Saturday, June 30, 2012


National Reentry Resources Center

Date: Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Time: 2:00-3:30 p.m. ET
To register for this webinar, click here.

In recent years, researchers and practitioners have learned a great deal about properly addressing offender risks to improve post-incarceration outcomes. By conducting actuarial assessments of each individual’s risks and needs and coupling this diagnostic information with clinical judgment, practitioners can develop reentry plans that increase the likelihood of improved outcomes for both the individual and the community. 

In addition, practitioners can further increase the likelihood of success when factors such as employment, educational levels, and vocational aptitudes, as well as community factors (e.g., access to healthy social activities or access to pro-social individuals) are addressed in individual reentry plans.

This webinar will focus on developing optimal individual reentry plans. The presenter will discuss organizational considerations that can greatly influence how offender risk and needs are measured and addressed, and system considerations including the extent of planning and collaboration with other government and community organizations that is needed to improve the likelihood that a person will succeed after release from prison and jail. Attention will be given to resource limitations, staff training, and the availability of supports and services within communities.

The webinar will also include brief discussions about:
  • Appropriate cognitive-behavioral treatment interventions that address assessed criminogenic needs;
  • Improving life skills (e.g., financial literacy or interacting with employers and peers in a non-confrontational manner);
  • Addressing basic education and vocational training deficits;
  • Measuring and capitalizing on an individual’s strengths;
  • Ensuring that the transition from living in a prison/jail to the community is as smooth as possible (e.g., How will the individual leave the institution and get to the area he/she will live? Where will he/she go immediately after release? Does the individual have suitable clothing and resources for food and other necessities?);
  • Establishing pro-social “hooks” for a given individual (e.g., mentors, community organizations, employers willing to help the ex-offender avoid falling back on anti-social habits);
  • Attendees can ask the presenter questions about any of these or other related topics in the last 30 minutes of the webinar. 

The presenter for this webinar is Kathleen Gnall, an independent consultant with extensive experience working with criminal justice professionals, policymakers, community and business leaders, social service providers, and members of faith-based and non-profit organizations to enhance public safety while improving individual outcomes. Ms. Gnall spent 17 years with the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PDOC), where she served as executive assistant to the Secretary of Corrections; the Director of Policy, Planning, Research, Evaluation and Grants; and the Deputy Secretary for Specialized Programs and Reentry.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

How to Establish a CERT in Your Jurisdiction

How to Establish a CERT in Your Jurisdiction

By: Demetrius A. Kastros on June 05, 2012

“Have a kit, make a plan, stay informed.” All good advice, but what the national message lacks is an emphasis on the need for every family to have solid emergency skills training. They can get that from a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training course.

CERT training teaches emergency first-aid, basic rescue techniques, assessing a building to determine if it’s safe to enter, basic firefighting, disaster psychology, securing utilities, operating with a team and neighborhood search. CERT-trained citizens learn to work with other CERT members to form a team, go into their neighborhood after a disaster and “do the most good for the most people.”

The basic CERT curriculum is available to anyone. Among the many things the federal government does well is provide a well designed, easy-to-access curriculum for instructing CERT classes in your community. Lesson plans, video clips and PowerPoint slides are all available for easy download at no charge on the Citizen Corps website.

Developing an effective CERT program in a community involves more than simply instructing classes. The initial curriculum takes about 25 to 30 hours and is merely the foundation upon which a CERT Community must be built. Student enthusiasm begins with making the class worth a participant’s time. Minimize classroom lectures — CERT is about learning hands-on emergency skills.

The Team Concept

Because CERT is a team concept, we here in Monterey, Calif., initially form the students into five-member teams. The teams select their own team leaders for each skill practice, such as splinting and bandaging, and rotate the leader position for each segment. Everyone takes turns being a victim and rescuer. A critical disaster function and role for CERT members is to assemble, assess their neighborhood and proceed as a team to perform safe actions without any help or initial support from traditional first responders, such as the fire department. Beginning their basic training with a sense of team operations greatly supports this primary function.

