Disaster Research 409

July 16, 2004

Table of Contents

  1. Standard Message Guide for Talking About Disaster
  2. Lifeline Performance Assessment Guidelines – Comments Wanted!
  3. Funding Available for a New Center of Excellence
  4. Reviewers Wanted
  5. Firewise On-Line Chat Sessions
  6. Upcoming Web Broadcasts
  7. From a Reader . . .
  8. Calling for Partners
  9. NIMS Web Portal
  10. Third Mayors' Report to the Nation
  11. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
  12. Some New Web Resources
  13. Conferences and Training

1) Standard Message Guide for Talking About Disaster

Recently updated and released, "Talking About Disaster: Guide for Standard Messages" provides up-to-date information on disaster preparedness and safety in the U.S. It includes standardized safety messages on 19 natural, technological, and human-induced hazards, as well as standardized messages on general disaster preparedness and safety topics. Each message is followed by explanations, statistics, and reasons that reinforce the credibility of the message and that correct fiction, folklore, and misinformation. The purpose of the guide is to improve the consistency of information disseminated by agencies and organizations following disasters.

The guide was designed for emergency managers, homeland security professionals, meteorologists, teachers, disaster and fire educators, public affairs/public relations personnel, managers and officers, media personnel, and/or any other person in the severe- weather, earthquake, disaster, terrorism preparedness education, or communications communities. The information is also intended for the general public, and may be tailored as needed. All content is in the public domain.

Published by the National Disaster Education Coalition (NDEC), the guide was supported by the Home Safety Council and the Homeland Plans Corporation. It represents the collaboration of professionals affiliated with the organizations composing NDEC and represents the experience and commitment of 20 U.S. government agencies and national nonprofit organizations. "Talking About Disaster: Guide for Standard Messages" is available at http://www.disastereducation.org/guide.html. For more information about the Guide or the NDEC, email: ndec@disastereducation.org.

2) Lifeline Performance Assessment Guidelines – Comments Wanted!

The American Lifelines Alliance (ALA) has released three new guidelines for utility system owners and operators that will help them determine the appropriate level of effort to obtain information necessary to formulate defensible risk management decisions during and after hazard events. The guidelines cover electric power systems, oil and gas pipeline systems, and wastewater systems. Both natural hazards (e.g., earthquakes, flood, hurricane, tornado, windstorm, icing, and ground displacements caused by landslides, frost heave and settlement) and human-induced hazards (biological, chemical, radiological, blast, and cyber incidents) are addressed. Each guideline consists of two volumes: one provides concise guidance and the second presents explanations of the procedures presented, supporting material, and references.

The draft guidelines are posted on the ALA web site at http://www.americanlifelinesalliance.org (click on "new guidelines"). Review comments are being solicited through August 15, 2004, after which the guidelines will be the basis for developing national consensus guidelines within appropriate standards development organizations (SDOs).

Comments should be e-mailed to Joe Stellar; (202) 298-7800 x130; e-mail: jsteller@nibs.org.

3) Funding Available for a New Center of Excellence

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)has released a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) calling for proposals that will focus on research efforts for a university-based "Homeland Security Center of Excellence in Behavioral and Social Aspects of Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism." The work of this new center will complement current DHS efforts to develop a sustained and innovative research and education effort for the country.

The center will focus on both the behavioral and social aspects of the terrorists themselves as well as the behavioral and social effects of terrorist threats and attacks on populations. The complete notice is available at http://www.dhs.gov/interweb/assetlibrary/S_T_BAA06July2004.pdf. Letters of intent are recommended and must be received by July 30, 2004. Full proposals are due on September 30, 2004.

Proposal submission is the first step in the review process for academic institutions wishing to be selected as a Homeland Security Center of Excellence. DHS will convene a team of expert external evaluators to review the submissions. Following selected site visits, DHS anticipates establishing one Center of Excellence that, with its partners, will receive $12 million over three years.

4) Reviewers Wanted

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Emergency Management Higher Education Project is seeking volunteer reviewers for the draft FEMA Emergency Management Higher Education Project upper division college course, "Holistic Disaster Recovery: Creating A More Sustainable Future," an approximately 500-page "Instructor Guide" by Gavin Smith. The stated purpose of this course is to educate students about sustainable disaster recovery, including the principles, concepts, processes and practice currently used in the U.S.

