Are you aware that UCI has its own low-power radio system that can be heard from anywhere on campus? It’s called ZotRadio AM 1690 which broadcasts messages related to campus parking, traffic advisories, public safety and emergency information 24/7. ZotRadio is a jointly administered effort between Transportation & Distribution Services and the UCI Police Department to ensure that our campus community remains informed on these matters concerning their schedules and personal well-being.
Our campus frequently hosts large events that can impact traffic and parking congestion. Sometimes construction on a building or roadway can slow the flow of your intra-campus commute and make you late to a meeting or to class. These roadway impacts can be planned or unplanned so it is always a good idea to get the information ahead of time by tuning in to AM 1690. For more information on ZotRadio visit Transportation & Distribution Services @ http://www.parking.uci.edu/services/traffic/zotradio.cfm
ZotRadio is one of many tools on campus that will be a critical resource following a major earthquake as it will allow for the quick dissemination of information to the campus community on actions to be taken including evacuation routes, road closures, specific hazards, shelter-in-place or any other pertinent information. It’s not only a widely accessible resource but a resilient one as well that campus authorities expect to be functional following a significant manmade or natural event.
Perhaps you have noticed the Emergency Alert Signage for ZotRadio that has been installed on traffic poles at the following five main campus entrances:
- East Peltason Drive and Pereira
- East Peltason Drive and Anteater Drive
- East Peltason Drive and Bison Avenue
- West Peltason Drive and Mesa
- West Peltason Drive and Pereira.
In an emergency, the yellow beacons will flash prompting the campus community to tune in to ZotRadio for further instructions. However, we’d like to encourage the campus community to increase familiarization with this resource by tuning in periodically and listening to one cycle of the recorded message. By doing this it will become more intuitive and automatic following an actual emergency.
Have you ever been in a public setting perhaps a shopping mall, movie theatre or concert and saw something that just didn’t look or feel right? Maybe it was an unattended item or somebody taking unusual pictures that raised your suspicions. If so, did you do anything about it? Most of us are probably guilty at some point or another in our lives of brushing it off as “nothing” and failing to take action. But what if that suspicious “nothing” was actually “something” and your response could save lives or property?
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) launched the nationwide “If You See Something, Say Something” public awareness campaign in July of 2010 as a simple and effective program to raise public awareness of indicators of terrorism and terrorism-related crime, and to emphasize the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the proper authorities. Since then, many local law enforcement agencies have partnered with the DHS and each other to develop more localized versions of the same campaign. In Orange County we are fortunate to have an extremely advanced and collaborative network that responds to reported information called the Orange County Intelligence Assessment Center (OCIAC).
This network of professionals is comprised of 11 agencies which work collaboratively to detect, protect and respond to numerous tips of suspicious activity every day in Orange County. This is accomplished through the collection, analysis and dissemination of information on all criminal risks and safety threats to law enforcement, fire, health, private sector and public sector stakeholders. The OCIAC invites the public to report suspicious activity to local law enforcement or directly to them by calling (714) 289-3949 or submitting a tip on their website @ https://ociac.org/
The best way to recognize suspicious activity in a public setting is by having good situational awareness. Terrorist attacks are not impulsive but rather quite the contrary. They typically require very meticulous planning and preparation. The following link provides a list of what are called pre-incident indicators to terrorism as identified by OCIAC: https://ociac.org/default.aspx/MenuItemID/217/MenuGroup/HomeRight.htm Also, please keep the following practices in mind and do your part to make UC Irvine & Orange County a safer place to work, live and enjoy:
- Take note of your surroundings.
- Know the routine of your business area, home and community.
- Look out for unusual conduct or behavior.
- Be aware of suspicious objects, packages or vehicles in your area.
- If you hear a threat by someone that could be credible, take it seriously and report it.
