California Tree Mortality Exceeds 100 Million

In November of 2016, the U.S. Forest Service confirmed that the number of dead trees in California since 2010, resulting from a five-year drought, now exceeds 100 million. Additionally, there are many more trees that have been infected by the invasive species known as the “Bark Beetle” which are anticipated to joint this growing rate of tree mortality in the coming years. There are differing opinions regarding what could’ve or should’ve been done to prevent the current condition of California forests but the fact remains that this is a nature epidemic. Tree mortality rates have not only led to a significant public safety crisis with elevated fire danger and risk of naturally falling trees but also a burdensome financial hurdle for state and federal agencies charged with mitigation measures.

With public safety as its most pressing concern, the U.S. Forest Service has committed significant resources to help impacted forests, including reprioritizing $43 million in California in fiscal year 2016 to conduct safety-focused restoration along roads, trails and recreation sites. However, limited resources and a changing climate hamper the Forest Service’s ability to address tree mortality in California. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Forest Service officials are seriously hampered not only by short-term budgets passed by Congress, but also a broken budget for the Forest Service that sees an increasing amount of resources going to firefighting while less is invested in restoration and forest health, said Vilsack.

“These dead and dying trees continue to elevate the risk of wildfire, complicate our efforts to respond safely and effectively to fires when they do occur, and pose a host of threats to life and property across California,” said Vilsack. “USDA has made restoration work and the removal of excess fuels a top priority, but until Congress passes a permanent fix to the fire budget, we can’t break this cycle of diverting funds away from restoration work to fight the immediate threat of the large unpredictable fires caused by the fuel buildups themselves.” More information on this article published in Science Daily can be found @ https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161125083555.htm

For more information on California’s tree mortality epidemic and to see what measures have been taken by various levels of government visit http://calforests.org/governors-action-on-tree-mortality/

Additionally, over 1,000 trees at UCI have been significantly impacted by invasive species as well which has caused the university to take action. For more information visit http://sustainability.uci.edu/pshb-uci/

 

14th Annual Zone Crew/CSAR Meeting

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On Wednesday, January 11th the UCI Emergency Services Division hosted the 14th Annual Zone Crew/CSAR Meeting in Pacific Ballroom D of the Student Center. This meeting rendered the largest turnout yet with 208 participants and a large CSAR member presence. Featured speakers included Detective Roland Chiu of the UCI Police Department and Isaac Straley Chief Information Security Officer at UCI. Detective Chiu presented on his work with the Orange County Intelligence Assessment Center (OCIAC) as the Higher Education Liaison and Mr. Straley presented on the cyber security risks and prevention initiatives taking place at UCI. The latter topic was very timely and relevant as Anne Widney, Emergency Manager, revealed the results of the recently updated campus Hazard Vulnerability Analysis (HVA); the results of which placed cyber risk as a new Top 5 campus threat.

In addition to the two keynote speakers, Anne Widney also shared some lessons learned that resulted from the UCLA murder-suicide incident last summer as well as discussing the major accomplishments of Emergency Services Division over the past year and what lies ahead in 2017.

The Zone Crew and CSAR programs, among others on campus, are vital to the preparedness mission of the university and it’s a continued pleasure to observe such a growing interest and spirit of volunteerism by these groups year after year. UCIPD and the campus thanks you for your time and effort to ensure the continued resiliency of the university.

For additional information on Zone Crew and/or Campus Search and Rescue (CSAR) please contact Anne Widney at awidney@uci.edu or 949-824-7147.

 

New Title IX & Clery Act Videos

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The Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity (OEOD), Campus Assault Resources and Education (CARE), and UCI Police Department have jointly collaborated on a project to produce a series of four videos to provide information on the various federal mandates and reporting responsibilities under Title IX and the Clery Act as well information on how to help victims and survivors of sexual violence.  These videos were produced by UCI staff who are directly involved with coordinating the Title IX and the Clery Act programs at UCI.

Video 1: This video provides an introduction and overview of two separate federal laws: Title IX and the Clery Act.  Specifically, in this video, you will learn about the types of positions designated as a “Responsible Employee” (under Title IX) and a “Campus Security Authority” (under the Clery Act) and why certain individuals at UCI and UCI Medical Center are required to report under these two laws.  To view video 1, click here.

Video 2: This video provides information on how to report under Title IX. Specifically, you will learn about the types of incidents that are reportable under Title IX and the specific reporting requirements of student employees, faculty members and staff members.  Additionally, this video will describe the various details of what you should and should not do and how to submit your report to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity (OEOD). To view video 2, click here.

Video 3: This video provides information on how to report under the Clery Act.  Specifically, you will learn about the various information that CSAs are required to report and when CSAs are required to report.  You will learn about Clery Act geography, the different types of crimes that are reportable under the Clery Act, and how to fill out a CSA Report Form for submission to the UCI Police Department.  You will also learn about what you should not do as a CSA.  To view video 3, click here.

Video 4: This video provides information on how Responsible Employees and Campus Security Authorities can support survivors of Sexual Violence (including Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence & Stalking) while fulfilling their obligations and duties under each law. To view video 4, click here.

You can also view all four of these videos directly on the UCI Police Department website available here.