For those willing to commit to review and comment upon this draft course, please e-mail Barbara Johnson (Barbara.L.Johnson@dhs.gov). FEMA Higher Education requests that only serious reviewers who believe they have qualifications to review the course, and who intend to provide written comments within 30 days of receipt of review instructions, reply.

5) Firewise Online Chat Sessions

The Firewise program announces a series of seven on-line chat sessions scheduled between July 16-November 16, 2004. The sessions are designed to provide accurate and current information about wildland/urban interface issues.

The schedule follows: August 3, 2004: "Applying Firewise Landscaping Principles in Your Home Ignition Zone" (1:00 p.m. EST); August 18, 2004: "Easy Firewise Improvements to Your Home" (7:00 p.m. EST); September 14, 2004: "Preview: Backyards and Beyond (National Wildland/Urban Interface Fire Education Conference)" (1:00 p.m. EST); October 5, 2004: "Incorporating Firewise Features into Residential Developments" (7:00 p.m. EST); October 19, 2004: "How Can My Community Become a Firewise Communities/USA Recognition Site?" (1:00 p.m. EST); November 16, 2004: "Conference Recap: Backyards and Beyond" (1:00 p.m. EST).

To sign up to participate visit http://www.firewise.org/chat/. For more information on individual chat sessions or if you have technical questions, contact Judith Leras Cook (360) 376-5023; e-mail: firewiseUSA@aol.com;. General information about Firewise is available at http://www.firewise.org.

6) Upcoming Web Broadcasts

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is sponsoring an upcoming satellite broadcast/webcast in August. This training opportunity is available through the CDC's Public Health Training Network (PHTN).

On August 5, 2004, the CDC is sponsoring "Recognition of Illness Associated With Chemical Exposure" (12:00 noon-1:00 p.m. EST). The goal of the session is to increase the likelihood that health-care providers will recognize chemical release-related illness and that public health authorities will implement appropriate emergency response and public health actions.

Intended for health-care providers (first receivers), emergency management officials, and public health workers, technical and content information about the webcast is available at http://www.phppo.cdc.gov/PHTN/chemical-exp/default.asp. For more information or technical questions, contact coca@cdc.gov.

Additionally, the Alabama Department of Public Health is sponsoring a series of webcasts, many of which deal with topics of interest to DR readers. Upcoming webcasts include "Preparedness Update: Emerging Infectious Diseases and BIoterrorism Risk" on July 20, 2004; "Chemical Agents of Opportunity for Terrorism" on August 12, 2004: "Incident Command Structure as it Relates to Behavioral Health" on August 24, 2004, and more.

A complete schedule is available at h http://www.adph.org/alphtn/ (click on "conference schedule"); or contact the Alabama Public Health Training Network at (334) 206-5618; e-mail: alphtn@adph.state.al.us.

7)From a Reader . . .

I am working on a project about the Information and Communication Perspectives of Disaster Management. I am basically interested in investigation to improve the disaster management process by effectively utilizing existing information and communication technology.

It has been proven that effective disaster management is possible only with the availability of information that is both current and relevant. But the information update is generally hindered by loss of normal communication infrastructure during disasters. As alternatives to this, satellite phone and amateur radio are extensively utilized. While use of satellite phones is limited to point-to-point communication between specific groups, radio can be a potential alternative.

Almost invariably, Ham radio operators are engaged after any disaster, but how much this communication is FORMALLY considered by decision makers is a big question. I would like to know if somebody is working in the direction of considering Amateur Radio as an important (some times SOLE) candidate source of information for disaster management systems.

There are obvious merits of amateur radio as an alternative communication technology, but I would like to discuss its merits as an information source. If you are aware of any research relating to this, kindly provide me details/links etc.

Many thanks in advance.

Vikram Sorathia

DA-IICT, Nr. Indroda Circle
Gandhinagar, 382009
Gujarat, INDIA
Tel: (91)+(79)+ 30 510 506
Mobile: (91)+ 9898 25 5591
E-mail: vikram_sorathia@da-iict.org

8) Calling for Partners

The Environmental Emergencies Partnership (EEP), launched in 2002 at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, is aimed at reducing the frequency and severity of environmental emergencies through more effective and integrated preparedness, prevention, and response. The partnership is now in a results-focused implementation phase and welcomes new partners to expand its outreach and explore possible initiatives with a range of countries and stakeholders, including the private sector.

For more information, visit http://www.humanitarianinfo.org/eep.

