As many of us remember, last November UC Merced experienced a scenario that all law enforcement officers train for but hope they never encounter when a freshman student carried out a planned attack which left four people wounded and resulted in his own death by campus police. Although tragic, just like the aftermath of any incident, what becomes imperative are the efforts we invest in lessons learned and measures we take to ensure the future prevention, protection and mitigation from future crisis similar in nature.
Over the weekend (May 21st), UC Merced partnered with the Merced County Office of Emergency Services to deliver a multi-agency violent incident training at the university. Participating agencies included the California Highway Patrol, the Merced County Sheriff’s Office, the Atwater and Merced police departments, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Riggs Ambulance Service, Merced College, Merced County, city fire departments, California State Parks and 50 students from the Atwater High School drama department who served as exercise actors. UC Merced Police Chief Albert Vasquez stated “The collaborative training is important, so that if a violent incident does occur, law enforcement and emergency personnel recognize each other and there are adequate resources to respond.”
The scenario that all exercise participants were provided at the beginning of this county-wide training is as follows: “A lone gunman is in the building, multiple people have been injured and the suspect is armed with semi-automatic handguns and extra ammunition. It’s up to law enforcement and emergency responders to evacuate the injured and subdue the gunman – all at the same time.” To read more about this training and the lengths that not only the university but the county as a whole is taking to be prepared for these types of possible incidents in the future please see http://www.mercedsunstar.com/news/article79198792.html
Every year the UCIPD Emergency Services Division hosts an annual exercise that allows responders of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and various Department Operation Centers (DOC) across campus to sharpen their skills and better prepare the campus to respond to an emergency in an effective manner. These “functional” exercises typically involve a couple hours of exercise play with simulation of a plausible scenario. However, this exercise set a new standard as the University’s first ever “Full-Scale Exercise” that lasted the entire day involving the coordination of the EOC and four of the six DOCs including EH&S, Facilities Management, Housing and OIT. The primary objective tested by the EOC was the handoff between first shift and second shift; something that had never been tested previously. Another objective was to test the operational coordination and communication between the EOC and the DOCs as they were challenged by arising problems within each of their given disciplines/areas of expertise as a result of the impact rendered by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake along the Newport-Inglewood Fault.
Overall, the feedback from participants was quite positive with identification of strengths as well as areas for improvement. The EOC and DOC teams continue to demonstrate growth in their roles and responsibilities with each passing exercise and it’s exciting to watch these programs mature. The Emergency Services Division wishes to recognize and thank these staff members for their outstanding commitment to enhancing the University’s preparedness efforts and, in many cases, volunteering to serve in a role that it outside of their normal job responsibilities.
In 1973, President Gerald Ford authorized EMS Week to celebrate EMS practitioners and the important work they do in our nation’s communities. Back then, EMS was a new profession, and EMS practitioners had only just started to be recognized as a critical component of emergency medicine and the public health safety net.
A lot has changed since then. EMS is now firmly established as an essential public function and a vital component of the medical care continuum. On any given day, EMS practitioners help save lives by responding to medical emergencies, including heart attack, difficulty breathing, a fall or accident, drowning, cardiac arrest, stroke, drug overdose or acute illness. EMS may provide both basic and advanced medical care at the scene of an emergency and en route to a hospital. EMS practitioners care for their patients’ medical needs and show caring and compassion to their patients in their most difficult moments.
So, next week, or any week for that matter, when you’re in the grocery store and you see an EMS practitioner in uniform thank them for their vital public service they provide to our communities every day. For more information about National EMS Week visit https://www.naemt.org/ems_agencies_audience/ems-week/celebrate-ems-week
On Monday May 2nd, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. proclaimed May 1-7 as “Wildfire Awareness Week” in California. Last year’s destructive Valley and Butte fires as well as the ongoing drought and vast tree mortality remind Californians of the fire dangers the state continues to face this fire season.
Wildfire Awareness Week was kicked off at CAL FIRE’s Aviation Management Unit in Sacramento by Governor Brown with state and federal leaders. Governor Brown was joined by Cal OES Director Mark Ghilarducci, CAL FIRE Director Ken Pimlott, California National Guard General David Baldwin, U.S. Forest Service Region 5 Deputy Regional Forester Jeanne Wade Evans, and California Natural Resources Agency Secretary John Laird.
State and federal officials not only discussed steps their respective agencies are taking in preparation of fire season, but stressed steps Californians can take to reduce their risk – such as having a disaster plan and kit, creating defensible space and heeding evacuation warnings. View a short video clip of the press conference at http://www.oesnews.com/california-kicks-off-wildfire-awareness-week/
Although the majority of us here, at least those residing in Orange County, do not live in heavily-wooded; rural areas, it is absolutely necessary that all Californian’s understand the wildfire risk that we face moving in to the upcoming long summer months. Learn more at http://www.readyforwildfire.org/
Meningococcal disease is a serious bacterial infection caused by Neisseria meningitidis that can affect the brain and spinal cord. It spreads through close or lengthy contact (i.e. kissing, sharing drinks, coughing, living in the same household).
