California’s Drought: A Disaster That Everybody Can Respond To

Drought

When you think of a disaster or emergency what typically comes to mind? Earthquakes, flooding, high wind events, landslides?   All of these depict a fairly consistent theme: the occurrence of a significant event over a period of minutes or days which leaves a detrimental footprint on the quality of life for those impacted by the event for years to come. For each of these, there are usually a number of preparedness tips that one can take prior to the occurrence to mitigate its impact on themselves, their family, their business, etc. However, rarely do we find ourselves in the middle of a disaster where we, as individuals, have the power to dictate how deeply this footprint will impact the economy, availability of natural resources, and society as a whole.

California’s drought has been a declared State of Emergency since January 17, 2014 and is only getting worse as we continue in to these hot summer months. However, this declared emergency is unique in a number of ways. First, its occurrence has and will continue to last much longer than a few moments of violent shaking or days of torrential rains. But secondly, this drought differs from those events referenced above in that each day that passes every resident of California can impact the footprint left behind by this disaster. As a result, the Save Our Water campaign, through the state’s drought awareness program, has provided some simple yet important tips for recommended water usage by all of California’s residents. Some of these water conservation measures include:

  • Shutoff nozzles on hoses
  • Shorter wash cycles for laundry
  • Recycling indoor/outdoor water
  • Efficient dishwashing tips
  • Reducing lawn watering

(Please visit http://saveourwater.com/ for a full list of tips and more information on how you can help)

This campaign is partnering with big name celebrities like Lady Gaga to promote Public Service Announcements (PSA) to help disseminate these water conservation messages to the public (to see this PSA also visit link above). Meanwhile, Governor Jerry Brown is calling on all Californian’s to engage in this unified effort through means of extraordinary individual water conservation measures. So please, join in this effort and help California conserve this precious resource.

For more information on emergency management at UC Irvine, please contact Anne Widney, Emergency Services Manager at awidney@uci.edu.

What Don’t You Know About Where You Live, Work & Play? Map Your Hazard Today!

CaliforniaWhether you’re a UCI student, visitor, staff or faculty member the UCIPD Emergency Services Division wants you to be well-informed about the hazards that exist in the areas where you spend your time. The truth is that in today’s fast-paced society many of us travel out of the cities, counties, and even states in which we live to go to work, school, visit family/friends, attend meetings, events, etc. without actually understanding the natural hazards that these areas may be susceptible to. The California Emergency Management Agency (CalEMA) offers a “My Hazards” Awareness Map for California that can pinpoint, down to the specific address of your home or building, which natural hazards may be a threat as well as their likelihood of occurring. Based upon the results of your search, the “My Hazards” tool will then provide checklists for recommended mitigation strategies to reduce the risk that each of these hazards may pose. To map your hazard today visit http://myhazards.calema.ca.gov/ and remember that preparedness begins with awareness.

 

For more information on emergency management at UC Irvine, please contact Anne Widney, Emergency Services Manager at awidney@uci.edu.

Lightning Safety Awareness Week – June 23 – 27, 2014

Thunder Roars
Stay safe. Especially if you are traveling over the summer to the South or the Midwest where thunderstorms are the norm! June 23 – 27 is Lightning Safety Awareness Week. Summer thunderstorms in Southern California can mean lightning, blackouts, fire and more. Do you know your lightning safety? When thunder roars, go indoors. For more information visit: http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/safety.htm

Stay Connected – Where To Get Information Before, During, and After an Emergency

emergency message

The UC Irvine Police Department, in partnership with Strategic Communications, Transportation and Distribution Services, OIT, and other campus departments, maintains a number of different platforms for you to receive emergency preparedness information, safety tips, community and crime alerts, and other important information. Each of these platforms will also be used to push out up-to-date information during and after an emergency situation on campus. Make sure to bookmark each of the following websites, sign up for zotALERT text messaging, and program your phones and radios with the additional resources.

