13th Annual Zone Crew/CSAR Meeting


On Thursday, January 28th the UCI Emergency Services Unit hosted the 13th Annual Zone Crew/CSAR Meeting in Pacific Ballroom D of the Student Center. This meeting rendered the largest turnout yet with 190 participants and a large CSAR member presence. Featured speakers included Zone 6 Captain Colin Andrews, Zone 13 Captain Ben Delo, UCIPD Lieutenant Frisbee, UCIPD Sergeant LeSage and the Director of the UCI Counseling Center Dr. Jeanne Manese. Collectively, the speakers shared information with the Zone Crew/CSAR community pertaining to emergency preparedness initiatives, crime statistics and intervention programs and efforts/resources to identify, treat and support student populations struggling with mental health-related concerns. Anne Widney, the campus Emergency Services Manager, also presented some of the major accomplishments of Emergency Services Division over the past year as well as upcoming trainings, exercises and projects scheduled to take place in 2016.

The Zone Crew and CSAR programs, among others on campus, are vital to the preparedness mission of the University. This statement was reinforced with action by campus administration last year when approval was granted to develop and fund a part-time position within the Emergency Services Unit to solely focus on further development and refinement of training/exercise programs for these two groups. The UCIPD looks forward to officially welcoming this individual to the team in the near future.

For additional information on Zone Crew and/or Campus Search and Rescue (CSAR) please contact Anne Widney at awidney@uci.edu or 949-824-7147.

Zone Crew Meeting


PulsePoint: An Extraordinary Community Resource


At a recent community meeting, the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) shared information about a very important app that they are promoting as a “force-multiplier” to serve victims of cardiac arrest. The app is called PulsePoint and is available on both the iPhone and Android.

PulsePoint empowers individuals, within covered communities, with the ability to provide life-saving assistance to victims of cardiac arrest. Application users who have indicated they are trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) are notified if someone nearby is having a cardiac emergency and may require CPR.  If the medical emergency is in a public place, the application uses sophisticated location-based services to alert trained citizens in the immediate vicinity of the need for CPR.  The application also directs these citizen rescuers to the exact location of the closest public access Automated External Defibrillator (AED).  More information can be found at: http://www.pulsepoint.org/

The Orange County Fire Authority along with several other fire departments within Orange County are already using this app which has received tremendous support from administrators. This video below, although a little outdated, explains in greater detail how this single app could render citizen-to-citizen aid until first responders arrive: https://vimeo.com/146326794


Not Exactly a “Winter Wonderland”


If you’ve watched or read the news over the last four days then you should be at least somewhat familiar with what many are calling “one of the worst snow storms on record” that took place over the weekend on the east coast. This blizzard cancelled thousands of flights, rendered State-wide travel bans, left hundreds of thousands of residents without power and, sadly, was blamed for a number of deaths.

This event is significant for us in that while it may not have had any direct impact on our well-being, how many of you reading this have family or friends in one of the impacted states? Does anybody have children that go to college on the east coast or is involved with a business or a supply chain based on the east coast?  How many of you had a scheduled flight this weekend with an airline that was impacted by the cancellations?  We must always keep in mind that while localized disasters have the greatest direct impact on the local community there are ripple effects that can stretch nationally or internationally.  By incorporating this truth in to your disaster planning efforts you will be that much more prepared for the unforeseen impact.

A CNN report cites the following known statistics related to Winter Storm Jonas as of January 25, 2016 @ 10:00am (PST).

  • At least 37 deaths have been blamed on the severe weather.
  • Airports are recovering, but at least 1,500 flights were canceled Monday, FlightAware said.
  • New York City missed its all-time storm record by a tenth of an inch, with 26.8 inches at Central Park. Meanwhile, 30.1 inches was recorded at JFK airport.
  • Worst-hit was the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, according to the National Weather Service, with 42 inches recorded in Glengary and 40.5 in Shepherdstown.
  • Federal workers in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia were ordered to stay home Monday.


