Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Red Cross NCR looking for partner support with Mass Care Volunteers

Dear Volunteers,

Here is YOUR opportunity to volunteer during Inauguration!

The Red Cross of the National Capital Region has been asked to perform a number of essential roles during Inauguration Week (1/15/09 through 1/22/09), including sheltering local victims of daily disasters (e.g. fire victims) while there are no hotel rooms within 200 miles, sheltering and feeding emergency services personnel coming in from across the country and being on standby to shelter thousands of people should there be an unexpected event that interrupts the festivities.

If you would like to be trained to volunteer for inauguration in Mass Care and Shelter Operations, please let us know!

Very much looking forward to your reply and to your support.

Elliot Harkavy, NGO Partner Services Lead
American Red Cross of the National Capital Region

Andrew Levy, NGO Partner Services Deputy
American Red Cross of the National Capital Region

What is your RQ?

In our previous discussion, we talked about "Resolve to be Ready". But how do you really know if you are ready?

What's Your Readiness Quotient?

"In recent years, the American people have been urged to “get ready” and to prepare for emergencies – from natural disasters to terrorist attacks. But no one has ever given the public a simple, comprehensive and consistent tool to actually measure how prepared they are. No one has ever provided individuals, communities, and the nation as a whole with a practical “gauge” to assess their preparedness, recognize their successes and identify gaps where more work needs to be done." Source: WhatsYourRQ.orq

Thanks to The Council for Excellence in Government and partners like the Citizen Corps Council, Ready.gov, and American Red Cross, you can learn your "RQ"

Find out what's your readiness quotient at http://www.whatsyourrq.org/

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ready to Resolve in 2009

Recently, we received an email from Ready.gov about their new campaign.

"As the New Year approaches, the Department of Homeland Security’s Ready Campaign is once again reminding people that Now’s the Time. Resolve to be Ready in 2009."

At the time of this posting, it was not easy to find additional details of this campaign on Ready.gov. The direct link can be found at http://www.ready.gov/america/about/resolve2009.html

Take a few minutes and check it out. And resolve to be ready!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Officer Struck by Vehicle - "Move Over" Law Charged

During the busy holiday season, we have tons of erands to run and many stops along the way. Everyone is running around. It seems like there is just not enough time.

A few weeks ago, we featured a video of a police vehicle hit by another vehicle. The following is from a local police press release.

When you see an emergency vehicle on the side of the road, please take extreme caution.

"A Fairfax County Police Officer was hit by a car on Wednesday, December 10 at 7 p.m. The 31-year-old officer had stopped a vehicle on the Fairfax County Parkway near Interstate 66. The six-year veteran was issuing a traffic summons when a 2004 Lexus L43 came from behind and struck the officer. The officer was able to walk back to his vehicle and call for assistance. The driver of the striking vehicle pulled forward and to the side of the road immediately following the incident. The officer was transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital, treated for non life-threatening injuries and released.

The driver was released on a summons with violating Virginia code section 46.2-921.1 Drivers to yield right-of-way or reduce speed when approaching stationary emergency vehicles on highways. This offense is a class 1 misdemeanor.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Solvers by phone at 1-866-
411-TIPS/8477, e-mail at www.fairfaxcrimesolvers.org or text “TIP187” plus your message to CRIMES/274637 or call Fairfax County Police at 703-691-2131."

Monday, December 22, 2008

Holiday Season Reminders

It is that time of year for the Christmas tree reminders.

Don't forget to keep your tree well watered.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Disaster Links Worth Checking Out

This website was created by CBS News Producer "Digital Dan". This website at CBS News has a large list of disaster related resources.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Many Neighbors Helping Neighbors Readers Impacted By Storms in United States Northeast

FEMA put out the following alert. These are import tips for any major power outage.

BOSTON - As New England works to recover from the powerful ice storm that left millions without power, neighbors are coming together to help each other and all levels of government along with the private sector are working together to restore a sense of normalcy. Unfortunately there is also a small group out there seeking to take advantage of those affected by the storm.

There have been reports of scammers posing as officials from utilities or as government officials. These scammers ask for a payment in order to get power restored or speed along the delivery of assistance. Legitimate officials will never request such payments.

There are several steps that individuals can take to avoid being victimized by such scam artists:

Request identification from anyone that visits your home. Actual officials will be able to provide their name and identification.

Do not provide credit card or banking information to anyone who comes to your home unannounced.

If you have a concern about a person claiming to be a contractor, contact your state Attorney General's office.

If state or federal disaster assistance is made available to individuals in the areas affected by the ice storm, that announcement will be heavily publicized by state and local officials and the news media. There will also be full explanation of the process to apply for assistance and what types of aid will be available.

FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.

(Source: http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=47113)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Local Preparations for Inauguration in full Force

Other stations are covering the American Red Cross preparations for the Presidential Inauguration.

For additional information, view the complete News8 Story.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Neighbors Helping Neighbors Respond to Presidential Inauguration - Where will you be?

"We will need 300 to 500 volunteers, that includes shelter managers, feeding crews, and first aid go teams on the Mall."

So, where will you be for the Presidential Inauguration? Many readers of Neighbors Helping Neighbors will be volunteering with the American Red Cross.

For additional details, view the complete WUSA9 story.