CERT members should be taught to use materials that they find in an average home. Clean linens, diapers, sanitary napkins and a host of other household items make excellent dressings and bandages for wounds. Cardboard boxes can be quickly fashioned into a splint. Blankets can be an effective stretcher to move the injured. Materials in a backyard fence, such as pieces of lumber, make good prying tools to remove debris from a trapped person. A roll of duct tape has countless uses including securing a splint or reinforcing cracked windows.

CERT skills are essential for family members to learn even if they never venture out into their neighborhood to help others.

Once your solid foundation of ongoing basic training is established, you now can build on this foundation to establish your CERT Community. Quarterly drills are very effective in maintaining member skills, enthusiasm and participation. Make those drills realistic and minimize classroom instruction. Monthly email newsletters, Facebook pages and a website are effective, low-cost methods for disseminating new information and maintaining contact. Setting up a website should be neither complicated nor expensive. There’s usually someone in your membership who has the skills to set these things up for your program. In addition, most IT departments in a city or county can provide this setup service.

The Monterey CERT is organized into nine zones or team areas throughout the community. Each zone has a storage container that is solidly anchored to a foundation in the ground. These are somewhat similar in size to a larger portable on-demand metal storage container. Basic inventories include: first-aid supplies, hand tools, pry bars, fire extinguishers, body bags, tarps, generators, stretcher boards (backboards), ropes, yellow isolation tape, water, portable sanitary facilities and a host of other equipment. These storage caches provide an excellent supplement to teams working on extended incidents, examples of which, such as tornadoes in the Midwest, seem to pepper the nightly news.

Each zone has team members from the surrounding neighborhoods. Teams select their own leaders and those leaders have keys to access the storage containers, thus enhancing the independent nature of CERT. The containers also typically serve as the neighborhood staging area for team members during an emergency. 

Under the city disaster plan, one critical role for Monterey CERT members is initial damage assessment reports immediately after an emergency occurs. These reports are made directly from the CERT zones to the city EOC. Since CERT teams live in the neighborhoods, we are ideally suited to this reporting role. Critical to this function is a VHF radio system consisting of handheld radios that are supported by three base stations. The radio system is just now being updated to comply with FCC narrowband requirements. This radio system is a simplex or line of sight system that does not rely on automatic repeaters to boost signals, such as are common to police and fire departments’ radio systems. Because the handheld radios are battery operated, they remain unaffected by the common maladies of a disaster such as power outages and cellphone interruptions. These handheld radios operate with a proprietary battery or AA battery packs. All three CERT base station radios, one of which is in the EOC, are located in buildings with back-up generators. The base radios are all staffed by CERT members to provide continuity with teams in the field.

This radio system allows for more than damage assessment reports. It enables the EOC to remain in direct contact with the various neighborhoods across town, getting constant updates on conditions. The radios also allow efficient tracking of CERT members operating in an area, and they enable teams in the field to instantly request professional assistance, such as from the local fire department, for a situation beyond the role of the CERT. Always remember at every phase of CERT training that an important component of your program must be safety awareness and instructing members about what they can attempt to do and more importantly, what their limits should be. 

If cellphone systems remain operational after an emergency, an effective method for the EOC to assess community conditions is to establish a simple email address to which CERT members in the field can send pictures of damaged buildings from their cellphones and mobile devices.

CERT Radio System

Another essential component of your CERT Community is the ability to contact your team members rapidly, giving them instructions on what the needs are following an occurrence. Not all disasters or community emergencies are as obvious as an earthquake, tornado or hurricane. Monterey CERT teams were activated during the March 2011 tsunami alert following the Japan earthquake. In this instance, after activating the EOC, city officials decided it would be prudent to post personnel in safe areas to warn citizens to remain clear of the beaches. 