Online

PD Website     http://police.uci.edu/

EM Page     http://snap.uci.edu/viewXmlFile.jsp?cmsUri=public/MainMenuEmergencyManagement.xml

Facebook     http://facebook.com/UCIrvinePD

Twitter     http://twitter.com/UCIrvinePD

Nixle     http://nixle.com/University-of-California-Irvine-Police-Department

Phone

zotALERT Texts     http://www.oit.uci.edu/zotalert/

Emergency Hotline     866-IRV-NEWS (866-478-6397)

Radio

Zot Radio     WQTB 1690 AM (Traffic, Road Closures, Safety Updates, Emergency Information)

 

Additional information will be provided on the www.uci.edu homepage, campus email (ZotMail), electronic message boards, KUCI 88.9 FM, Smart Classrooms, ZotPortal, 800 MHz radios, and other mediums throughout the campus.

For more information on emergency management at UC Irvine, please contact Anne Widney, Emergency Services Manager at awidney@uci.edu.

Stay Cool – High Temps Bring Risk of Heat Related Illness

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Temperatures in many inland Orange County communities are expected to reach high temperatures above 95 degrees this week, 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 http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/.

Building Your Kit On A Budget

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Have A Kit. Make A Plan. Be Prepared. Get Involved. These are all important steps on the journey to preparedness. But I know that is much easier said than done. Let’s start with the “Have A Kit” part. What’s really stopping you from putting together a comprehensive emergency kit for your house, your car, and school or work? The biggest two factors I hear about are time and money. You have no time? Do you go to the grocery store? To Target, WalMart or Costco? Then you have TIME to pick up a few extra items each time you’re out shopping. Additionally, Amazon has a great selection of reasonably priced flashlights, hand crank weather radios, solar phone chargers, first aid kits, and other necessities for your kit.

You have a limited budget? I bet you have an old backpack or duffle bag lying around that you can repurpose for your kit. Throw other items you already have around the house in their too. Old sneakers, extra jacket, blankets, flashlight, etc. Also, the majority of the items for your kit can be purchased at the 99 Cents Only Store! The above pictures are from my trip last week to the 99 Cents Only Store. They have a ton of canned food (organic too!), snacks, water, band aids, mini first aid kits, batteries, trash bags, games, and other items you need in your kit. To make it even easier the 99 Cents Only Store and American Red Cross partnered to put together a simple checklist for building your kit at their store. And finally, the UC system has an agreement with Nexis Preparedness Systems to provide students, staff, and faculty with a 20% discount on all of premade disaster kits. That helps solve both problems – time and money!!

Do 1 Thing for April: Food

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Last May we introduced the Do 1 Thing campaign to help simplify the planning process by focusing on just one action each month to help get you prepared. This is the last and final post of the Do 1 Thing series. I can’t believe we have completed an entire year of preparedness! The last monthly topic is probably the one we all want to make sure we have enough of in an emergency: Food!

Below is a list of things you can do to achieve your goal this month. Choose at least one, and complete it.

Download the Fact Sheet

Download the Visual Fact Sheet

More Resources

An emergency food supply doesn’t have to sit on a shelf, ready for disaster to strike (although it can). It can be part of the food you use every day. The key to a good food storage plan is to buy ahead of time. Replace items before they run out. Buy items when they are on sale. A large duffle bag or plastic tub with a lid makes a great storage place for an emergency food supply. Make sure your family, including pets, will have what they need when disaster strikes.

The entire Do 1 Thing campaign can be found here: http://do1thing.com/

Additionally, the UC Irvine Police Department, Emergency Services Division, has a number of online resources to assist you with being prepared both at home and here on campus. For more information visit: http://police.uci.edu/ and http://snap.uci.edu/viewXmlFile.jsp?cmsUri=public/MainMenuEmergencyManagement.xml

Shake It Up (or not?) April Is Earthquake Preparedness Month

earthquake

I’m sure a number of you felt the La Habra earthquake this past weekend. It measured a magnitude of 5.1 and there were over 100 aftershocks! As if the shaking wasn’t reminder enough, April is Earthquake Preparedness Month. Did you know that many Californians don’t consider themselves at risk unless they live on or near the line of a well-known fault, such as the San Andreas or Hayward Fault? This misconception leaves millions of Californians unprepared for an earthquake.