If you are somebody who knows somebody that was impacted by this storm then you should talk to them about it. Find out how they were impacted, how well they were prepared and what they need to do to be more prepared for the next event. Talk to them about your personal preparedness and some of the hazards we face here in southern California if they are not familiar. The great thing about many preparedness actions is that they are not hazard-specific which means we can draw preparedness parallels with those in other parts of the country facing different disasters with similar impacts (i.e. power outages, evacuations, inability to access clean water, etc.)


What Odds Are You Taking?


How many of you found yourself coming down with “lottery fever” over the past week as our nation watched the Powerball roll over again and again. People that have never played the lottery in their life were coming out in herds to purchase tickets.  It was a phenomenon to which this country had never experienced before: one very lucky shot at becoming a billionaire overnight.  Every single one of us that stopped by a convenient store to pick up that “winning ticket” knows the odds of winning are not favorable, yet we find the time and the money to play anyway.  What most of us do not have, however, is a relative perspective for just how unlikely a winning ticket actually is.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal published a column last year on “20 things more likely to happen to you than winning the lottery.” A few of these included being crushed by a meteorite (1 in 700,000), contracting Ebola in the U.S. (1 in 13.3 million) or dying in a plane crash (1 in 11 million), in addition to some quite humorous ones.  http://www.reviewjournal.com/business/money/20-things-more-likely-happen-you-winning-lottery  However, the article didn’t even bother citing other types of disasters such as being killed by an earthquake (1 in 150,000), flood (1 in 175,000) or by smoke, fire or flames (1 in 1200) due to the likelihood of these being much more likely.  Keep in mind the odds above are “fatal” odds and your likelihood of experiencing one or more of these to a “less than fatal” degree are much greater.  The point of this being, how many of you played or play the lotto that have not taken any active steps to prepare for one of the much more likely disasters cited above?

This article is not suggesting that you stop playing the lotto. Instead, it’s merely to highlight the importance of disaster preparedness through a statistical lens.  If you truly want the best for yourself, your family and anybody else in your life then bet on the odds of a disaster-prepared household.  For more information on how you can get your 2016 off to a prepared start please visit the following sites:

UCI Emergency Management: http://www.police.uci.edu/em/index.html

Ready OC: http://www.readyoc.org/

Ready.Gov: http://www.ready.gov/


Winter Storm Preparedness Zotmail


A winter storm is forecast for southern California beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, January 5 and continuing through Friday, January 8. Active weather advisories include a High Wind Warning, Flash Flood Watch, and High Surf Advisory for various cities throughout the area.

The UCI Police Department, Emergency Services Unit is monitoring the situation in conjunction with other campus and local emergency personnel and Facilities Management staff are preparing the campus for the storm. At this time, there are no plans to cancel classes or suspend campus operations, but be prepared for travel delays. If the situation worsens and impacts the campus, emergency information will be made available via www.uci.edu, zotALERT emergency text messaging, the campus emergency information line 866-IRV-NEWS, and ZotRadio AM 1690. For weather updates, please visit http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/lox/

As the first significant storm of the winter, this is a good opportunity to review storm preparedness information and resources. During any storm event, it is important to take steps for your own safety.

— Use caution when outdoors during high wind and thunderstorm activity. Be aware of overhead hazards such as tree limbs and power lines.

— Never approach a downed wire, even if it is not actively arcing or sparking. Report all downed wires to 911.

— Allow extra time during commute periods to account for wet roadways, heavy traffic, and accidents.

— Drive cautiously and leave extra space when following to allow for increased braking distances in wet conditions.

— Remember that California state law requires headlights to be on during all periods of rain.

— Make sure you have a full tank of gas to avoid running out during heavy traffic.

— Do not attempt to drive or walk through flooded areas. — Bicyclists and motorcyclists should use lights and wear reflective rain gear or vests to ensure that they are visible.

— Take steps to prepare your home. Ensure that your gutters are clear and that any loose exterior furniture or other items which may become airborne during heavy wind are properly secured.

