.. and the UW Seattle campus is ready. The Grounds Management Division of Facilities Services has an updated Seasonal Snow Storm Response website that provides updated campus snow removal/plowing maps for UW roads and sidewalks as well as winter links for weather, bus schedules, etc… Make this your 1-STOP-SHOP for all things related to snow on campus this Winter!
UWEM What's New Archive
Emergency Management News Archive
Below are news articles that have been archived by our staff. Some past articles may have been removed from the database.
Winter is Right around the Corner....
Why Be Prepared? The Freezin's The Reason!
We’re entering the 4th day of temperatures near or below freezing, and now is the time to review local resources available to the UW community and Seattle residents. In case we see snow soon, know whether or not your main travel routes are considered “priority” for clearance, and whether or not your bus route’s schedule will be adjusted or possibly cancelled. Seattle Department of Transportation (S-DOT) has plenty of information and you can learn more about Winter Weather safety risks and tips to mitigate, prepare, respond & recover from the worst that Jack Frost sends our way.UW Seattle is a StormReady University and we encourage all students, staff, faculty and visitors to “Take Winter By Storm!”
Support the Rescue, not the Roadblock
The following letter to the editor is slated to appear in The Daily, a student-run newspaper produced at the University of Washington, in Friday, November 15th’s “Free Speech Friday” section.
The aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan has spread throughout Southeast Asia, most notably within the Philippines, and inspired charitable people to look for ways to contribute toward humanitarian aid & disaster relief efforts. There is a risk, however, of spending precious time & energy on well-intentioned efforts that may result in less-than-expected results within the disasterspace. As a child growing up in coastal South Carolina, I witnessed first-hand the force of nature that a hurricane (typhoon in the Pacific Ocean) can bring to even the best-prepared community; as the Senior Student Assistant in the University of Washington’s Emergency Management Office, I offer some tips that will help make sure that any relief efforts started by UW students are set up for success: 1. Cash is king. It is far easier for experienced, reputable aid organizations like Red Cross/Red Crescent, Doctors Without Borders and Oxfam to coordinate directly with local leaders on what specific community needs are, THEN purchase relief supplies to match that. Why spend time collecting blankets or shoes if displaced persons really need medical supplies or shelter materials? 2. The news will arrive slowly, and can change significantly between reports. Many locations will be without reliable electricity and water utilities due to storm damage, so updated reports will be published & broadcast erratically. This can frustrate news consumers, and be especially stressful for those with a direct connection to the traumatic event. 3. Relief workers are doing the best they can with the resources they currently have. Response alone may take days to weeks; recovery efforts can last months at a time. Getting involved and staying informed go a long way, but it is difficult to judge how slowly or quickly progress appears to be moving when observing from a distance. I was in first grade when Hurricane Hugo made landfall near my home back in 1989, disrupting everyday life for nearly 3 weeks. Full recovery took nearly half a year. It is a storm that residents of the coast near Charleston, SC still talk about 24 years later as a lesson in what can go wrong and what we can get right. We are only just now beginning to see the response efforts in the Philippines for Super Typhoon Haiyan, and it will take a much longer time than anyone finds acceptable before life returns to normal for those affected.
Senior, Program on the Environment
Hurricane Hugo Survivor
Winter Is Coming!
The restart of full Federal agencies last week has brought the delayed Winter Weather Seminar that is annually delivered by National Weather Service - Seattle’s Ted Buehner, who serves as their Warning Coordination Meteorologist. The early indications of real-world data in the Pacific and correllations of historical climatology indicate Puget Sound is in for a “Neutral” winter once more, where the waters of the Pacific Ocean are neither warmer than average (El Niño) nor cooler than average (La Niña). Even so, the NWS interpretation of the data suggests a more active winter, with increased rainfall and snow potential.
What does this mean for Seattlites? Our season for High Wind events covers the 6-month period between October and March, with a shorter window to expect potential flood events between November and February. Our probability of snow in the Puget Sound Lowlands increases too, as does the likelihood that our heavier rain events occur in the form of notorious “Pineapple Express” patterns that reach back as far as Hawaii for moisture.
