Category Archives: Families and Communities

Building Rural Resiliency Webinar Set for April 25

blog_meetingBuilding Rural Resiliency: Who Should Help? What Should They Do? is the first eXtension webinar coordinated by the EDEN Community of Practice this year. Dr. Virginia White, a specialist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, says the webinar will feature recent research on who should be involved in the phases of disaster impacting rural areas and agricultural businesses.

Speaker Dr. Amy Dronberger is a program and staff development specialist with Oklahoma State University Extension. She will discuss what she learned about the perceptions of two groups of professionals, one agriculture-focused and the other disaster-focused.

The webinar will be moderated by Beverly Maltsberger, a professional and community development specialist at University of Missouri Extension. This free event is open to anyone, and may be of special interest to local governments, agencies involved in emergency operations planning, and Extension professionals. “We hope you will join us to learn what you can do in your communities to strengthen networks that support disaster preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery activities,” Maltsberger says.

More information can be found at Building Rural Resiliency: Who Should Help? What Should They Do? including how to connect. On April 25, participants can use this link. The webinar will be archived and accessed from here.

This webinar is sponsored by eXtension and coordinated by the EDEN Community of Practice.

 

Today’s Focus: MO COAD Guidance Manual

According to EDEN chair Rick Atterberry, “The November 17th [2013] tornadoes demonstrated the need for more and more effective COADs [Community Organizations Active in Disaster] in Illinois. While agencies did a commendable job in response and early recovery, there is no question some time was lost as they figured out their roles on the fly. Robust COADs would have been of great value.”

In his role as past president of Indiana Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), Steve Cain reiterated the need for establishing COADs, “With back-to-back disasters, emergency managers in Indiana have discovered that communities with COADs are much better at recovery. COADs take work off of emergency managers’ plates, especially in response and recovery.”

One of last year’s Smith-Lever Special Needs Grant Program awards went to the University of Missouri to test the the second edition  (introductory presentation) of Stack of papers with reading glasses and a cup of coffeeMissouri’s Community Organizations Active in Disaster  (COAD) Guidance Manual. EDEN delegate Conne Burnham leads the project.

The first manual was developed in 2002 by the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency to assist local communities in the development of COADs. Since then, major changes in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) policy and direction have occurred. FEMA’s current strategic plan (FY 2011-2014) includes a mission to ensure resilience to disasters. COADs are part of a resilient community.

The revised COAD Guidance Manual reflects that focus. The guide provides direction to local volunteer organizations and their emergency management agency offices in ways to establish local emergency human services for people in communities.  It was tested in three states (MO, IL, and IN) using a tabletop exercise delivered via webinars. Following the webinars, Burnham noted, “Many of the webinar attendees were from COADs and nongovernmental organizations that respond to disaster. Local emergency management did not get engaged unless the COAD did. The ones who attended gave it kudos.”

Burnham also noted that COADs and EMA offices will use the guide but may not completely follow it because there is so much content. Rather, they will probably add sections to their emergency operations plans as they need and can support them.

If you are interested in seeing the COAD Guidance Manual, please contact  Dante Gliniecki at the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency, Emergency Human Services section.

Beverly Samuel  is NIFA liaison to EDEN and NIFA contact for the Smith Lever Special Needs Program. Last year’s solicitation opened April 24 and had a closing date of May 31 with an estimated program funding total of $462,000.

Be ready when the 2014 call for proposals is announced!

Ides of March = Potential Severe Weather

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Really? Well, maybe not the 15th (Ides) of March, but the first day of spring this year is March 20, and as the season changes from winter to spring we do begin to see more severe weather.

To help us be better prepared for those events, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declared March 2-8 as National Severe Weather Preparedness week. This year’s focus is on knowing your risk, taking action, and being an example.

Check your regional National Weather Service Forecast office for information about severe weather preparedness for your area.

Today, let’s talk about tornadoes. For an animated look at how tornadoes progress across the United States (all tornadoes, 1950-2012) throughout the year, check this United States Tornadoes blog post by Katie Wheatley.
Looking for information on tornado safety? Nearly every Extension service in the country has tornado safety information posted. Here are a few.

Alabama Cooperative Extension System recently published Tornado Safety in PDF and HTML formats. It offers tips for recognizing conditions that may develop into a tornado. Readers also learn about the difference between watches and warnings, safe and unsafe locations during tornadoes, things your kids can do to get ready, and ways to protect you and your family. Tennessee State University has a handy 2-page (1 sheet if you print front and back) Tornado Safety check sheet.

Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service provides several recommendations for tornado safety away from home. A tornado can strike anywhere at any time. Purdue University has 10 tornado safety tips for its students and faculty. Does your campus have similar tips and resources?

University of Illinois Extension produced Tree House Weather Kids, an interactive website for kids and teachers. There is also a Spanish version.  Extension professionals at the University of Nevada, Oregon State University, and Montana State University collaborated to create Tornado Tabletop Exercise Curriculum: Engaging Youth in Community Emergency Management.

The Extension Disaster Education Network collected resources following the 2011 and 2012 tornado seasons. These resources were identified after affected states indicated there was need for the specific items. Perhaps you can also use them if you work with communities recovering from tornadoes.

You can find many more tornado safety publications and resources from land-grants by using the search term “tornado safety” at eXtension’s one-stop search.extension.org.

Soothsayer warning Julius Caesar

Oh, and a piece of trivia about the Ides of March – Julius Caesar was assassinated on that day in 44 BC.

Family Preparedness Friday

Who Turned the Lights Out?

When temperatures dip to the single digits, and the winds are blowing in from the north, and snow is piling up at your front door, what’s your plan for when the power goes out?

Photo attributed to Flickr user Roadsidepictures.

Photo attributed to Flickr user Roadsidepictures.

Unfortunately , winter power outages are not an uncommon occurrence in many parts of our country. If you live in one of these areas, here are some tips to help you and your family get through the next power outage.

  •  If you have no alternative heat, you can consider staying in an emergency shelter, call your local fire or police department or local Red Cross chapter for shelter locations.
  • Call your power provider, if your power is likely to be out for more than a few days, you may want to call your plumber and ask about draining your home’s water pipes so they don’t freeze and burst.
  • Keep your car’s gas tank full. You never know if you may need to go to a warming station or emergency shelter.
  • Wear layers of clothing. Layering can keep insulating air between layers to help keep you warmer. Remember to keep your head and hands covered.
  • Cook using charcoal or propane grills – ONLY OUTSIDE.
  • Put aside buckets of snow and melt it to use in toilets.
  • Keep a land line phone, you won’t have to worry about charging a cell phone.

You might also consider stocking up on:

  • Candles, oil lamps, lanterns and matches
  • Battery operated weather radio
  • Flashlights and batteries for  each family member
  • Non-perishable food items
  • Bottled water
  • Propane for an OUTDOOR grill
  • Extra gasoline if you have a generator. A portable electric generator can be a valuable backup source of power to operate your furnace and appliances.
  • First-aid supplies
  • Emergency numbers – fire, police, doctor
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Paper goods: Paper plates, paper towels, plastic ware

Source: “Winter Power Outages: Be prepared for that unexpected winter power outage” from Michigan State University Extension

Touring Wisconsin Dairyland

EDEN’s annual meeting didn’t officially begin until the opening reception Tuesday evening, but those of us who arrived in time to join the October 8th tour got an early taste of what was to come. Cheryl Skjolaas, meeting host, arranged three stops that highlighted two important Wisconsin economic drivers: agriculture and tourism.

Cheryl Skjolaas introduces Justin Pope of Foremost Farms

Cheryl Skjolaas introduces Justin Pope of Foremost Farms.

First stop was Foremost Farms in Baraboo. This is a farmer-owned milk processing and marketing cooperative with nearly 2,000 member-owners located in the upper Midwest. Justin Pope, director of environmental health, safety and sustainability, shared lessons learned from real events and exercises. Processing plants can be affected by contamination, disease outbreak, or physical catastrophes. Like many other businesses, Foremost Farms has developed a continuity of operations plan–and has had to implement it on more than one occasion. A highlight of the presentation was discussion of their enterprise-wide exercise of response to discovery of Foot and Mouth Disease in the state.

We also visited a milk producer, the New Chester Dairy. The  facility has 8,600 cows and operates two rotary parlors, milking approximately 8,000 cows three times a day. All cows are housed on premise in climate-moderated, covered barns and fed feed mix created on site. It was fascinating. While not every state has a large dairy industry, all of us can appreciate the need for biosecurity and farm facility security–poor sanitation, disease, theft, and other problems have a direct impact on the economic welfare of the operation.

EDEN tour group at New Chester Dairy in front of milk transport trucks.

EDEN tour group at New Chester Dairy in front of milk transport trucks.

 

Meg Galloway, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, describes the 2008 Lake Delton washout and subsequent reparation.

