Educational and fun preparedness links and resources for families & kids

March 15, 2020

With scenes of empty store shelves, fights over toilet paper and most Americans being told to stay home due to the COVID-19 outbreaks, many of us will have a lot of time on our hands in the coming days and weeks.

And, since internet access is not a problem for most (as it often is whenever there is a weather-related disaster or emergency), there are things people can do to learn more about getting themselves and their loved ones prepared for the unexpected (including a zombie apocalypse!)

The U.S. has approximately 800,000 active Law Enforcement Officials (including Police & Sheriff), 1.1 million Firefighters (over 70% are volunteers), and 210,000 EMT / paramedics meaning there are about 2.1 million first responders supporting over 327 million Americans.

And with some quarantines impacting health and public safety personnel in communities around the country (and world), you, your family and neighbors could be the “first” first responders if an emergency or disaster strikes.

Knowledge is power and can help reduce fear and anxiety. Consider taking the below online CERT course and visit some of the kid-friendly sites near the bottom to educate your family and have some fun while doing it.

Community Emergency Response Team

In the U.S. and Canada, the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program helps train volunteers to assist first responders in emergency situations in their communities.

CERT members give critical support to first responders during emergencies, provide immediate assistance to victims, organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site, and collect disaster intelligence to support first responder efforts.

Normally the CERT course is taught in the community by a trained team of first responders who have completed a CERT Train-the-Trainer course, and includes disaster preparedness, disaster fire suppression, basic disaster medical operations, and light search and rescue operations and is usually delivered in 2-1/2 hour sessions, one evening a week over a 7 week period.

FEMA also provides an online study course called “Introduction to Community Emergency Response Teams“, IS 317, for those wanting to complete training or as a refresher for current team members.

The online course takes between 6 and 8 hours to complete and includes 6 modules…

  • CERT Basics,
  • Fire Safety,
  • Hazardous Material and Terrorist Incidents,
  • Disaster Medical Operations,
  • Search and Rescue,
  • and Course Summary.

While IS-317 is useful as a primer or refresher for CERT training, it is not equivalent to, and cannot be used in place of, the classroom delivery of the CERT Basic Training.

But it is educational and easy to do from your home or office and is a great teaching tool for your entire family. Learn more at FEMA.gov

Also, if you have high school and/or college kids in your family, Teen CERT can give them the above mentioned skills to protect themselves, their family, and friends in case of disaster or emergency. Learn more at www.ready.gov/teen-cert and share above FEMA course link with them too.

Educational and fun preparedness resources for families & kids:

Free ebook (59-pg portion of our preparedness & first aid manual with tips + resources about floods, hurricanes, infectious diseases (e.g. flu, COVID-19, staph, etc.), wildfires, family plans, kits + more) www.fedhealth.net/look-inside-book.html

Ready Kids www.ready.gov/kids

Ready.gov (resources for families, kids, businesses + pets) www.ready.gov

CDC’s Ready Wrigley www.cdc.gov/cpr/readywrigley

CDC (tips for families, college students & kids) www.cdc.gov/family/healthypeople/  

CDC’s Zombie preparedness www.cdc.gov/cpr/zombie/

Sesame Street (Let’s Get Ready) www.sesamestreet.org/toolkits/ready


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


Need a last minute Christmas or holiday gift idea? Give the gift of charity

December 24, 2017

Are you a last minute shopper or have someone on your list that has everything so you have no idea what to get them?

Consider giving a gift that can help others in their time of need on behalf of your family and friends.

For example:

  • Donate to The Salvation Army as they continue to serve disaster survivors of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate.  Whether its food, drinks, shelter or cleaning supplies, The Salvation Army provides practical assistance.
  • Charity Choice allows you to select plastic gift cards, printed cards or e-cards, good for redemption online at one of their 100+ partner organizations (or a specific charity of your choosing). They also have a list of dozens of nonprofit groups involved with helping those affected by recent hurricanes ~ learn more
  • TisBest Charity Gift Cards work like any other gift card, except that instead of buying more stuff, the recipient spends it to support a charity of their choice. You choose the donation amount and a customizable card image, and their email and print-at-home options let you send or receive an order instantly.
  • World Vision lets you choose a gift to donate, help children and families in need, and honor loved ones with a free personalized card.

There are many other incredible organizations online that have similar e-gifting options for the holidays and year-round so search around for one that fits your needs.

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays, j & B


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