This all translates into risk of power outages, urban flooding, potential damage due to overnight freezing and winds posing a hazard to safety if loose debris is picked up off the ground. UW Seattle is StormReady, and you can be too if you take some time to build/replenish your emergency kits at home and within your office. Let’s “Take Winter By Storm!”
Great Shakeout Catalyst Survey
Please take a few minutes to fill out the Catalyst Survey to help us gather data around your participation in the Great Shakeout drill Thursday October 17th, 2013
The Great ShakeOut!
The Great ShakeOut (not to be confused with The Great Pumpkin) is quickly becoming a UW tradition every October. Come learn about earthquake risk and preparedness at our outreach booth tomorrow in the UW Tower Cafeteria between 10am-2pm.
We’re getting the word out before the state-wide earthquake drill on 10/17 @ 10:17. Huskies everywhere on the Seattle campus will be encouraged to “Drop, Cover & Hold” for 30 seconds to practice earthquake readiness wherever they happen to be. Come see us tomorrow to learn more!
UWEM Prepares for "Dawg Daze"
Next week, UWEM will have a booth ready to share information and educate the students, staff, faculty and visitors of UW Seattle about being prepared for emergencies. Look for us in Red Square between 9am-2pm, and stop by to spin the “Wheel of Misfortune!” In addition to providing educational materials to help individuals mitigate risk and prepare for disaster(s), we will also be able to let visitors to our booth know about future workshops, seminars and campus resources to help out Huskies in the event of an emergency. All are encouraged to stop by!
What Is A "StormReady University?"
Over Summer Quarter, the UW Emergency Management Office for UW Seattle campus completed a months-long process to be recognized as a StormReady University by the National Weather Service, becoming the first college/university in Washington state to be so recognized. The StormReady program is primarily aimed at helping towns, cities, counties and even tribal communities develop better capabilities to prepare for environmental challenges, monitor the weather and coordinate effectively with residents to stay safe when severe weather occurs. Since many sub-communities, such as institutes of higher education, state parks, military installations and airports/seaports may employ hundreds of people while serving thousands of others on a daily basis, they too are being encouraged to learn more about the StormReady program and a related program for coastal areas called TsunamiReady.
Since UW Seattle is in many ways “a city within a city,” our resources and needs are most certainly unique. We have our own police department, medical center, numerous shops & restaurants, as well as a talented team of educators, professionals and support staff to help keep life at the University moving ahead. Our specific preparations involved creating a dedicated Hazardous Weather Operations Plan as an annex to our All-Hazards Emergency Management Plan, procuring several NOAA weather radios to install near our areas of high public traffic and adjusting our public awareness/education curriculum to emphasize the environmental risks that Seattle is potentially exposed to by Mother Nature, to name a few of the steps taken. You can learn more about NWS’ StormReady program at the following link.
We're Looking for a Few Good Men (or Women)
UWEM is in the process of hiring 2 part-time STUDENT employees in our growing department. You must be a current UW student (undergraduate or graduate). Go to the HuskyJobs website and search for Jobs #71784 ir #71787. Both jobs pay $15/hour and will go through April 2014. One position is to staff our Seismic Campus Resilience Project and the other is to develop an EOC Emergency Radio program.
Survey Says 46% of 630 Campuses Don’t Have Enough Staff to Respond Appropriately to Emergencies
In Campus Safety Magazine’s 2013 Yearbook they included the results of their 2012 Opinion Survey that included responses from over 630 campus protection stakeholders to a variety of questions. The results of the survey sheds light on several critical campus safety issues about how ready we really are as a nation to major incidents on our campuses. Click here for more information.
Hold On... Cities will Experience More and Costlier Disasters this Century
Noted journalist and urban planner Neal Peirce recently posted an Op-Ed piece in a number of national newspapers warning us that most urban areas in the US and world should be prepared for more severe and costly disasters, like Superstorm Sandy that hit NYC in 2013. For his insight and recommendations, click here
FEMA is hiring 700 CORE Responders
There is a great opportunity for anyone wanting to get a start on a new emergency management career. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is hiring 700 new CORE (cadre of response/recovery employees) position nation-wide.