9) NIMS Web Portal

DHS/FEMA has created a centralized Internet portal related to the National Incident Management System (NIMS) to serve as a resource for emergency managers and first responders. The site also includes information about the NIMS Integration Center (NIC), and in the future will expand to reflect a focus on key NIMS areas and functions such as standards and resources, system compliance and evaluation, and research and publications.

The new site (http://www.fema.gov/nims) offers emergency managers a complete listing of NIMS requirements, tools and resources, and general information on DHS's new incident management and maintenance plans. The site will include information about the assessment process, compliance criteria, NIMS-related training, and implementation timelines. As NIMS implementation moves forward, relevant information will be posted on the page, which also can be accessed by a direct link from FEMA's home page, http://www.fema.gov. NIMS users can also ask specific questions or share information by sending an e-mail to nims-integration-center@dhs.gov.

10) Third Mayors' Report to the Nation

The U.S. Conference of Mayors Homeland Security Monitoring Center has released a third homeland security report assessing the flow of federal homeland security funds through states to cities. The recent report notes that while there have been some improvements, 52% of the 231 cities surveyed still have not received any money or been notified if they will receive money from the state block-grant program, designed to assist first responders and local officials.

The first Conference report, released in September 2003, found that 90% of surveyed cities had not received any funding, and the second report, released in January 2004, found that 76% of surveyed cities had not received funding. The goal of these reports is to improve the system that supports the disbursement of DHS funds.

The complete report "Third Mayors' Report to the Nation: Tracking Federal Homeland Security Funds Sent to the 50 State Governments," is available at http://www.usmayors.org/72ndAnnualMeeting/homelandreport_062504.pdf.

11) Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

[Below are a few recent job vacancies that are related to some of the myriad activities in which DR readers engage. Please contact the organizations directly for more information.]

Deputy Director

The Mid-America Earthquake (MAE) Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is searching for a deputy director. The position supports the center director in coordinating and executing the Center's research, education, and outreach plans. The university seeks to fill the vacancy at the full professor level, although applications from exceptionally qualified individuals at the associate professor level will be considered.

Minimum qualifications include: an earned doctoral degree in civil and environmental engineering, or a related field, with preference given to individuals with specialty in structural or geotechnical earthquake engineering. Preference will also be given to candidates with experience in contributing to the management of large multi-institutional research projects in structural or geotechnical engineering. Since the position carries with it the responsibility of providing leadership to a large number of projects in seismic risk assessment and mitigation, a broad knowledge of the field and a strong publication record are important considerations.

In order to ensure full consideration, applications must be received by August 1, 2004. Interviews may be conducted before the closing date, but the final decision will not be made until after that date. The starting date is preferred to be August 16, 2004. Applications must be sent to Nicholas P. Jones, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, 1114 Newmark Laboratory, 205 North Mathews, Urbana, Illinois, 61801; (217) 333-3814. For more information about the position and the MAE Center visit http://mae.ce.uiuc.edu/.

General Manager, Emergency Management

The Port Authority of New York/New Jersey is seeking a general manager of emergency management. Job responsibilities include assessing relative threats, agency vulnerability, and possible impacts across a range of natural and human-induced hazards. Specific responsibilities include: directing staff in the development of emergency response plans and procedures, conducting disaster response exercises, administering emergency management training programs, and promoting a high level of awareness of and support for emergency management needs and programs among agency executives. The incumbent will supervise and provide technical and logistical support to the incident command posts, establish and sustain relationships with local, state, and federal emergency service agencies and the private sector and manage research and evaluation of best practices in emergency management policies, procedures and technology.

Requirements include a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university in emergency management, public or business administration, law enforcement or a related field (master's degree preferred); ten or more years experience in emergency management, public safety or a related discipline; professional experience in the management of disaster response operations; outstanding communication and leadership skills; and the demonstrated success in interaction with the highest levels of senior management.

To apply, forward your resume and salary history to the Port Authority of NY & NJ, 225 Park Avenue South, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10003;(212) 435-7000; e-mail vmadubuk@panynj.gov. More information about this position can be found at http://www.panynj.gov/.

Emergency Administration and Management
Assistant Professor

Arkansas Tech University invites applications for a tenure-track assistant professor beginning August 2004 for the baccalaureate degree program in emergency administration and management. A master's degree in a discipline related to disaster and crisis management is required with a doctorate preferred. Candidates must have experience related to disaster operations, emergency planning, mitigation, and training. Preferred qualifications include a background in utilizing and integrating technology, specifically GIS and GPS applications, and in the development and delivery of web-based coursework. The instructional load will include the administration, monitoring, and assessment of off-site internship assignments and externship opportunities.