Getting sick with a cold or the flu is never fun. But it can particularly disrupt your life around this time of year by canceling vacation plans, missing or performing poorly on a final exam, or interfering with your holiday activities. The single best way to prevent the flu to begin with is by getting vaccinated (see October 1st blog post or UCI Student Health Center http://www.shc.uci.edu/index.aspx). However, whether you choose to or not the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommends the following best practices to keep you healthy and feeling good throughout the season:
- Avoid Close Contact: Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
- Stay Home When You Are Sick: If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
- Cover Your Mouth & Nose: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
- Clean Your Hands: Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid Touching Your Eyes, Nose, or Mouth: Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Practice Other Good Health habits: Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
For additional information on these practices as well as some good handout materials please visit the CDC @ http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/habits.htm
In just a couple of days from now turkeys will be served over elegant settings, footballs will be tossed around in back yards and millions of people nationwide will travel great distances to join family and friends to give thanks. It’s difficult to believe that this special time of year has “snuck” up on us once again as we head in to the holiday season. Although enjoyable, the holidays can also bring about some unnecessary stress; particularly if you are one of the millions of people taking to the road, air or railway to celebrate these occasions. Sometimes the logistics of our plans are out of our control and we just have to deal with it. However, there are a number of proactive steps we can take to help make our travel as comfortable, efficient and least stressful as possible. The following article provided by the Travel Channel provides “10 Survival Tips for Holiday Travel” that will not only increase your safety but maintain your sanity as well: http://www.travelchannel.com/interests/travel-tips/articles/top-10-survival-tips-for-holiday-travel
If you are a holiday “road warrior” you must be particularly prepared to encounter any number of situations during your travel including angry drivers, uncooperative weather patterns (snow, black ice, rain, fog, etc.), hazardous road conditions, travel fatigue, and anything else that may pose a risk to your well-being. There are a number short videos attached to the following link that will help remind you of some best practices in these situations before turning that ignition over for your long journey: http://www.drc-group.com/project/jitt.html#preparedness-drivingsafety
In an un-related topic to holiday travel, if you are joining the craze of “Black Friday” this year be smart and use common sense. Every year there are a number of unfortunate stories about violence and people being harmed over the purchase of Christmas gifts which contradicts the spirit of the season entirely. You may want to consider “Cyber Monday” as an alternative to fulfill your gift shopping needs this year.
Lastly, the UCI Police Department extends a very Happy Thanksgiving to all students, staff and faculty this holiday weekend.
The UCI Campus Search and Rescue (CSAR) Program wrapped up training series #18 last week; welcoming 29 new graduates to the team. There are now well over 300 trained faculty and staff members prepared to help support the needs of our campus following a catastrophic earthquake or any other natural or manmade disaster. These individuals receive training on disaster preparedness, hazardous material and fire safety, disaster medical operations, light search and rescue, disaster psychology, terrorism awareness and workplace violence. In addition to now being a resource for the campus, even more importantly, these members are now better prepared to handle crisis situations they may come across in their personal lives as well.
The course is typically held every Fall, meeting twice a week from 12pm-1pm for 9 weeks; however, we may be shifting to a new delivery model in 2015. For more information on this please stay tuned to this blog and like us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/UCIrvinePD More information on this will become available in the New Year. If you are interested in taking this course, even if the current schedule mentioned above doesn’t align with your availability, please email Anne Widney, Emergency Services Manager, @ firstname.lastname@example.org to be placed on the interest list. Again, congratulations to the new graduates and thank you for helping us make our campus a more resilient community.
Any natural or manmade disaster has the potential for knocking out our power infrastructure here in southern California. Whenever this occurs, most households in the U.S. turn to alternative sources of power for cooking, heating, or lighting for days and weeks in the aftermath of the event. These sources often include a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas, charcoal-burning or wood-burning devices. A running vehicle is also a common source of post-disaster fulfillment of basic needs. While all of these can serve a vital role in “disaster living,” they all have one lethal characteristic in common: the production of carbon monoxide (CO).
Often called the “silent killer,” carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless, and colorless gas created when fuels, such as those discussed above, burn incompletely. A person can sustain carbon monoxide poisoning by a small amount of CO over a long period of time or a large amount of CO over a short period of time. The symptoms of CO poisoning can look very similar to those presented by the flu, food poisoning and other illnesses and these are listed below. If you ever suspect that you or somebody else is experiencing CO poisoning it is very important to get fresh air and seek medical attention immediately.
- Shortness of breath
It is important to note that CO poisoning is not specific to just “disaster living” but rather it is just emphasized during these times as people must resort using unconventional means to fulfill their basic needs. Make no mistake about it that CO poisoning can be a hazard in day-to-day living as well. Every year fire departments nationwide respond to tens of thousands of non-fire; CO incidents in which carbon monoxide is detected. Unfortunately, on average, over one-hundred of these calls become fatality responses. In order to avoid CO poisoning, whether in day-to-day living or “disaster living,” the following best practices are high recommended:
- Operate portable generators and any energy-producing devices outdoors in a well-ventilated location away from windows, doors and vent openings.
- Never burn charcoal in homes, vehicles, tents or garages.
- Never use your oven or stove to heat your home.
- Never place foil on the bottom of a gas oven because it interferes with combustion.
- Do not run your car inside a garage that is attached to your home, even if the garage door is open to the outside.
- Ensure that carbon monoxide alarms are installed on every level of your home and outside every sleeping area to provide early warning for any accumulating CO. Treat these alarms as you should fire alarms by testing them every month and replacing the batteries every six months.
- If your CO alarm sounds, quickly move to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door and call 9-1-1.
