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Below are news articles that have been archived by our staff.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.
La Nina is Strengthing. Are you ready?
UWEM Director Elected Secretary of National Association
Steve Charvat, CEM, UWEM Director, was elected as the Secretary of the International Association of Emergency Managers (www.iaem.com) at its annual international conference in San Antonio, Texas this week. The results of the election were announced on November 3rd. Steve was sworn in at the Presidential Banquet that evening. In his role, Steve will continue on the IAEM Executive Board for the next 2 years as Secretary, responsible for maintaining all official records of this 5,300-member professional emergency management organization - the world’s largest. Congratulations Steve!
2010 UW All Hazards Emergency Management Plan
The latest and greatest updated 2010 UW All Hazards Emergency Management Plan is final. Public version can be viewed here.
Hot Weather Safety
Summer is finally here! This week we should be experiencing temperatures in the high 80s & 90s. Please be safe as exposure to excessive heat can cause illness, injury or even death. Learn more on how to stay safe!
Homeland Security Announces New Standards for Private Sector Preparedness
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Secretary Napolitano have announced new standards for use in Private Sector preparedness. There are three standards that are currently accepted by DHS. First is the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1600:2007. Next is ASIS International’s SPC.1-2009 Organizational Resilience: Security Preparedness, and Continuity Management Systems. Finally, there is the British Standards Instruction’s 25999-2:2007 Business Continuity Management.
Prior to this announcement, University of Washington Emergency Management was already integrating principles of NFPA 1600:2007 into the Business Academic and Research Continuity (BARC) program and will continue to do so as a best practice. You can read more about this effort from Homeland Security here. If you have questions about emergency preparedness or business continuity, please contact UWEM
The Personal Side of Business Continuity from IBM
There is an excellent article from IBM on the human aspects of emergency preparedness and business continuity. All emergency planning begins and ends with people. Our students, staff and faculty are our most important resource, so they are our first and primary focus for all emergency planning. You can read the article here.
Biannual Update of the UW All Hazards Emergency Management Plan
The EMP is the UW’s all hazards plan that forms the basis for an effective and efficient response and recovery system for large scale disasters. Every 2 years the UW is required to conduct a formal review of the plan with feedback, edits, corrections from all key partners. The plan is now open for review with a final document to be completed in Sept 2010. If you would like more information feel free to email UWEM
Sign up for Earthquake Training
Come learn about the geological activity in the Pacific Northwest with tips on how to prepare for an earthquake and reduce risk of personal injury and property damage both at home and at work. The next class is Wednesday July 21st from 10-11:30am, Electrical Engineering Bld Rm 303. Click here to register.
From Chile to Seattle: What that earthquake might look like here.
A recent article from the New York Times examines that potential of damage for an earthquake similar to that of Chile occurring in Seattle. It’s an important reminder of our need to be prepared. You can read the article here.
UW Building Disaster Inspection Teams Ready for Action
A little-known resource at the UW-Seattle campus has been preparing for the “BIG ONE” for years. Known as the ATC-20 Teams, this specialized team of UW professional staff has been training and preparing for major disasters for years. Supported by UWEM and various internal disaster grants, these building officials continually train and prepare for evaluating and tagging/marking the UW-Seattle buildings after a disaster. Click here for a detailed story from University Week.
Prepare in a Year, Monthly Tip: Storing Water
March Tip: Storing Water. Water is essential for survival. The ground trembling and shaking caused by earthquakes can crack or break the lines that bring fresh water to your house. You may have to rely for three days or more on the water you have stored.WA State Emergency Management
Humanitarian Relief Logistics Lecture-March 4, 2010
GTTL Studies invites you to join us for a lecture by humanitarian relief and development worker Nick Macdonald on Thursday, March 4th from 4:30 to 6:20 p.m. at Mary Gates Hall, Room 241. Nick Macdonald has over 10 years of experience working for a variety of relief and development organizations assisting in areas of conflict, natural disasters, and developing countries. His field experience includes Kosovo, Albania, Croatia, Serbia, Indonesia, Central Asia, and leadership roles in Mercy Corps’ responses to the Indian Ocean Tsunami and the Gulf Coast Hurricanes. Most recently he has worked on disaster risk reduction with the inter-agency Emergency Capacity Building Project, CARE and Save the Children, and currently works for Mercy Corps, forging innovative partnerships between development practitioners and academic researchers to improve development practices.
