Archive for the ‘Personal Preparedness’ Category

National EMS Week: May 21 – 27, 2017

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

 

National Police Week: May 14 – 20, 2017

Are you aware that May 14 – 20, 2017 is National Police Week? In 1962, President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation which designated May 15th as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which that date falls as National Police Week. During this week, we salute those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty and honor all of those that have chosen this field of selfless service to their community. We are very fortunate here at UC Irvine to have a cadre of dedicated police officers committed to a community-oriented style of policing that not only responds quickly to the needs of our campus but utilizes and partners with the community in a proactive manner to keep all of us safe.

This week, tens of thousands of law enforcement officers from around the world will converge on Washington, DC to participate in a number of planned events which honor our fallen heroes. Visit the National Police Week website at http://www.policeweek.org/ for more information. In addition to these events, communities and law enforcement agencies across the country will sponsor their own activities to recognize their fallen officers and their families.

 

Chancellor’s Cabinet Participates in Annual Exercise

Every year the UCIPD Emergency Management 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 was unique in that it was the first time the Chancellor’s Executive Policy Group (CEPG – i.e. Chancellor’s Cabinet) participated simultaneously and interfaced via video conferencing with the EOC Management Section. The primary exercise objective was to test this interface, communication and coordination between the CEPG and the EOC. 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 an exercise scenario depicting an explosion and fire at a heavily attended event.

Overall, the feedback from participants was quite positive with identification of strengths as well as areas for improvement. The CEPG and EOC interface went extremely well and participants from both groups agreed that this was an extremely beneficial aspect built in to the exercise that needs to continue to be tested. The EH&S and Facilities Management DOCs continue to mature in to their roles and demonstrate a working and applicable knowledge of the Incident Command System (ICS) and the importance of effective communication and coordination.  The Emergency Management Division wishes to recognize and thank all participating University staff and executives for their outstanding commitment to enhancing the University’s preparedness efforts and, in many cases, volunteering to serve in a role that is outside of their normal job responsibilities.

 

UCI Emergency Management Hosts 2nd Psychological First Aid Training for Campus Responders

The psychological of impact of disasters can oftentimes be more devastating to survivors than the physical damage or tangible losses themselves. Also, it’s very difficult to quantify this impact on a given population when conducting disaster preparedness activities and, as a result, efforts to mitigate these impacts can oftentimes be overlooked. The CSAR program covers a broad overview of disaster psychology, however, there was a recognized need for additional training. We wanted to provide our campus responders with a greater depth of knowledge in this area so that they will be more capable to effectively address the mental health concerns of disaster survivors after a devastating event.

On Monday, April 17th the UCI Emergency Management Division hosted a 2nd offering of the American Red Cross Psychological First Aid course to members of both the Campus Search & Rescue (CSAR) and Care & Shelter Team (CAST). The objectives of this training were to 1) Help responders be able to recognize the signs of stress in clients, co-workers and themselves, 2) Apply Psychological First Aid principles in providing immediate support to people who may be experiencing stress, and 3) Understand how to obtain additional mental health support for themselves, co-workers and clients.

There were 36 campus responders that attended this course and the class was delivered by a certified American Red Cross Instructor. The American Red Cross has been an outstanding partner to the UCIPD Management Division over the past few years with the development of the CAST initiative and continue to help shape and improve the program as it evolves.

 

Remembering Virginia Tech: 10 Years Later

It’s hard to believe that this past weekend, Easter Sunday – April 16th, marked the 10-year anniversary of the largest school shooting in the U.S. and second deadliest shooting spree (to that of the tragic 2016 Orlando, FL nightclub shooting) in U.S. history. The Virginia Tech tragedy of April 16, 2007 has been referred to by many as the “9/11 for Institutes of Higher Education” (IHEs) – drawing parallels to the legal and operational change in requirements to prepare for and respond to acts of violence on campuses as those national homeland security measures resulting from 9/11. To this day, universities and campuses look to the lessons learned from this tragic event and best practices implemented by Virginia Tech’s now robust emergency management program which has, in some ways, become a “gold standard” in higher education emergency preparedness.

The following article does an excellent job capturing the events that unfolded that day, summarizing the State and Federal legislative actions taken afterwards to strengthen safety and security measures for students, and telling the narrative of Virginia Tech’s response, recovery and continued dedication to protecting its community.

http://www.campussafetymagazine.com/article/virginia_tech_shooting_anniversary_emergency_preparedness?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=editorial&eid=350358940&bid=1723881

Next month, Virginia Tech will be hosting the “5th Annual Best Practices in Higher Education Emergency Management Conference” and the UCIPD Emergency Management Division has been selected to speak on a related topic to share best practices and contribute to the growing body of knowledge that can be shared among other higher education emergency management professionals to increase the resiliency of the institutions they serve.

 

Governor Brown Lifts Drought Emergency

Retains Prohibition on Wasteful Practices

Following unprecedented water conservation and plentiful winter rain and snow, last week Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. ended the drought state of emergency in most of California, while maintaining water reporting requirements and prohibitions on wasteful practices, such as watering during or right after rainfall.

“This drought emergency is over, but the next drought could be around the corner,” said Governor Brown. “Conservation must remain a way of life.”

Executive Order B-40-17 lifts the drought emergency in all California counties except Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Tuolumne, where emergency drinking water projects will continue to help address diminished groundwater supplies. Today’s order also rescinds two emergency proclamations from January and April 2014 and four droughtrelated executive orders issued in 2014 and 2015.  For more information see http://www.oesnews.com/governor-brown-lifts-drought-emergency-retains-prohibition-on-wasteful-practices/

 

National Public Safety Telecommunications Week: April 9 -15

This week is National Public Safety Telecommunications Appreciation Week (April 9-15). We want to give a special thank you to our UCIPD Dispatchers as well as Dispatchers around the country.

