December 2011 Volume 1, Issue 2
Upcoming Events: • January 7th Psychological First Aid Training • January 28th Formidable Footprint Webbased Exercise
Individual Highlights: Strike Teams
Event Calendar 4
Winter Preparedness By: Jennifer Nicolae Don’t let the unusually warm weather fool you, winter weather can strike at any time. It is important to prepare before the bad weather arrives to avoid getting caught unprepared. There are several areas in which you need to be prepared. First is your house. Every house should have a winter emergency kit. It is important to ensure the kit is stocked at all times throughout the winter. The first item you’ll need is rock salt or ice melt. If you have pets, there are several pet-friendly ice melt products available. Next you’ll need snow shovels or other snow removal equipment. When purchasing shovels, buy a light shovel (like one made of aluminum). Be sure you have adequate heating fuel. Propane trucks may not be able to get to you right away if you run out of fuel so order more before you are in danger of running out. Keep the woodpile well-stocked too. Have plenty of warm clothing and blankets available in the event of a power outage. In the event you lose power and need to find a shelter you can text SHELTER and your zip code to 43362. You will get a text message back with the location of the nearest shelter. You will also need an emergency kit for your car or truck. This emergency kit should be equipped with a small shovel, windshield scraper, and broom. It should also have a flashlight, extra batteries, and a battery-powered radio. Rock salt or sand should be a component of your vehicle’s emergency kit, as well as booster cables, flares, and a distress flag. If you must travel in bad weather, bring your medication with you so that if you get delayed for an extended period of time you can still take your medication. You should always keep a supply of water and snacks, along with extra socks, hats, mittens, and blankets. These will help you if you get stuck and are unable to move your vehicle because in severe winter weather you may have to wait several hours for a tow truck. If you get stuck, remain in your vehicle! If possible, pull off the highway and turn on your hazard lights. To conserve the vehicle’s battery, run the engine/heater for 10 minutes every hour. It is extremely important to open the downwind window slightly and clear snow from around the tailpipe to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. In addition to emergency kits, there are several other tips to help you get through the winter weather safely. Try to minimize travel during winter storms or when road conditions are bad. If you must drive, let others know where you are going and when you expect to return. Bring outdoor pets inside and be sure any livestock have access to sheltered areas. Operate generators, grills, and camp stoves outside. Use carbon monoxide detectors, especially when using a kerosene heater. (Continued on Page 2)
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Winter Preparedness Cont’d
Photo from National Weather Service Photo Credit: Arno Krum Taken in Stony River Lodge, AK.
“Wear a hat since up to 40% of body heat can be lost when the head is exposed. Dress in layers.”
When shoveling snow, avoid overexertion. Don’t pick up too much at once. Lift with your knees, not your back. Pace yourself. Don’t try to remove too much, too soon. Dress warmly, paying particular attention to your nose, ears, hands, and feet. Wear a hat since up to 40% of body heat can be lost when the head is exposed. Dress in layers. The outer layer should break the wind yet still be breathable. The middle layer should be wool or synthetic to absorb sweat and retain insulation. The inner layer should be a synthetic weave to allow ventilation. It is important not to wear clothing that retains moisture because if you sweat and your clothing becomes wet you run the risk of hypothermia. If you use a snow blower remember to never put your hand in the discharge chute. Coming in contact with the turning blades inside the discharge chute is the most common cause of snow blower injuries. If you need to clear snow from elsewhere on the equipment, be sure to stop the engine. Once the engine has stopped, use a broom handle to clear the snow. Always clear snow up and down the face of slopes, not across the face. Finally, be aware of slip and fall hazards that occur during winter weather. Wear boots that are well insulated with good rubber treads. When walking on an icy or snow-covered walkway, take short steps and walk at a slower pace so you can react quickly to a change in traction. When you must walk in the street, walk against the flow of traffic and as close to the curb as you can. Be on the lookout for vehicles which may have lost traction and are slipping towards you. Be aware that approaching vehicles may not be able to stop at crosswalks or traffic signals. Winter weather can be scary, but with advanced preparation you will be able to weather the storm.
As mentioned in our October newsletter, the Eastern Panhandle Medical Reserve Corps is trying to establish strike teams to focus on certain functions needed during emergencies.
These strike teams will also focus on and develop different activities and initiatives throughout the year. Activities will vary depending on the focus of the strike team.
Below is a list of the strike teams that are forming; if you wish to be a part of a particular team, please let us know. •
Animals in Disaster
Also, if you have any ideas for potential strike teams that you would wish to be a part of or lead, please inform your Unit Leader, Kristen Lewis, by emailing her at Kristen.N.Lewis@wv.gov.
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EP-MRCAge Monthly Disaster Prepping in the Digital By Lee Scites Be it a natural disaster (storm, earthquake, fire, etc…) or a man-made one (i.e. accident, terrorism, etc…), a lot of us have some idea of what we will need to actually survive the event. The basics are – well – pretty basic. We all know we need food and water and, if you (or a family member) are on medication, a few days supply of that is needed too. The fact is that how to get through an emergency event is well documented (see ready.gov). But what happens next? How do we get our lives back after we return home or to wherever it is we’ve been relocated to (a la Hurricane Katrina)? The first requirement to get any kind of start on rebuilding is paperwork. Now, if you’ve kept a 72-hour bag (also known as a bug-out bag) for any amount of time, you probably have all of your original papers, or copies of them with it – things like birth certificates, deeds, social security cards, and things of the like. Wherever these papers are kept, they are still going to be at risk of being destroyed. Even in a fire safe in your house – or in a safety deposit box at the bank – the fact remains that these documents face the same risks of being destroyed regardless of where they are.