GET VACCINATED: MAY 11 & 13
Scores of hearty San Franciscans and history buffs came together last Monday, April 18th to commemorate the anniversary of the great earthquake of 1906 with period costumes, a moment of silence and the traditional wailing of the sirens at the moment the quake struck 110 years ago.
Bob Sarlatte, the master of ceremonies for the day, walked the assembled throng through the events of April 18, 1906 that changed the face of the city forever, from the moment the magnitude 7.9 temblor struck to the raging blaze that followed and the stand firefighters made at Van Ness Avenue to stop the advance of the fire.
Monday’s ceremony was different than the 109 that came before it as it was the first commemoration since the last known survivor died earlier this year.
“We’re here to honor those who died, but also those who survived and rebuilt this city and continue to rebuild this city,” Sarlatte said to the crowd, many of whom came dressed in 1906-style attire. “It can and will happen again. The San Andreas fault never rests.” The entire article is available @ http://www.emergencymgmt.com/disaster/110-years-later-San-Francisco-remembers-quake-victims.html
The San Andreas Fault is one thing that we here in southern California regretfully share in common with San Francisco and while our earthquake risks span far beyond this single threat, it is our greatest known hazard and thus the scenario that the Great Shakeout is based upon. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) and the California Geological Survey produced a very good 4-minute video which realistically depicts what a 7.8 earthquake scenario along the southern portion of the San Andreas Fault would render. The video can be viewed at the following link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Z5ckzem7uA Likewise, re-visit our top 10 Earthquake Tips for the University @ http://www.police.uci.edu/em/EarthquakeSafetyTop10.pdf
Last week, three deadly earthquakes occurred along the “Pacific Ring of Fire” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_of_Fire) within the span of three days; 2 in Japan (6.2 & 7.0 magnitudes) and 1 in Ecuador (7.8 magnitude). Given the fact that the entire west coast is a part of this continuous series of oceanic trenches, volcanic belts and plate movements, these events have caught a lot of attention and speculation as to whether or not we could be next. http://abcnews.go.com/topics/news/disasters/pacific-ring-of-fire.htm?page=4 According to the US Geological Survey (USGS) it is far too early to conclude that there is any connection between the three, especially considering that 90% of the world’s earthquakes take place along the “Ring of Fire” annually. http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/18/americas/earthquakes-five-things-to-know/
Whether connected or not, these earthquakes are timely for all of us as next week (April 30th) is America’s PrepareAthon and nothing ignites one’s motivation to get prepared like a real-world event or, in this case, three real-world events. America’s PrepareAthon is a grassroots campaign for action to increase community preparedness and resilience. Visit FEMA’s PrepareAthon homepage @ https://community.fema.gov/ and learn about your hazards, what you can do to take action now, read stories about community and individual preparedness and much more. Be smart, take part, prepare!
President Barack Obama has proclaimed March as Red Cross Month across the country, a tradition begun by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1943. All of our presidents, including President Barack Obama, have designated March as Red Cross Month to recognize how the American Red Cross helps people across the country and around the world.
“Over a century and a half ago, as gunfire echoed through America’s skies and division flared between North and South, a trailblazing woman, Clara Barton, braved bullets and cannon fire to deliver much-needed care, comfort, and supplies to wounded soldiers of the Civil War. Undaunted by expectations of women at the time, Clara Barton persevered, as she had her whole life, and strived to aid those who sacrificed to save our Union. Determined that humanitarianism could thrive in peace as well as in conflict, she carried her resolve overseas upon the war’s end and was introduced to a relief organization in Europe that inspired her to come home to the United States and establish the American Red Cross.” Read the entire proclamation here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/02/29/presidential-proclamation-american-red-cross-month-2016
During Red Cross Month, the American Red Cross is recognizing the country’s everyday heroes – those who reach out to help people in need. These are the people who –
- Help disaster victims get on the road to recovery
- Give blood to help a hospital patient
- Brighten the day of an injured service member who is in a hospital far from home
- Take one of our lifesaving classes and step forward to assist someone having a heart attack or to save a drowning child
The Red Cross responds to a community disaster every eight minutes, providing shelter, food, emotional support and other necessities to those affected. It provides 24-hour support to members of the military, veterans and their families at home and around the world. It must collect 14,000 units of blood every day to fulfill the country’s needs. It trains millions of people in first aid, water safety and other lifesaving skills. And it supports the vaccination of children around the globe against measles and rubella.
