Newsletter: July, 2009

UW Preps for Swine Flu

Summertime and flu-season are rarely used in the same sentence, except this year. The late April and May H1N1 global outbreak of the H1N1 caused quite a bit of concern and action at all levels of government, including here at the UW.

UWEM worked closely with the University’s Advisory Committee on Communicable Disease to update and distribute a revised version of the campus’ “pandemic flu” plan. The ACCD took a good, long look at our 2006 plan, which was developed primarily for the bird flu and quickly realized that is was not flexible enough to deal with the recent swine flu.

The new plan and related processes allow more flexibility for the UW to handle a much broader spectrum of novel communicable disease outbreaks. The President’s Cabinet received a briefing on the plan and provided input as we prepare for the likely return of the Swine Flu later this fall.

BOTTOM LINE LESSONS LEARNED: We lucked out this spring, but need to “keep our guard up” for the likely return. If/when the swine flu (or any future nasty bug) returns, it may not be as benign and the UW deserves to have the best plans in place to handle any and all potential situations.

Stay tuned and remember: GET YOUR FLU SHOT THIS FALL!

— Steve Charvat, UWEM Director

Keeping Your Cool - Suggestions for a Seattle Summer:

Open up the house when its cool, shut it down when its hot. Let the cool air in during the evening and close it up when its hot during the day. Close all doors and windows, making sure to close curtains and blinds as well, to keep the indoors cool for as long as possible.

Use fans to promote air circulation throughout your home. If its hotter inside your house than it is outside, set up a fan facing outside in a window or a door to suck the hot air out. Open up another window to draw the cooler air in. For a homemade “air conditioning” system, sit in the path of a box fan that is aimed at an open cooler or pan filled with ice.

Eliminate extra sources of heat. Incandescent light bulbs can generate unnecessary heat, as can computers or appliances left running. Eat fresh foods that do not require you to use the oven or stove to prepare.

Take advantage of the cooling power of water. Fill buckets or basins and soak your feet. Wet towels and bandannas can have a cooling effect when worn on the shoulders or head. Take cool showers or baths, and consider using a spray bottle filled with cold water for refreshing spritzes throughout the day.

Finally, remember that pets also suffer when the temperature rises. Cooling animals (dogs, rabbits, cats) by giving them a “cool” bath or shower will help keep their body temperature down. A cool towel on a tile floor to lay on, a cool towel or washcloth laying over the skin next to a fan will also help cool the animal. Make sure they have plenty of cool water to drink as well. Signs of a heat stroke in a pet are: rapid panting, wide eyes, lots of drooling, hot skin, twitching muscles, vomiting and a dazed look. Call your vet if you think your pet has a heat stroke.

References: American Red Cross, Humane Society

— Clarice Hall, Special Projects Manager

A Vine to Help Connect Us All

Featured article on MSN Tech & Gadgets

You may have heard about Microsoft Vine beta. CNET called it Superhero software. The Seattle Times touted it as Twitter+Facebook on Steroids. If you havent heard of Vine and want try it, read on for a promotion code to join the closed beta.

The idea for Vine was conceived during Hurricane Katrina, to help people prepare for, respond to, and provide help during emergencies. But Vine is also designed for everyday use, like caring for someone whos sick, inviting neighbors to a weekend BBQ, or letting your softball team know about a last-minute field change.

Vine features include:

A PERSONAL DASHBOARD- Information about the people and places you care about appears here. Enter your home address, for example, and it appears on a map along with local news and safety information from over 20,000 sources. When someone sends you an alert or report, those appear here too.

ALERTS- As you invite people to join you on Vine, you can arrange them into groups, such as: your emergency contacts; family; neighbors; or your softball team. Vine alerts let you reach them quickly.

Each person chooses how he or she receives alerts: via e-mail, SMS (text) message, or their Vine client. So when you need to let family know youre OK, or notify team members that the game switched fields, you can send a single alert to the right people, in the way that theyre most likely to get it.

REPORTS- Vine includes pre-populated reports so you can, for example, check in safe during an emergency. Or report suspicious activity in your neighborhood. Or let trusted neighbors know when youre headed out of town. You can create your own reports too, such as an update for extended family when youre caring for an elderly parent.

Vine is a beta service, but its easy to see its potential for helping people stay informed and involved when it matters. Or, as one reviewer put it, Microsoft Vine could save your hide.

To request an invitation to the Vine beta, go to Enter your email address and include the promo code 09AAA to expedite your invitation.

— Siri-Elizabeth McLean, Plans and Training Manager

UWEM Year-End Balanced Scorecard Results

It is that time again for the quarterly (and annual) wrap up and report out on our Balanced Score Card. This is a tool we use within Facilities Services to measure our progress on both tactical and strategic goals.

