IT’S A DISASTER! e-news Jun 2011
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This month's topics:
Many communities have suffered major devastation from spring floods, tornadoes and wildfires, and now hurricane season is here so unfortunately there is more mayhem to come.
During the response phase of any major disaster, people must keep in mind First Responders will do everything in their power to help those in need, but it may take hours, days or possibly even weeks before the cavalry arrives.
In addition to locating survivors and the wounded, officials’ primary objective is to get utilities up and running, roads cleared, and confirm structural integrity of commercial and personal properties as quickly as possible. The partnerships and coordination of government, faith-based organizations and the private sector will also help alleviate some of the stress for citizens and businesses during the recovery mode.
Governors and mayors have the option to declare a state of emergency before, during or after an event which basically allows access to emergency funds to help with response and recovery efforts. If an incident is widespread, local, state and federal officials will begin assessing the damage to determine if a federal disaster declaration request will be submitted.
Quite often survivors get frustrated with delays and red tape, but there is a process officials must go through to seek Federal assistance. For example, the following explanation of “the process for individual assistance” appeared in a recent Indiana Department of Homeland Security press release and we presume most state offices deal with these same steps…
- An emergency or disaster incident occurs.
- Local emergency and public safety personnel, volunteers, humanitarian organizations and other private groups provide emergency assistance.
- A local disaster or emergency is declared.
- Preliminary damage and impact information is reported to IDHS (or state office) by citizens and local emergency management entities.
- IDHS (state) determines whether to request joint preliminary damage assessments be conducted by federal, state and local officials.
- Personnel from FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration are deployed and join state and local representatives to conduct joint damage assessments.
- IDHS (state) provides the findings of the joint damage assessments to the Governor's Office.
- Based on the magnitude and scope of the disaster, and results of the preliminary damage assessment, the Governor will determine whether to declare a state of disaster or emergency.
- If a state of disaster emergency is declared, and if the Governor determines the extent of damage indicates full recovery is beyond the capabilities of the state and local governments, the Governor submits a written request to the President asking that federal assistance be provided under a major disaster or emergency declaration.
- FEMA reviews the request and findings of the joint damage assessments and advises the President whether a disaster or emergency declaration should be granted.
- Federal assistance is granted or denied.
- If FEMA Individual Assistance is granted, SBA loans will also be available. If FEMA Individual Assistance is denied, the Governor may file a supplementary request for SBA assistance.
Now… here’s the kicker. According to FEMA, less than 10% of all weather emergencies in the U.S. are actually declared. But during the above process, impacted communities and victims will be helped by many organizations and agencies including FEMA.
FEMA suggests survivors do the following steps to receive assistance:
First, call your insurance agent. Insurance usually provides the largest amount of repair or rebuilding funding for many survivors.
Second, apply for disaster assistance with FEMA. This starts the process for federal assistance that you may be eligible for, such as temporary housing and home repairs. Renters also need to apply. If they are eligible, money is available for their personal property losses.
Ways to register for disaster assistance:
- By phone, call 800-621-FEMA (3362) from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., local time. Operators are multilingual. For the speech or hearing impaired, the number is TTY 800-462-7585.
- By visiting a disaster recovery center. Survivors can find the closest center by using the online disaster recovery center locator at go.usa.gov/CDc
- By smartphone or tablet, go to m.fema.gov
- By computer, go online to www.DisasterAssistance.gov
Learn more about disaster assistance at www.fema.gov/assistance/index.shtm
Also .. Farmers can view and use the US Dept. of Agriculture disaster assistance programs online at www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=DISASTER_ASSISTANCE
If denied Assistance but have damage:
Sometimes victims receive denial letters from FEMA stating there was insufficient or no damage yet homes were partially or completely destroyed, as in some recent Alabama cases. FEMA officials encourage those who believe they were wrongly declared “ineligible” to file for an appeal through a local disaster recovery center.
A recent study of Alabama claims revealed few disaster victims follow through after receiving a denial letter. It showed less than 1% of the 25,081 applicants initially declared ineligible for any reason had appealed, leaving the potential for millions of dollars in federal aid to go unclaimed. An applicant has 60 days from the date of the determination letter to appeal.
