Monday, December 3, 2012

Disaster Preparedness Guide - Part 5. Weather Conditions

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Disaster Preparedness Guide - Part 5

In the previous messages we have discussed Floods, Hurricanes and Tornadoes.  Part 5 in this series provides more specific information about dealing with Winter Storms.  Here is advice that will help you protect yourself and your family against the hazards of winter storms--blizzards, heavy snows, ice
storms, freezing rain, or sleet.

- KEEP POSTED ON WEATHER CONDITIONS.

Use your radio, television, newspapers and Internet to keep informed of current weather conditions and forecasts in your area. Even a few hours' warning of a storm may enable you to avoid being caught outside in it, or at least be better prepared to cope with it. You should also understand the terms commonly used in weather forecasts:
  • - A blizzard is the most dangerous of all winter storms. Itcombines cold air, heavy snow, and strong winds that blow the snow about and may reduce visibility to only a few yards. A blizzard warning is issued when the weather service expects considerable snow, winds of 35 miles an hour or more, and temperatures of 20 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. A severe blizzard warning means that a very heavy snowfall is expected, with winds of at least 45 miles an hour and temperatures of 10 degrees or lower.
  • - A heavy snow warning usually means an expected snowfall of 4 inches or more in a 12-hour period, or 6 inches or more in a 24-hour period. Warnings of snow flurries, snow squalls, or blowing and drifting snow are important mainly because visibility may be reduced and roads may become slippery or blocked.
  • - Freezing rain or freezing drizzle is forecast when expected rain is likely to freeze as soon as it strikes the ground, putting a coating of ice or glaze on roads and everything else that is exposed. If a substantial layer of ice is expected to accumulate from the freezing rain, an ice storm is forecast.
  • - Sleet is small particles of ice, usually mixed with rain. If enough sleet accumulates on the ground, it will make the roads slippery.
 - BE PREPARED FOR ISOLATION AT HOME.

If you live in a rural area, make sure you could survive at home for a week or two in case a storm isolated you and made it impossible for you to leave. You should:
  • - Keep an adequate supply of heating fuel on hand and use itsparingly, as your regular supplies may be curtailed by storm conditions. If necessary, conserve fuel by keeping the house cooler than usual, or by "closing off" some rooms temporarily. Also, have available some kind of emergency heating equipment and fuel so you could keep at least one room of your house warm enough to be livable. This could be a camp stove with fuel, or a supply of wood or coal if you have a fireplace. If your furnace is controlled by a thermostat and your electricity is cut off by a storm, the furnace probably would not operate and you would need emergency heat.
  • - Stock an emergency supply of food and water, as well as emergency cooking equipment such as a camp stove. Some of this food should be of the type that does not require refrigeration or cooking.
  • - Make sure you have a battery-powered radio and extra batteries on hand, so that if your electric power is cut off you could still hear weather forecasts, information and advice broadcast by local authorities. Also, flashlights or lanterns would be needed.
  • - Be sure to keep on hand the simple tools and equipment needed to fight a fire. Also, be certain that all family members know how to take precautions that would prevent fire at such a time, when the help of the fire department may not be available.
  • - TRAVEL ONLY IF NECESSARY.
     
    Avoid all unnecessary trips. If you must travel, use public transportation if possible. However, if you
    are forced to use your automobile for a trip of any distance, take these precautions:
    • - Make sure your car is in good operating condition, properly
    • serviced,and equipped with chains or snow tires.
  • - Take another person with you if possible.
  • - Make sure someone knows where you are going, your approximate
  • schedule, and your estimated time of arrival at your destination.
  • - Have emergency "winter storm supplies" in the car, such as a
  • container of sand, shovel, windshield scraper, tow chain or rope,
  • extra gasoline, and a flashlight. It also is good to have with you
  • heavy gloves or mittens, overshoes, extra woolen socks, and winter
  • headgear to cover your head and face.
  • - Travel by daylight and use major highways if you can. Keep the
  • car radio turned on for weather information and advice.
  • - Drive with all possible caution. Don't try to save time by
  • traveling faster than road and weather conditions permit.
  • - Don't be daring or foolhardy. Stop, turn back, or seek help if
  • conditions threaten that may test your ability or endurance, rather
  • than risk being stalled, lost or isolated. If you are caught in a
  • blizzard, seek refuge immediately.
  • - KEEP CALM IF YOU GET IN TROUBLE.
     
