in Alaska, California, New Mexico, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand and South America.

 

BEFORE A VOLCANIC ERUPTION:

Prepare – Try to cover and protect machinery, electronic devices, downspouts, etc. from ashfall. Learn more by visiting the USGS Volcano Hazards Program site at https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanic_ash/

Learn alert levels – Ask emergency management office which volcano warnings or alert levels are used since they vary depending on where you live (can be alert levels, status levels, condition levels or color codes).

Make a plan – Develop a Family Emergency Plan and Disaster Supplies Kit. (Note: Put in goggles or safety glasses and dust masks for each family member to protect eyes and lungs from ash.) Download a free 56-pg PDF portion of our 266-page book that includes tips on making a plan and kit and more.

Okay to go? – Don’t go to active volcano sites unless officials say it’s okay.

Be ready to evacuate – Listen to local authorities and leave if you are told to evacuate.

 

DURING A VOLCANIC ERUPTION:

Listen – Do what local authorities say, especially if they tell you to leave!

Leave – If you are told to evacuate, DO IT! Don’t think you are safe to stay home … the blast can go for miles/kilometres and cause wildfires and other hazards!

Watch out – Eruptions cause many other disasters:

  • flying rocks – hurled for miles at extremely fast speeds
  • mudflows, landslides or lahars – they move faster than you can walk or run
  • fires – hot rocks and hot lava will cause buildings and forests to burn
  • lava flows – burning liquid rock and nothing can stop it
  • gases and ash – try to stay upwind since winds will carry these — they are very harmful to your lungs
  • vog – volcanic smog forms when sulfur dioxide and other pollutants react with oxygen, moisture and sunlight – can cause headaches, breathing difficulties and lung damage

IF INDOORS – Stay in, but be aware of ash, rocks, mudflows or lava!

  • Close all windows, doors, vents and dampers and turn off A/C and fans to keep ash fall out.
  • Put damp towels under doorways and drafty windows.
  • Bring pets inside (if time, move livestock into shelters).
  • Listen for creaking on your rooftop (in case ashfall gets heavy — could cause roof to collapse!)

IF OUTDOORS – Try to get indoors, if not…

  • Stay upwind so ash and gases are blown away from you.
  • Watch for falling rocks and, if you get caught in rockfall, roll into a ball to protect your head!
  • Get to higher ground – avoid low-lying areas since poisonous gases collect there and flash floods could happen.
  • Use dust-mask or damp cloth to help breathing, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, and use goggles.
  • Ashfall can block out sunlight and may cause lightning.

IF IN A VEHICLE – Avoid driving unless absolutely required.

  • Slow down — keep speed at 35 mph (56 km/h) or slower, mainly because of thick dust and low visibility.
  • Shut off engine and park in garage (driving stirs up ash that can clog motor and damage moving engine parts).
  • Look upstream before crossing a bridge in case a mudflow or landslide is coming.

 

AFTER A VOLCANIC ERUPTION:

Listen – Local authorities will say if and when it’s safe to return to area (especially if you had to evacuate) and give other updates when available.

Water – Check with authorities before using water, even if eruption was just ash fall (gases and ash can contaminate water reserves). Don’t wash ash into drainpipes, sewers or storm drains since wet ash can wear away metal.

What to wear – If you must be around ash fall, you should wear long sleeve shirts, pants, sturdy boots or shoes, gloves, goggles (or safety glasses) and keep your mouth and nose covered with a dust-mask or damp cloth.

Ash – Dampen ash before sweeping or shoveling buildup so it’s easier to remove and won’t fly back up in the air as much – but be careful since wet ash is slippery. Wear protective clothing and a dust mask too. Realize ash can disrupt lives of people and critters for months.

Protect – Cover machinery and electronic devices like computers.

Above extracted from IT’S A DISASTER! …and what are YOU gonna do about it? by Bill and Janet Liebsch ~ learn how to order books and download a free 56-pg portion in PDF

 

Additional resources:

USGS Volcano Hazards Program http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/

Smithsonian Institute’s Global Volcanism Program www.volcano.si.edu

See some amazing volcanic eruption photos here and here


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