Tag: disaster preparedness

Have you registered for the 2018 #ShakeOut Drill yet?

This is a friendly reminder for ALL of you to register for the 2018 ShakeOut drill! What is the ShakeOut Drill? (And no, it is not a new dance).  The best description comes from the organization that hosts this annual event –  ShakeOut.  Also, below is an explanation from their website with “hyperlinks” to help you learn more.

Many areas of the globe are prone to earthquakes… You could be anywhere when an earthquake strikes: at home, at work, at school or even on vacation. Are you prepared to survive and to recover quickly?

Great ShakeOut earthquake drills are an opportunity to practice how to be safer during earthquakes: “Drop, Cover and Hold On.” ShakeOut also has been organized to encourage you, your community, your school, or your organization to update emergency plans and supplies, and to secure your space in order to prevent damage and injuries. <Shakeout.org>

 

So, NOW  is the time to take  TWO MINUTES to register your family   or organization for this all important safety drill.  Remember – some of the worst earthquakes in the United States happen in states like Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Virginia! California and Alaska don’t have the monopoly on earthquake activity in North America!  Please don’t be complacent and think, “It can’t happen here” – because history has proven quite the opposite!

Also, included on the ShakeOut.org  website are some very handy resources for students, teachers and much more.

Click on the bolded and underlined titles below to connect with the direct resource:

Preparedness materials, games, posters and downloads for K-12 :   For Educators and School Officials

For College Faculty and Administrators

For those with Access and Functional Needs

A Sign Language Video   for Earthquake and Tsunami Preparedness

General Information and FAQs about ShakeOut

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red-cross

A teen with a rare blood type receives a transfusion. A shelter is opened for families who lost everything in a tornado. A parent learns CPR before the birth of their baby.  An earthquake hits Nepal a few years after another has devastated Japan. What do all of these scenarios have in common? The Red Cross .

I have seen firsthand the work of the Red Cross.  It was during Hurricane Agnes while I was living in a small town in Western New York. One day we had a beautiful village with several schools and a hospital. The day Agnes stalled over our village we were left with only half of the schools and lost much of the hospital as it collapsed in to the Genessee River. Who came to help those who watched their life savings float away? The local chapter of the Red Cross. As a young “tween” I was in awe as the dedicated volunteers assisted those who were displaced and in need of items that usually we take for granted – such as drinking water.

Photo credit: regionalnewsnetwork.blogspot.com

Jones Memorial Hospital in the aftermath of Hurricane Agnes.Photo credit: regionalnewsnetwork.blogspot.com

Related story: Red Cross- How they respond to disasters

Fast forward to just a couple of years ago when raging tornados tore apart areas surrounding Oklahoma City. Ironically, I was scheduled to speak in that area on disaster preparedness, but instead found myself in the center of a response and relief effort. Again, the Red Cross played a huge role in the helping families almost instanteounsly after the tornado dust had cleared. What many don’t know is that people who come in to shelters are out of their element and find it extremely challenging.  Much more is the case when the family is not English speaking, Deaf or has a family member with disabilities or challenges, such as Autism. Bravo to the Red Cross and other groups who provide assistance for recognizing the need for training their staff, including volunteers, to help people with access and functional needs.

Read about the Red Cross response in Oklahoma

Now let’s play a round of RED CROSS TRIVIA?

(Yes, I just made that up) 

♦ Did you know that the Red Cross has pre-made disaster preparedness kits that are available online or via retail stores such as Target? The reason is to make it easy for families to be prepared with the correct items needed for most disasters.

♦ Did you know that the Red Cross has created an app known as Safe and Well to let you alert and notify your families after a disaster, such as an earthquake or tornado, that you are OK and where you are located?

♦ Did you know that the Red Cross is made up of over 90% volunteers?

♦ Did you know that  the Red Cross responded to over 140 large disasters and thousands of smaller ones in the United States during 2013 alone?

♦ Did you know that your donation(s) is what helps sustain the Red Cross?

Related story: The international services the Red Cross provide

Time to Give Back!

Now it is time to give back and acknowledge the amazing work of the Red Cross during a very special cross-cultural event being held in Culver City the week of October 26, 2015 – The Asian World Film Festival. This melding of film and philanthropy is the culminatation of months of preparation. On November 1st a special event will be the  Global Change Gala being held  in Culver City. There internationally renowned actor and musician Miyavi, who hails  from Japan – will be one of the three honorees and performers of the evening dedicated to spotlighting the global works of the Red Cross.

Miyavi_Album

Miyavi will be performing at the Asian World Film Festival Global Change Gala on November 1st

Learn how to get tickets and about the festival with this link.