Quick Facts:

  • Major earthquakes registering magnitudes between 6.3 and 8.3 have occurred in California every 5.4 years, on average, for the past 200 years
  • The United States Geological Survey estimates that there is a 90 percent chance that a major earthquake will strike an urban area in California within the next 30 years
  • The majority of Californians live within 20 miles of a major earthquake fault
  • Being prepared could save your life!

While California is a world leader in emergency response and recovery capabilities, our responders can’t do it alone. It is the responsibility of every individual to take action, get informed, and get actively involved in emergency preparedness.

Please take some time this month to complete the following tasks:

  • Review the Earthquake tab on the Emergency Procedures Blue Flip Chart
  • Check out the Top 10 Tips for Earthquake Safety
  • Check your emergency supply kits at work, at home, and in your car (or create them if you haven’t already!), swap out any expired food and water, restock any supplies you may have used
  • Brace bookshelves and filing cabinets to the wall (at work and at home)
  • Secure items on top of bookshelves, dressers, etc with earthquake putty
  • Review your emergency assembly area and the zone crew assignments for your building
  • Save the Date: The Great California ShakeOut (and campus exercise) October 16 at 10:16 AM

Remember: Have A Kit, Make A Plan, Be Informed, and Get Involved!

Do 1 Thing for March: Sheltering

do1thing-mono

Last May we introduced the Do 1 Thing campaign to help simplify the planning process by focusing on just one action each month to help get you prepared. I can’t believe we have almost completed an entire year of preparedness! Lets continue to enhance our readiness with the March topic: Sheltering. Resolve to be ready throughout the year for any disaster that might come your way!

Below is a list of things you can do to achieve your goal this month. Choose at least one, and complete it.

Download the Fact Sheet

Download the Visual Fact Sheet

More Resources

In a disaster you may be asked to either evacuate or shelter-in-place. In the excitement of an emergency, it can be difficult to focus on what you are doing. Know what to do to keep you and your roommates or family safe. Practice your earthquake and fire safety plans. If you practice, then you will be more comfortable doing it when the emergency actually happens.

The entire Do 1 Thing campaign can be found here: http://do1thing.com/

Additionally, the UC Irvine Police Department, Emergency Services Division, has a number of online resources to assist you with being prepared both at home and here on campus. For more information visit: http://police.uci.edu/ and http://snap.uci.edu/viewXmlFile.jsp?cmsUri=public/MainMenuEmergencyManagement.xml

Do 1 Thing for February: Water

do1thing-mono

In May we introduced the Do 1 Thing campaign to help simplify the planning process by focusing on just one action each month to help get you prepared. Lets continue to enhance our readiness with the February topic: WATER. Resolve to be ready throughout the year for any disaster that might come your way!

Below is a list of things you can do to achieve your goal this month. Choose at least one, and complete it.

Download the Fact Sheet

Download the Visual Fact Sheet

More Resources

Whether you get water from a municipal water system or your home has a private well, your water supply depends on having power to operate the system. During a power outage—or any disaster that can cause a power outage, such as high winds, ice storm, or flood—you may find yourself without drinkable water.

 

The entire Do 1 Thing campaign can be found here: http://do1thing.com/

Additionally, the UC Irvine Police Department, Emergency Services Division, has a number of online resources to assist you with being prepared both at home and here on campus. For more information visit: http://police.uci.edu/ and http://snap.uci.edu/viewXmlFile.jsp?cmsUri=public/MainMenuEmergencyManagement.xml