Catastrophic Response Draft Plan (Public input and review is sought by Nez Perce)

November 19, 2012

The following appeared in our Nov 2012 enews

catastrophic-response-2In 2010, the Nez Perce County Board of Commissioners (in Idaho) resolved to create a Continuity Planning Team to write a comprehensive local plan to carry out the objectives and directives of national contingency plans — to maintain civil order and ensure essential services continue operations — in the event of a national emergency.

In a catastrophic event, stress levels will be high and time of the essence. Chief elected officials and Annex leads will need essential information in concise format to be able to act quickly and decisively in a disaster.

Nez Perce has posted a draft of their contingency plan focusing on effective local government response to a catastrophic event of any kind. This COOP plan is about getting the 90% of people who have not prepared safely through the dangerous transition period, until relative stability is achieved.

This contingency plan would only be implemented during an event of national significance where federal response may not be available for an extended period of time. Local jurisdictions will use their standard Local Emergency Operations Plans for traditional disasters.

Nez Perce officials are encouraging public input and participation by public safety agencies and citizens to promote interagency cooperation and whole community involvement in emergency management. Sensitive information is intentionally omitted from this plan to allow public participation.

We encourage everyone to read their “About this Site” (PDF) first followed by the “Base Plan” (PDF) to understand the context of the plan, then review Annexes A thru P for details about Governance, Food, Law Enforcement and Security, Water Treatment, Energy, Healthcare, Communications, Shelters, Neighborhood Emergency Teams and much more. Learn more at www.CatastrophicResponse.org .

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USFA encourages safety as cold weather approaches Sandy-stricken areas

November 6, 2012

According to the NOAA National Weather Service, a coastal storm is expected to impact the mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning after midnight Tuesday night and continue through Thursday night, with clearing expected by Friday.

Impacts to the effected regions include: strong gusty northerly winds of 20-30 mph with gusts of 40-45 mph, rain of 1 to 2.5 inches along the coast, with lesser amounts inland possible, light wintry precipitation is possible inland, and coastal flooding/beach erosion along the east coast including areas already ravaged by Sandy.

AccuWeather.com is predicting temperatures may even be cold enough for some wet snow to mix in as far south as Philadelphia and Wilmington, DE, for a time Wednesday into Wednesday evening. And reports today indicate the storm is veering a bit away from NJ coastlines, but they still may get some high winds and minor storm surges.

People in the affected area should monitor NOAA weather radio and local news reports for the latest storm conditions and take the necessary precautions to keep safe.

As the cold weather approaches and residents take measures to stay warm (esp. in areas dealing with the aftermath of Sandy), please remember to take safety precautions. The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) recommends that in addition to having working smoke and CO alarms, all residents should follow these safety tips to prevent fires and CO poisoning during the recovery efforts from Hurricane Sandy:

Preventing Fires

  • Do not enter a building when the smell of natural gas is detected.  Leave the building immediately and contact the fire department.
  • Do not use the kitchen oven range to heat your home. In addition to being a fire hazard, it can be a source of toxic fumes.
  • Alternative heaters need their space. Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away.
  • Make sure your alternative heaters have ‘tip switches.’ These ‘tip switches’ are designed to automatically turn off the heater in the event they tip over.
  • Only use the type of fuel recommended by the manufacturer and follow suggested guidelines.
  • Never refill a space heater while it is operating or still hot.
  • Refuel heaters only outdoors.
  • Make sure wood stoves are properly operating, and at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn. Ensure they have the proper floor support and adequate ventilation.
  • Use a glass or metal screen in front of your fireplace to prevent sparks from igniting nearby carpets, furniture or other items that can burn.
  • Place space heaters on a floor that is flat and level. Do not put space heaters on rugs or carpets.  Keep the heater at least three feet from bedding, drapes, furniture and other items that can burn; and place space heaters out of the flow of foot traffic.  Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
  • To prevent the risk of fire, NEVER leave a space heater on when you go to sleep or place a space heater close to any sleeping person.  Turn the heater off when you leave the area.
  • Open the fireplace damper before lighting a fire, and keep it open until the ashes are cool. An open damper may help prevent build-up of poisonous gases inside the home.
  • Store fireplace ashes in a fire-resistant container, and cover the container with a lid.  Keep the container outdoors and away from combustibles. Dispose of ashes carefully, keeping them away from dry leaves, trash or other items that can burn.
  • Never bring gasoline into a building.