In addition there has been a very special online auction with many one- of – a kind experiences being offered. Dine at favorite restaurants such as Spago or Nabu. Click FIJI off your bucket list of “must sees”. Or perhaps journey to Napa Valley and be treated to the best accomodatons and fine wines the region has to offer. There is something for most on this auction site set up by Charity Buzz. Bids are now open and rules are on the auction page.

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To participate in the auction (and grab yourself or family member a fabulous gift) – click here

Let’s get social with the Red Cross and the Asian World Film Festival

Follow the Red Cross and Asian World Film Festival endeavors with these social media links:

@AsianWorldFilmFest

@RedCross

#GlobalChangeGala

@MIYAVI_Official

#AsianWorldFF

and of course you can follow me as @LouiseASL

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Hurricane earthquake disaster damage ruined house

It is hard to believe that ten years ago many of us were glued to our television  sets watching a hurricane develop  in the Atlantic Ocean and then slowly but surely find its’ way to the Gulf Coast.  It was named –  Hurricane Katrina.  While no doubt a horrific hurricane that caused millions if not billions in damages, it truly was the flooding from when the levees broke that made this hurricane written in to the history books.  Who can forget the television footage of reporters on boats making their way through what were the beautiful streets of New Orleans? How can people erase the images of people crying out for help?  So many sad memories of those who evacuated, lost everything or suffered trauma that to this day may be unspeakable. It was “Katrina” that cast a dark shadow on the United States’ ability to help their own people during a crisis.  For many, Katrina will forever be remembered as a “one-two- three punch” of a storm.  First the hurricane, then the flooding and then the failure for help to arrive when needed the most.

Related: Video playlist of Hurricane Katrina footage and history

There is no question that we did not prepare nor evacuate and assist those in need to the best of our collective abilities.  Families were shipped off to different locales including sending relatives to opposite sides of the country. I recall meeting families who had been uprooted and sent to the Washington DC- Baltimore area. They simply were in shock. They had nothing.  Our local neighbors and religious organizations offered them food, clothing, toys for the kids and just about anything else we could think of!  I often wondered what has happened to them ten years later.  Did they go home to New Orleans?

Then there were those who refused to leave their homes. Many because they wanted to “ride out the storm”. Yet a good number wouldn’t leave as they couldn’t handle leaving behind a family pet.  Others were unsure of how their elderly relatives or ones with special needs would be able to endure shelters- so they stayed.

And now looking back we now know that for some of these families these were fatal mistakes.

There must be some lessons we have learned since August of 2005? But, what are they?  How did we alter the way we prepare and respond to disasters since Katrina? 

I believe that emergency responders never again want to have what happened during and after Katrina be repeated.  Never again do we want people to feel helpless and hopeless.  As aforementioned, many people failed to evacuate because they couldn’t bring their pets to shelters or  provide for their safety.  Others failed to evacuate because they felt they were “safe” only to be in dire straits when the levees broke.  Lives could have been saved if pets, the elderly and better communication were all in place. Although we cannot undo the tragedies of 2005, we have learned from them.

Thankfully now many laws and initiatives have been instituted that are a direct result of Katrina.  One is regarding the care of animals during emergencies. In some areas, no longer do people need to make a choice. (Read how Congress changed animal care during disasters by clicking here).  People are now encouraged to plan ahead and have “back up plans” for their animals in the event of an emergency.

Communication also has improved as now videos in multiple languages, including American Sign Language (ASL),  have been made available for all to access important information about preparations needed for families to be safe in case of an emergency situation, how to ready for impending disasters, and what to expect from response and recovery.  Local community response teams (CERT) have grown and are now a wonderful grassroots effort to help our citizens be safe, including our most vulnerable members – seniors and those with disabilities.  I can’t rave enough about these amazing people who give beyond measure by engaging the most during a time when many would prefer to go away from a disaster.

Read the changes made with emergency management following “Katrina” – a FEMA Document.

It is amazing how many people are now more responsive to hurricane warnings. After all, Katrina was suppose to be a Category 1 storm that quickly gained momentum and strength.  One of the lessons that many have learned is to have a disaster preparedness kit.  Flashlights, batteries and crank radios are now common place in people’s homes and cars.  The Red Cross has put together a very useful website chocked full of disaster preparedness recommendations.

Remember to plan with your loved ones to prepare before a disaster happens! That is the lesson we ALL can take away from Katrina and apply in preparation for any other  disasters – natural and at the hands of man. As there is bound to be “something” in our future and at least we can be ready.

I am sure that many of you have many more suggestions.  As always, please feel free to comment.

Thanks for reading and may this hurricane season be kind and gentle and not as catastrophic as Katrina.

~Louise

Dear Burlington County Times,

I wanted to write this blog as a way to say thank you for posting the recent letter to the editor titled, “Signing Specialists are a Distraction”.  Not only was your post from Mr. Muccolini a real “discussion starter” about the role of American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters, but also generated thoughts about all the rights we have as Americans.

