Post by Howard Pierpont, International Association for Disaster Preparedness and Response
Disasters happen all the time. The Federal government declares on average one disaster per week. The reality is most disasters do not have national focus. Often an issue can be localized to a community, a neighborhood, or a single facility. Every disaster is personal when it occurs inside your organization. A ruptured pipe, overflowing faucet, wide temperature fluctuations, and external factors can impact the organization.
Recently, I was invited to participate in a day-long, interactive workshop in Caguas, Puerto Rico, to teach how to successfully engage small businesses so they are better prepared for future disasters and crises. The hands-on workshop covered the basics of how to deliver business continuity training to the local community. The audience included commercial as well as not-for-profit organizations.
I invite you to review the presentations included here.
Additional websites with great reference material include:
• Open For Business
• US Small Business Administration (SBA), which also act as one of the financial clearinghouses for FEMA
• Prepare My Business.org, a sponsored website from the SBA
• The Ready Rating program from the American Red Cross
• Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, funded by insurance companies
• The Voluntary Private Sector Preparedness Program – PS-Prep™ & Small Business Preparedness (last updated 8/6/2014)
• FEMA Program Resources (last updated 8/7/2014)
Feel free to contact me with any questions you might have.
Board Chair, DERA, International Association for Disaster Preparedness and Response
The 2014 National Preparedness Month theme is: “Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare.” NPM will culminate with National PrepareAthon! Day on September 30. Throughout the month of September, the NPM website will offer valuable preparedness information to raise awareness about disasters and encourage participation on the last day of the campaign on National PrepareAthon! Day. Here are some of the resources available on the NPM website to help you get started:
The US Small Business Administration (SBA) is hosting a series of free webinars as part of National Preparedness Month. The half-hour webinars will be presented at 2 pm Eastern each Wednesday in September. The first, Crisis Communication for Any Organization, will be held on September 3.
Visit http://snurl.com/296yw4e to register and learn more about the webinars.
In the aftermath of Sunday’s Napa Valley earthquake, California’s State Heritage Emergency Partnership is functioning just as it should: the state cultural agencies are communicating, collaborating, and coordinating with each other and with the state Office of Emergency Management to ascertain damage to cultural institutions and historic sites and properties. Additional information will be shared as it becomes available.
Although the magnitude 6.0 earthquake highlights California’s inescapable susceptibility to earthquakes, it’s important to remember that all 50 states and five US territories are at some risk for earthquakes. As a no-notice event (unlike a hurricane, for which there is advance notice), the best planning entails mitigation. FEMA has a number of resources to help organizations:
QuakeSmart is a FEMA National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) initiative to help businesses in at-risk earthquake communities implement earthquake mitigation actions. The QuakeSmart Toolkit (FEMA P-811) is available online.
Earthquake Safety at Work provides information on what businesses and organizations can do before, during, and after an earthquake. The activities described all fall under the preparedness umbrella.
The Directory of FEMA Earthquake Partners, updated in May 2014, provides contact information for more than 300 organizations and individuals involved in earthquake mitigation at the federal and state levels and in the non-governmental sector.
And if you’re still not convinced that earthquake mitigation works, watch the six-minute video Earthquake Mitigation Saves Lives. Hoyt Fields of Hearst Castle, the historic house museum and California State Park, and Jim Saunders, owner of a historic building in Paso Robles, CA, describe the earthquake mitigation activities they have undertaken to protect and preserve history.
Residents, emergency managers and tourists in Washington and Oregon have a new tool to help with tsunami preparedness. TsunamiEvac-NW is a new smartphone app that shows users:
• Evacuation zones where they live, work, or go to school;
• Helps people plan evacuation routes; and
• Maps important locations, buildings, and landmarks nearby.
The website and app both report active warnings and watches, provide information tsunami on signs, and explain evacuation and sheltering best practices. There are also printable community brochures available that:
• Map the local coastline;
• Explain the difference between distant and local tsunamis; and
• Provide instructions on what to do and what not to do, among other useful features.
It also displays the locations of fire departments, hospitals, tsunami warning sirens and assembly areas for evacuation. Users may switch between different views (road, satellite, terrain, etc.) and use the app’s tools to develop their own family emergency plan and kit.