— If you have low-lying areas that are subject to flooding, take steps to mitigate these issues such as using sandbags.

— Have flashlights and lanterns available in the event of a power outage, and be sure that they have fresh batteries.

— Never use charcoal or propane fueled devices such as grills, heaters, or lanterns inside. These present both a fire hazard as well as a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Additional preparedness information can be found at www.police.uci.edu under Emergency Unit. Jorge Cisneros Chief of Police


Get Ready; Stay Ready Campaign 2015

December – Emergency Preparedness for Pets


As we wrap up the “Get Ready; Stay Ready” campaign for 2015, our focus shifts to those little furry companions at home that bring us so much joy: our pets.  Whether you are a cat lover, dog lover or any other type of animal lover you probably understand that pets are a vulnerable population when it comes to disasters for a number of reasons: 1) you cannot explain to them (well, most J) what has occurred, 2) they are hypersensitive to their environment, 3) most animals are frightened easily and 4) first responders are not going to risk their life to save your pet to the extent that they would for a human life.  Understanding these vulnerable attributes, the majority of pet owners consider their pet’s part of the family and willing to go to all reasonable lengths to keep them safe.  Therefore, it is important that we treat them as other members of the family and include them in our emergency planning efforts.  Let’s begin by taking a look at the suggested list of emergency supplies below that should be acquired for your pets:

  • 3 – 7 days’ worth of canned (pop-top) or dry food
  • Disposable litter trays (aluminum roasting pans work well)
  • Litter or paper toweling
  • Liquid dish soap and disinfectant
  • Disposable garbage bags for clean up
  • Pet feeding dishes
  • Extra harness, leash and yard stake
  • Photocopies of medical records and a waterproof container with a two week supply of any medicine your pet needs
  • Bottled water, at least 72 hour supply for each pet
  • A traveling bag, crate or sturdy carrier, ideally one for each pet
  • Blanket for picking up a fearful pet
  • Recent photos of your pet (in case you are separated)
  • Toys, bones, etc.

Keep in mind that the checklist above is no different than any other emergency supply checklist in that there is no “one size fits all” approach to emergency planning for the family. Like our two-legged family members, our four-legged family members have unique needs as well that should be considered when planning for their preparedness.

Some other recommended actions include:

  • Keeping your pet’s ID tags up-to-date with current contact information
  • Consider microchipping your pet (if possible) if you have not done so already
  • Identify a friend or neighbor that would be willing to take care of your pet in the event you were temporarily displaced from your home or neighborhood
  • Identify community pet shelters, board and care facilities, or any other resource that you might be able to utilize for your pet’s well-being in the event of a disaster
  • Identify which motels/hotels in your city are pet friendly in the event that you were temporarily displaced from your home

Lastly, be sure to post a sign on the inside of your window that reads “Animals Inside.” Make sure that it’s visible to rescue workers, and that it includes 1) the types and number of pets within your household, 2) the name of your veterinarian and 3) your veterinarian’s phone number. To obtain one of these signs and for more really good information about pet preparedness visit the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) @ https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/disaster-preparedness or http://www.ready.gov/animals


Tis’ The Season for Thievin’

Crime Prevention Tips for the Holidays


As you begin to celebrate this holiday season, the UCI Police Department we would like to remind you that ‘tis the season for thievin’.  Consider adding the following crime prevention tips to your to do list.