Monterey uses a commercially available service, called E-Sponder, to mass call city personnel. E-Sponder is an Internet-based system that allows anyone with access codes to send a message from an Internet capable computer. The sender accesses the service, types a message on the screen similar to an email and then sends that message to a predesignated group stored in the system. The typed message is instantly voice digitized and received by the designated person in the form of a recorded voice message. The messages can be sent to land lines or cellphones, and the recipients simultaneously receive the same message in text and email format. The system allows for storing multiple sub-groups such as EOC personnel, fire department members, CERT members, etc. The sender can transmit an all-call message or select one or more sub-groups for notification. Hundreds of personnel can be contacted through the calling system at the same time.

During the West Coast Tsunami alert, Monterey CERT team members were directed to a single staging area using E-Sponder. At 5 a.m. that morning within 30 minutes we fielded a group larger than twice the size of the on-duty fire department. Teams were then organized, given a radio and sent to seven locations above the shorelines. Team members gave tsunami warnings to dozens of unknowing people who were approaching the beaches. Using the CERT radio system, close contact was maintained with the teams in the field. Members were kept advised of the estimated arrival time of the tidal surge. The Monterey Marina rose three feet at the anticipated time, but there was no significant damage. Santa Cruz, Calif., is across the bay, about 15 miles straight line from Monterey. A visible tsunami hit the small Santa Cruz harbor, causing $25 million in damage to moorings and boats. This from an earthquake that occurred 5,000 miles away!

Our CERT team members know that if all forms of communication fail during a disaster, they presume that a call-out of CERT members occurred and report to their neighborhood staging area to assemble as a team. CERT members are taught to care for their family and immediate neighbors first and then report to staging. Members are discouraged from conducting independent actions beyond their immediate family and neighbors.

Monterey CERT instruction is done entirely by volunteers. We receive minimal funding from the city for trademark helmets and vests. Some money is also provided for training tools and equipment. There is a separate 501(c) nonprofit group that obtains charitable donations that can be transferred to the program.

Having a CERT Community in your jurisdiction is an essential element of any disaster plan.

Demetrius A. Kastros is a retired, career member of the California Fire Service. He is the lead instructor for the Monterey, Calif., CERT program and lives in that city. He can be reached

Countdown to November......REGISTER TO VOTE

  • United States Election Assistance Comittee

Register to Vote!

Use the National Mail Voter Registration Form to register to vote, update your registration information with a new name or address, or register with a political party.

Note: If you wish to vote absentee and are a uniformed service member or family member or a citizen living outside the U.S., contact the Federal Voting Assistance Program to register to vote.

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and Updates

Sign up to receive information about EAC activities including public meetings, webcasts, reports and grants.

Give Us Your Feedback

Share your feedback on EAC policy proposalsElection Resource Library materials, and OpenEAC activities. Give feedback on general issues, including the Web site, through our Contact Us page.

Military and Overseas Voters

EAC has several projects under way to assist states in serving military and overseas citizens who register and vote absentee under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act. Learn more

Register to Vote

The National Mail Voter Registration Form can be used to register U.S. citizens to vote, to update registration information due to a change of name, make a change of address or to register with a political party. Note: After filling out this form, you must send it to a state or local election office for processing. See state-specific instructions included in the form for additional information.
The national form also contains voter registration rules and regulations for each state and territory. For more information about registering to vote, contact your state election office. Also, read our frequently asked questions about moving and registering to vote and using the National Mail Voter Registration form.
Download the Forms
National Voter Registration Act
Every two years, EAC reports to Congress on the impact of National Voter Registration Act on the administration of Federal elections and provides information to states on their responsibilities under that law. Read NVRA Studies and Commission decisions regarding the NVRA.

PDF documents require Adobe Reader, available for free through Adobe.

As of February 8, 2012, Michigan has requested a change to their state instructions. EAC has not yet approved this request.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Webinar: SBA Disaster Assistance

U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA)   Disaster Assistance
for Homeowners, Renters, and Businesses of all Sizes

June 27, 2012 -- 12:00 Noon Eastern is pleased to host a one hour presentation and interactive discussion Wednesday, June 27, 2012, beginning at 12:00 Noon Eastern time (please convert to your local time). Our topic will be the services that are provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration in the aftermath of a declared disaster, including low interest loans to businesses and individuals to repair or replace real estate, personal property, machinery and equipment, inventory and business assets that have been damaged or destroyed.