Help for Victims of the Haiti Earthquake
The catastrophic 7.0 earthquake in Haiti on January 12th has brought terrible misery to the residents of Haiti. It has also brought out the spirit of giving and hope to the rest of the world. Residents of the UW community and Washington State are often bombarded with a confusing string of public messages on how best to help the many people in need in Haiti. UWEM is happy to provide a 2-page guide sheet, click here for more information as well as UW Human Resources Haiti Resources page and FAQs. The UW’s Office of Global Affairs also has more information on how to help. Their Haiti earthquake website can be found by clicking here
New Study Puts Megaquake Closer to Seattle
New research concludes that the Cascadia Subduction Zone actually sits only 50 miles away from the Seattle area. Previously it was thought to sit miles off the Washington coast line. This means a major fault sits closer to where the mass populations reside resulting in greater potential damage from Cascadia than previously believed. Click here to read the full article from the Seattle Times
Various Information Sources for the Potential Green River Flooding
There is a potential for serious flooding in the Green River Valley that runs from South Auburn to North Tukwila in South King County. UW Emergency Management does not expect a direct impact to any UW campus should the flooding occur, but secondary impacts to students, staff and faculty who live or commute through that area could occur. Some reduction in service from utilities, transportation and communication infrastructure may also occur. For general information click here. For detailed floodzone maps, click [here]
Temperatures to reach over 100 in Seattle!
Exposure to excessive heat can cause illness, injury and even death. Approximately 688 people die each year from exposure to extreme heat (CDC). The elderly, young children and people with chronic health problems are most at risk.
Be alert to the symptoms of heat related illnesses to make this a safer summer for you and your loved ones.
Follow the link to Hot Weather Precautions and Tips to Stay Cool
UW Disaster Plan a National Model
(07/10/09) The US Federal Communications Commission has selected the University of Washington's all-hazard disaster plan as one of only 9 national models for campus disaster response and recovery. The UW's plan is updated every two years and has served as a model to many other colleges and universities. By posting our disaster plan on the FCC's clearinghouse website, we hope to provide a leadership example to our peer institutions across the country and across the globe. KUDOS to UWEM and rest of the UW!
FEMA grant funds facelift for collections storage at the Burke Museum
(07/09/09) The Burke Museum will be renovating its collection storage areas over the next two years, moving items from open shelves to new storage compactors that protect them from light and dust and possible damage from earthquakes. UWEM assisted the Burke in applying for this grant.
The renovation is being funded through a $700,000 Federal Emergency Management Agency Hazard Grant. Compactors — basically storage units on wheels — can increase the efficiency of a space by about 50 percent, allowing more objects to be protected, according to Ron Eng, the Burke's geology collections manager. "The trade-off is that you do lose the convenience of fixed aisles," Eng said.
It's a massive move indeed — millions of objects and specimens from the Burke's ethnology and geology collections will be moved into new storage units.
More than half of the geology collections, ranging from dinosaur bones to fossil flowers, will be moved, as well as the entire textile collection and the contemporary Northwest Coast print collection.
Click on the headline for more details!
National Lightning Safety Awareness Week June 21-27, 2009
Summer is the peak season for one of America's deadliest weather phenomena-lightning. In 2008, hundreds of people were permanently injured by lightning strikes across the country, and 28 were killed. This year to-date, 11 people have been killed by lightning, and statistically, the Fourth of July is one of the most deadly times of the year. According to FEMA Acting Regional Administrator Dennis Hunsinger, National Lightning Safety Awareness Week, observed the last full week of June, not only helps get safety messages out in time for the Fourth of July, but also signals summer as lightning season.