          At home for the holidays:

  • Do always lock all doors and windows whenever you leave your home.  Burglars often operate during the day, so don’t forget to secure your home when you make a quick trip to the store or take the dog for a walk.
  • Do use timers to turn on a radio and lights. Timers are not just for vacation time, but should be used daily to keep your home well-lit and to give the appearance that someone is there.
  • Do always turn off tree lights when you are away to prevent a fire, if you decorate a live tree.
  • Do always keep your porch lights on from dusk to dawn using photo cells and/or timers.
  • Do not display holiday gifts and other valuables in places where they will be easily seen from your windows or doors.                                                                                                                                                                                                              When you leave for dinner or to go out for the evening:
  • Do consider leaving the TV on and calling out to a fictitious family member or roommate (who will “stay home”).  For example:
  • “Tom, don’t forget to let the dog out!”, or
  • “Make sure you take the casserole out of the oven when the timer goes off”, or
  • Any other statement that would imply (to anyone that might be watching your home) that someone is still inside while you are gone.
  • Do call the police to report anything suspicious.  If you see an unfamiliar vehicle, suspicious person, or anything out of the ordinary when leaving your home, contact your local police department’s non-emergency line which can be found at the following link: http://ocgov.com/residents/law/safety/police If you live on campus contact UCIPD’s non-emergency line at (949) 824-5223.

         When you go away for the holidays:

  • Do have a trusted neighbor watch your home and pick-up your newspapers and mail.
  • Do contact your local police department which can be found at the link above to inquire about & request a FREE Vacation Check. This is a popular service that many police departments offer during the holidays.
  • Do secure your garage door with a vacation bolt or pad lock and disable the remote access.
  • Do not advertise that you are out of town on your phone message or social profile.
  • Considerations for dorm residents:
  • Do always lock up your dorm room when you & your roommates are not there.
  • Do obtain a footlocker or safe for any valuable kept in your dorm room.
  • Do obtain insurance for your belongings of high value.
  • Do identify valuables for insurance claims by taking pictures, serial numbers, etc.
  • Do lock up your car every time you leave it somewhere on campus.
  • Do not leave items of high value laying out in “plain sight” even in your dorm room.
  • Do not leave items unattended outside of your dorm room.
  • Do not loan your dorm keys to anybody or let people borrow security passwords.
  • Do not prop open building entrance doors or your personal dorm room door anytime.
  • Do not post on your door, bulletin board, social media or anywhere else that you will be away.


See Something, Say Something: Our Greatest Defense for National Security


The headlines and images of unprovoked and senseless violence that we so frequently see in the news “hit home” for southern California on Wednesday as we witnessed our neighbors to the east scrambling to make sense of the mass shootings that took place at a government building in San Bernardino.  The horrific acts committed by two individuals which left 14 deceased and 17 injured are nothing short of a tragedy.  The thoughts and prayers of the UCI community are with the victims and their families.

Unfortunately, incidents of terrorism, active shooter or workplace violence are occurring more frequently than ever before and, while there have been advancements made in the law enforcement/intelligence-sharing community, these networks cannot intercept all premeditated threats alone.  This is why the “See Something, Say Something” campaign (www.dhs.gov/see-something-say-something) is so important.  It empowers everyone to report suspicious behavior or anything that just doesn’t look or feel “right.”  Far too often, following these incidents, we hear of reports from colleagues, neighbors, friends, family and even complete strangers that noticed suspicious behavior about the assailant but failed to report it to law enforcement.

The Orange County Intelligence Assessment Center (OCIAC) reminds us that there are no tips too small or insignificant to report.  All tips will be received and analyzed for the need for further investigation.  However, law enforcement cannot do anything with no information at all.  So anything you believe might be worthy of a report is worth reporting.  All tips regarding suspicious activity on campus posing an immediate concern should be reported to the UCI Police Department by calling 9-1-1.  To report non-immediate; general information of concern please contact the non-emergency line at 949-824-5223.  For all other inquiries contact the UCIPD at http://www.police.uci.edu/.  The UCIPD maintains a collaborative relationship with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to support a safe environment for our students, patients, staff, faculty and visitors at UC Irvine and the UC Irvine Health Medical Center.

The greatest asset to national security, particularly in the world we live in today, is a society of individuals who are informed, aware of their surroundings and willing to report something out of the ordinary.  For more information on ways to increase your personal awareness visit OCIAC’s website @ www.ociac.ca.gov  “It takes a community to protect a community” – Department of Homeland Security.