Meg Galloway, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, describes the 2008 Lake Delton washout and subsequent reparation.

Sandwiched between dairy stops was a visit with Meg Galloway (Chief, Dams and Floodplain Management Section, Bureau of Watershed Management, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources). She met us on Lake Delton‘s earthen dam. As chief, she was responsible for coordinating break reparation after a road embankment washed out on June 8, 2008. Most of the 267-acre lake drained in two hours. Lake Delton was formed in 1927 to attract tourists to the Wisconsin Dells area. It was very successful and has been a key tourism destination ever since. Repairing the 400-foot break, which also took out a section of County Highway A, was a huge task.The repair proceeded hastily because it was tied to the highway reconstruction and was a priority for the area tourism. The lake resort was able to reopen just one year later.

The tone was set. We returned to the University of Wisconsin Pyle Center in time for our opening reception and kickoff to the 2013 EDEN Annual Meeting.

Next week we’ll highlight a few of the meeting sessions.

 

Lessons from the Storm: Case Studies on Economic Recovery and Resilience

Downtown Cullman, AL following 2011 tornadoToday’s post is written by Megan McConville. She manages the National Association of  Development Organization (NADO) disaster recovery and resilience program. We (Rick Atterberry, Steve Cain, Abby Hostetler and Virginia White)  met Megan during a recent visit to Washington, D.C.  You can contact her at mmcconville@nado.org

In 2008, a series of storms—including Hurricanes Gustav and Ike and several tornadoes—swept across Arkansas.  Seventy-two of the state’s 75 counties were affected one or more times over the course of the year.  Only three Arkansas counties escaped Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster declarations in 2008.[i]  Hurricane Gustav made landfall as only a Category 2 storm, but it hung over the south-central United States for days and inundated the region with tremendous amounts of water.  Hurricane Ike, the third-costliest hurricane ever to make landfall in the U.S., followed just two weeks later, spawning 13 tornadoes in Arkansas over a three-day period.[ii]

As the storms subsided and the floods receded, communities were left with the daunting tasks of cleaning up and repairing damaged infrastructure.  Bridges and culverts needed replacing, roads needed resurfacing, and drainage ditches needed clearing.  What’s more, this series of natural disasters made it clear to state, regional, and local leaders that businesses are tremendously vulnerable to extreme weather.  They can suffer costly damage, be cut off from supply lines, lose sales, and experience interrupted operations.  In some cases, they may even be forced to close permanently.  When businesses and industries fail or falter, the communities they serve can feel serious impacts, ranging from the lack of access to goods and services to the loss of income and jobs.

“Ike and Gustav had huge effects on our infrastructure, our businesses, and the health of our state and regional economies,” says Renee Dycus, the executive director of the Southwest Arkansas Planning and Development District (SWAPDD).  “After the storms, we were getting calls from some local elected officials, but in the chaos of the recovery process, they had so little time to figure out what assistance was available and ask for it.  We would have liked to have had good baseline information to help us identify needs—especially the needs of the small businesses that play such an important role in the economy of rural Arkansas communities—and reach out proactively to local government and business partners.”[iii]

In response to this need, SWAPDD—one of Arkansas’ eight regional planning and development districts—used disaster recovery funds from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to develop a comprehensive database of information on the employers and infrastructure in the region.  The database will help southwest Arkansas recover from future disasters much faster and more effectively, as it establishes a baseline for the region’s economy which can be overlaid with geographic information about a disaster’s impacts—such as floods and tornado tracks—to immediately estimate the number of affected businesses and employees, identify damage, and mobilize repair and assistance efforts.  SWAPDD is also using it to identify potential federal and state funding opportunities for local partners, submit applications, request letters of support for projects, and fill out environmental review and other forms with the touch of a button.

Want to know how SWAPDD created such a great tool?  Check out the new case study series from the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Research Foundation, titled Lessons from the Storm: Case Studies on Economic Recovery and Resilience.  The series highlights how regional development organizations have used 2008 disaster recovery funds from EDA to address the impacts of natural disasters, become more resilient to future events, and increase long-term economic competitiveness and quality of life in their regions.  SWAPDD’s story is posted there, and more case studies are coming soon.

NADO is a national membership association that provides advocacy, capacity-building, and research services for the network of over 500 regional planning and development organizations across the U.S.  Regional planning and development organizations—known locally as regional planning commissions, councils of governments, area development districts, or similar terms—play a key role in community and economic development, transportation planning, business development finance, technology and telecommunications, workforce development, GIS analysis, and other issues important to their local government partners.