For more information on carbon monoxide hazard mitigation and response please see the following two resources:
Last Wednesday, October 29th, marked the 2-year anniversary of when Superstorm Sandy made landfall along the eastern seaboard and wreaked havoc in New York and New Jersey; earning every penny of its claim as the second costliest hurricane in U.S. history. Two years later recovery is occurring, although not at the rate that many residents and business owners would hope. Insurance claims are being paid and federal assistance is being issued, although not as much or as effectively as many recipients would like. However, the recovery process for Superstorm Sandy is not unique to the other recovery efforts we’ve witnessed in the U.S. following major disasters. This is because recovery takes time and is a long-term process no matter how you “slice” it. Unfortunately, much of this time waiting for the payout of claims and financial assistance disbursement is spent living under less-than-ideal conditions. The following article discusses some of these recovery frustrations faced by Superstorm Sandy victims two years after its devastation.
Financial recovery, although difficult, is oftentimes not even the primary struggle in one’s recovery efforts but rather just a compound to the loss of loved ones or items of sentimental value that cannot be recovered. This is why every household is encouraged to speak with their loved ones about preparedness, make contingency plans with one another, identify and mitigate hazards, learn CPR/First Aid, prepare supplies, and plan to protect or salvage sentimental items, documents or pictures that you couldn’t bear to lose in a disaster. In spite of the disasters that our country has experienced and collectively responded to, we, as a culture, do not place the value we should on personal preparedness and this is, unfortunately, highlighted when we get in to the recovery efforts of these major disasters as illustrated in the disaster cycle image attached (Preparedness -> Response -> Recovery -> Mitigation).
It’s not a matter of “if” but “when” and “what kind” of disaster will be our Hurricane Katrina or Superstorm Sandy here in southern California. And, while there are some recovery factors that will inevitably be outside your control, much of your recovery and conditions of your recovery in the months and years to follow will be directly influenced by your level of personal preparedness and mitigation efforts you put forth now.
This Friday, October 31st children and adults will be celebrating the Halloween festivities. Some adults will be supervising their children’s Trick-or-Treat activities, others will be at costume parties and social establishments, and everybody will be out and about after dark. The intent of this holiday is to have fun whatever it is you are doing; however, ensuring your safety takes an elevated level of precaution on this particular night. The Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) encourages Trick-or-Treat chaperones to practice the “SAFE HALLOWEEN” tips in addition to providing safety tips for those expecting Trick-or-Treaters or party guests at their home. These can be found at the CDC website @ http://www.cdc.gov/family/halloween/ Another great resource for Halloween safety can be found in this 2-minute video created by Safe Kids Worldwide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SniBFAI2e64
Even if you are not participating in the festivities you can contribute to the safety and well-being of others by driving slower than normal in residential neighborhoods, avoiding distractions in the car like eating or talking on the phone, and merely sustaining a heightened level of ‘driver’s awareness’ for pedestrians and other distracted drivers.
In addition to this being Halloween weekend, it is also the time of year to change your clocks and your batteries. As a reminder, every 6 months (approx.) in accordance with the time changes (Spring & Fall) the UCI Police Department encourages everybody change out the batteries in all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in the home. These devices save lives and it is important that they are powered with a fresh source of energy whenever we ‘Spring Forward’ & ‘Fall Back’. A comprehensive list of tips related to smoke detector preparedness can be found below:
- Have smoke alarms on every level in your home, especially outside sleeping area and preferably inside bedrooms as well.
- Test them at least once a month, and replace batteries when you change your clocks twice per year,
- Replace all detectors after 10 years.
- Place smoke alarms according to manufacturer’s directions.
- Clean the outside ONLY of a smoke alarm by gently going over the cover with the brush attachment of your vacuum cleaner. Never paint a smoke alarm.
- Whenever a smoke alarm beeps take it seriously. It might just be a false alarm from cooking, temperature changes, or dust-but you can’t afford to ignore the alert. Everyone in the family needs to react immediately.
- Develop and practice a home escape plan. Make sure your family knows two ways out of each room, a safe meeting place outside, how to call 9-1-1 once they’re out, and why they should NEVER go back in to a burning house.
Another ‘Fall Back’ practice we encourage of all of our students, staff & faculty is to review & update your family’s emergency plan and your emergency supplies/go kits. This is important because contact information changes and many supplies with an expiration date become perishable over time such as food, water, medication, etc. An outdated plan or kit could defeat the purpose of preparing these items in the first place so remember to keep these items current with the time change.
Online and digital systems have become a fundamental way of life for us in America and around most of the globe. If you own a business, go to school, communicate with friends, have a job, take vacations, Christmas shop, read the news, are a member of a club or organization, or virtually (no pun intended) anything else then the odds are that you do so through some sort of online or digital system. There is no doubt that these systems have enabled our society to become more efficient and productive; however, they have also increased our vulnerability to personal information and breaches in security.