UCIPD Dispatchers are the first to respond to the needs of our community when they call the Communications Center for assistance. The UCIPD Communications Center serves as the critical link between the University community and all public safety emergency and non-emergency responders. The Communications Center is a Public Safety Access Point (PSAP) for all 9-1-1 calls originating from University of California, Irvine, UC Irvine Health, and most cell phones on campus property.

Whether it is a call for assistance or a high stress emergency incident, our dispatchers provide a calm and compassionate response to the community and victims in distress, while simultaneously ascertaining critical information necessary to provide to responding emergency personnel. Dispatchers are truly everyone’s “back-up” on every call, providing information and resources to help keep the community safe.

For more information on this dedicated week visit: http://www.npstw.org/

#nationaltelecommunicatorsweek #thankadispatcher #dispatcher #911whatsyouremergency #911police #911dispatcher #UCIPD #UCI #UCIrvine #UCIpride #KeepUCIsafe

 

More Attention On Children In Disasters

Last month, the Homeland Security Act for Children (H.R. 1372) was introduced to congress which, if signed in to law, would ensure a much greater level of attention to the needs of children in disaster preparedness, response and recovery planning. This bill, an amendment to a subsection within the Homeland Security Act 2002, is the result of findings dating back to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina that children experience disasters much differently than adults and that such traumatizing events can change the trajectory of their lifetime.  The basis of this bill is similar to the recent legislation passed and progress made by local, state and federal emergency management agencies to fully integrate the Access and Functional Needs (AFN) community in all aspects of the disaster planning process rather than by mere representation in an annex at the back of the Emergency Operations Plan.

Specifically, the primary objectives of the bill would accomplish the following:

  • Direct FEMA to integrate planning for children in disaster into all facets of response, and includes the appointment of a technical expert;
  • Integrate feedback from organizations that represent children into the work of the undersecretary for strategy, policy and plans; and
  • Integrate the House and Senate Homeland Security committees into the conversation and accountability process to ensure the needs of children are met.

The Orange County Operational Area, chaired by the Orange County Health Care Agency (HCA) chairs a collaborative KIDs disaster planning working group which includes both public and non-profit partnerships. There is also a Schools committee which, inherently, integrate children in to the planning process.  These efforts have been ongoing for some now; however, a federal law mandating greater attention on children could assist in future planning efforts down the road for Orange County in terms of both financial and non-financial resource allocation.  More information on this bill can be found at https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1372/text

 

Tsunami Preparedness Week: March 27 – 31, 2017

Tsunamis are among Earth’s rarest hazards. But, even though tsunamis do not occur very often, and most are small and nondestructive, they pose a major threat to coastal communities, particularly in the Pacific. A tsunami can strike any ocean coast at any time. There is no season for tsunamis. We cannot predict where, when or how destructive the next tsunami will be. However, while tsunamis cannot be prevented, there are things you can do before, during and after a tsunami that could save your life and the lives of your family and friends.  The National Weather Service provides some excellent educational material on tsunamis and what you can do to keep yourself and your loved ones safe in the event of a tsunami. Visit them at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/Tsunami/

We have a lot of coastline here in Orange County and not that far from our UC Irvine community. So, in the event that our coast was struck by a fairly significant tsunami we would, without a doubt, be impacted here on campus.  Many of our community members live or have family/friends who reside in Newport Beach and neighboring jurisdictions.  The rest of us probably visit one of these coastal communities from time to time so it is extremely important to heed the warning and immediately move inland or to high ground following an earthquake.  Every coastal city in Orange County is “Tsunami Ready,” as designated by NOAA/NWS (http://www.tsunamiready.noaa.gov/) which is why you will see the Tsunami Hazard Zone signs near the beaches (image attached). Do not take this instruction lightly.  Tsunamis travel quickly and gain strength with each set of waves so it is no exaggeration to state that “every second counts.”

There have been hundreds of videos uploaded to YouTube with raw footage from the 2004 Sri Lankan Tsunami as well as the 2011 Tsunami that struck Japan after their devastating 9.0 earthquake. While these clips are sad to view, they provide us with a better understanding of the sheer magnitude and force carried by these types of disasters.  For more information on Tsunami Preparedness Week visit http://www.tsunamizone.org/california/

 

UCIPD Emergency Management Tours Sony Studios

On Tuesday, March 7th the UCIPD Emergency Management Division traveled up to Culver City to meet with Sony Pictures Global Security, Crisis & Emergency Management Team to learn how they protect their enterprise from natural and human-caused hazards worldwide.  The meeting included a tour of both Sony’s Global Security Operations Center (G-SOC) & Emergency Operations Center (EOC).  There were best practices shared between the two entities in regards to how each (UCI & Sony Pictures) prepares for, responds to and recovers from disasters discussing emergency management and business continuity.  One of the most beneficial conversations throughout the day was the information shared by the Global Security Team regarding the 2014 state-sponsored cyber hack on Sony Pictures and the extent of damage to which the corporation has still not yet recovered from.  This discussion was particularly relevant for the UCI emergency management team as Cyberterrorism is now ranked within the top five threats to the university following the most recent Hazard Vulnerability Assessment (HVA) that was completed at the end of last year.  Sony’s team was kind enough to squeeze in a tour of the studio campus as well for the UCI staff as seen in the picture with the original Ghostbusters ride (Ectomobile or ECTO-1).  Overall, a great day and unique opportunity to partner with a private-sector entity for mutual benefit as it relates to preparedness programming.  UCIPD Emergency Management plans to host Sony’s team on campus for a tour at the end of March to reciprocate the hospitality.