Disaster recovery and resilience is a key area of work for the NADO Research Foundation and for our members.  Along with Lessons from the Storm, we are collaborating with the International Economic Development Council to provide training, technical assistance, and best practice research on economic resilience for communities and regions in the northeast and southeast that were affected by disasters during fiscal year 2011.  We have hosted several peer-to-peer workshops on disaster preparedness and recovery and have produced reports and policy briefs on topics such as integrating hazard mitigation planning, sustainable community development approaches, and economic development strategies; transportation system recovery; and frameworks for regional development organizations to use in preparing and responding to economic shocks.  Additionally, we are helping our members incorporate disaster resilience into their EDA-required Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies and other regional plans.

Severe weather and climate change have become costly and unpredictable parts of our lives.  However, local leaders can learn a lot from each other about planning for disasters during so-called “blue-sky” periods, building partnerships, pursuing non-traditional funding sources, encouraging community engagement, and seizing the abundant opportunities to build back better following an event.  By sharing stories and strategies neighbor-to-neighbor, across networks like EDEN, and through case studies and other online resources, we can be better prepared the next time the storm clouds gather.

 


[i]EDA Disaster Response and Preparedness Plan. University of Arkansas at Little Rock Institute for Economic Advancement. 2010. http://iea.ualr.edu/pubs/2010/10-04%20EDA_DRPP.pdf.

[ii] Hurricane Ike Impact Report. Federal Emergency Management Agency. 2008. http://www.fema.gov/pdf/hazard/hurricane/2008/ike/impact_report.pdf.

[iii] Dycus, Renee. Personal interview. June 17, 2013.

Recommended Viewing: From the County Up: Toward a 2030 Vision of Disaster Resilience

Post by Julie Smith, UVM Extension Dairy Specialist and Chair, EDEN Agrosecurity Program Area Work Group (PAWG)

I attended a webinar on disaster resilience conducted by the National Association of Counties (NACo) on March 27, 2013. The speakers presented an overview of the findings and recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences report, Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative. Local resilience and community engagement are priorities of NACo in the year ahead.

Cameron, LA 5-20-06 FEMA asbestos Inspectors, George Legere, Walter Coleman Jr, and Rocky Craigen check this house for asbestos the Hurricane Rita Damaged. FEMA is checking every house to be demolished for asbestos which may be in roof shingles and insulation, before demolition. Marvin Nauman/FEMA photo

Marvin Nauman/FEMA photo

 What is this vision of resiliency? “In 2030, the nation, from individuals to the highest levels of government, has embraced a “culture of resilience.” Information on risks and vulnerability to individuals and communities is transparent and easily accessible to all. Proactive investments and policy decisions including those for preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery have reduced the loss of lives, costs, and socioeconomic impacts of disasters. Community coalitions are widely organized, recognized, and supported to provide essential services before and after disasters occur. Recovery after disasters is rapid and includes funding from private capital. The per capita federal cost of responding to disasters has been declining for a decade.” (p. 14)

In the NAS report, resilience is defined as the ability to prepare and plan for, absorb, recover from, and more successfully adapt to adverse events (p. 16).  In a world with seemingly increasing numbers of adverse events, it is important to understand disaster risk. Disaster risk comprises four elements: hazard, exposure, vulnerability, and consequence. Ask yourself how you can help your local emergency managers assess hazards and reduce vulnerability in your community.

Additional resources

  • The webinar is available. Enter your email and you will be able to view the recording.
  • The NAS report can be downloaded for free from the National Academies Press site.
  • In July, NACo published a Hot Topics County News Special Edition on resiliency. You will find in this edition many great articles and links to useful information pertinent to building resiliency at the county level.

Family Preparedness Friday

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Plan to Stay in Business

As a business owner or manager, you are a leader in your community and have the opportunity to set an example for your employees, customers, and community to follow. This September for National Preparedness Month, join your community in preparing for emergencies and disasters of all types, and leading efforts to encourage the community as a whole to become more prepared.Plan to Stay in Business in the case of a #disaster! #familypreparednessfriday #EDENotes blogs.extension.org/edenotes

Disasters not only devastate individuals and neighborhoods, but entire communities, including businesses of all sizes. As an employer in your community, having a business continuity plan can help protect your company, its employees, and its infrastructure, and maximizes your chances of recovery after an emergency or disaster.

Ready Business asks companies to take three simple steps: plan to stay in business; encourage your people to become Ready and protect your investment.

