Experts Lament Cuts In Funds For Disaster Preparedness

Do You Know the Difference Between Your Company’s Disaster Risk and Its Preparedness Level?

With the “sequester” budget cuts looming and further belt-tightening expected in the future, disaster preparedness experts warn that decreases in funding are leaving the nation at risk. “All kinds of cuts in the budgets for public health agencies and health care in general have made it very difficult,” said Dr. Irwin Redlener, Director of National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University. “And our response right now is probably going to be more limited than it would be before we started cutting back on a lot of budgets. We’re in a very difficult situation right now. Because of the [financial] crisis we’re cutting back on public health support, which of course is a gamble we’re taking.” Dr. Nicole Lurie, assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the Department of Health and Human Services, said there have been significant cuts to public health preparedness at the federal, state and local level. “And the more we have those kinds of cuts, the more it will degrade our preparedness, and the more we will be playing catch up and not be able to do the best job we can do if another event happens,” she said. In fiscal year 2010, Congress appropriated $3.05 billion to FEMA for preparedness grants designed to strengthen “our nation’s ability to prevent, protect, respond to, and recover from terrorist attacks, major disasters and other emergencies, said Rep. David Price, D-N.C., who chaired the House Appropriations homeland security subcommittee at the time. In fiscal year 2012, that appropriation was less than half that figure – $1.35 billion. The same trend could be seen in FEMA pre-disaster mitigation grants, which fell from $100 million in 2010 to $35.5 million two years later. Price, who is now the ranking member of the subcommittee, blamed the drop in funding on the “Tea Party mentality that has gotten more prevalent on the Republican side” since the GOP takeover of the House. Republicans see the cuts as a necessary step in getting the nation’s fiscal house in order.
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Disaster Preparedness

Instead, drills and practice exercises can be done in parts. Perhaps every other month, you test failover to any data and systems that get replicated to cloud services. On the alternative months, you may test other plans such as restoring snapshots of virtual servers, or placing systems on battery power to test how long they can run. Opt to do a full drill at least twice a year and plan out specific and smaller training exercise at regular intervals. Notes and Documentation In the IT department I ran, whenever we had training, all staff members in attendance at the training session were required to sign a log book. Keeping track of which staff members have been trained and their last training sessions attended is vital in keeping tabs on who still needs to be trained and who needs to be updated on training procedures. It’s also a good idea to take notes during and after drills and exercises. Document any procedures staff may have been confused about.
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Disaster Preparedness: Could the U.S. Hold Water?

All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. WASHINGTON, Nov. 4, 2013 — /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ –Human naturethe tendency to believe that a natural or man-made disaster will never occuroften undermines the clear-headed work needed to create a business continuity plan. In a study done earlier this year by Staples, less than half of small businesses said they were prepared for severe emergencies. (Logo: ) Each year, lack of disaster preparedness takes a severe financial toll on small businesses. Meanwhile, with solid planning, a business owner can protect both financial and human capital, developing an organization resilient enough to withstand any kind of threat. Learn how preparedness affects your company’s bottom line at a free webinar on Tuesday, November 12, hosted by the U.S.
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It is always good to be well prepared. Originals or copies of important documents such as passports, birth certificates and marriage certificates should always be at hand. These should not be left behind in an evacuated house but always carried on the person in the event that there is no return. Remove Potential Hazards Trees surrounding houses should be pruned regularly or even cut down if they are in positions where they may damage property if disturbed, for example, by wind or vibration. Everybody should also familiarize themselves with turning off the gas and electricity supply to their houses in the event that the gas or electricity becomes hazardous. Keep Updated With the News It is important not to be misled by propaganda and rumors. Trustworthy information related to natural disasters is always published on the news. Volcanic eruptions and hurricanes are always closely monitored by professionals who relay information to the media. Instructions and advice are also aired on the news as to how to keep safe during natural disasters.
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Disaster Preparedness: Training

Rivera emphasized that adequate preparedness can mitigate the effects of disasters on schools, personnel and learners. If we are prepared, we can collectively reduce the exposure of learners and school personnel to danger, the risks of schools suffering from damages, and the disruption to education. The Philippines, situated in the Pacific Ring of Fire, is prone to earthquake, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis, as well as typhoons, flooding and landslides. Rivera added that disaster risk reduction in education must aim at addressing the underlying drivers of disasters such as lack of knowledge of teachers about risks, risk assessment and risk reduction, and lack of disaster preparedness. Our school personnel should be able to anticipate risks of natural and man-made hazards and ensure the safety of people and property before, during and after an emergency so that there is protection and safety of lives and minimal or no disruption in the delivery of education, Rivera explained. As part of disaster preparedness, the DepEd directed school authorities to ensure that school buildings and all DepEd facilities can withstand heavy rain and strong winds. Moreover, notebooks, teaching materials, school records, and equipment such as fax machines, laptops, photocopiers, televisions, VCRs and science tools should be protected from rain and flood. Schools are also required to study weather disturbances, their signs, warning systems and effects and regularly conduct disaster response drills. School authorities must also strictly observe policies on class suspension in coordination with the local government units to avoid unnecessary exposure to danger during inclement weather. Also, schools are encouraged to involve the students, their families and their communities in preparing for disasters as this is an effective method of raising their awareness about risk reduction.
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Your family’s emergency kit is probably a disaster