“One way to preserve your documents is by scanning them and uploading them to ‘the cloud’.”
BUT – there is another option. Another way to add more redundancy to your disaster recovery plans. One way to preserve your documents is by scanning them and uploading them to “the cloud”. And now – this is a term I despise (as I work fulltime in IT), but for lack of a better word – it fits. Now, this may require you to learn some technical items – or ask someone who knows to help you do it, but it provides a safe way to keep things safe and secure (i.e. encrypted). It will not provide “raised stamp” originals, but it will keep copies of the documents out of harm’s way to allow you to retrieve the originals at a later date. A more simple way is to scan the documents and if you’ve got a public e-mail address (i.e. Yahoo!, Gmail, Hotmail, etc…), you can simply send it to yourself in an e-mail. There it will remain “in the cloud” until you need it, and it can be accessed from any internet connection available across the world. If you’re still worried about security (after all – these documents are essentially your life), you can password protect them, or even encrypt them before sending them to yourself. If you’re part of a larger group (be it public sector or trying to help out in a volunteer fashion, or just have a large family/social network you want to take care of), Google has an interesting way to go about finding people after an event (See: http://www.google.org/crisisresponse/resources.html). It’s a web based tool – so it relies on the fact that the web will be up (which it will be somewhere, barring a worldwide solar flare/EMP/meteor strike, etc…) There are multiple reports of people being found after the tsunami in Japan with the use of the new tool. If you’re interested in learning more, their Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) can be found here: http://www.google.org/personfinder/global/faq. The crisis response site also allows the creation of custom maps with your own additions (i.e. lines, notes, etc…), and use of near real-time maps from Google earth (from a “civilian” perspective). Google docs are a similar way to put your documents into “the cloud”. I strongly advise that you read the Google Privacy statement prior to uploading any and all personal documents to this site. That said – it is still a useful tool to use in a pinch. The best way to help during an emergent event is through sharing information and collaboration, and the Google tools do just that. Again, all of the tools mentioned in this article require internet access at one point or another. We ask that you do what is prudent in preparing the best for anything that may come along. Taking care of yourself is paramount if you are going to take care of your family or help others. Taking care of your documentation is one more thing that you won’t have to worry about if you follow these (relatively) simple steps. Take care of yourselves and stay safe.
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This year the Eastern Panhandle Medical Reserve Corps unit turned 5 years old and what a busy five years it has been! What started as a discussion among a handful of healthcare providers and emergency response leaders about the need for a trained corps of volunteers to assist in disasters has grown into a broad-based community organization of almost 150 volunteers. While disaster preparedness July 2011 August 2011volunteers have served the September 2011 remains central to our mission, community in a wide National Preparedness range of activities from flu shot clinics to soup kitchen screenings to emergency kit MRC trainings have volunteers with critical skills such as th Month 16th Pet Safety Day Fair distribution. Berkeley Co. Fair 1st-6provided th and incident th psychological preparedness, Basic Disaster Life Support, 9 – 12th Pickin’command. in the 28 Volunteer Meeting the Jefferson Co. Fair 21st -27th of our volunteers Through hard work and enthusiasm and our unit leaders th th Panhandle 30 Morgan County Drill recruitedas 24 MRC Orientation VISTA members (Denise Ryan, Stacy Tressler and Kristen Lewis), the th 12th Promise 30th & 31st Morgan County Volunteer EPMRC has30 become a key Meeting organization in the preparedness plans ofNeighborhood the three Eve of Caring Fair counties of the Eastern Panhandle. Each of our volunteers has played a role in the 13thweDay of Caring success of the EPMRC and as our unit continues to grow hope you will continue to take an active role in shaping the mission of the organization. disaster 24th & 25thThe Target Tabling preparedness and health needs of our region are great and your input will help to assure that we remain a responsive and relevant organization serving the community. Thank you for all2011 that you’ve done and for your future involvement October 2011 November December 2011 in st th rd your MRC! 1 Freedom’s Run 9 EAS Test 3 Orientation
8th Hispanic Fest 30th Psychological First Aid 8th & 9th Kmart Safety Dr. Diana Gaviria Training Director Weekend 13th-16th Apple Harvest Fest 26th IRS Health Fair
7 Psychological First Aid Training 28th Formidable Footprint, Online Influenza Pandemic Exercise
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400 West Stephen Street Suite #204 Martinsburg, WV 25401 PHONE: (304) 267-7130 FAX: (304) 263-8274 E-MAIL: Kristen.N.Lewis@WV.gov
About Our Organization…
We’re on FaceBook! Please “Like” our page to get www.facebook.com/easternpanhandlemrc updates.
EP-MRC 400 West Stephen St. Suite #204 Martinsburg, WV 25401
The Eastern Panhandle Medical Reserve Corps is a volunteer organization that responds to assist the emergency response system in an event. Nationally, MRC was created in 2002 in response to President Bush’s call to service during his State of the Union address. EP-MRC has been around since 2006. If you or someone you know would like to become a volunteer, please contact Kristen Lewis, Unit Leader, using the information on the right.