This app is available for both iPhone and Android users for free. Download it today!
The U.S. Geological Survey released their updated National Seismic Hazard Maps, showing 42 of the lower 48 states have a reasonable chance of facing damage from ground shaking in the next 50 years. Last updated 6 years ago, these new maps were developed with new ground motion models and compare changes between the 2008 maps and the 2014 ones.
The highest risk is on the west coast, intermountain west, and several clusters in the central and eastern United States. That really hasn’t changed since the 2008 map; instead, the potential severity and strength of earthquakes was upgraded for those areas based on new data. For example, risk was upgraded in the eastern United States and the New Madrid Zone based in part on recent earthquakes there.
The Pacific Northwest’s risk was upgraded due to similarities between its seismic hazards and those of Japan and Chile, both of which experienced very strong earthquakes in the past several years. New faults recently discovered in parts of California lead to increased hazard estimates there.
The report is essential for anyone involved in risk analysis, earthquake resistant construction and engineering, building codes, or emergency preparedness planning.
Cultural organizations around the state will soon have the opportunity to have trained facilitators help manage the process of creating a disaster plan for their institutions, thanks to a recent grant awarded to the Maine State Museum from Jane’s Trust. The project will include two rounds of facilitated planning, from September –December and again from February–May.
The Maine State Museum has long recognized that disaster planning is a bit of administrative housekeeping that cultural organizations all too frequently put off until disaster strikes, and a year ago it took the lead in helping address this situation by forming the Cultural Emergency Resource Coalition (CERC: Maine). CERC is a collaborative effort with the Maine Emergency Management Agency and several cultural agencies and conservators, including the Maine State Library, the Maine State Archives, the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, and the association Maine Archives and Museums. In its first year CERC focused on surveying Maine’s cultural community to evaluate the state of disaster planning, developing three levels of disaster planning benchmarks and resources to help streamline disaster planning for institutions of various sizes and complexity, and sponsoring disaster planning workshops.
With the Pejepscot Historical Society agreeing to act as a beta site, CERC is developing a facilitation guide that outlines, meeting by meeting, the process for a cultural organization to develop a solid disaster plan that meets the identified benchmarks. CERC is also working with FEMA to schedule a FEMA Corps team in Maine. After receiving training in using the guide and in issues facing cultural organizations, the team will go into the field and work directly with several of Maine’s libraries, museums, town offices, archives and other collecting institutions, helping them develop disaster plans.
Organizations interested in participating in the program may apply online through the CERC website (under the Write Your Own Disaster Plan tab). Participants will be selected to represent a broad range of institutional sizes, geographical locations, collections types, and building construction. For more information about this project, visit the CERC website or contact Ellen Dyer, CERC: Maine Coordinator, at CERC.Maine@gmail.com or (207) 287-6696.
As emergency planning systems have grown more sophisticated, museums, libraries, and historic sites are challenged to develop effective responses to large disasters. A session at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH) will discuss the importance of forming networks for response and training, provide tips for starting new networks, and offer suggestions for fostering relationships with emergency management personnel.
The panel session will feature presenters Dyani Feige of the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (CCAHA), who will moderate the session and discuss the Pennsylvania Cultural Resilience Network (PaCRN); LeRae Umfleet, Office of Archives and History, North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, who will talk about North Carolina’s Cultural Resources Emergency Support Team (CREST); Pat Young, Disaster Research Center, University of Delaware, and current chair of the Delaware Disaster Assistance Team (DDAT), who will discuss DDAT’s formation and structure as well as lessons learned along its six-year history; and Kathy Craughwell-Varda, Project Director of Conservation ConneCTion, Connecticut State Library, who will discuss their accomplishments, which include increasing awareness of the need for all cultural heritage institutions to be disaster ready and laying the foundation for mutual aid.
Some of the panelists participated in the Philadelphia State Heritage Emergency Partnership forum in 2013. The AASLH Annual Meeting will be held September 17–20, 2014, in St. Paul, Minnesota. Early bird registration for the meeting ends July 25.