If you are interested or know of someone who is interested, you can learn more about the positions at the USA Jobs website. It appears that these positions are only open for about a week, so move quickly if you plan to apply.
"Operation Flashpoint" Exercise is Set for June 25th
On late Tuesday afternoon, June 25, 2013, the UW will conduct it’s annual functional EOC disaster exercise. Over 80 UW and local partner stakeholders will respond and recover from a SIMULATED disaster event impacting the UW-Seattle campus. This evening drill (the first one conducted after-hours) will test the UW’s ability to effectively respond to a new type of disaster! The participants only know the time and date and not the disaster. But it will not be an earthquake, shooting, plane crash, chemical spill or power outage. Can you guess what the mystery disaster will be? STAY TUNED!!
Training of the Week: Continuity of Operations Planning for Pandemic Influenza
FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute has a comprehensive resource for helping you and your department, office or organization begin planning what to do if pandemic diseases begin to manifest here in the Puget Sound region. IS-520: Introduction to Continuity of Operations Planning for Pandemic Influenzas is found here and we have education & training materials on our main homepage that were developed during the H1N1 Flu event several years ago.
While focusing specifically on how to prepare for a public health incident involving various strains of influenza virus, many of these “best practices” are just as useful in reducing your risk from other epidemic diseases, like the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome - Coronavirus MERS-CoV. With many UW-affiliated community members traveling abroad for summer or returning to their home countries to visit family, the potential to encounter this hazard is clear in a globally-connected city like Seattle.
Is It Safe To Go Back In?
With today’s news of a building collapsing in downtown Philadelphia, UW Emergency Management would like to remind all members of the UW community of some of the resources we have to directly respond to crises on campus.
The PEAT (Pre-Entry Assessment Team) is a group of specially-trained professionals here at UW Seattle and UW Tacoma who can mobilize to monitor disaster sites for chemical or other hazardous material (HAZMAT) presence before advising first-responders, employees or students that it is safe to return inside of a building. They are equipped to operate for up to 72 hours without outside assistance if necessary, based upon identified needs experience during the 2001 Nisqually Earthquake. You can learn more about how our PEAT works here.
Depending on the original emergency that occurs, the Applied Technology Council’s field manual for evaluating buildings’ structural safety after earthquakes may also be referenced by first responders. ATC-20 utilizes a skillset more often found in UW Facilities Services department, as well as Campus Engineering, among others.
25 Technology "Must-Have's" for Disaster Preparedness
With our increasing reliance on technology for our day-to-day lives, its almost impossible to think of how we could survive with it. Check out the following online article (click here) for 25 online tech tools, apps and gadgets to help you and your family ride out the next storm.
Training of the Week: Military Resources for Emergency Management
In honor of the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, UWEM would like to provide a chance to learn more about how the U.S. military’s various components are trained to provide emergency assistance to civil governments and communities in duress. IS-75, Military Resources for Emergency Management,, explains how the military of the U.S. responds to various levels of disasters. This can cover both Federal troops on Active-Duty or mustering Reserve Component personnel and/or National Guardsmen.
Indeed, our U.S. Interstate Highway System was inspired and created by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1950’s after seeing the modern Autobahn built by Germany prior to World War II. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has also worked closely with state & federal government over the last century to build and maintain critical infrastructure for the United States. We thank the brave men & women who have served the nation abroad and at home, and give a weary smile of relief when they arrive to help respond to & recover from regional and national emergencies!
Emergency Management Scholarship Opportunity
Future emergency managers/coordinators: There is a new scholarship available to students pursuing a certificate, diploma, undergraduate or graduate degree in Emergency Management (or a closely related field of study). The total amount offered is $2,500 and will be paid directly to the institute of higher education that the winning student is enrolled with.
The Joel Aggergaard Memorial Scholarship is offered by the Washington State Emergency Management Association (WSEMA) and is named in honor of Joel Aggergaard, a former employee of Washington State’s Department of Emergency Management from the 1970’s until his death in 1996. Joel specialized in being a liaison between state-level functions and county/municipal programs & emergency management professionals. If you or anyone you know is pursuing their education specifically to become a professional emergency manager, please share this with them and encourage them to go to the WSEMA webpage to fill out an application. The deadline for this year is August 1st!