The Ad Council, which has produced many memorable PSA campaigns, ranging from Smokey Bear’s warnings about forest fires to the “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk” series, conducted a national survey on emergency preparedness. The survey included 800 adults. Be prepared for any home emergency Preparedness in storm’s path Six out of 10 American families said they did not have a family emergency plan, according to the survey. Only 19% felt they were “very prepared” for a disaster. Tennis stars help Sandy victims “What we have found (is) despite our best efforts and we have made some impact, we have some terrific messaging out there over the years, not enough people and not enough parents are actually doing what they should be doing in terms of being prepared,” said Natkins. The high cost of weather disasters To try to change that, the public service announcements are not your typical PSAs. They are light-hearted, funny and unconventional, with scenes such as a family proudly talking about how unprepared they are. “I’ll pack the dead batteries,” says the son after his father asks what each family member will do in preparation for an emergency. “I’ll only put what I don’t need into a duffel bag,” says the daughter, with her mom adding, “Great, that’s totally unhelpful.” “We think these ads will resonate with audiences because we think the messaging comes from insights that are so universally important to people,” said Val DiFebo, CEO of Deutsch NY, the agency that created the ads pro bono to help raise awareness. “The fact that most people will admit they don’t have a plan or that they can just wing it, which is exactly what we talk about in these ads, is (how) you get people to pay attention and act and say it’s time.” The PSAs are timed to release right before the 10th annual National Preparedness Month in September, an initiative managed and sponsored by FEMA to encourage Americans to prepare for emergencies in their homes, schools, businesses and places of worship. New Jersey homes being raised post-Sandy “What we try to get people to understand is that number one, not all disasters come with warning labels,” said Darryl Madden, director of FEMA’s Ready campaign .
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Disaster preparedness caravan held

Emergency Preparation is Both Physical and Mental, Experts Say For many families, the answer is simple, says ABC News’ chief health and medical editor, Dr Richard Besser. According to Besser, the top items necessary for families to keep on reserve in case of a disaster is a pack that includes a flashlight, radio, food, water, a heavy duty breathing mask, light sticks, and a first aid kit. Relief agencies like the Red Cross or FEMA offer emergencies preparation kits which include these essentials for anyone to purchase. But the hard part, says Links, is getting folks to buy in to preparedness. For years, health communicators have worked to develop campaigns to motivate citizens to set up a personal plan should there ever be a disaster. But many consumers don’t listen, he said, until an actual disaster occurs. One of the major reasons is that many don’t believe what has been happening abroad can happen at home, he said. “The essence of the model is you have to convince people that there’s a threat, and that there’s something they can do about it,” Links said. And while it seems difficult to motivate many to physically prepare for emergencies, mental preparation may prove even more difficult.
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DepEd reiterates call for school disaster preparedness

There are now 40 volunteers under Rescue 348 who work with the Coast Guard, the Red Cross, the Fire Department and the Philippine National Police. The team undergoes at least three trainings every year. When there are impending emergency situations caused by natural or human-caused disasters, we do a consolidated system of response and rescue. We also conduct periodic radio checks through the telecommunications facilities of the police headquarters. We closely monitor critical areas like the 20 to 22 barangays located near the Banica and Ocoy rivers, Chu said. Barangay Candau-ay, one of the hardest-hit by typhoon Sendong in December 2011, was the pilot recipient of the disaster preparedness training of the Noahs Ark Project funded by Smart Communications Inc. and implemented by the Corporate Network for Disaster Response (CNDR) from November 2012 to June this year. The barangay now has a mechanism in place during, before and after the disaster, enabling them to prepare for and manage the impact of disasters. In coordination with the citys Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, the Noahs Ark Project turned over recently its output, a manual on disaster risk management to Candau-ay, with the objective of replicating this in other barangays in the city. Today, almost two years after Sendong, families in Dumaguete Citys flood-prone barangays have become more proactive and have realized that being prepared at all times is the best they can do in the event of a disaster. Candau-ay barangay captain Gregorio Oira said families living close to rivers are already prepared to evacuate at a moments notice.
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