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
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Below are news articles that have been archived by our staff.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.
Hold On... Cities will Experience More and Costlier Disasters this Century
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.
Staying Safe Throughout The UW
Have you ever visited the UW Tacoma campus for a class, workshop or professional conference? Though smaller than Seattle’s university community, Tacoma is no less-likely to experience an emergency.
Luckily, they have local resources ready to respond to crises in the 253! Campus Safety & Security is located within the Dougan Building, Room 180 and they are available to assist you with any emergency that may occur on the UW Tacoma campus. UW Emergency Management would love to lend a hand too, but the commute time down I-5 is a BEAST! Follow this link to learn more about UW Tacoma’s Campus Safety & Security Office.
You Always Take The Weather With You!
The Pacific Northwest Weather Workshop, the annual gathering for those interested in Northwest weather and climate. will be held on March 1-2, 2013. As usual it will be held at the NOAA Sand Point facility in Seattle.
There is a registration fee of $30, due at sign-up; a special discount price of $15 is available for students. For everything you ever wanted to know, but were afraid to ask, click over to the event’s webpage to register today!
Training Volunteers For Community Response
This past Saturday, UW Emergency Management collaborated with a local representative from the American Red Cross to train 4 undergraduate students in emergency shelter management. In the event of a significant event that suspends campus operations and disrupts KingMetro/SoundTransit, UW-affiliated (students/staff/faculty) persons can be temporarily sheltered at UW until the crisis is resolved or long-term support is required.
While UWEM volunteers were excited to receive training from a well-respected organization like the ARC, it is stressed that any shelter that is opened on UW property will not be operated by the American Red Cross: Our students constitute a vulnerable population, and therefore must be offered a degree of protection from the general public. Red Cross shelters are open to the entire community in support of their mission to serve those in need, so us Huskies have to display some self-sufficiency under stress! To learn more about the American Red Cross and how you can get involved with them here in Seattle, follow this link to their webpage.
Partners in Emergency Preparedness Conference (April 2-4, 2013)
This year, the Partners in Emergency Preparedness Conference will be focusing on a theme of “Public-Private Partnerships” with several guest speakers from local and national organizations. The event will run for a half-day on the afternoon of April 2nd, all day April 3rd, and wrap up the morning of April 4th to facilitate visitors from outside of the local area.
This is the largest regional conference in the Pacific Northwest, and in addition to the lectures and workshops, those in attendance will also have the opportunity to register for the International Association of Emergency Managers’ Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) exam and complete it during the conference.
The conference will be held in the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center and more information is available at the following Event Page.
Prepare For Disasters On Your Own Time!
The University of Pittsburgh is offering a Disaster Preparedness class free of charge through the Coursera web series. Learn about basic concepts of disaster management, with an emphasis on what you can can do BEFORE an emergency happens!
Click on the link for more information about the class material and how to sign up. NOTE: This class does NOT count for academic college credit.
If you would like to have a similar class presented in your office, department or shop on campus, contact UW Emergency Management to learn more!
Prepare in a Year: Feb Tip Out-of-Area Contacts
Preparing to be Separated from Loved Ones. If you are separated from your loved ones when disasters strike, you immediately will wonder how and where they are. The stress of the event may make it difficult to remember even routine information, like phone numbers.Consequently, we recommend that every household member have an out-of-area contact card in a wallet, purse, or backpack at all times. Learn more
Know Your Hazards: Earthquakes
The Puget Sound region is no stranger to seismic activity, and many locals are able to recall the last time they felt a quake of significant magnitude. Were you nearby during the Nisqually Quake of 2001, when a 6.8-magnitude tremor erupted near Olympia?
In case you’re new to this corner of the “Ring of Fire” or fancy yourself an expert in plate tectonics, the US Geological Survey has a new quiz to educate & challenge your knowledge about earthquakes!
Seasonal Flu Update
As we pass the mid-point of winter, so too is seasonal influenza reaching its peak in clinic/ER visits & employees calling out sick. Hall Health Clinic is a great resource to access medical care as well as general healthcare information. Flu vaccines are available for ~$25, and may be covered by your insurance. Additionally, UW-affiliated persons are eligible for a free check-up at Hall Health once per quarter, in case you suspect influenza or other health concerns.
Contact Hall Health Clinic for more information on their website.
Significant Weather Update - January 9th-12th
Meteorologists at the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Seattle announced early Wednesday afternoon of a confirmed risk of scattered snowshowers overnight Wednesday and into the dawn hours of Thursday morning.
The expected snow event will mostly affect areas at or above 400 feet from mean sea level. Snow is expected to stick and accumulate overnight, with amounts between Trace (Less than 0.05 inches) to 2.0 inches.
Temperatures are expected to remain near-freezing through Saturday, January 12th. Weather forecasts currently call for more precipitation on Saturday; it is uncertain at this time if this second event will bring frozen precipitation or not. Stay tuned to local news sources for further updates.
Radio: The ORIGINAL Wireless Technology
With the turn-in of UWPD’s old SEMOC vehicle, several pieces of equipment were salvaged to continue service across the UW campus departments, including a HAM radio set that is headed for the UW Emergency Operations Center. As it is being installed & tested, UWEM is putting a call out for any volunteers with HAM radio expertise to serve as EOC dispatch volunteers, monitoring our local frequencies and transmitting messages as required from within the EOC during exercises & real-world events.