Newsletter: July, 2006

Internal Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Grants Available

The UW Office of Emergency Management (OEM) will again be providing a limited number of short-term, one-time emergency management and homeland security grants to internal UW departments and operating units. These funds will provide support to internal programs that improve the overall emergency preparedness efforts for the campus community.

While there is no formal open application period, all completed applications must be receive by the OEM by September 1st. All approved projects will be posted on the OEM website and must be completed by June 30th of the following year. Click here for more information regarding eligible projects, deadlines and the online application.

— Dede Garcia, Fiscal Specialist

Looking for a Few Good Projects

Office of Emergency Management is currently working with units and departments to identify projects to mitigate the Universitys risks to seismic or severe-storm related events. By being proactive the University is eligible to apply for FEMA Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grants, which is available on a competitive basis. However in the process confusion has developed over the difference between mitigation and preparedness activities.

What is the difference? Mitigation activities prevent an emergency, reduce the chance of an emergency happening, or lessen the damaging effects of unavoidable emergencies. (i.e. bracing bookshelves and cabinets) Preparedness activities allow individuals and communities to more effectively respond to an impending or potential emergency or disaster event. (i.e. obtaining a three day survival kit for home, car and office)

Remember by identifying and taking advantage of risk reduction opportunities in advance of a disaster, units and departments are in better position to recover quickly. In the end lives are saved and less damage means the cost to repair and replace is reduced. If you have any further questions or would like to submit a project idea please contact Elenka Jarolimek at: elenka@u.washington.edu

— Elenka Jarolimek,l EM Specialist

UW Prepares for Pandemic Flu

On May 30th, over 90 UW and regional partners participated in a day-long disaster drill to review and identify issues surrounding the Campus’ response to a global pandemic flu outbreak. Over 120 recommendations for improvements were made and will be posted on the OEM website by the end of July. These recommendations will form the basis for modifications to various emergency preparedness, response and recovery plans for UW operating units and departments.

In addition, the UW’s Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases (ACCD) will be taking the results of this exercise to update the UW’s DRAFT pandemic flu plan.

The ACCD has been charged with developing appropriate strategies to manage communicable diseases at the University. Formed in the 1980s and Chaired by the Vice President for Student Affairs, the core committee membership has included the Health Sciences Administration, Hall Health Center, the Office of the Attorney General, Human Resources, and Environmental Health and Safety. The Committee has addressed several issues through the years, from measles vaccinations, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis, to the emerging concerns of SARS and most recently the worldwide concern that an emerging avian influenza virus subtype could become the next worldwide pandemic of human influenza. As different communicable diseases have been addressed, the Committee has involved other campus partners to develop effective control strategies. Building on the experience and planning done for SARS, the ACCD is currently drafting the UW guidance (aka a plan) and specific control strategies needed to respond to the possibility of an avian influenza pandemic in the region. Because of the unique aspects of such a pandemic, the Committee is working closely with the Office of Emergency Management and several other key partners across the University. The technical and policy advice from ACCD is provided to the Presidents Cabinet and forms the basis for the University response to communicable diseases.

General Information on the Universitys Draft Plan

The UW has several characteristics that influence its planning for such an event. It hosts many international students and encourages foreign exchange for educational opportunities and research among its students and faculty. It is never fully closed, since it operates residence halls at the Seattle campus and supports the medical services at both the University Medical Center and Harborview. It has research animals and research that must be maintained on a 24/7 schedule. And, with the Board of Regents having full authority over the University facilities, there are unique relationships with public health authorities, as implied in WAC 246-100. In the event that a pandemic situation would result in social distancing strategies and restricted movements, it is anticipated that even if closed, the University would still be home to approximately 1500 resident students, who would not be able to leave the area.

The Universitys plan considers these realities and provides a systematic approach for minimizing the risk of disease at the Universitys Seattle, Bothell, and Tacoma campuses, as well as at other off-site facilities. There are three primary goals in the UW plan, intended to promote the safety and well-being of UW students, faculty, and staff:

  1. Prevent the spread of the disease;
  2. Protect UW students, faculty and the staff who will need to keep the UW running; and
  3. Provide support for the essential services that must be maintained.

The Universitys plan is currently based on the World Health Organizations (WHO) six response levels, but for planning purposes, these levels have been combined into four.