This year, the Ready Campaign and Citizen Corps, with support from members of the National Preparedness Community across the nation, including a wide range of businesses and organizations, is focusing on encouraging individuals, families, and businesses to take active steps toward becoming Ready. We must work together as a team to ensure that our families, businesses, places of worship, and neighborhoods Ready.

Ready Business, an extension of the Ready Campaign, helps business owners and managers of small and medium-sized businesses prepare their employees, operations and assets in the event of an emergency. At Ready.gov/business, companies can find vital information on how to get started preparing their organization and addressing their unique needs during an emergency.

For more information, check out:

Family Preparedness Friday

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Emergencies Affect All of Us, Including Our Pets

If you are like millions of animal owners nationwide, your pet is an important member of your household. When planning your family for disaster, don’t overlook the needs of your cherished family pets. The likelihood that you and your animals will survive an emergency such as a fire or flood, tornado or any of the all hazards depends largely on emergency planning done today.

September is National Preparedness Month (NPM); while you make a plan to prepare your families also consider your family pet. Some of the things you can do to prepare for the un

If you evacuate your home, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR #PETS BEHIND! Read this short #blog post about what to do with your animals in case of a #disaster. #familypreparednessfriday #dogs #cats

expected, such as assembling an animal emergency supply kit and developing a pet care buddy system, are the same for any emergency. Whether you decide to stay put in an emergency or evacuate to a safer location, you will need to make plans in advance for your pets. Keep in mind that what’s best for you is typically what’s best for your animals

If you evacuate your home, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND! Pets most likely cannot survive alone and if by some remote chance they do, you may not be able to find them when you return.

If you are going to a public shelter, it is important to understand that animals may not be allowed inside. Plan in advance for shelter alternatives that will work for both you and your pets; consider loved ones or friends outside of your immediate area who would be willing to host you and your pets in an emergency. Make a back-up emergency plan in case you can’t care for your animals yourself. Develop a buddy system with neighbors, friends, and relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for your pets, if you are unable to do so.

For more information, check out:

Family Preparedness Friday

This September You Can Be The Hero

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September is National Preparedness Month (NPM). It is a time to prepare yourself and those in your care for emergencies and disasters. If you’ve seen the news recently, you know that emergencies can happen unexpectedly in communities just like yours, to people like you. We’ve seen tornado outbreaks, river floods and flash floods, historic earthquakes, tsunamis, and even water main breaks and power outages in U.S. cities affecting millions of people for days at a time.

Police, fire and rescue may not always be able to reach you quickly in an emergency or disaster. The most important step you can take in helping your local responders is being able to take care of yourself and those in your care; the more people who are prepared, the quicker the community will recover.

This September, please prepare and plan in the event you must go for three days without electricity, water service, access to a supermarket, or local services for several days. Just follow these four steps:

  • Stay Informed: Information is available from federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial resources. Access Ready.gov to learn what to do before, during, and after an emergency.
  • Make a Plan: Discuss, agree on, and document an emergency plan with those in your care. For sample plans, see Ready.gov. Work together with neighbors, colleagues, and others to build community resilience.
  • Build a Kit: Keep enough emergency supplies – water, nonperishable food, first aid, prescriptions, flashlight, and battery-powered radio on hand – for you and those in your care.
  • Get Involved: There are many ways to get involved especially before a disaster occurs. The whole community can participate in programs and activities to make their families, homes and places of worship safer from risks and threats. Community leaders agree that the formula for ensuring a safer homeland consists of volunteers, a trained and informed public, and increased support of emergency response agencies during disasters.

By taking a few simple actions, you can make your family safer. Consider planning a Ready Kids event in your community to encourage families to get prepared with their children.September is National Preparedness Month (NPM). It is a time to prepare yourself and those in your care for emergencies and disasters.  #familypreparednessfriday #edenotes

  • Volunteer to present preparedness information in your child’s class or in PTO/PTA meetings.
  • Invite officials from your local Office of Emergency Management, Citizen Corps Council, or first responder teams to speak at schools or youth events.

Use local emergency management resources to learn more about preparedness in your community.

  • Contact your local emergency management agency to get essential information on specific hazards to your area, local plans for shelter and evacuation, ways to get information before and during an emergency, and how to sign up for emergency alerts if they are available
  • Contact your local firehouse and ask for a tour and information about preparedness
  • Get involved with your local American Red Cross Chapter or train with a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

For more information, check out: