Central Italy’s Earthquake Impact: Not All About Magnitude

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A common misunderstanding about earthquakes is that their impact is primarily determined by magnitude (release of energy) as measured by the Richter scale. However, the recent devastation in Central Italy this week underscores the significance of two earthquake factors that are not centered on size.  http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/25/world/europe/italy-earthquake-severity.html?_r=0

  • The first is “Distance”: Distance is measured both along the surface of the earth (think distance from epicenter) as well as how deep the seismic activity is that takes place below the earth’s crust. Earthquakes can occur anywhere between the earth’s surface and approximately 450 miles beneath. An earthquake of a severe magnitude that takes place a couple hundred miles deep can result in far less impact on human populations than an earthquake of much lesser magnitude taking place closer to the earth’s surface.
  • The second is “Development”: Development is arguably one of the most significant factors as it relates to earthquake impact and is centered on how well buildings and infrastructure are designed within a given community. Oftentimes those communities that experience the greatest devastation from earthquakes are either in very poor countries or very old countries. Central Italy is an example of the latter. Constructing buildings to meet earthquake standards is very expensive which is a problem for poor countries and retrofitting buildings in old or historical cities to meet earthquake building codes is a nice idea but largely impractical.

Unfortunately, both distance and development were two strong contributing factors of the devastating earthquake that our neighbors across the globe experienced this week. The 6.2 magnitude earthquake took place less than seven miles below the earth’s surface and the majority of collapsed buildings, many of which constructed hundreds of years ago, were unreinforced masonry.

While California is not completely exempt from the risk of structural collapse; particularly with our own unreinforced masonry-constructed buildings, our seismic building codes have been enforced for nearly forty years and we are, by and large, pretty safe. However, the majority of our risk comes in the form of being injured or killed during an earthquake from anything non-structurally related.  This includes virtually all non-secured items within your home or workspace.  UCI takes this responsibility seriously and if you identify a seismic security risk in your workspace that has not been addressed it should be reported to your supervisor or facilities personnel immediately.  To learn more about what items/areas of risk you should look for and identify within your home visit Earthquake Country Alliance @ http://earthquakecountry.org/sevensteps/ and follow their recommended “seven steps to earthquake safety.”

 

Deputies arrest three suspects for attempting to steal property from the Bluecut Fire evacuation areas

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As if residents of fire evacuation orders don’t have enough to worry about with the fear of losing their home, recent arrests this morning in San Bernardino County now raise concern over potential for burglary.

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SUMMARY:
On Thursday, August 18, 2016 at 7:00 a.m. deputies responded to a call of suspicious subjects at a home located within the evacuation area. Deputies arrived and made contact with the suspects, who were attempting to leave the residence with a flatbed truck. The suspects told deputies they were picking up property for a friend that lived at the residence. Deputies made contact with the property owner who advised that he did not give anyone permission to take his property.

The three suspects were taken into custody without incident and will be booked for Looting and Grand Theft Auto.

If anyone has information related to the suspects involved, they are urged to contact Sheriff’s Central Station at (909)387-3545. Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call the We-tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or you may leave information on the We-Tip Hotline at www.wetip.com.

 

National Immunization Awareness Month 2016

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As summer begins to wind down, children will be heading back to school or beginning school for their first time. This can be a busy time for parents as they start shopping for backpacks, binders, pens/pencils, clothes, shoes and a number of other items that will help their children have a great start to the school year.  But let’s not forget the most important item on our back-to-school checklist: immunizations.  This action, above all, will help ensure your child has a healthy and successful year.

The month of August is National Immunization Awareness Month which is sponsored by the CDC and coordinated by the National Public Health Information Coalition (NPHIC). This initiative not only focuses on children going back-to-school but provides an opportunity to highlight the value of immunization across the lifespan.  Activities focus on encouraging all people to protect their health by being vaccinated against infectious diseases.