Prepare in a Year - June Tip - Extended Event Supplies
(June 4, 2009) - Coping with the impact of a disaster is never fun. However, much of the inconvenience and discomfort the disaster causes can be reduced by planning alternative ways to take care of your needs.
UW H1N1 News Alert (06/12/09, 11:00 am)
The World Health Organization yesterday raised the global alert for the H1N1 (Swine) flu to the highest level: 6. The announcement of a global pandemic confirms what we anticipated: H1N1 continues to spread widely around the world. For weeks we have been intensively planning and preparing for the anticipated return of the virus in the fall and we will continue on that path.
That means we're continuing to closely monitor disease trends at the UW working with our partners in King County. H1N1 flu is still circulating in our community, but the level of illness appears to be decreasing, with fewer reports of flu-like illness from hospitals and schools. H1N1 virus has caused a disproportionate number of cases and hospitalizations in younger people, with 57% of the cases nationally among people aged 5-25 years of age. 41% of the hospitalizations are also among this age group.
The severity of the H1N1 virus has not changed here in King County or anywhere around the world. The WHO's declaration of a pandemic (phase 6) is based on geographic spread of the influenza virus, not on the severity of the illness.
It's important to note that although H1N1 activity is decreasing in King County as we enter the summer, we anticipate significantly more widespread outbreaks this fall and winter. This may include the potential for an increased number of illnesses and deaths in younger persons than during a typical flu season. Since this is a new virus strain, we know that many people will not have immunity to H1N1 flu.
This is a critical time to prepare for whatever the flu might bring in the fall.
o Public Health is collaborating with health care, schools and other community partners to be ready (including the UW).
o Individuals and families must also prepare, including taking steps now to plan for possible school closures (such as setting up alternative child care and finding ways to work from home) and absences from work.
o Businesses and organizations must also be ready to cope with a reduced work force if many become ill or need to stay at home.
Influenza can be serious for many people, regardless of whether it's this new strain of swine flu or the seasonal flu we see annually. In the coming months, we encourage you to continue to prepare at home, school and work, and to check Public Health's website for updated information: www.kingcounty.gov/health/H1N1.
UW H1N1 Update (posted 05/11/09, 9:45 am)
Case counts nationally, and throughout Washington State will continue to rise with new CDC testing and reporting protocols. The H1N1 virus is a mild strain; presenting no significant threat at this time in comparison to seasonal influenza. UW emergency operations will transition back to a virtual (pre-response) phase with heightened alerts about the fall influenza season and possible mutation. UW Emergency Management is also returning to normal status as of May 11, 2009.
UWEM UPDATES on the H1N1 outbreak will "turned off" on Wednesday May 13th. All past updates can be found in the News Archives (right-hand column). More information can also be found on the UWEM Pandemic Flu website.
Work Begins on Padelford Garage Seismic Upgrade
(May 28, 2009) Work has begun on strengthening the Padelford Garage and Pedestrian walkway. This $621,000 project is funded 75% by FEMA and will ensure that the structure will withstand a moderate earthquake. Work will be done in phases and will continue into September 2009.
H1N1 Flu Outbreak South of the Border spreads to US
(ongoing) The UW and members of the Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases are continuously monitoring the deadly outbreak of human-to-human transmission of H1N1 (previously called "swine") flu throughout the globe in Mexico and reported cases in eleven states in the US. We are coordinating and preparing appropriate response activities for the UW community based on input and guidance from local, statewide and regional public health officials. Stay tuned for more information and updates. (SEE UPDATES on main UWEM homepage)
H1N1 Update: 05/05/09, 11:00 am
Federal health officials have confirmed suspected swine flu (H1N1) cases in Washington, which joins 38 other states that have confirmed cases. Nine people in our state have been confirmed with swine flu - seven in King; one each in Snohomish and Spokane Counties.