Our guests will include Kevin Wynne, Public Information Officer with the SBA's Disaster Assistance Office in Sacramento, CA since 2006. When disasters strike, Kevin travels to impacted communities to explain the SBA Disaster Loan Program and helps disaster victim's access and obtain long-term recovery assistance. Mr. Wynne joined the SBA just weeks after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck the Gulf Coast serving in the Loan Processing Department where he underwrote hundreds of disaster loan applications.

Also joining us is Mary "Kathy" Cook, Public Affairs Specialist with the SBA's Disaster Assistance Office in Atlanta, GA, where she is proactive in providing information on the Disaster Recovery Program as well as responding to inquiries from the media, government officials, and the public. Her experience with SBA exceeds 20 years during which time she served victims of some of the most devastating disasters including Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Andrew, the Mid-West Floods, and the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001.

Please make plans to join us, and see the Background Page for links to related resources and participant Instructions. On the day of the program, use the Webinar Login link not more than 30 minutes before the scheduled time. The password is attend. As always, please feel free to extend this invitation to your colleagues.

 EIIP and Jacksonville State University are now partnering to offer CEUs for attending Webinars.  See for details.

Is your organization interested in becoming an EIIP Partner? Click here to review our Mission, Vision, and Guiding Principles and access the Memorandum of Partnership.

DHHS. PTSD an on-going awareness, not just one month.

Statement by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recognizing Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month

Cross-posted from HHS News: Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects 1 in 29 Americans, from our country’s service men and women to abused children and survivors of rape, domestic violence and natural disasters.  During PTSD Awareness Month in June, and throughout the year, we recognize the millions of Americans who experience this challenging and debilitating condition.
PTSD is an anxiety disorder that some people develop after seeing or living through an event that caused or threatened serious harm or death. PTSD may result in sleep problems, irritability, anger, recurrent dreams about the trauma, intense reactions to reminders of the trauma, disturbances in relationships, and isolation. Some people may recover a few months after the event, but for others it may take years.  For some, PTSD may begin long after the events occur.
PTSD can be treated. Effective treatments are available, such as exposure therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and approved medications.  Many people with PTSD also benefit from peer support.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), along with the Departments of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Defense (DOD), are supporting new research to reveal the underlying causes of PTSD and related conditions, develop better tools to identify those at highest risk of developing the disorder, and develop new and better treatments and preventive interventions. As part of the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform law, HHS is partnering with DOD and the VA to share our best ideas on how to improve the quality of health care for veterans and all Americans.
If you think that you or someone you know has PTSD, you are not alone. There is help available. Talk with a caring VA counselor by calling 1-800-273-8255 (press “1”) or visiting the online VA Chat at Exit disclaimer icon.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) also offer a variety of resources designed to help people who suffer from PTSD, as well as aid their families and friends in better understanding and dealing with trauma’s aftermath. These resources include:
Additionally, a list of military family resources can be found through the following:
During PTSD Awareness Month and on PTSD Awareness Day, June 27, 2012, we focus national attention on this debilitating condition and renew our commitment to support research, education, and treatment for those living with PTSD, as well as for their friends and families.
We have a responsibility to help Americans who have lived through trauma, especially our nation’s service men and women who may be struggling with PTSD.  We owe them the care and resources they need to get well.

Dept. of Veterans Affairs. VRAP

Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP)

Congress passed, and the President has signed into law, the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011. Included in this new law is the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP). VRAP offers up to 12 months of training assistance to unemployed Veterans. The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) and the Department of Labor (DOL) are working together to roll out this new program on July 1, 2012.
The VRAP offers 12 months of training assistance to Veterans who:
  • Are at least 35 but no more than 60 years old
  • Are unemployed on the date of application
  • Received an other than dishonorable discharge
  • Are not be eligible for any other VA education benefit program (e.g.: the Post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Assistance)
  • Are not in receipt of VA compensation due to unemployability
  • Are not enrolled in a federal or state job training program
The program is limited to 45,000 participants from July 1, 2012, through September 30, 2012, and 54,000 participants from October 1, 2012, through March 31, 2014. Participants may receive up to 12 months of assistance equal to the monthly full-time payment rate under the Montgomery GI Bill–Active Duty program (currently $1,473 per month). DOL will offer employment assistance to every Veteran who participates upon completion of the program.