Visit the NPHIC https://www.nphic.org/niam or CDC http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/events/niam.html for more information regarding immunization recommendations for pregnant women, infants/young children, school-age children, pre-teen/teen & adults.  Also, UCI students enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) will pay nothing for these immunizations, including the Men B vaccine, as they are covered as a preventative care measure. All flu and Men B vaccines for staff, faculty and students not enrolled in SHIP cost $25.00.  Please visit the Student Health Center http://www.shs.uci.edu/ for additional questions/consultation regarding immunizations.

 

L.A. Rams Arrive In Anteater Nation

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One of the most highly anticipated events for anteater sports fans has arrived; the L.A. Rams are officially on campus and are set to kick off summer training camp this weekend. Over the next six weeks, the UCI community can expect to see thousands of non-campus-affiliated southern California visitors pouring in to the stands for “open practices” (http://www.parking.uci.edu/rams/schedule.cfm) to welcome back their beloved team that left Los Angeles over two decades ago.  Also, in addition to the normal volume of media presence at NFL training camps and the fact that this will be the Rams homecoming, the team is also being featured on the HBO T.V. series “Hard Knocks” this year which will attract an even greater media presence.  As exciting as this may be for the community, there are certainly some increased levels of risk and safety measure that we want the community to be aware of regardless of whether or not you plan to take in a practice or two.

Below are some tips to ensure your safety and security over the next six weeks of this high profile event:

  • Risk: An increased number of non-campus-affiliated visitors increases the risk of “crimes of opportunity.” Risk Reducer: Be vigilant about locking your doors when you leave your home or car. Do not leave items of value lying around in visible places. Avoid walking alone at night or at least do so in well-lit areas. Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Risk: The community should expect an increased amount of cars, logistical vehicles and general traffic on campus; particularly during days of “open practices.” Risk Reducer: Increase your awareness on the road while driving and avoid distractions (i.e. phone, eating, radio, etc.), watch for pedestrians, obey speed limits and traffic signals, walk your bike when crossing the street, and plan extra time for meetings and such when traveling around campus.
  • Risk: Although this event will strictly enforce a No Alcohol policy, this never guarantees that everybody will obey the law. Risk Reducer: Be observant of social behavior and if you suspect for whatever reason that somebody(s) is acting irrationally or in a manner that could place others at harm contact the UCIPD or locate an officer that will have a significant and constant presence at the event.
  • Risk: The weather has been extremely hot over the past few weeks and this trend is likely to continue. Risk Reducer: Whether you attend these practices or are outdoors for any other reasons be sure to hydrate, wear a hat/visor and take other heat-related illness prevention measures. These can be found on our Emergency Management Blog post from June 15th @ http://sites.uci.edu/emergencymanagement/
  • Risk: As with any high profile event, the next six weeks may expose the campus’s risk of being a potential target for acts of terrorism and/or other intentional harm. Risk Reducer: As always, remain aware of your surrounding and if you “see something, say something” to the UCIPD @ (949) 824-5223 or for an emergency dial 9-1-1.
  • Follow additional rules set forth by UCI which can be found @ http://www.parking.uci.edu/rams/guidelines.cfm

The extensive and collaborative efforts among many departments at UCI has laid the groundwork for our campus to be a good host to this returning NFL team while still protecting and respecting the needs of the campus community. These tips are just helpful to increase our own personal level of health, safety and well-being during this busy time of summer.

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Vacation/Travel Preparedness

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Now that graduations have concluded and the craze of the fiscal close is dying down (at least for some), many of our students, staff and faculty on campus are preparing for that most anticipated summer vacation. This can include securing pet-sitters, setting out-of-office replies, choosing which clothes/items to bring and making those logistical arrangements for when you arrive.  All of these things take time and you are willing to invest this time to ensure that your homes and lives are prepared for your departure and to lay the groundwork for an enjoyable trip.  But how many of these arrangements are made under the assumption that your vacation will be “Sunny and 75” with little to no disruption or cause for contingencies?