Training of the Week - Community Preparedness
The Emergency Management Institute’s Independent Study Course 909, “Community Preparedness: Implementing Simple Activities for Everyone”, focuses on what it means to be prepared, as well as the baby steps that members of any community can take to go from crawling to walking the Emergency Management pathway.
What does it mean to be prepared? How do you come up with a basic plan? What roles do individuals, families and neighbors need to consider? Click the link above to learn more!
Partner in the Spotlight: Pascal Schuback (Office of Global Affairs)
In Thursday’s edition of The Daily, one of UW Emergency Management’s most-active partners was interviewed on the subject of campus safety and how UW projects the culture of safety outward to international settings when students and employees travel. In addition to serving in a full-time capacity through the Office of Global Affairs, Pascal Schuback is also a valued member of the UW Emergency Operations Center, where he acts as the Deputy Chief of the Planning Section.
The Office of Global Affairs is an important resource for students who wish to participate in study abroad opportunities that are advertised through International Programs & Exchange (IPE). It is also available to assist academic and research faculty members who engage with their peers overseas. Anyone interested in being an “extern” for the University of Washington is encouraged to contact the Office of Global Affairs to make the process as safe and easy as possible!
"Shelter-in-Place:" How to Respond
With the recent events at the Boston Marathon and the subsequent pursuit of suspects afterward being highly-televised, Friday brought a term to the public conversation that is often used in the emergency management/disaster response communities: “Shelter-in-Place.”
Distinct from the practices of a lockdown, which typically impacts a smaller geographic area, over a shorter period of time, sheltering in place is used when the threat to public safety and public health is multi-dimensional and mobile. In the case of Boston and its suburbs, shelter-in-place was advised by civic leadership because of the unknown whereabouts of a suspect considered “armed and dangerous” and first-responders wished to minimize the risk to innocent bystanders of becoming victims of the suspected terrorist. This link from the Center for Disease Control explains Shelter-in-Place in better detail and gives tips on how to prepare for such a procedure at work or at home.
Emergencies Don't Keep "Bankers' Hours"
Recently, UWEM assisted the UW Environmental Health & Safety and Housing & Food Services offices with quarterly fire drills in all residence halls and campus housing. This time, fire drills were held between 6pm-8pm during the school/work-week in an effort to increase participation & remind our fellow Huskies that there are never “convenient” times to have an emergency take place.
To help reduce the likelihood of being significantly affected by emergencies, please take all fire drills seriously and “Practice How You Play” whether they occur at work or at home. You can learn more about UW Seattle’s Fire Safety program at this link.
The Risk of News "Going Viral"
H7N9 influenze has been in the news recently, as more cases are being reported across Southeast Asia and governments take action to protect the public. In today’s ratings-driven media culture, though, facts can often be massaged in an effort to hold the attention of fickle viewers.
The following link gives a no-nonsense summarization of the current situation across the Pacific Ocean, and provides credible sources of information to keep up with current events involving this influenze strain and other public health topics.
It Pays To Prepare!
Next week, on Tuesday, April 9, 2013 from 3:00 – 4:00 PM EDT, FEMA’s Individual and Community Preparedness Division (ICPD) will host a free webinar entitled, “Starting Early: Financial Preparation for Disasters and Emergencies.” This event will highlight best practice programs and tools to engage local communities on the often overlooked financial aspect of disaster preparedness. Personnel from the federal government and non-profit organizations such as the Consumer Financial Preparedness Bureau (CFPB) and Operation Hope will also be participating and discussing their work in this critical area. For more information or to register, please visit the Registration Page
Training of the Week: Community Preparedness
The Emergency Management Institution’s Independent Study Course 909: Community Preparedness is one of FEMA’s many free web-based training modules. It is designed to be an easy-to-digest resource to help smaller organizations get ready for disasters in ways that are effective in both cost, time and existing capabilities of employees & members.
From the course summary: “The purpose of this course is to present a model program for community preparedness. In addition, resources materials are available to help organizations conduct simple preparedness activities for everyone.”
Click on this link to learn more and take the training yourself.