 

Revolutionizing 911

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Last month, a dispatch center in Tarrant County, TX rolled out a new emergency communications tool that could prove to be more accurate and efficient for callers requesting emergency assistance. The SirenGPS mobile app, or what’s being called “Uber for 911,” is an application for cell phones that use Uber-style GPS technology that will deliver the callers pinpointed location with a 90% accuracy reading for dispatch personnel.  This is a significant improvement from traditional cell phone calls that oftentimes provide dispatch personnel with the location of the nearest cell phone tower and not necessarily the caller’s exact location.  The truth is that, until now, Uber could find where is caller is faster than 911 emergency services; particularly if the caller isn’t sure themselves.

There are a number of other foreseeable benefits to this app as well including 1) the ability to place an emergency request that is not dependent upon cell signal; 2) the users option to upload medical information to the app so that first responders will have a profile on medical responses prior to arriving on scene; 3) a fewer number of steps/clicks on your phone to reach emergency response personnel; and 4) the ability to inform dispatchers of the callers need when communication challenges are present (i.e. language barriers, physical inability to speak or situations where speaking may put the caller in danger).

For more information on this fascinating new means of contacting requesting emergency assistance see the entire article @ http://www.govtech.com/em/next-gen-911/Uber-For-911.html

Please note that the SirenGPS App is ONLY being used in Tarrant County, TX and is NOT being used by UCIPD or any other dispatch center in the State of California.  For emergencies on and off campus continue to use the traditional method of dialing 911 to request assistance.

 

Yahoo Hacked, Again

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Yahoo reported on Wednesday (December 14th) that it has identified a new breach that occurred in August 2013 and involved data associated with more than one billion user accounts; double the number affected in a different breach disclosed in September 2016. Yahoo said it believed the latest incident was likely distinct from the breach disclosed in September 2016, when it said information associated with at least 500 million user accounts was stolen in 2014. The 2014 breach was believed to be the world’s biggest known cyber breach by far. Yahoo said the stolen user account information may have included names, e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers. Read more about this incident @ the following link: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/14/technology/yahoo-hack.html?_r=0

If you have a Yahoo account, resetting your password and other steps are advised. The following link has suggestions on how to secure your Yahoo account: http://www.cnbc.com/2016/12/15/if-youve-ever-created-a-yahoo-account-take-these-steps-immediately-to-protect-your-data.html

Yahoo is not the first major company that has fallen victim to this kind of large-scale hack nor will it be the last. While these types of cyber security risks are typically out of our control, the cyber security risks that oftentimes carry the greatest impacts to our daily lives are much more preventable with some good; solid practices which are captured by the national cyber security campaign: “Stop, Think, Connect.”  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.

 

Annual Holiday Teddy Bear & Toy Drive

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Greetings Anteater Community,

Just a friendly reminder that the UCI Police Department is still accepting donations for the annual Teddy Bear & Toy Drive!  So, please stop by today or tomorrow with any unwrapped item (teddy bear or toy) you would like to provide a child with this holiday season.  Donations will be accepted at the following locations:

UCI Police Department, University Hills Community Center, Puerta Del Sol Office, Camino Del Sol Office, Palo Verde Office, Pippin Commons, The Anteatery, Applied Innovation, OIT (MSTB 263), OIT (131 Innovation Dr., Suite 200).

The bears and toys will be donated to help comfort children receiving care at UCI Medical Center and at other Orange County children’s organizations.

Thank you,

UCIPD

Facebook & Emergency Communication

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It should come as no surprise to anybody that Facebook is rapidly becoming the most useful platform for emergency communication between friends and family during emergencies and disasters. The company first launched the feature known as “Safety Check” just over two years ago and ever since has seen a rapid expansion in the number of people using it during crisis situations.  Safety Check is a user-friendly; quick and effective way to report your personal safety as well as check on the well-being of family and friends.

One of the best examples of how quickly this feature was able to post and relay information within a network of affected or likely affected individuals in or around the scene of a major crisis was during the Orlando nightclub shooting that took place back in June of this year. The following article describes how critical this feature was to a group of people that had never heard of it prior to this tragic event https://www.wired.com/2016/11/facebook-disaster-response/    Safety Check is also widely being used at this time for the wildfires in Gatlinburg, TN http://www.wbir.com/news/local/facebook-activates-safety-check-feature-for-sevier-co-fires/357405529

Learn more about Safety Check on Facebook and become familiar with it should you ever have to use it for yourself or to verify the safety of others by visiting their FAQ page @ https://www.facebook.com/about/safetycheck/

 

Holiday Travel: Safety & Sanity Tips

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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.

 

Critical Infrastructure Security & Resilience Month

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Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month, observed in the month of November, builds awareness and appreciation of the importance of critical infrastructure and reaffirms the nationwide commitment to keep our critical infrastructure and our communities safe and secure. Securing the nation’s infrastructure, which includes both the physical facilities that supply our communities with goods and services, like water, transportation, and fuel, and the communication and cyber technology that connects people and supports the critical infrastructure systems we rely on daily, is a national priority that requires planning and coordination across the whole community.

The following link provides additional information about this federally declared month, offers tips on ways we can get involved and support this initiative and contains a link to the President’s Proclamation made at the beginning of the month: https://www.dhs.gov/cisr-month.  Additionally, it contains information about 16 specific infrastructure sectors that the nation is focused on protecting. A few of these include communications, critical manufacturing, dams, emergency services, financial, information technology, transportation and water/wastewater.

 

Fall Back: Preparedness Reminders

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As we prepare to “fall back” this weekend and get that extra hour of sleep on Sunday morning, remember not only your clocks but batteries too. The UCI Police Department encourages everybody to change out the batteries in all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in your home every six months (approx.) in accordance with the time changes (Spring & Fall).  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. http://www.readyoc.org/  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.