You see by posting Mr. Muccolini’s rant, albeit in my opinion narrow minded and a few other choice adjectives, it demonstrated that we have an amazing right  in the United States for freedom of speech.  This right has been one of the backbones of our country and often valued above others.  Blood has been shed to uphold this freedom and I for one am thankful for the right to speak my mind.

I also thank you for the opportunity to shine a spotlight on another set of rights known as  the American Disabilities Act aka ADA. (Please go here to fully see them outlined)  Ahhhh…. this is where I get to be an educator and discuss how important these rights are for ALL.  It seems perfectly logical that the right to information meant  for the general public is one equally valued and needed by both hearing and deaf.  So, I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around anyone who suggests that the right to a sign language interpreter, used to ensure equal access of pertinent safety information,  is a “distraction”.

In fact, I challenge any hearing person who doubts the value of the ADA laws to walk around with noise cancellation ear muffs and see how much of what is being said  can be understood.  Accept my challenge for an hour, a day,  or a week.  Were you feeling “left out”, “ignored”, “uninformed”, etc?  Perhaps after this exercise it will seem as clear as crystal why the Deaf may need to have access to interpreters.  And, do note that not all people with hearing challenges require the same accommodations.  Just as those with visual acuity problems don’t require the same extent of corrective lenses, etc.

Next  I offer to  people who think that “sign specialists” are nothing more than a nuisance another  challenge to learn about the hard work it takes to become a certified interpreter. In fact, it requires just as much college experience to be a certified ASL interpreter as it does to become a chemical engineer.  A four year degree and several exams later this “sign specialist” is allowed to “leave the box” and be a conduit of information for those who need this assistance. (Learn more about sign language  interpreters here at RID – the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.

And, I challenge those who doubt the effectiveness and need for ASL interpreters to chat with those who needed them when their lives were disrupted by disasters.  These victims of disasters are in towns all around America.  In Joplin, Missouri, throughout Oklahoma, Northern California, and even near Burlington. Remember Superstorm Sandy?   It is because of ADA laws that interpreters can be readily available to any of our  community members who need their service. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that some people who are hearing, but have some communication challenges, may also require the assistance of an interpreter to facilitate communication.

You see, this is my field of expertise – helping build communication bridges between community members, including emergency responders, and those who use sign language as their primary language.  I have seen the faces of those who are thankful for  interpreters who have helped in the aftermath of a disaster. These interpreters often leave their own families to help others. They should be applauded for their dedication and commitment.

Why as a hearing woman do I write this note to you?  First understand that I proudly sit on several committees that help with disaster preparedness and response for those with access and functional needs. It is my passion to do so.  I welcome an opportunity to share educational resources with those who are in need of some enlightenment about the reasons why ASL interpreters are essential to our communities.  After all, ASL is in the top five of the most used languages in the United States.

Thank you for reminding us that our rights as Americans are to be treasured and that we still have so much to learn as a country about equality.

Lastly, thank you for allowing me to exercise my right to freedom of speech.

Respectfully submitted,

Louise Masin Sattler, Nationally Certified School Psychologist

SigningFamilies.com

What are you doing October 16th at 10:16 a.m.?

dropcoverholdon_re On October 16th at 10:16 in the morning, I will be joining the  9.2 million Californians and 19 million worldwide (and counting) individuals who are planning on stopping EVERYTHING to participate in the SHAKE OUT earthquake and tsunami drill!

RegistrationShakeOut_Global_JoinUs_300x250  is EASY and the whole drill only takes a few minutes.

WOW – five minutes to practice how to be safe when a disaster strikes!

And, for you non-west coast folks – don’t think that earthquakes are just “our thing”.  If memory recalls correctly – one of the most recent earthquakes of a magnitude greater than 5.0 in the United States happened in Virginia!

Here is the PSA I made in sign language with open captions to help keep everyone safe, including those in our Deaf and HOH communities!

 

graphics from ShakeOut.org

When Smoke Gets in Your Eyes- The Glendora /Colby Fires

2013 and 2014 has been exceptionally dry years here in California – resulting in drought conditions throughout the state. And, where there is a drought there is bound to be high potential for fire. So it was no surprise when fires did erupt,  due to careless human misconduct, throughout the area known as Glendora- Colby.  I live more than  thirty miles away from where these fires started and I can tell you that in my “neck of the woods” smoke got in my eyes! Ash dropped like snow flurries on to cars all throughout the South Bay area and everyone seemed to be able to smell the essence of smoke and cinder for miles.

I captured the impact of the fire on our skies Thursday, January 16th and Friday, January 17th.  You can see how the skies over Torrance, CA were almost the color of caramel just hours after the fire began.  In Palos Verdes there is a distinct line of demarcation between “clear skies” and the smoke.