Some DOs and DON’Ts for the rest of us:
The images of disasters pull on people’s heartstrings causing those outside of the impacted area to want to do something to help. However, those good intentions can create nightmare scenarios for officials, volunteers and victims.
The best thing you CAN do…
- Donate money to a recognized voluntary agency since it is the single best way to help disaster survivors. Cash doesn't need to be sorted, stored or distributed, and it allows the voluntary agency to use the donation towards the needs that most urgently need addressing. The funds can also help stimulate the local economy.
- If you need help in determining who to give to, National Voluntary Organization Active in Disaster website has a list of major nonprofits active in disaster work at www.nvoad.org … or visit the National Donations Management Network
- Learn what to say (and not say) to victims of disaster. Check out “Loss: What to Say After the Flood, Earthquake, or Disaster from Grief Expert Aurora Winter” on PRnewswire
Some things you DON’T want to do…
- Don’t show up unannounced with unsolicited goods (things like clothing, miscellaneous household items, mixed or perishable foodstuffs, diapers, etc). Critical resources will be redirected from the important work of response and relief to managing what often becomes a crush of unneeded donated items.
- Always work with a relief agency to confirm what items are needed. Do not begin collecting, packing or shipping until you have a known recipient who will accept the donation.
- Don’t drive down to a disaster site to gawk. People who go into areas to see the destruction make it harder for everyone working to clean it up and for the people who live there.
For information on other ways to help go to: www.fema.gov/rebuild/recover/howtohelp
From time to time we receive amazing letters from customers and we got permission from Joyce to share this one since her group had some great ideas for their Disaster Preparedness training session.
“I just wanted to let you know we had an excellent presentation of Disaster Preparedness last week Saturday. Our principle presenter was Cheryl Schmidt, PHD nursing professor at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. She is also a disaster coordinator for the AR Red Cross. She actually touched on most of the other 5 topics, but it lent validity to what the other presenters said. We had men from the gas, electric and water utilities speak, as well as firemen. The attached Registration sheet shows what our 6 sessions covered.
We local presenters all worked from the It’s A Disaster book, and directed the audience to the appropriate sections. That way, the book would be for each the prime reference. We were “pumped” by the end of the day. Even my husband, who is a retired military pilot and macho man said, “That was really informative - good job.” Whew! Strong support from a skeptic!
We had door prizes of 5 gallon containers with strong lids, a 45 gallon hinged lid container for storage of food and water in the safe room, first aid kits, a steel whistle, flashlights, and muslin cloths to make a sling. We’re offering to each participant the opportunity to bring their important documents to be scanned on to a flash drive for back-up.
I found your book quite by accident, on the table at our Head Start office, under the cover of the Catholic Diocese of Little Rock. I am ever so grateful for that “chance find,” and we all appreciate the book as our reference in disasters and for disaster planning. We hope to take this presentation “on the road,” so to speak. Thank you again for such a wonderful reference!
Joyce Moore, RNP
VP, Hope Lutheran Women’s Missionary League
p.s. Office Depot donated the 3 ring binders and page dividers, as well as several reams of paper, so in turn; we bought 10 of their 4-GB flash drives at $8 apiece. Lowes donated 22 of the 5-gallon containers and lids.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~NEED BOOKS FOR NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS MONTH?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We recently learned about this organization and wanted to share it in case this service could help you or your family, friends or church family.