Cyber security is so vital to our personal lives as well as critical infrastructures here in the U.S. that October has been dedicated National Cyber Security Awareness Month. The concept of this designated month and the “Stop, Think, Connect” campaign (see https://www.youtube.com/v/gnEykE9_6v0) is that we can build resilience as individuals and as a nation through awareness and responsible cyber practices. Take a look at the “best practices” below and conduct a self-assessment how many of these practices you currently employ. Challenge yourself to adopt at least a couple of these to further protect yourself and your equipment and contributing to the security of this technology for all. Please visit http://www.stopthinkconnect.org for more information.
Keep A Clean Machine:
- Keep Security Software Current: Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats.
- Automate Software Updates: Many software programs will automatically connect and update to defend against known risks. Turn on automatic updates if that’s an available option.
- Protect All Devices That Connect to the Internet: Along with computers, smart phones, gaming systems, and other web‐enabled devices also need protection from viruses and malware.
- Plug & Scan: USBs and other external devices can be infected by viruses and malware. Use your security software to scan them.
Protect Your Personal Information:
- Secure Your Accounts: Ask for protection beyond passwords. Many account providers now offer additional ways for you verify who you are before you conduct business on that site.
- Make Passwords Long & Strong: Combine capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols to create a more secure password.
- Unique Account, Unique Password: Separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cybercriminals.
- Write It Down & Keep It Safe: Everyone can forget a password. Keep a list that’s stored in a safe, secure place away from your computer.
- Own Your Online Presence: Set the privacy and security settings on websites to your comfort level for information sharing. It’s ok to limit how and with whom you share information.
Connect With Care:
- When In Doubt, Throw It Out: Links in email, tweets, posts, and online advertising are often the way cybercriminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it’s best to delete or if appropriate, mark as junk email.
- Get Savvy About Wi-Fi Hotspots: Limit the type of business you conduct and adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your machine.
- Protect Your $$:When banking and shopping, check to be sure the sites are security enabled. Look for web addresses with “https://,” which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. “Http://” is not secure.
Be Web Wise:
- Stay Current. Keep Pace With New Ways to Stay Safe Online: Check trusted websites for the latest information, and share with friends, family, and colleagues and encourage them to be web wise.
- Think Before You Act: Be wary of communications that implores you to act immediately, offers something that sounds too good to be true, or asks for personal information.
- Back It Up: Protect your valuable work, music, photos, and other digital information by making an electronic copy and storing it safely.
Be A Good Citizen:
- Safer For Me = More Secure For All: What you do online has the potential to affect everyone – at home, at work and around the world. Practicing good online habits benefits the global digital community.
- Post only about others as you would have them post about you.
- Help the Authorities Fight Cybercrime: Report stolen finances, identities and cybercrime to http://www.ic3.gov (Internet Crime Complaint Center) and http://www.onguardonline.gov/file‐complaint (The FTC).
Stop. Think. Connect
It was less than two weeks ago that UCI proudly received national media attention for the world’s largest pillow fight in history. Now, our campus has yet another opportunity this week to set a world record for the largest number of anteaters to ever shake-it-out together in this year’s annual statewide (and worldwide) earthquake exercise. On Thursday, October 16th at 10:16 a.m. our students, staff and faculty are encouraged to join the 10.1 million other Californians in practicing Drop, Cover, and Hold On for one minute as we simulate responding to a 7.8 magnitude earthquake along the San Andreas Fault.
Most of us know that southern California is “earthquake country” and each October, during the Great ShakeOut, we collectively participate in this opportunity to practice personal safety measures and to spend 60 seconds reflecting on the reality of this risk. This one minute could potentially save your life during a real event. If you think about how many cumulative hours we spend each year practicing other safety precautions such as buckling our seatbelts, waiting at crosswalk signals, locking our doors, clearing fire hazards, paying insurance premiums, etc. it reinforces that this small investment of time is well worth its potential return.
A campus wide zotALERT notification will be sent at 10:16 a.m. reminding everyone to participate. Whether you are in a lab, classroom, or office, Drop, Cover, and Hold On, wherever you are when you receive the alert. If there is no table or desk near you, drop to the ground and then, if possible, move to an inside corner of the room away from any windows. Be in a crawling position to protect yourself and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms. DO NOT move to another location or run outside. Earthquakes occur without any warning and may be so violent that you cannot run or crawl. Visit www.dropcoverholdon.org to learn what to do in other settings. You can also visit http://www.shakeout.org/california/index.html for more information about this exercise.
We may not make it in to the Guinness Book for this one but we will be a much safer, prepared and resilient community for it.