Red Cross Month is a great time to become part of the Red Cross. You can work on a preparedness plan with members of your household so you are ready for emergencies. You can also become a volunteer, give blood or make a financial donation. For more information, contact the local Orange County Chapter @ http://www.redcross.org/ca/orange-county
The college setting; particularly dormitories, can be a perfect breeding ground for any communicable bacteria, virus or disease which makes college students an at risk population when it comes to public health concerns. The close proximity of living quarters accompanied by beverage-sharing and other cultural practices common within the college setting all contribute to this elevated level of risk.
Many of us recall the Meningitis B outbreak which occurred at UCSB a couple years ago which, sadly, resulted in the amputation of one student’s legs. Since then, there have been two other west coast outbreaks at higher education institutions at the University of Oregon & Santa Clara University just weeks ago. In spite of these recent outbreaks, UCI Student Health is being very proactive in offering Meningococcal B walk-in clinics for our students. Please see below for more information and if you are a UCI student you should strongly consider getting yourself vaccinated!
The Student Health Center will be holding walk-in clinics for Meningococcal B Vaccination on March 10-11 and April 14-15 from 10AM to 4PM. No appointments needed for the 1st dose—just come to the clinic. Those who come in on the said dates will be booked for appointments for their 2nd dose which is after 1 month. Insurance covers the vaccine cost for ages 16-23 years old.
Should you want additional information, please visit http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/mening-serogroup.html
Lately, there has been a lot of international discussion about the Zika Virus and its risks. While education and information-sharing is vital to public health, the scope and reality of one’s personal exposure to or risk of a specific threat is oftentimes “lost” through the lens by which the media covers related news stories and reports. So, the UCI Emergency Management Division wanted to share some facts with the campus community about the Zika Virus which comes directly from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). This information is particular important to those within the community that travel internationally and are, inherently, at greater risk of exposure to the critters carrying this Virus. So, please take a moment and read though the information below to get educated on the facts and visit the Orange County Health Care Agency for more information @ http://ochealthinfo.com/phs/about/dcepi/epi/disease/zika For an additional questions or concerns you may have about the Zika Virus please contact the UCI Student Health Center @ http://www.shs.uci.edu/
What is Zika virus?
Zika is an infectious disease caused by the Zika virus, which is transmitted to people by Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitos. Most infected people have no symptoms. The illness is usually mild, and severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon. If symptoms develop, the most common are fever, rash, joint pain, and/or red eyes. Symptoms usually begin 3-7 days after a person is bitten by an infected mosquito and last several days to a week. There is no specific treatment for Zika virus disease. The only treatment option available is the provision of supportive care including rest, fluids, and use of analgesics and antipyretics.
What should Californians know about Zika?
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is monitoring the Zika virus outbreak in Latin America closely. As of February 5, 2016, there have been six confirmed cases of Zika virus disease reported in California residents, all in travelers returning from other countries with Zika virus outbreaks. These cases occurred in 2013 (1), 2014 (3), and 2015 (2). CDPH has also been notified of one preliminary positive case of Zika for 2016. CDPH requested that health care providers voluntarily report Zika virus infections. The CDPH laboratory can provide preliminary laboratory testing and coordinate confirmatory testing, which is currently provided by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
What’s the relationship between Zika virus and microcephaly in newborns?
There is a possible association between Zika and microcephaly (abnormally small head and brain) in newborns. It is suspected that women who get infected with Zika virus may pass the virus to the developing fetus if they are pregnant. However, there are many causes of microcephaly in babies, and whether Zika virus infection causes microcephaly has not been confirmed. Studies are needed to understand this possible relationship.
What is the likelihood of Zika virus circulating in California?
There has been no known transmission of Zika virus in California and it is unlikely that Zika virus would spread significantly in the state. It is possible that a returning traveler infected with Zika virus could be bitten by an Aedes mosquito carrying the virus and that mosquito could bite someone else, transmitting the virus. However, because of housing conditions, water management, and mosquito control practices in California, there is generally less contact between humans and Aedes mosquitoes than in other countries. It is important that Californians avoid mosquito bites while traveling to affected areas to prevent these illnesses and their importation to California. It is also important that California residents, particularly those living in counties where the Aedes mosquito has been found, avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. These mosquitoes have been found in 12 California counties in the last few years (see map at http://www.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/discond/Documents/AedesDistributionMap.pdf). CDPH and local vector control districts will continue to collaborate to control and limit further spread of Aedes mosquitoes in the state.
What happens if you’re infected? Is there a cure?
There is no specific treatment for Zika. Talk with your health care provider about medications to help reduce fever and pain; rest and fluids are also helpful. Those who do show symptoms usually feel better in about a week.