Formidable Footprint - A National Neighborhood Exercise Series - Members of CERTs, Neighborhood Associations, Faith-based groups and local Citizen Corps can join the Formidable Footprint tabletop exercise on Hurricanes on Sat Jun 25, 2011 from 9:00AM - 4:00PM EDT. Note: It is only a 3-hour exercise so your group can be scheduled within the 9a-4p timeline as needed. For more information and to register for the 2011 exercises visit www.formidablefootprint.org
Also... join Depiction on Thursday, Jun 23 for the required pre-exercise webinar where valuable information and guidelines regarding exercise participation will be provided. http://depiction.com/webinars/formidable-footprint-jun
Teen CERT Member Saves Elderly Woman from Fire - A 13-year-old girl who received CERT training through her Girl Scout troop in Missouri saved an elderly woman from a fire in her home in April 2011. Alexis Becker, a Cadette Girl Scout and St. Charles County Teen CERT member, was at home playing outside when she heard screams. Alexis followed the sound of the screaming to the home of an elderly neighbor. She didn't know the neighbor but noticed signs of fire coming from the house, so she convinced the woman to leave her home. The fire started when the woman mistakenly put an electric crockpot on her stove's heating element. Source: CERT in Action! newsletter https://www.citizencorps.gov/cert/certinaction/stcharles-mo.shtm
Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests’ photostream on flickr has pages and pages of incredible photos of Arizona’s Wallow Fire. (On a personal note, speaking as Arizonans we are SO grateful for the thousands of firefighters working the lines to try to contain this beast … and the other fires in our state. God bless you all.) http://www.flickr.com/photos/apachesitgreavesnf
... when asked about the Wallow Fire that exploded in Eastern Arizona, Scott Spliess of USFS Verde Ranger District responded … “the winds lifting that smoke will reach speeds of 100 miles an hour, sucking up embers the size of logs and throwing them two, three even four miles out in front of the fire. What goes up must come down. And that's what happened last night. The column of smoke and ash collapsed on itself and sent fire in every direction. …". Source: Verde Independent
...ash from a volcano in Chile's Puyehue-Cordon Caulle chain that erupted on June 4 after decades lying dormant has forced the sporadic cancellation of hundreds of flights? This chain of about 2,000 volcanoes is the world's second-largest after Indonesia. Some 50 to 60 are on record as having erupted, and 500 are potentially active. Source: NewsDaily … also … check out some incredible volcanic ash plume and lightning photos here
…about a dozen disaster-relief workers from governments and nonprofit organizations convened for a five-hour meeting at Facebook's offices in Palo Alto and via teleconference from Washington?! Discussions helped both sides learn from each other about what is working well on Facebook and what isn't regarding response and relief efforts, education and more. Source: CNN
The 303 Plan calls for a simple and easy to understand plan exercise, even making it a fun family activity in four easy steps. The 303 Plan is a schedule which takes place on the 2nd Wednesday of January, April, July, and October of every year, and it means spending 30 minutes, every 3 months with your family. The main reason for this is to prepare both organizations, and families to help themselves in the initial 24 hours after a disaster takes place. Having an Emergency safety plan in place prior to an incident for The First 24 Hrs. can mean the difference between life or death, health or sickness, security or chaos. With an effective exercised 303 plan in place, you are better prepared to be you own disaster first responders, helping to increase your survival chances until official help arrives. www.the303plan.com
The 2011 Survival & Preparedness Conference held in Dallas last month was a tremendous success! Now the organizers have launched a free online Exhibit Hall for everyone, plus 20 hours of “Virtual Conference” videos from the presenters are now available at a special price if you register before 24-Jun-2011. Once registered you get instant access to the videos. http://survivalist.com/go/fedhealth
BARKCODE® Pet ID Tags can be read using a free downloadable app to a smart phone or by accessing a unique website address that provides a direct link to the pet’s BARKCODE® personal profile. With BARKCODE®, there is no third party to contact nor is it necessary to take a lost pet to a veterinarian or animal shelter to read a microchip. BARKCODE® tags come in four sizes to fit all pets: large, medium, small and the Itty Bitty Pocket Tag for miniature dogs and all cats. www.BARKCODE.com
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p.s. If you know an agency, nonprofit, school, church, Scout troop, or volunteer group (like a CERT, MRC, Radio Club, Rotary, etc) who could benefit from our preparedness book and/or funding ideas, please have them call 1-888-999-4325 or email us for a FREE information kit!
Stay safe out there, j & B
Bill & Janet Liebsch
7739 E Broadway Blvd # 416
Tucson, AZ 85710-3947 USA
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