Participants must be enrolled in a VA approved program of education offered by a community college or technical school. The program must lead to an Associate Degree, Non-College Degree, or a Certificate, and train the Veteran for a high demand occupation.

High Demand Jobs

VRAP will provide training for programs of education that lead to a high demand occupation, as determined by the Department of Labor. Click here to see a listing of high demand occupations.

VRAP Applications Are Open

We are accepting VRAP applications now. Please visit eBenefits to apply. Remember, to complete the application, you will need to know your direct deposit information (bank routing number and account number), the name and location of your school, the program you wish to pursue, and the applicable high demand occupation.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Detection of Gladiolus Rust (Uromyces transversalis) in Manatee County, Florida

                                                                                       FOR INFORMATION AND ACTION 
                                                                                       June 18, 2012

SUBJECT:  Detection of Gladiolus Rust (Uromyces transversalis) in Manatee County, Florida


On May 11, 2012, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Plant Industry (DPI) notified the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the detection and confirmation of gladiolus rust (GR) on gladiolus plants located on a commercial farm in Manatee County, Florida.  GR infestations were previously detected at the same farm in 2006, and again in 2010 and 2011.  Since then, APHIS and Florida DPI have been working together to mitigate GR infestations at this farm.

In response to the current detection, APHIS issued an Emergency Action Notification on May 14, establishing requirements for interstate movement of gladiolus stems from the GR-positive farm.  Specifically, all leaf material must be removed from the stems and the stems must be completely immersed in a fungicide solution following the manufacturer's recommended concentration and duration of treatment.  In addition, APHIS must inspect and certify that all stems are free of GR prior to interstate movement.  A list of customers purchasing gladiolus from this farm was acquired and forwarded to stakeholders so they can assess the risk and need for follow-up.  These actions are necessary to mitigate the spread of GR to other areas of the United States and into Canada.

For the United States, GR is a quarantine pest that infects members of the plant family, Iridaceae, including potted/cut-flower varieties of Gladiolus spp., Tritonia spp., Crocosmia spp., and Watsonia spp.  This rust is indigenous to eastern and southern Africa and has been reported in Morocco, southern Europe, Martinique, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica, and Mexico.  GR can cause severe losses of commercial host crops in all but the coldest and hottest areas of climate zones 7-12, if best management practices are not used.

For additional information regarding this program, you may contact Lynn Evans-Goldner, APHIS National Program Manager, at (301) 851-2286, or Robert Balaam, APHIS Regional Program Manager, at (305) 278-4872.

/s/ Osama El-Lissy for

Rebecca A. Bech
Deputy Administrator
Plant Protection and Quarantine

Saturday, June 16, 2012

National Community Exercises....June 30, July 28, August 25th

Formidable Footprint Tabletop Exercise
The series of Formidable Footprint exercises for neighborhood, community and faith based organizations continues.

June 30 – Tornado / July 28 – Pandemic / August 25 – Hurricane

Exercises have also been scheduled for the following scenarios:

The Formidable Footprint exercise series has been developed in accordance with Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) protocols. The objective of the exercise series is for CERTs, Neighborhood Watch Programs, Neighborhood Associations, Community / Faith Based Organizations, Citizen Corps, Fire Corps and others to work as a team to become better prepared for the next disaster their community may face.

There is NO CHARGE for participation in any of the Formidable Footprint exercises.

For additional information or to register for up-coming exercises please access the following web site today:

Stay informed regarding future exercises by joining the Formidable Footprint LinkedIn Group.

Please Share This Important Disaster Exercise Opportunity With Others


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