The four response levels of the UW Plan are:

Level Zero: This level at the University is composed of activities that should be taken to prepare for any pandemic and encompasses WHO levels 1,2, and 3 Level One: This level will be activated upon the first confirmed case of human avian influenza in the United States, Mexico and/or Canada and encompasses WHO level 4. Level Two: Level Two coincides with the WHO level 5 phase for a pandemic alert, which indicates there is significant human to human transmission occurring. For the UW, this means that there are suspected or confirmed cases of human avian influenza in the areas around University campuses and on the campus. Level Three: This coincides with the WHO pandemic alert phase #6. There is efficient and sustained human-to-human transmission throughout the area.

For each level, a risk assessment for the campus is provided and critical control strategies addressing specific actions needed for disease prevention and campus protection are outlined. There are also specific actions assigned to certain administrative units who must prepare for providing essential services at each response level. In addition to the ACCD and the Office of Emergency Management, specific action strategies are defined for the Office of Student Affairs, Hall Health Center, Human Resources, Facilities Services, Transportation Services, the UWPD, Housing and Food Services, International Programs and Exchanges, Purchasing, Risk Management, EH&S, News and Media Relations, C&C, and the medical centers. Some of the significant University concerns around which planning is focused are: the potential for disease transmission in shared living quarters; the reality of international students, travel, and research: the potential necessity of providing quarantine facilities; HR policies; and business continuity with reduced staffing.

The University plan is also cognizant of necessary interactions with the jurisdictional health departments in the time of an epidemic or pandemic that may require certain mandated restrictions by City, County, or State authorities. A specific agreement is currently being drafted with Public Health: Seattle and King County to clarify roles, responsibilities, and actions regarding quarantine and isolation as per WAC 246-100. Once completed, a similar document is being planned with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.

The University plan is currently is draft form, and it is anticipated that University procedures may change as new information regarding this disease continues to evolve.

The University Commitment to Campus Preparedness and Outreach

The University is committed to providing specific guidance to the Universitys organizational units based on the control strategies devised in the UW plan, and once the current draft goes though additional enhancement, information will be provided to the larger UW community in a variety of formats to ensure adequate and sufficient information sharing with students, faculty, and staff. Currently, the EH&S web site has linkages to important government information regarding pandemic avian influenza planning, and everyone is encouraged to address personal preparedness for any emergency, including a pandemic.

— Steve Charvat, Director

Volunteer Victims Needed

The UW is participating in a multi-agency drill with Seattle Fire, Seattle Police and other Federal, State and Local agencies to test the response and evacuation to a simulated terrorist attack on Husky stadium involving an unknown chemical or biological substance. This is the first drill of its kind and its receiving national attention.

YOU can participate! We need as many volunteer victims as possible. Volunteers will help test the decontamination portion of the drill by going through a series of showers, so bring your swimsuits!

Free lunch is provided and you get complimentary bragging rights to your friends and neighbors for your diligence in helping us make the UW safe.

For more information, check out the related article under “What’s New” at our website.

— Scott Preston, Business Continuity Manager

OEM Staff Members Wins International Scholarship

Each summer, the Natural Hazards Center hosts an invitational Hazards Research and Applications Workshop in Boulder, Colorado. The workshop brings together over 350 members of the hazards community who are working to alleviate the pain and loss inflicted by disasters. One of Mary Frans primary concerns was ensuring that representatives of all ages, professions, and communities be represented at the workshop. Mary Fran recognized that many people and organizations who could greatly benefit from and contribute to workshop activities, including local practitioners, students, and international professionals, were among the least likely to be able to afford the meeting.

In 2003, members of the hazards community established the Mary Fran Myers Scholarship to fulfill Mary Frans explicit request that qualified and talented individuals receive support to attend the workshop. The intent of the scholarship is to bring new and fresh perspectivesand otherwise unheard voicesto the workshop. The scholarship provides financial support for recipients to attend and participate in the workshop to further their research or career paths. This scholarship covers transportation, hotel accommodations, meals, and workshop registration fees.

The Mary Fran Myers Scholarship is awarded annually to at least one potential workshop participant, who is then formally invited to the workshop. Each year, the recipient or recipients are recognized at the workshop and may be asked to serve as panel discussants, where they can highlight their research or practical experiences in the hazards and disasters field.