As always I like to provide an ounce of education for those who read this blog. Read more about fire safety and disaster preparedness here: National Fire Protection Association

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Oklahoma – Rebuilding After Disaster

Chickasaw Nation is part of the rich history of central Oklahoma

Chickasaw Nation is part of the rich history of central Oklahoma

I HEART OKLAHOMA– in a really big way! The nicest people live in a state which sustained some of the worst tragedy at the hands of “Mother Nature”.   I first visited Oklahoma this past June, three weeks after the cities of Moore and Norman were devastated by  EF5 tornados.  I couldn’t believe what I saw then.  It took my breath away to see so much in ruin. So many hearts broken.  I was able to help meet with many at a conference during June and many of us  talked for hours about where one can start with the healing process when your community is shaken.  I know I left Oklahoma with much more than I brought with me. Which is why I was so pleased to have an opportunity this past week to return to beloved Oklahoma at the request of the Oklahoma School for the Deaf and the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.   This time we discussed how to plan and prepare for any future disasters.  From individuals to school teachers to bus drivers and to vocational and rehabilitation employees. Yes, it takes a village to keep our communities safe. When I presented yesterday to this amazing group of teachers, counselors, bus drivers and many others at OSD, I learned that despite having repeated disasters  – their communities are not as prepared as they need to be.  No shelter in place plans or preparations for many.  No course of action for bus drivers on what to do during a major disaster or emergency with people who have special needs or deafness.  No evacuation discussions with local emergency or First Responders to assist those with unique challenges, such as individuals in wheelchairs or who are Autistic.  Not much of anything.  These findings  shocked the audience, but didn’t surprise me as Save the Children has Oklahoma (and many more states) listed as failing to have plans in place for disasters when it comes to serving  families and those with disabilities.  Sad. The participants left the session with some information, many with heavy hearts and I hope a “call for change”.   I recognized the resiliency in their spirit. I had seen it before on the faces of many I had known go through the tragedy.  I also know that there is physical and emotional healing occurring daily for them.  I saw the physical when I drove back through Moore, Oklahoma and snapped photos in the very places I had been four months ago.  Emotionally, people seemed less ‘raw’ and more able to seek help and make changes.

This is what I shared during the workshop that I hope will be of value to YOU, so no matter where you live you will be prepared in the event of a disaster.

1- We learn how to help each other and be prepared with each and every disaster. Which is why RedCross.org ,  FEMA.org and many other sites now offer disaster templates and information for families, organizations and schools.

2- If you have a loved one who has special needs, please be sure to add to your readiness kits what they need. Including sweatshirts to block out sounds, sunglasses to make odd visual stimuli easier, mp3 player with ear phones, games, medicines and comfort objects. Be prepared for ALL in your family. Including FIDO who may need to come with you to a shelter.  Have copies of your information on a flashdrive and hard copies made on your person.  Include phone numbers of physicians, insurance agents, relatives and others.  BRING FAMILY PHOTOS in case you are separated to help with reunification. 3- Don’t think it can’t happen to you.  Disaster can happy any time, any place, to any person. 4.-  I’ll do it tomorrow.  This excuse won’t be good enough when the earthquake, tornado or act of terrorism happens tonight. 5-  IDENTIFICATION is essential.  Be sure to have proper ID on yourself and consider using ICE in your phone and on person- ID such as MediPal for those who cannot or are unable to communicate. 6- Ask for help after a disaster.  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can impact anyone after a disaster.  You don’t need to be the direct victim of an event to have PTSD. Seek help if you feel pervasively sad, can’t sleep or eat as usual,  or a sense of doom that just won’t go away. 7- Be willing to help others.  Be part of the solution. Be part of your local disaster plan. 8- PRACTICE your plan for evacuation and how to shelter in place BEFORE a disaster.  SHAKEOUT.org is getting ready for a whole country earthquake practice drill. Below you will see photos taken last June 2013 and this last week from Moore, Oklahoma. Thank you for reading.

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Disaster Preparedness: Helping People with Access and Functional Needs (Video included)

Disaster preparedness for people with access and functional needs is what I am hugely dedicated to providing to First Responders, including EMS, CERT members, Firefighters and Law Enforcement.  AFter numerous years of  providing training to those in emergency management and others, I decided to make a simple video to continue their learning. I now share it with all of you.

Read more   about my focus on disaster preparedness to help people with challenges, such as Autism or Deafness.

For more information about the chart below click here.

 

Emergency Communication Chart -ASL- ENGLISH- SPANISH and soon with Mandarin Chinese

Emergency Communication Chart -ASL- ENGLISH- SPANISH and soon with Mandarin Chinese

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