Preventing CO Poisoning

  • Schedule a yearly professional inspection of all fuel-burning home heating systems, including furnaces, boilers, fireplaces, wood stoves, water heaters, chimneys, flues and vents.
  • NEVER operate a portable gasoline-powered generator in an enclosed space, such as a garage, shed, or crawlspace, or in the home.
  • Keep portable generators as far away from your home and your neighbors’ homes as possible – away from open doors, windows or vents that could allow deadly carbon monoxide into the home.
  • When purchasing a space heater, ask the salesperson whether the heater has been safety-certified. A certified heater has a safety certification mark. These heaters have the most up-to-date safety features.  An unvented gas space heater that meets current safety standards will shut off if oxygen levels fall too low.
  • Do not use portable propane space heaters indoors or in any confined space, unless they are designed specifically for indoor use.  Always follow the manufacturer’s directions for proper use.
  • Never use gas or electric stoves to heat the home. They are not intended for that purpose and can pose a CO or fire hazard.

Find more fire safety tips on USFA site

Source: USFA


Emotional Recovery Tips – Handling Emotions After a Disaster

November 2, 2012

Hurricane aftermathSince disasters usually happen quickly and without warning, they can be very scary for both adults and children. They also may cause you to leave your home and your daily routine and deal with many different emotions, but realize that a lot of this is normal human behavior.

It is very important that you understand no matter what the loss is… there is a natural grieving process and every person will handle that process differently.

SOME NORMAL REACTIONS TO DISASTERS

Right after disaster – shock, fear, disbelief, hard time making decisions, refuses to leave home or area, won’t find help or help others.

Days, weeks or months after disaster – anger or moodiness, depression, loss of weight or change in appetite, nightmares, trouble sleeping, crying for “no reason”, isolation, guilt, anxiety, domestic violence

Additional reactions by children – thumb sucking, bed-wetting, clinging to parent(s) or guardian, won’t go to bed or school, tantrums (crying or screaming), problems at school

Please note: If any of your disaster reactions seem to last for quite some time, please consider seeking professional counseling for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). There is nothing wrong with asking for help!

TIPS FOR ADULTS & KIDS

Death – You may lose loved ones or need to handle bodies during a crisis.

Deal with it – Recognize your own feelings so you can deal with them properly and responsibly.

Talk or not? – Talking to others can help relieve stress and help you realize you are not alone… other victims are struggling with the same emotions, including your own family. And don’t leave out the little ones … let them talk about their feelings and share your feelings with them. But don’t force anyone to talk about their feelings since they might cope better by keeping their thoughts private.

Accept help – Realize that the people who are trying to help you want to help you so please don’t shut them out or turn them away.

Time out – Whenever possible, take some time off and do something you enjoy to help relieve stress… and do something fun with the whole family like a hike, a picnic, or play a game.

Rest – Listen to your body and get as much rest as possible. Stress can run you down so take care of yourself and your family members.

Slow down – Don’t feel like you have to do everything at once and pace yourself with a realistic schedule.

Stay healthy – Make sure everyone cleans up with soap and clean water after working in debris. Also, drink lots of clean water and eat healthy meals to keep up your strength. If you packed vitamins and herbs in your Disaster Supplies Kit, take them.

Work out – Physical activity is good for releasing stress or pent-up energy.

handling emotions after a disasterHug – A hug or a gentle touch (holding a hand or an arm) is very helpful during stressful times.

They’re watching you – Kids look to adults during a disaster so your reactions will impact the kids (meaning if you act alarmed or worried – they’ll be scared, if you cry – they cry, etc.)

Stick together – Keep the family together as much as possible and include kids in discussions and decisions whenever possible.

Draw a picture – Ask your kids to draw a picture of the disaster to help you understand how he or she views what happened.

Explain – Calmly tell your family what you know about the disaster using facts and words they can understand and tell everyone what will happen next so they know what to expect.

Reassurance – Let your kids and family know that they are safe and repeat this as often as necessary to help them regain their confidence.

Praise – Recognizing good behavior and praise for doing certain things (even the littlest of things) will help boost morale.

Watch your temper – Stress will make tempers rise but don’t take out your anger on others, especially kids. Be patient and control your emotions.

Let kids help – Including children in small chores during recovery and clean up processes will help them feel like they are part of the team and give them more confidence.

Let others know – Work with your kids’ teachers, day-care staff, babysitters and others who may not understand how the disaster has affected them.

Above extracted from IT’S A DISASTER! …and what are YOU gonna do about it? by Bill and Janet Liebsch

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Download some additional safety topics and tips from our book

Learn how to apply for Disaster Assistance from FEMA

Download FEMA’s 12-pg Helping Children Cope with Disaster booklet in PDF


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