    If your car breaks down during a storm, or if you become stalled or lost, don't panic. Think the problem through, decide what's the safest and best thing to do, and then do it slowly and carefully. If you are on a well-traveled road, show a trouble signal.
     
    Set your directional lights to flashing, raise the hood of your car, or hang a cloth from the radio aerial or car window. Then stay in your car and wait for help to arrive. If you run the engine to keep warm, remember to open a window enough to provide ventilation and protect you from carbon monoxide poisoning.
     
    Wherever you are, if there is no house or other source of help in sight, do not leave your car to search for assistance, as you maybecome confused and get lost.
     
    - AVOID OVEREXERTION.
     
    Every winter many unnecessary deaths occur because people--especially older persons, but younger ones as well--engage in more strenuous physical activity than their bodies can stand.
     
    Cold weather itself, without any physical exertion, puts an extra strain on your heart. If you add to this physical exercise, especially exercise that you are not accustomed to--such as shoveling snow, pushing an automobile, or even walking fast or far--you are risking a heart attack, a stroke, or other damage to your body.
     
    In winter weather, and especially in winter storms, be aware of this danger, and avoid overexertion.
     
    One of the later emails in this series includes more information and a comprehensive list of Emergency Supplies.  However, in the meantime, you can visit http://www.iPrepare.com to see a complete selection of Emergency Supplies.
     
    This email series and information is provided free of charge by iPrepare.com, and will provide you  information about how to respond to various types of disasters.  Please forward this important
    information to your family and friends. 
     
    This series is based on the handbook, "The Disaster Preparedness Guide," which is available
    for purchase and download at http://www.iprepare.com/diprgu.html.
     
    For more information on preparing for emergencies, and to see a complete listing of Emergency Supplies, please visit http://www.iPrepare.com.  You can also purchase a complete copy of this handbook in eBook format. 
     
    Please visit us online at:   http://www.iprepare.com/diprgu.html or email us at sales@iPrepare.com.
     
    This guide is meant to be instructional, and information herein is believed to be current and correct. 
     
    The teaching in this handbook and all materials are meant to provide information that will help you understand and reduce the risk from disasters.  The companies, agencies and individuals involved in the preparation, printing and distribution of any material assume no responsibility for any damage that arises from any action that is based on information found in this material Thank you again for visiting iPrepare.com. 
     
    We hope that you find this list useful and informative.

    Sincerely,

    Dave Walter

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    Unfortunately, those well-intentioned plans proved no match for the storm and its devastating aftermath, which included scarcity of power, generators and fuel.

    At a time when the frequency and intensity of natural disasters seem to be increasing preparation is paramount.

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    The webcast "Emergency Preparedness in a Post-Sandy World: Lessons Learned" will provide you with key concepts to help you prepare for potential disasters prior to their occurrence.

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    • The key disaster planning lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy
    • The need for emergency preparedness and contingency planning for facilities, the people who occupy them and the communities they serve
    • How to tailor an effective, reliable disaster prep plan for your building
    • A live question-and-answer session

    To learn more about the webcast, or to register, click here.

