Are You Prepared for 2015?

Now is an excellent time to take stock of your preparedness measures and explore new tools to supplement your existing emergency planning. FEMA has launched a new mobile site, increasing functionality on the move. Access to a desktop is frequently limited during a disaster and FEMA’s push to go mobile is augmented by other resources, like data.disasters.gov, which is a portal for disaster-related datasets and tools for innovative preparedness activities. FEMA has compiled a list of apps and other tools that provide disaster support on the cutting edge of technology. Ready.gov is launching a new campaign, Resolve to be Ready, which includes a series of social media–ready activities and tools. Start off the New Year right and be prepared for anything in 2015.

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Asian Art Museum Proactively Addresses Earthquake Concerns  

In preparation for a three-month exhibit, “Roads of Arabia,” which would prominently feature 8-foot-tall Arabian sandstone colossi, the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco sought new ways to protect the statues. While the museum itself is equipped with a number of features, including base isolators, to prevent earthquakes from damaging the collections, the scale of the colossi presented a challenge to traditional means of reducing risks. By using a system of thin, sliding plates concealed within the display podium, the museum hopes that in the event of an earthquake the colossi would be able to safely move, independent of the building structure, and remain upright. The system was designed by EQX Global and museum staff will be working with researchers from UC San Diego to measure any potential seismic activity and its effect on the colossi. Not only could the steps taken by the museum preserve these two artifacts, but if proven successful, the technology could be applied to other large collection items to protect them from earthquakes.

To read more about the exhibit and the Asian Art Museum’s disaster preparedness steps, click here. To read more about earthquake preparedness, see previous SHEP posts here.

Climate Change Toolkit Offers Insight into Potential Hazards

Climate change is resulting in unpredictable and severe weather. In addition to increased risk of wildfires and drought, sea level rise will affect millions. The U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit provides information on how to prepare for and mitigate the potential hazards of climate change. The toolkit includes planning assistance, case studies, and links to training opportunities. The Climate Explorer tool shows areas of climate change impact and stresses, along with a discussion of how different regions might be impacted. Just as we look to the historical record to evaluate the hazards that may affect our institutions and organizations, the Climate Resilience Toolkit gives us an opportunity to discover future hazards. Embrace a “climate-smart approach” and make sure you’re prepared for the challenges that climate change may bring to your community. For an overview of the contents of the Toolkit, a one-page flyer is available here to share, or view the Toolkit online here.

Participate in EMI’s Earthquake Focus Virtual Tabletop Exercise (VTTX)

FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute (EMI) is offering a four-hour Earthquake Focus Virtual Tabletop Exercises (VTTX) in January. The VTTX involves key personnel discussing simulated scenarios in an informal setting and can be used to assess plans, policies, training, and procedures. This exercise will provide an excellent opportunity for cultural agencies to engage with their EMA (and vice versa) to further customize the scenario to include cultural and historic resources. All 50 states and 5 US territories are at some risk for earthquakes. How prepared is your state to respond?

The VTTX differs from other tabletop exercises in that it is conducted using Video-Teleconference (VTC) technology (not web-based), and is intended to provide an opportunity for responders across the nation to participate simultaneously in a hazard-specific facilitated discussion. Lead facilitation for the exercise will be coordinated by EMI, with local facilitation provided by the participating EMA. This is a great opportunity to prepare for a potentially devastating earthquake.

Click here for more information. The deadline for your EMA to apply to participate in the exercise is December 22, 2014.

Participate in EMI’s Winter Storm Virtual Tabletop Exercise (VTTX)

FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute (EMI) is offering a four-hour Winter Storm Virtual Tabletop Exercises (VTTX) in November. The VTTX involves key personnel discussing simulated scenarios in an informal setting and can be used to assess plans, policies, training, and procedures. This exercise will provide an excellent opportunity for cultural agencies to engage with their EMA (and vice versa) to further customize the scenario to include cultural and historic resources.

The VTTX differs from other tabletop exercises in that it is conducted using Video-Teleconference (VTC) technology (not web-based), and is intended to provide an opportunity for responders across the nation to participate simultaneously in a hazard-specific facilitated discussion. Lead facilitation for the exercise will be coordinated by EMI, with local facilitation provided by the participating EMA. This is a great opportunity to prepare for potentially disastrous winter weather.

This format will allow the common delivery of exercise materials, scenarios, modules, and discussion questions among those participating in the exercise.

Click here for more information, but don’t delay. The deadline for your EMA to apply to participate in the exercise is November 3, 2014.

