Wednesday, December 12, 2012

CDC's Winter Weather Checklists

Winter Weather Checklists

Extreme Cold - A Prevention Guide to Promote Your Personal Health and Safety
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Stock up on emergency supplies for communication, food, safety, heating, and car in case a storm hits.

Communication Checklist

  • Make sure you have at least one of the following in case there is a power failure:
    • Battery-powered radio (for listening to local emergency instructions). Have extra batteries.
    • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio receiver (for listening to National Weather Service broadcasts).
  • Find out how your community warns the public about severe weather:
    • Siren
    • Radio
    • Television
  • Listen to emergency broadcasts.
  • Know what winter storm warning terms mean:
    • Winter Weather Advisory: Expect winter weather conditions to cause inconvenience and hazards.
    • Frost/Freeze Warning: Expect below-freezing temperatures.
    • Winter Storm Watch: Be alert; a storm is likely.
    • Winter Storm Warning: Take action; the storm is in or entering the area.
    • Blizzard Warning: Seek refuge immediately! Snow and strong winds, near-zero visibility, deep snow drifts, and life-threatening wind chill.

Food and Safety Checklist

Have a week’s worth of food and safety supplies. If you live far from other people, have more supplies on hand.
  • Drinking water
  • Canned/no-cook food (bread, crackers, dried fruits)
  • Non-electric can opener
  • Baby food and formula (if baby in the household)
  • Prescription drugs and other medicine
  • First-aid kit
  • Rock-salt to melt ice on walkways
  • Supply of cat litter or bag of sand to add traction on walkways
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Battery-powered lamps or lanterns
    (To prevent the risk of fire, avoid using candles.)

Water Checklist

Keep a water supply. Extreme cold can cause water pipes in your home to freeze and sometimes break.
  • Leave all water taps slightly open so they drip continuously.
  • Keep the indoor temperature warm.
  • Allow more heated air near pipes. Open kitchen cabinet doors under the kitchen sink.
  • If your pipes do freeze, do not thaw them with a torch. Thaw the pipes slowly with warm air from an electric hair dryer.
  • If you cannot thaw your pipes, or if the pipes have broken open, use bottled water or get water from a neighbor’s home.
  • Have bottled water on hand.
  • In an emergency—if no other water is available—snow can be melted for water. Bringing water to a rolling boil for one minute will kill most germs but won’t get rid of chemicals sometimes found in snow.

Heating Checklist

  • Have at least one of the following heat sources in case the power goes out:
    • Fireplace with plenty of dry firewood or gas log fireplace
    • Portable space heaters or kerosene heaters
  • Check with your local fire department to make sure that kerosene heaters are legal in your area.
  • Never place a space heater on top of furniture or near water.
  • Use electric space heaters with
    • automatic shut-off switches and
    • nonglowing elements.
  • Keep heat sources at least 3 feet away from furniture and drapes.
  • Never leave children unattended near a space heater.
  • Have the following safety equipment:
    • Chemical fire extinguisher
    • Smoke alarm in working order (Check once a month and change batteries once a year.)
    • Carbon monoxide detector
  • Never use an electric generator indoors, inside the garage, or near the air intake of your home because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning:
    • Do not use the generator or appliances if they are wet.
    • Do not store gasoline indoors where the fumes could ignite.
    • Use individual heavy-duty, outdoor-rated cords to plug in other appliances.

Cooking and Lighting Checklist

  • Never use charcoal grills or portable gas camp stove indoors—the fumes are deadly.
  • Use battery-powered flashlights or lanterns.
  • Avoid using candles.
  • Never leave lit candles alone.

Car and Emergency Checklist

  • Cell phone; portable charger and extra batteries
  • Shovel
  • Windshield scraper
  • Battery-powered radio (and extra batteries)
  • Flashlight (and extra batteries)
  • Water
  • Snack food
  • Extra hats, coats, mittens
  • Blankets
  • Chains or rope
  • Tire chains
  • Canned compressed air with sealant (emergency tire repair)
  • Road salt and sand
  • Booster cables
  • Emergency flares
  • Bright colored flag; help signs
  • First aid kit
  • Tool kit
  • Road maps
  • Compass
  • Waterproof matches and a can (to melt snow for water)
  • Paper towels

Thursday, December 6, 2012

FEMA Recognizes Outstanding Volunteers Involved in the Response and Recovery to Hurricane Sandy

Citizen Corps Volunteers Make a Difference in the Wake of Hurricane Sandy

Alongside interagency, state, local, and volunteer partners, FEMA and the emergency management team are working long hours each day to ensure the needs of communities affected by Sandy are identified and addressed.

While FEMA has provided more than $1.04 billion in assistance, as of December 6, 2012, to communities and individuals affected by the disaster, our whole community partners also remain committed to survivors. 

The dedication of volunteers supporting the response and recovery has made a tremendous impact on our effectiveness.  

“Federal response to disasters is only one part of the equation," said FEMA Administrator Fugate." Groups like Citizen Corps Councils and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) programs provide front-line support to first responders and community members during disasters. FEMA is proud to work alongside our Citizen Corps partners. I extend a thank you and acknowledgement for all that they contribute.”

As the recovery continues, we will feature best practices and stories of triumph from our counterparts in the affected states. Key to the response in ravaged areas were New Jersey and New York volunteers.  

New Jersey Citizen Corps Council helped coordinate volunteers across the state and sprung into action immediately. During the height of the storm, a communications repeater went down in the Hoboken Fire Department. Thinking quickly on their feet, the Hoboken CERT utilized its amateur radio repeaters as the primary means of communication for shelter operations, shuttle bus communications, and volunteer interactions.

Again, in the Hoboken area, establishing relationships with CVS and Doctors Without Borders prior to the disaster led to smooth coordination between the programs when assistance was needed. CERT members were able to recruit doctors and nurses to provide seniors with the aid and medication they required. Additionally, CERT volunteers transported seniors to local shelters to ensure their safety.  

Not far across the Hudson River, 1,200 New York CERT volunteers also worked around the clock, providing homecare for residents and ensuring food, water, blankets and emergency care were provided in hundreds of shelters throughout NYC and surrounding areas. CERT volunteers were so integrated into the day-to-day oversight of these shelters, US Health and Human Services Secretary Katherine Sebelius requested a briefing from a NY CERT team member working in Brooklyn with the Special Medical Needs Shelter. Additionally, a local American Red Cross volunteer touted the efforts of CERT and its volunteers noting the shelter wouldn’t have run as smoothly without them. 

In addition to assisting the needs of survivors, NY CERT volunteers supported those impacted by the fuel shortage and various public transportation obstacles. At the request of the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Home-Based Healthcare Alliance, NY CERT volunteers transported nurses and healthcare practitioners to local hospitals, throughout various communities to see homecare patients and developed a strategy to ensure residents requiring someone to check on them, would be seen.

NY CERT team members also pumped fuel from tankers at Floyd Bennett Field and in the Rockaways. This assistance provided fuel for hundreds of emergency vehicles in storm damaged areas. Most importantly, through the work of these CERTs, the support provided to emergency responders and emergency vehicles were able to respond and transport those in need to open hospitals.

Administrator Craig Fugate, the Individual and Community Preparedness Division and the entire FEMA family want to thank the team of emergency management professionals and volunteers for their efforts over the past several weeks. Thank you for your time and commitment to the mission of making communities safe, secure and more resilient to withstand disaster.

To learn more about NJ CERT visit their website and click here to learn more about NY CERT.