    Update: Additional Contamination Identified in Medical Products from New England Compounding Center

    HANThis is an official


    CDC HEALTH UPDATE
    Distributed via Health Alert Network
    December 3, 2012, 16:55 ET (4:55 PM ET)
    CDC HAN-0337

    Update: Additional Contamination Identified in Medical Products from New England Compounding Center

    Summary: As part of the ongoing investigation of the multistate outbreak of fungal meningitis and other infections, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continue to test medical products from the New England Compounding Center (NECC) in Framingham, Mass.  CDC and FDA are reporting today additional microbial contamination identified in NECC products, which updates the November 1, 2012 Health Alert Network advisory. This update includes the following key points:
    • CDC and FDA have identified additional microbial contamination in unopened vials of betamethasone, cardioplegia, and triamcinolone solutions distributed and recalled from NECC.
    • These include bacteria known as Bacillus, and fungal species including Aspergillus tubingensis, Aspergillus fumigatus, Cladosporium species, and Penicillium species. 
    • Although rare, some of the identified Bacillus species can be human pathogens. Some of the fungal organisms identified, particularly Aspergillus fumigatus, are known to cause disease in humans. It is not known how product contamination with these organisms could affect patients clinically. 
    • To date, although CDC has received reports of illness in patients who have received the medications listed in the table below, including some patients who had evidence of meningeal inflammation, CDC and public health officials have no reports of laboratory-confirmed bacterial or fungal meningitis, spinal, or paraspinal infections caused by these products.
    • The available epidemiological and laboratory data do not, at this time, support evidence of an outbreak of infections linked to usage of non-methylprednisolone NECC products.
    • CDC's recommendations to healthcare providers for diagnosing and treating symptomatic patients who have received NECC products have not changed as a result of these findings.
    • CDC continues to recommend that clinicians remain alert for the possibility that infections may have resulted from injection of NECC products, and that routine laboratory and microbiologic tests, including bacterial and fungal cultures, should be obtained as deemed necessary by treating clinicians.
    • Clinicians should continue to report infections potentially related to NECC products to FDA's MedWatch and to state health departments.
    Background
    On September 26, 2012, NECC voluntarily recalled three lots of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate (PF) 80mg/ml1 associated with the multistate outbreak of fungal meningitis and other infections. As previously confirmed by CDC and FDA, the fungus Exserohilum rostratum was identified from two different lots of NECC-supplied, preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate (Lot #06292012@26 and Lot #08102012@51); testing on the third implicated lot of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate (Lot #05212012@68) has yet to identify fungal growth.  Two types of fungus not known to be human pathogens were also identified from product from the two tested lots, namely Rhodotorula laryngis and Rhizopus stolonifer. Among these fungal organisms, only Exserohilum rostratum has been associated with human infections in this outbreak.

    On October 6, NECC expanded its recall to include all products in circulation that were distributed from its facility in Framingham, Mass.  As part of the ongoing investigation, FDA and CDC have been testing various NECC products for evidence of contamination. Laboratory testing at CDC and FDA has found bacterial and/or fungal contamination in unopened vials of betamethasone, cardioplegia, and triamcinolone solutions distributed and recalled from NECC, as shown in the table below.


    Laboratory-Confirmed Organisms from Product Samples Associated with NECC Recalled Lots of Betamethasone, Cardioplegia, and Triamcinolone Solutions
    Medication
    Lot Number
    Bacterial and Fungal Contamination
    Betamethasone
    6 mg/mL injectable –5 mL per vial
    08202012@141
    Paenibacillus pabuli/amolyticus, Bacillus idriensis, Bacillus flexus, Bacillus simplex, Lysinibacillus sp., Bacillus niacini,
    Kocuria rosea, Bacillus lentus
    Betamethasone
    6 mg/mL injectable –5 mL per vial
    07032012@22
    Bacillus niabensis, Bacillus circulans
    Betamethasone
    12 mg/mL injectable – 5 mL per vial
    07302012@52
    Bacillus lentus, Bacillus circulans, Bacillus niabensis, Paenibacillus barengoltzii/timonensis
    Betamethasone
    6mg/mL injectable – 5 mL per vial
    08202012@44
    Bacillus lentus, Bacillus firmus, Bacillus pumilus
    Betamethasone
    6 mg/mL injectable – 5 mL per vial
    08152012@84
    Penicillium sp., Cladosporium sp.

    Triamcinolone*
    40mg/mL injectable – 1 mL per vial
    06062012@6
    Bacillus lentus, Bacillus circulans
    Triamcinolone
    40 mg/mL injectable – 2 mL per vial
    08172012@60
    Aspergillus tubingensis, Penicillium sp.
    Triamcinolone
    40mg/mL injectable – 10 mL per vial
    08242012@2
    Aspergillus fumigatus
    Cardioplegia solution
    265.5 mL per bag
    09242012@55
    Bacillus halmapalus/horikoshii, Brevibacillus choshinensis
    *Identification of other bacteria for this product is pending.

    Recommendations to Healthcare Providers

    FDA released a MedWatch Safety Alert on October 15 stating that the sterility of any injectable drugs, including ophthalmic drugs that are injectable or used in conjunction with eye surgery, and cardioplegic solutions produced by NECC is of significant concern.  The safety alert further advised healthcare providers to follow-up with patients who were administered any of these products purchased from or distributed by NECC on or after May 21, 2012. A sample notification letter to assist with this process is available.

    CDC’s recommendations to healthcare providers for diagnosing and treating symptomatic patients who have received NECC products have not changed as a result of the laboratory findings reported here. CDC continues to recommend that clinicians remain vigilant for the possibility that infections may have resulted from injection of NECC products, and that routine laboratory and microbiologic tests, including bacterial and fungal cultures, should be obtained as deemed necessary by treating clinicians.

    There has been no prior systematic surveillance for adverse events following epidura
    l steroid injections; however, infection is a known, although likely rare, risk that has been documented in the medical literature.  To date, although CDC is aware of reports of illness in patients who have received these medications, including some patients who had evidence of meningeal inflammation, CDC and other public health officials have no reports of laboratory-confirmed bacterial or fungal meningitis, or spinal or paraspinal infections caused by these products.  The available epidemiological and laboratory data do not, at this time, support evidence of an outbreak of infections linked to usage of non-methylprednisolone NECC products.
    However, because it is possible that some of the organisms listed in the table above can cause human disease, clinicians should continue to include bacterial and/or fungal infection in the differential diagnosis when evaluating symptomatic patients who were exposed to these medications, including consideration of empiric antifungal therapy.

    Consultation with an infectious disease specialist is strongly encouraged to help make treatment decisions in these cases.  If the evaluation of these patients is suggestive of fungal infection, please consult existing CDC treatment guidance associated with this outbreak.

    Physicians should continue to report infections potentially related to NECC products to FDA's MedWatch and to state health departments.


    NECC lots of methylprednisolone acetate (PF) 80mg/ml:
         Methylprednisolone Acetate (PF) 80 mg/ml Injection, Lot #05212012@68, BUD 11/17/2012
         Methylprednisolone Acetate (PF) 80 mg/ml Injection, Lot #06292012@26, BUD 12/26/2012
         Methylprednisolone Acetate (PF) 80 mg/ml Injection, Lot #08102012@51, BUD 2/6/2013

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protects people's health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national, and international organizations.


    Categories of Health Alert Network messages:

    Health Alert - Requires immediate action or attention; highest level of importance
    Health Advisory - May not require immediate action; provides important information for a specific incident or situation
    Health Update - Unlikely to require immediate action; provides updated information regarding an incident or situation
    HAN Info Service - Does not require immediate action; provides general public health information
    ##This message was distributed to state and local health officers, public information officers, epidemiologists, HAN coordinators, and clinician organizations##
     

    Project Wildfire: A Community Approach to Surviving Wildfires

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC 24/7: Saving Lives. Protecting People. Saving Money through Prevention.™. 


    Wildfires burning brush and treesBy Kate Lighthall
    Project Wildfire in Deschutes County, Oregon has been recognized by CDC’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response’s (OPHPR) Learning Office and the CDC FoundationExternal Web Site Icon as a community effort that reflects and embodies FEMA’s Whole Community approach to emergency management.

    Although central Oregon experiences other natural and man-made disasters, wildfires are by far the biggest threat here, especially during the summer months.  In an average year, we experience 450 fires that burn 50,000 acres and homes, threaten lives and impact the economy.  Following two devastating wildfires that burned in Bend, Oregon in 1990 and again in 1996, the Fire Chief of Deschutes County, Oregon, Gary Marshall, received a phone call from Safeco Insurance offering to contribute to the purchase of new firefighting equipment. Marshall politely declined Safeco’s offer because he had a more effective, long-term solution in mind that involved educating the public about the risks of wildfires.

    Firefighter extinguishing a fire

    Marshall asked Safeco Insurance if they would invest in an education program designed to teach people to help themselves prepare for wildfires. “A new piece of equipment might save one more home,” Marshall said. “But to really save homes, individuals have to take responsibility for their property before a fire.” His ultimate aim: To change the values and behaviors of citizens for generations to come. 

    Safeco agreed and FireFreeExternal Web Site Icon was born.  FireFree is a year-round educational program that was launched to promote 10 simple steps that homeowners can take to protect their homes from wildfires and reduce their risk of loss.  The number one FireFree tip, and the main focus of the behavior change campaign, is to create “defensible space,” a minimum 30-foot buffer zone around a house that can be created in one weekend, and easily maintained.  To encourage citizens to prepare for wildfires, FireFree partners with Deschutes County Department of Solid Waste and Deschutes Recycling to provide free collection and recycling of yard debris and waste during the spring.  Later in the fall, residents can recycle their yard debris at Deschutes Recycling for half price.  The program ran with the tagline, “It’s quick. It’s simple. It’s everybody’s responsibility.”  Sixteen years later, FireFree continues to effectively change attitudes and behaviors about wildfires.

    This initial program became part of a larger endeavor.  County elected officials took notice of these efforts and passed a county ordinance that created Project WildfireExternal Web Site Icon to help manage and support FireFree, as well as provide long-term wildfire mitigation strategies.  At the core of Project Wildfire’s organization is a community driven approach, with a diverse membership that provides a wealth of local knowledge and broad educational outreach.

    The FireFree story is just one of Project Wildfire’s accomplishments.  Since the initial push in the late 1990s to educate communities in Deschutes County, Project Wildfire has become the local coordinating group that facilitates, educates, and disseminates efforts about the importance of wildfire safety across the community.  Project Wildfire is the facilitator and caretaker of seven Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs), coordinates a countywide Sweat Equity (FireFree based) Program, and Evacuation Preparedness program and is recognized as a wildfire mitigation resource across the state and the nation.
    While Project Wildfire has accomplished much over the last decade, our achievement is due in no small part to our successful working relationships with our partners.  We continue to implement programs that encourage neighbor-to-neighbor education and understanding while leveraging opportunities for public/private partnerships. 

    wildfire blaze

    The Whole Community Approach

    The “Whole CommunityExternal Web Site Icon” is FEMA’s philosophical approach on how to conduct emergency management in a way that integrates the needs, capabilities, and resources across the community. It attempts to engage the full capacity of the private and nonprofit sectors, including businesses, faith-based organizations, and the general public, in conjunction with the participation of federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal government partners. 

    Project Wildfire has been identified as one of seven programs to continue their Whole Community work during the pilot program period October 2012 – March 2013. During this time, we will provide a learning opportunity for CDC and CDC Foundation staff to gather information on what works well in starting and maintaining community programs, identifying strategies to create and build partnerships, and techniques to empower local action. The project findings will outline recommendations for fostering a Whole Community approach to emergency management, sustainability, and program replication. 

    We’re proud to be one of the seven community organizations selected as a promising example of FEMA’s Whole Community model.  We look forward to highlighting the progress we’ve made toward preparedness in Deschutes County, Oregon and contributing to a national effort to make sure America is prepared for emergencies.

    To learn more about Project Wildfire, please contact Kate Lighthall at klighthall@bendcable.com or visit us on the web at www.ProjectWildfire.orgExternal Web Site Icon or www.FireFree.orgExternal Web Site Icon.

    Follow #PromisingExample on Twitter to learn about the other six communities that embody a whole community approach to emergency management.

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