Whether traveling to another part of the state, country, or outside the U.S. there are many possibilities for disasters, both natural and manmade, that you should be aware of and prepare for before you leave. A few travel preparedness tips include:

  • Make photocopies of essential documents (i.e. identification card/passport, prescriptions, insurance card, etc.) and consider laminating, if possible.
  • Communicating itineraries with non-traveling family members as well as how and where to contact you.
  • Develop a communications plan within the group you are traveling with.
  • Pack a travel-size emergency supply kit with snacks, water, first aid kit, flashlight, etc.
  • Check the weather of your destination before you leave.
  • Become aware of your destination’s vulnerability to natural disasters as well as any volatile political or social issues currently taking place there.

Also, please see the Department of State Travel Warning page at the following link as a great resource to reference when you are planning on traveling abroad: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings.html

Many of these simple travel preparedness plans can be easily adopted as they align with what you’re already doing in preparation for your trip. Also, these tips can help reduce the inherent stress that develops when preparing to leave.  Remember that although you may be on vacation, the looming threat of disasters and emergencies never take a break.

 

Pokémon Go Rule #1: Apply Common Sense

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In less than two weeks from its release date, the location-based; segmented reality game that is now one of the most downloaded apps in the United States has rendered the issuance of many public service announcements and has posed a number of public safety concerns. Pokémon Go, is a new social phenomenon that has not only perpetuated the increasing problem of public distraction-by-smartphone but actually requires it’s users to place themselves in locations and/or situations that could pose a significant risk in order to achieve gameplay objectives.  Some of these locations may include subway tracks, highways/roads, bodies of water, power substations and any other number of dangerous and/or prohibited locations.

The Pokémon craze has already been tied to a number of driving-related accidents since its release. One example of this yesterday was when Texas A&M Police responded to a car accident in which the at-fault driver exited and left the vehicle parked illegally to catch Pokémon http://fox5sandiego.com/2016/07/12/driver-illegally-parks-car   Some of the less severe; yet still concerning risks of playing “Pokémon Go” which users have reported via social media include getting sunburnt and dehydrated from walking around outside for hours on end, stepping in ditches and holes causing sprained and broken ankles, walking in to parked cars, benches, trees and even other people.

Another concern of this new phenomenon is the trespassing/public nuisance aspect. Yesterday the Arlington Cemetery tweeted “We do not consider playing Pokémon Go to be appropriate decorum on the grounds of ANC.  We ask all visitors to refrain from such activity.”  Other “sacred” “Pokémon Go” locations that have been reported also include the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. and Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland.

The game itself is not inherently bad with the appropriate application of common sense and awareness. Users should practice safety, obey laws, be respectful and use discretion when deciding whether or not to pursue a specific game objective.  See below for additional safety tips related to specific hazards posed by the game:

  • Risk: Some Pokémon will randomly appear in dangerous locations (e.g. Subway tracks, middle of highway, middle of a river, inside a power substation). Risk Reducer: Users need to realize when one it out of reach and not risk their safety to retrieve it.
  • Risk: Some Pokémon appear on private property. Risk Reducer: Users should not trespass to catch Pokémon.
  • Risk: Users are overly focused on the screen and become oblivious to their surroundings.  Risk Reducer: Look up. Look around. Be aware of who and what are around you. By all means, do not “catch and drive.”
  • Risk: “Pokestops” are certain focal points to attract more users. These are typically located at churches, retailers, public locations, monuments and other attractions. Since they are more attractive, nefarious people can stake out at or near a “Pokestop” and commit crimes against other users.  This is like someone hanging out by the bank on payday waiting for you to cash your paycheck and rob you in the parking lot. Risk Reducer: This goes back to being aware of your surroundings. It’s best to visit “Pokestops” during daytime hours, with a friend or in a group.
  • Risk: “Pokegyms” are other prominent locations where users can meet and battle.  By design, you are there to meet and play against other users.  Risk Reducer: Use “stranger danger.”

Lastly, should Pokemon appear near the location of an officer making a traffic stop as seen in the corresponding photo taken on campus, do not approach or attempt to pursue it until the scene has been cleared for obvious reasons.

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Firefighters in for a Long, Hot Summer

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If the month of June is any indication of what the 2016 Wildfire Season will bring then California firefighters are in for a long, hot summer. In the second half of June alone, firefighters battled the Sherpa fire (Santa Barbara County), Fish Fire (LA County), Border Fire (San Diego County), Frazier Fire (San Luis Obispo County) and the devastating Erskine Fire (Kern County).  We even witnessed a smaller blaze break out in Orange County in the Laguna area last week but thankfully this did not amount to much.  But make no mistake, our risk is tremendous this summer which is why it is so important for individuals, particularly those that live in more rural surroundings, to practice and sustain resiliency.   Cal Fire explains what these resilience-building measures are in their “Ready, Set, Go” campaign found @ http://www.readyforwildfire.org/

Ready:

  • Creating defensible space around your home.
  • Hardening your home by using fire resistant construction materials on the exterior walls, roofing, and rain gutters.
  • Cleaning up leaf-litter and brush in and around the plants and shrubs next to your home.

Set:

  • Create a Wildfire Action Plan with your family identifying escape routes, meeting locations, & what you will bring with you when you evacuate, etc.

Go:

  • Stay informed by watching the news/listening to the radio.
  • Evacuate and evacuate early once warning has come from fire/law enforcement officials.

There are a number of factors that contribute to our great risk of fire danger here in Orange County this summer from the ongoing drought, predicted hot temperatures, notorious Santa Ana Winds, and the Bark Beetle invasive species which has killed over 66 million trees in California since 2010. This number is up from 3.3 million trees in 2014 to 29 million trees in 2015. (http://calfire.ca.gov/communications/downloads/newsreleases/2016/2016_TreeMortality.pdf).  The website above is an excellent resource for wildfire readiness and discusses what you can do to protect against, prepare for and mitigate this risk.

Because Orange County’s geography is so diverse, many of us do not live in an area that is necessarily prone to wildfire danger; however, the majority of us probably know somebody that does. So, take a moment to educate yourself on wildfire resilience at the website above so you can provide some safety tips to that friend or relative the next time you speak with them.

 

Be Firework Wise This 4th of July

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The 4th of July is just around the corner and with this celebration of America’s Independence comes many great opportunities such as BBQ’s, parades, social gatherings and outdoor water recreation activities.  All of these can be very enjoyable events; however, this day is notorious for being the busiest day of the year for emergency rooms nationwide; particularly as it related to firework-involved incidents.  On average, emergency rooms see an average of 230 firework-related injuries per day in the month around the July 4th holiday.

So, find how can we effectively balance our holiday fun with holiday safety? Follow these safety tips if and when using fireworks:

  • Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
  • Know your fireworks; read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
  • A responsible adult SHOULD supervise all firework activities.  Never give fireworks to children.
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.  Save your alcohol for after the show.
  • Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
  • Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
  • Use fireworks OUTDOORS in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
  • Never relight a “dud” firework.  Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
  • Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.
  • Never carry fireworks in your POCKET or shoot them into METAL or GLASS containers.
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
  • Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.
  • FAA regulations PROHIBIT the possession and transportation of fireworks in your checked baggage or carry-on luggage.
  • Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.

For more information visit the National Council on Fireworks Safety @ http://www.fireworkssafety.org/safety-tips

 

Stay Cool – High Temps Bring Risk of Heat-Related Illness

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Temperatures in Irvine and many inland Orange County communities are expected to reach high temperatures of upper 90’s & low 100’s on Sunday & Monday, increasing the risk of heat related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heat stroke for those who are more sensitive to heat.

Prolonged exposure to high temperatures may cause serious conditions like heat exhaustion or heat stroke and can even be fatal. Symptoms of heat exhaustion may include heavy sweating, muscle cramps, weakness, headache, nausea or vomiting and dizziness. At the first sign of heat exhaustion, move to a cool location, rest and drink fluids.  Warning signs of heat stroke may include an extremely high body temperature, unconsciousness, confusion, hot and dry skin (no sweating), a rapid, strong pulse, and a throbbing headache. If symptoms of heat stroke occur, immediately call for medical assistance. Move the person to a shady area and begin cooling their body with water.

Recommended precautions to prevent heat related illnesses include:

  • Drink plenty of water; don’t wait until you are thirsty.
  • Wear light, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Stay out of the sun if possible, and when in the sun, wear a hat, preferably with a wide brim, and use sunscreen.
  • Avoid strenuous activities if you are outside or in non-air conditioned buildings. If you are working outdoors, take frequent rest and refreshment breaks in a shaded area.
  • Never leave children, elderly people or pets unattended in closed cars or other vehicles.
  • Check on those who are at high risk to make sure they are staying cool – including seniors who live alone, people with heart or lung disease, and young children.
  • Stay cool indoors – if your home is not air conditioned, visit public facilities such as shopping malls and libraries to stay cool.

For more information on heat related illnesses, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at https://www.cdc.gov/extremeheat/index.html

Stay Cool, Stay Hydrated, Stay Informed!

 

UCLA Lockdown Following Tragic Shooting

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Yesterday’s tragic shooting at UCLA resulted in an immediate lockdown of the entire campus until law enforcement officials could verify there was no longer an active threat to students, staff and faculty. This incident immediately triggered inquiries regarding how our campus would respond to such an incident and what actions our community members can take to protect themselves during an ongoing threat.  Our protocol here at UCI would really mirror what we witnessed yesterday on the news, however, rather than “lockdown” we use the phrase “Secure in Place.”  This is one of many protective actions that may be issued via zotALERT and it’s critical that our community members understand what they mean. Please review the “Red Flip Charts” (UCI Emergency Procedures) which can be found in almost every building, classroom, breakroom/common area and dorm rooms on campus to help clarify any confusion regarding these actions.  They can also be accessed online at http://www.police.uci.edu/em/UCI_EmerProc.pdf

In the event that our campus experiences something similar in nature to the incident which took place yesterday, the community should be prepared to follow a “Secure in Place” order. This protective action is explained in detail below.  Please contact the UCIPD Emergency Services Manager, Anne Widney for any questions related to this action at awidney@uci.edu Also, if you have not signed up for zotALERTS yet please register @ http://www.oit.uci.edu/zotalert/

Secure In Place

A Secure-In-Place notification may be issued when the UCI Police Department determines that there is a potential threat to the campus. When notified to Secure-In-Place, initiate action immediately. Take ALL zotALERTS seriously. You will be safest by placing a locked door or other barricade between you and the associated violence or danger.

How do I Secure-In-Place?

  • REMAIN CALM!
  • Find an interior room and lock or barricade the doors.
  • If there are other employees, students/visitors with you or in the vicinity, tell them to go to the closest office/classroom/lab/residence hall.
  • To minimize vulnerability, turn off lights, silence phones, and draw blinds.
  • Move away from doors and windows.
  • Move/use furniture to provide added protection.
  • Follow instructions from Police, Fire, Zone Crew team members, and other first responders.
  • DO NOT leave until an all-clear message is received.

What if I am outside? 

  • If you are outside during a Secure-In-Place emergency you should seek shelter in a nearby building.
  • If you are unable to get inside a building, seek nearby shelter, e.g. large trees, walls, cars in a parking lot/garage, away from the danger area (if known).
  • Follow instructions from Police, Fire, Zone Crew team members, and other first responders.
  • Stay sheltered until an all-clear message is received.

What if I am in a classroom or lecture hall?

  • Notify class of “Secure-In-Place” order (students, if your professor or TA does not see the alert – notify them).
  • Lock or barricade the doors.
  • Turn off lights, silence phones, and draw blinds.
  • Move away from doors and windows.
  • Move/use furniture to provide added protection.
  • Follow instructions from Police, Fire, Zone Crew team members, and other first responders.
  • DO NOT leave until an all-clear message is received.