Join in the Great ShakeOut on October 16

During National Preparedness Month, we hope you took the opportunity to prepare for possible disaster events in your community and region. If your region is susceptible to earthquakes – and most regions are – now is the time to put your plans to the test! You are invited to join in the Great ShakeOut, an annual event that promotes earthquake preparedness and organizes the “world’s biggest earthquake drill.” At 10:16 am on October 16, participants will “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” for at least one minute. FEMA encourages schools, childcare facilities, families, colleges, local, state, and federal government offices, tribal organizations, businesses, hotels, healthcare facilities, museums, libraries, other cultural institutions, and all individuals to participate. As of October 3, over 23,049,339 participants have registered. Promote earthquake preparedness in organizations and communities you are a part of by joining in.

Many resources are available to help you plan your participation and share valuable information about what to do in the event of an earthquake. If you choose to lead a drill, the Great ShakeOut provides manuals and tips for many different scenarios. If you are looking for information to share on what to do during and before an earthquake, FEMA has created a short video, “When The Earth Shakes,” which provides key information in an accessible format. For more information, see previous posts about earthquake preparedness and mitigation, and increase your knowledge about the risk of earthquakes in your region.

September is National Preparedness Month

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.

Delaware Disaster Assistance Team (DDAT) Hosts Program on Mental Health and Disasters

Susan Duhl, private conservator and AIC CERT member, and Faye Rosenbaum, General Manager of the Martha Graham Center for Contemporary Dance, presented a program to DDAT members as part of the Spring 2014 gathering on May 21 at Hagley Library in Wilmington, Delaware.  Susan discussed the theoretical and practical issues relating to stress and mental health that can arise among responding staff members during and following disaster situations, while Faye reflected on her experience and that of the Martha Graham Center’s staff during their response to and recovery from Superstorm Sandy.

Although DDAT programs have addressed a broad range of mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery topics in the past such as creating a disaster plan, working with first responders, triaging impacted collections, and developing wet material recovery skills, this was the group’s first time addressing and considering the topic of mental health needs that often manifest in the wake of a hurricane, tornado, flood, or other disaster.

It was particularly interesting and useful to reflect on the more unique situations that can develop when the collections impacted belong to a performing arts organization such as the Martha Graham Center.  Because the collections themselves serve a different role within the organization than those of a museum, library, or historical society, the response and recovery process differed and created challenges with regard to triage, communication with response and recovery professionals, etc.

This program served as an outstanding starting point to address a vitally important topic and DDAT looks forward to continuing this discussion moving forward as we work together to support one another in strengthening our disaster preparedness skills.  For more information on the program, please contact Pat Young, DDAT Chair, at pyoung@udel.edu.

The Supercharged Management System: Applying the Incident Command System in Cultural Repositories

A Webinar and Live Chat Event

Take part in this free webinar on Thursday, April 17, at 1:00 p.m. (Eastern). We encourage you to share the event announcement with your constituents.

Every cultural repository needs two management structures: the day-to-day, business-as-usual hierarchy, and a “supercharged” management structure that takes over temporarily during a crisis or whenever events threaten to overwhelm normal business routines. Emergency responders have used just such a supercharged structure for years: the Incident Command System (ICS). Whether you are preparing for fires and floods—or planning a major public event—the Incident Command System is a proven management tool that safeguards lives, property, and priceless collections. Learn how to put it to use at your organization!

Follow this link to access the webinar. You do not need to be a registered member of the Online Community to participate. Simply click on the green “Access Meeting Room” button on the right-hand side of the home page. Once there, enter your name and location and click enter. You will be redirected to the webinar. If you’re having difficulty, please take a look at our help page.

Alaska Shield 2014

Release date: MARCH 20, 2014
FEMA Release Number: 14-2

A large earthquake in Alaska, especially in winter, would require a different type of response than most areas of the nation. FEMA Region X is participating in a series of exercises that will test the ability of the federal government to respond to major disasters in Alaska.

The largest of the exercises is Alaska Shield 2014. This full-scale emergency response exercise, occurring in late March of 2014 that will test the plans and actions of the State of Alaska, FEMA, territorial governments, private sector companies, international partners, non-governmental organizations, and academic institutions and its partners.

“We do not know when the next earthquake or tsunami will take place, but it will depend on our collective and individual preparedness to reduce our vulnerability.” said FEMA Regional Administrator Ken Murphy. “It is imperative that we work together in advance of an event to make sure that all of our systems are working together smoothly and seamlessly”.

This exercise will coincide with 50th anniversary commemoration events of the 1964 Great Alaskan Earthquake. The earthquake scenario is designed to be of sufficient complexity to disrupt the States essential services, making it difficult for communities to obtain outside assistance but allow life safety activities to resume.

A Full-Scale Exercise tests plans and actions during the initial response phase of a disaster. It also tests the ability to stabilize the situation and meet immediate essential needs during a major disruptive event, as well as ensure recovery efforts can begin.

For more information about the exercise follow #AKShield, @AlaskaDHSEM and @FEMARegion10 on Twitter.