CONGRATULATIONS ELENKA!!!


OEM Offices Closed August 3, 2006

All OEM Team members will be heading south down I-5 for the entire day on Thursday, August 3, 2006 for our first-annual “all-hands” OEM Team Retreat. The focus of our retreat will be to develop an OEM “identity” and brainstorm service identity options for our customers and clients. In addition, we will be working on drafting our first 5-year Strategic Plan and developing solutions to the many suggestions made in our bi-annual Customer Service Survey.

In case of a campus disaster or major emergency, OEM staff can be reached via cell phone or pager.


Outdoor Preparedness

Tips for Outdoor Preparedness

One of the greatest perks of living in the Seattle area is the convenient access to some of the best outdoor recreation in the United States. When you plan your outdoor adventures this summer, there are a few things to keep in mind to be safe and maximize the potential for fun. Besides the obvious need for outdoor essentials such as sunscreen, water and a first-aid kit..

1-Dress Smart. One of the key causes of hypothermia, even in the height of summer, is being poorly dressed for weather conditions. Avoid cotton, even in under garments. Wet cotton loses all insulating ability and strips heat from the body.

2-Dress in layers. Once youve got your non-cotton outdoor wardrobe, think about layers. Dressing in layers helps your body control its temperature.

3-Use the buddy system. Always have a buddy during your outdoor adventures. Youll have someone who can help you if you need it and you can share the adventure together.

4-Research your destination. Be aware of local weather and hazards.

5-Have a plan; let others know what it is. Tell a friend or family member where youll be, what youll be doing and when you expect to return. That way, if there is an accident and you are over-due, theyll know to call for help.

6-If you get lost, STAY PUT! We have one of the best search and rescue programs in the World right here in King County. Help rescuers find you by staying in place.

Proper planning can ensure you have a pleasant and safe outdoor adventure. For more tips on personal and family preparedness, please go to our website at: www.washington.edu/emergency

For more reading on outdoor preparedness and gear, try: http://www.equipped.com/toc.htm

— Scott Preston, CERT Coordinator

Save The Date!

Mark your calendar for the Campus Disaster Awareness and Emergency Preparedness Fair coming October 11, 2007.

Plan to attend this event where youll find simple, inexpensive and practical how-to tips for keeping safe in residence halls, laboratories, offices and homes. This event will include booths, activities and presentations by University and local/regional experts on disaster preparedness, response and recovery.

Some of the exhibits booths and information youll see include: Campus departments: Office of Emergency Management, EH&S, UWPD, Facilities Services, Student Affairs, Disability Office Public agencies: Seattle Police Department, Seattle Fire Department, SDART, King County Office of Emergency Management, FEMA Not for Profit: Red Cross, Humane Society

And just for fun, you can even pick up a copy of the 2007 Fire Fighter calendar and get it personally autographed by the firefighters!

— Clarice Nakata Hall, Special Projects Manager

THERE SHE GOES!!!

Overall the University of Washington was able to recover quickly from the destructive winds and flooding that caused loss of life, mass power outages and extensive property damage elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest. Wind blown trees and flooding caused moderate damage to the Seattle and Bothell Campuses, UW Botanic Gardens Arboretum, Friday Harbor Laboratories and Pack Forest Center.

Debris clean up was necessary on the Seattle campus as uprooted trees blocked pedestrian and vehicle traffic. The bus shelter at Stevens Way Medicinal Herb Garden was significantly damaged as a large conifer fell through the west section of the bus shelter. Bothell campus was without power for three days, and had a number of trees down. At the Botanic Gardens 50 fallen trees blown down with several large ones blocking Lake Washington Drive. Pack Forest where winds clocked at 113 mph near Mt. Rainier was out of power for seven days, and debris still covers about 35 miles of roadway blocking access for forest research. Friday Harbor Laboratories facilities were mostly spared as trees toppled over in the forest preserve.

Once again this storm event serves as a reminder about personal preparedness and responsibility. Make sure you have at minimum stash of extra water, non perishable food, flashlight and extra batteries for both home, office and car. Also hearing about people’s experience about the importances of having a full tank of gas in your car, and to make sure the gutters on your roof and street are clear of debris.

— Elenka Jarolimek, CEM