Review of applications began on January 5, 2004, and continues until the position is filled. To apply, send a statement of qualifications, vita, copies of transcripts, and contact information for three references and to: Mary Ann Rollans, Arkansas Tech University School of Community Education, 402 West O Street, Dean Hall 110 Russellville, AR 72801; http://commed.atu.edu/employment.htm.

Emergency Management Specialist

The city of London, Ontario, is seeking to hire an emergency management specialist. Job responsibilities include developing, implementing and maintaining the emergency management program to ensure compliance to all applicable legislation and corporate and departmental policies and procedures. As part of the emergency management team, the incumbent will assist with budget development, identify areas of non-compliance and determine risk priorities. Having completed specialized training related to legislation, codes, standards, and provincial certifications is a plus as is at least five years' experience in emergency services or emergency management.

Qualified applicants are requested to submit a detailed resume outlining their experience and qualifications. Applications are due July 23, 2004, and must be sent to File #—19-04, Human Resources Division, City Hall, Room 508, 300 Dufferin Avenue, Box 5035 London, Ontario N6A 4L9, Canada; e-mail: recruit_ads@london.ca; http://www.london.ca/cityhall/corpservices/HumanResources/Emerg_Mgmt_Specialist_M_19_04.htm.

12) Some New Web Resources

[Below are some new or updated Internet resources we've discovered. For an extensive list of useful Internet sites dealing with hazards, see http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/resources/sites.html.]

Representative Rohrabacher (CA-46) sponsors a ongoing variety of disaster mitigation and hazard-related events and training opportunities. A complete schedule is listed on the Congressman's web site.

DHS/FEMA has unveiled a new "2004 Wildland Update" Internet page to help firefighters and community leaders locate important and up-to-date wildland fire information. The site includes resource inks and weather predictions, current aviation strategy, community programs, and a daily "Six Minute Safety Briefing."

Although mentioned in previous DRs, there are a number of new resources posted on the National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism web site.

The Pew Center on Global Climate Change and the Brookings Institution co-sponsored a conference bringing together senators, federal and state officials, and other leaders to debate the future of U.S. policy on climate change. This site contains archived webcasts and transcripts for individual speakers from the June conference.

Meteorologists, emergency planners, and people living and working near the coast can now find out how tropical storms could affect their area, using a recently updated National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) database of tropical cyclones.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service and the University of Wisconsin (Madison) have released maps depicting the communities and lands within the wildland urban interface (WUI) across the lower 48 states. This is the first consistent nationwide representation of the WUI and makes possible mapping and analysis at national, state, and local levels.

Notes and presentations from an April 2004 World Bank International Workshop on Integrating Community, Gender, and Women's Empowerment Issues into Disaster Recovery and Risk Management Operations are available on-line at this World Bank web site.

"FloodRanger" is an educational game about managing flood defenses along rivers and coasts. It is aimed at practitioners, local authorities, insurers, universities and schools. The objective of the game is to defend urban areas and sites of special scientific interest while maintaining levels of housing and employment for an expanding population.

NEDIES is the acronym for "Natural and Environmental Disaster Information Exchange System," a European Commission project aimed at supporting European Union policies in the area of prevention, mitigation, and management of natural risks and technological accidents. Users can share related information and have access to databases of past events.

This web site contains a listing of airlines and their individual histories of fatal events.

13) Conferences and Training

[Below are some recent announcements received by the Natural Hazards Center. A comprehensive list of upcoming hazards-related meetings and training is available from our web site: http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/conf.html.]

Climate Change in High Latitudes Conference. Sponsor: Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research. Berjen, Norway: September 1-3, 2004. This conference will commemorate the centenary of Vilhelm Bjerknes' publication in 1904 that paved the way for modern meteorology and many applications in practical weather forecasting. It is being organized to enhance understanding of the climate system and climate change in polar and sub-polar regions. For more information contact Beatriz Balino, Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Allégaten 55-5007 Bergen, Norway; Tel: +47 55 58 98 03; e-mail: conference2004@bjerknes.uib.no; http://www.bjerknes.uib.no/conference2004/.