UCI Representation at 2015 IAEM Conference

UCC Group Shot 2015

The International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the profession of emergency management by networking with its membership to promote the goals of saving lives and protecting property during emergencies and disasters.  IAEM currently has over 5,000 members in more than 58 countries and is structured in seven Councils around the world including Asia, Canada, Europa, International, Oceania, Student and US.

Each year, hundreds of Emergency Managers across the country, representing every sector imaginable, gather for the annual IAEM Conference (US) to network, share best practices and collaboratively work towards building a more resilient nation.  Last week, two staff members from the UCI Police Department, Emergency Services Unit, attended the 2015 conference held in Clark County, NV.  Anne Widney, Emergency Services Manager and Bobby Simmons, Business Continuity Planner represented UCI at both the main conference as well as the Universities & Colleges Caucus (UCC); a higher education-specific emergency management group.

In addition to taking advantage of the professional development opportunities over this five-day event, this year’s conference was particularly special as both of the aforementioned staff were presented with their Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) designation at the awards banquet and concluding ceremonies Wednesday night.  The CEM is the highest designation of its kind in the field of emergency management and involves a rigorous application process requiring candidates to submit proof of years of related experience, professional contributions to the field, 200 hours of training, participation in various types of exercises, a passing score on a the CEM exam and an acceptable written essay outlining the candidate’s knowledge and skills pertaining to emergency management.  The awarded designations to UCI staff are sure to help further develop and promote the emergency management initiatives taking place on campus.

photo (002)


Get Ready; Stay Ready Campaign 2015

November – Home Hazard Hunt


The “Get Ready; Stay Ready” campaign focus for the month of November is on conducting a home hazard hunt. There are a number of very simple and inexpensive tasks we can complete that can greatly decrease the likelihood of home emergencies and mitigate our risk of injuries resulting from natural hazards. For example, the greatest risks that earthquakes pose to us Californians are not structural in nature but rather the loose; unsecured objects within the home falling at us or on us. This is great news because the majority of us can afford a few dollars for T.V. straps, cupboard locks, museum putty and other earthquake securing products. However, paying a contractor to come out and bid on a seismic retrofitting of your home is rarely something most of us can absorb in our budget. The barriers that most people face are not financially-related at all but rather a lack of education and initiative.

Spend some time with your household members identifying hazards in and outside of your home. Keeping your house safe helps keep you and your loved ones safe. Minimize the impact of an emergency or disaster by safeguarding your home. Anything that can move, fall, break or cause a fire is a potential hazard. If you have young children, be creative and make it fun! Below is a checklist to get you started:

  • Check batteries in smoke alarms every six months and make sure they are on each level of your home and outside every bedroom.
  • Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections.
  • Fasten shelves securely.
  • Place heavy objects on lower shelves.
  • Hang pictures and mirrors away from beds.
  • Brace overhead light fixtures.
  • Strap water heater to wall studs.
  • Place oily polishing rags or waste in covered metal cans.
  • Store weed killers, pesticides and flammable products away from heat sources.
  • Clean and repair chimneys, flue pipes, vent connectors and gas vents.
  • Unless local officials advise otherwise, or there is immediate threat to life or safety, leave natural gas on because you will need it for heating and cooking when you return home. If you turn your gas off, a licensed professional is required to turn it back on, and it may take weeks for a professional to respond.
  • If high winds are expected, cover the outside of all windows of your home. Use shutters that are rated to provide significant protection from windblown debris or fit plywood coverings over all windows. Damage happens when wind gets inside a home through a broken window, door or damaged roof. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking and is not recommended.
  • If flooding is expected, consider using sand bags to keep water away from your home. It takes two people about one hour to fill and place 100 sandbags, giving you a wall one foot high and 20 feet long. Make sure you have enough sand, burlap or plastic bags, shovels, strong helpers and time to place them properly.

Visit the following websites for more information about securing your home and products that can help you do so: www.earthquakecountry.org and www.quakehold.com