Each Balanced Scorecard contains four main perspectives: Financial Management, Internal Processes, Customer Service, and Employee Learning & Growth. Each perspective has objectives and established measurements specific to each department.

This quarter UWEM continued to excel in professional development, training and outreach, building new partnerships, process improvements and website updates. One area that needs improvement is, no surprise, are wholly-inadequate Emergency Operations Center, or EOC. We are hoping that in the next year with the dreams of getting our very own dedicated EOC we will be able to conduct everyday updates to this space.

— Siri-Elizabeth McLean, Plans & Training Manager

Operation Crash Start

The UWEM conducted its Annual UW Campuswide (simulated) disaster exercise Thursday, April 30, 2009 at the UW’s Emergency Operations Center. The facilitated tabletop exercise was conducted to prepare UW leadership and managers to assume their crisis response and recovery roles immediately after a major disaster impacting the Seattle campus and community.

The drill scenario was a secret this year, but it was soon revealed that we were responding to a large jetliner and a regional aircraft colliding and crashing onto the main campus around Kane Hall. To make matters worse, the smaller communter passenger plane was carrying the biological Ebola virus. Yikes!!

The exercise was interesting, lively, informative and very well received with an overall positive rating of 73%. The drill is part of the UW’s preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery emergency management program. A fully-document After Action Review and Report (AAR) were developed and distributed to ensure that we are continuously making improvements.

— Dede Hough, Fiscal Specialist and EOC Support Team Member

No Rock n’ Roll Allowed at the Burke Museum

No Rock’in and Roll’in at the Burke Museum if we can help it. The Burke Museum received a seismic remediation grant to the tune of $830,409 on behalf of UW Emergency Management, Washington State Military Department and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

This HMGP grant will allow installation of specialized new storage structures in the museum and will help reduce the potential hazards to staff and visitors in the museum during an earthquake event and to reduce the potential of seismic damage to uninsurable ethnographic and geological collections. Work as begun on this project and we are all excited to see this project accepted and ready to go.

All work will be completed by 2011 — hopefully in time for our next earthquake.

— Dede Hough, Fiscal Specialist

Hasta La Vista Baby

After 5 years as part of the UWEM “family,” Clarice Hall jumps ship to join UW Technology Services full-time. While many have met or worked with Clarice Nakata-Hall, some of you may not have. That’s pretty hard to believe as she seems to know EVERYONE at the UW!

Since 2003,Clarice has worked part-time for UWEM as our one-and-only Special Projects Manager. She has been an integral part of our small department and over the years, she spearheaded a number of innovative programs, initiatives and activities. Clarice managed a number of FEMA/DRU grant-funded programs and projects, including our hugely successful 2007 “QuakeFest” event at the HUB. All of our community and campus outreach activities and marketing efforts had Clarice front-and-center. The UWEM staff bowling shirts (aka “uniforms”) that we occasionally wear were even trendy before anybody realized it.

While she will be surely missed, Clarice has not strayed too far. Her parent department, UW Technology Services, now has the distinct pleasure of having Clarice dedicated 100% to their Technology Business Continuity Program. In this role, UWEM will be working in partnership with her as one of our primary liaisons.

— Steve Charvat, UWEM Director

Beat Extreme Heat Avoid Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

Recognize the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat Exhaustion Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids. Those most prone to heat exhaustion are elderly people, people with high blood pressure, and people working or exercising in a hot environment

The warning signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion may include: heavy sweating paleness muscle cramps tiredness weakness dizziness headache nausea or vomiting fainting

The victims skin may be cool and moist, the pulse rate will be fast and weak, and breathing will be fast and shallow. Help the victim move to a cooler environment, and offer cool, non-alcoholic beverages and cold compresses.

If heat exhaustion is untreated, it may progress to heat stroke, which is a medical emergency. Seek medical attention and call 911 immediately if symptoms are severe, or the victim has heart problems or high blood pressure.

Heat Stroke Heat stroke — injury to internal organs caused by an excessively high body temperature — is a serious and potentially deadly illness that can usually be prevented. Unfortunately, it still happens all too frequently. Heat stroke can occur when you are in an extremely hot environment for a long period of time. It also happens when people overexert themselves on very hot days.

The symptoms of heat stroke are more severe than those of heat exhaustion and may include: Initial profuse sweating Hot, dry red skin High fever Vomiting Confusion Seizures during cooling Unconsciousness Sometimes lack of sweating, though athletes may perspire High body temperature (often 105 degrees or higher) Anyone experiencing these symptoms should immediately seek emergency medical help.

— Clarice Hall, UWEM Special Projects