VIII Mexican Symposium on Earthquake Engineering. Sponsor: Mexican Society for Earthquake Engineering (SMIS). Tlaxcala, Mexico: September 3-4, 2004. This conference will present the state-of-the-art in the seismic retrofit of structures, ranging from evaluation procedures (preliminary and detailed) to the criteria needed to select different seismic retrofit techniques. Keynote speakers will discuss issues such as the structural detailing needed between the existing structure and the retrofit technique being used to warrant that the rehabilitated structure will perform well in future seismic events. The seismic retrofit of bridges will also be addressed. Information is available from María Antonieta Rico-López, Camino de Sta. Teresa No. 187, Col. Parque del Pedregal, Delegación Tlalpan, 14 020 Mexico, D.F.; tel: +(52-55) 5606-1314; e-mail: smis@data.net.mx; http://www.smis.org.mx.

Conference on Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities. Sponsors: National Capital Region, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, National Organization on Disability. Arlington, Virginia: September 22-24, 2004. This conference will facilitate an exchange of information and dialog between emergency response agencies and special needs populations regarding emergency preparedness for people with disabilities. By providing an opportunity for exchange of experiences and effective practices, regional leaders will enhance emergency preparedness programs with respect to people with disabilities and empower special needs populations to take active roles in preparedness, response, and recovery initiatives. For more information contact Sarah Campbell, Conference on Emergency Preparedness for People With Disabilities, c/o Natalie P. Shear Associates, Suite 801, 1730 M Street NW, Washington DC, 20036: (202) 833-4456; e-mail: Sarah@nataliepshear.com; http://www.nataliepshear.com/events/nod/index.cfm.

6th Plinius Conference Mediterranean Storms: Catching Storms in the Mediterranean Sea. Sponsor: European Geosciences Union. The Mediterranean Sea (Vessel "Opera"): October 17-24, 2004. The objective of this conference is to provide an interdisciplinary forum for the discussion of the present state of knowledge on Mediterranean storms and their meteorological, hydrological, and geological aspects and effects on mountain and hill slopes, river networks and coastal areas. Topics will include windstorms, floods, flash floods, slow and fast moving landslides, coastal erosion, and sedimentation. For more information contact the EGU Office; c/o Plinius; Max-Planck-Strasse 13; D-37191 Katlenburg-Lindau; Germany; Tel: +49-5556-1440; e-mail: egu@copernicus.org; http://www.copernicus.org/EGU/topconf/plc6/index.htm.

Rural Homeland Security Technology Exposition. Sponsor: St. Francis University. Johnstown, Pennsylvania: October 21-22, 2004. This conference will focus on emerging technologies designed to improve rural America's ability to prepare for and manage mass casualties resulting from a terrorist attack. The main issues discussed will include topics associated with rural and underserved population, general homeland security issues, relevant advances in technology, and the provision of emergency medicine in a rural context. For more information contact Bernadette Yeager, P.O. Box 600, Loretto, PA 15940; (814) 472-3389; e-mail: byeager@cermusa.francis.edu; http://www.cermusa.francis.edu/HomelandSecurityExpo/default.htm.

IAEM 52nd Annual Conference. Sponsor: International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM). Dallas, Texas: November 5-11, 2004. With a focus on collaboration, the conference will provide a forum for current trends, topics, and the latest tools and technology in emergency management and homeland security, as well as advance IAEM committee work. Sessions encourage stakeholders at all levels of government, the private sector, public health, and related professions to exchange ideas on collaborating to protect lives and property from disaster. Registration information is available from IAEM, 201 Park Washington Court, Falls Church, VA 22046; (703) 538-1795 ex. 2; e-mail: info@iaem.com; http://www.iaem.com.

NFPA Fall Education Conference: Preparedness and Protection in a Hazardous World. Sponsor: National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Miami Beach, Florida: November 14-17, 2004. This conference will have a special focus on disaster and emergency management along with business continuity and security. More information can be obtained from NFPA, 1 Batterymarch Park, Quincy, MA 02169; (617) 770-3000; e-mail: nfpa@nfpa.org; http://www.nfpa.org/meetings.

Hazards 2004: The Tenth International Symposium on Natural and Human-induced Hazards and Third Workshop of the IUGG Commission on Geophysical Risk and Sustainability. Sponsor: National Geophysical Research Institute. Hyderabad, India: December 2-4, 2004. Topics covered will encompass the entire spectrum of natural and human-induced hazards, their causes, risks, and management. All aspects of these phenomena from disaster prevention, mitigation, and management through public education and preparedness will be covered. To register or for more information, contact Hazards 2004, National Geophysical Research Institute, Hyderabad - 500007 India; Tel: 0091-40-23434700; e-mail: sec-loc@hazards2004.org; http://www.hazards2004.org/.

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