If you are interested in volunteering with an American Red Cross Disaster Action Team (DAT), the next DAT Training begins January 8 at Chapter Headquarters. For additional information or to register for the DAT Camp, visit: http://www.redcrossnca.org/Online/class_registration.php?action=list&classname=DAT+Camp

PSAs for Everyone in Your Community - Ice Ice Baby

Yesterday, we shared a local video "Ice Ice Baby" adding emergency information to your cell phone.

We also said to have some fun with the local PSAs.

While you are getting ready for winter storms, are you making sure that the entire community can hear? your message.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

ICE ICE Baby - In Case of Emergency

One way to improve readiness in your community is through local public service announcements (PSAs).

And have fun with them.

Anyone can make an emergency preparedness video

There are many emergency preparedness videos available on You Tube. Some are better than others. Most have the same core messages.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008

Another Gift Idea

You may hear about this gift idea year after year, but do you have one? What about your family and friends?

Even if tough economic times, these are items every household, vehicle, and office should have.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Do you have a clue?

What the Red Cross does?

And how it may be able to help you, your friends, and family.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Looking for a disaster psychology course, but

it is not offered in your local community?

First, check out the Red Cross to see when the next Psychological First Aid course is offered.

Another option is the following CERT Disaster Psychology online video.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Another Look Back (1995) and Looking Forward

In 1995, "Obama Introduces Bill to Create National Emergency Volunteer Corps"


"... Unfortunately, my office has received numerous complaints from volunteer doctors that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) did not return their phone calls, did not have information on how they could volunteer, or simply referred them to local authorities who were not able to help them. Doctors who attempted to volunteer their services on the HHS website encountered significant difficulties as well. Such a lack of information and responsiveness is shocking during a time of emergency. Given the urgent need to get medical personnel to affected areas as soon as possible, I am writing to request that you direct DHS, FEMA, HHS, and all other relevant agencies to work with the Red Cross and hospitals in affected areas to eliminate any bureaucratic obstacles preventing much-needed services from getting to hurricane victims. This includes providing more detailed information to the medical profession about how they can volunteer their services, better coordination of volunteer doctors and nurses with the Red Cross and local hospitals, and waivers of liability for volunteer medical professionals. The health of too many people remains at risk, and bureaucratic red tape and run-arounds should not prevent these people from getting the help they need. Sincerely, Barack Obama United States Senator "

While programs such as the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) have been created, more progress needs to be made.

For example, when an MRC chapter plans to offer Psychological First Aid to MRC volunteers, does it not make sense to use a course that is widely available through a partner agency, such as the Red Cross? If there are elements that are specific to MRC, then add a brief supplement to the Red Cross course, not start from scratch. If something is developed, it needs to be easily made available to other MRC chapters.

In the past few years, we have seen many volunteers who have become very active in multiple organizations. From Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Volunteer Centers, Neighborhood Watch, Red Cross, Amateur Radio, etc. While the programs have all come to the table through Citizen Corps Council meetings, there has been less focus on the volunteers. Now, more than ever, there is a need to leverage those volunteers who are cross trained. These volunteers can form specialized "action" teams who can help coordinate volunteer efforts between multiple volunteer organizations.

There also needs to be greater focus on having all the volunteer organizations come together through a full scale exercise. During a disaster or major emergency is not the time to have all these trained volunteers work together for the first time. The exercises need to include government agencies, so the volunteers know where they fit, who they will be working with, and also the limitations.

This is not directed to any specific chapter of the MRC, Red Cross, or other Citizen Corps organization. It is directed towards change.

Change.gov - America Servers - Call to Action

In 2009, it is time again for a call to "Action". Check out the following website:


Take a few moments to look back in time.

The following Ad Council video is from 1973.

Many of these programs, like Peace Corps, Vista, and others continue today.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Are you ready for Digital TV?

All this week, local major networks will be testing the digital conversion across the United States.

If you are not sure if your televisions will work after the conversion, this week is the test.

Check with your local stations to find out the exact date and times of the test. During this time (anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes), those stations will not be broadcasting in analog.

As a reminder the transition takes place in February 2009, just a few months away.

The Red Cross is there in times of need

From a local fire to a major disaster, the Red Cross is there.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Davao City Red Cross Youth Council DOES IT AGAIN!

Davao City - Most Outstanding Chapter Youth Council
Neighbors Helping Neighors International Youth Representative

For the third time, the Chapter Youth Council of the Davao City Chapter has retained the title as it has been chosen by the Red Cross Youth-Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) as the country's Most Outstanding Chapter Youth Council of 2008.

The search was conducted with the objective of providing national recognition among young people who have made a difference in providing service to and advocating for the vulnerable people in the community. The youth council that had made a great impact in the society was given due recognition so that what it had done can be adopted in the national level.

Mr. Paul Gwyn Pagaran, Director of the Administrative Office of the PNRC, head the judges, which was also composed of Ms. Catherine Martin, Manager of the Disaster Management Services; Ms. Zenaida Bentejan, Manager of Social Services; Ms. Audrey Zubiri, wife of Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri; and Ms. Maan, Operations Manager of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The judges evaluated the six finalists. Among the general criteria were impact of the different projects to the community, participation of the youth, innovativeness and technology used, promotion of the Red Cross principles and services and promotion of the Red Cross Youth objectives.

Among the finalists, Davao City Youth Council emerged as the winner. Other finalists were from Ilocos Norte, Cagayan, Manila, Rizal, and Isabela.

The Red Cross Youth Council in Davao City sent its three significant activities that made an impact in the community. The first one was the Pledge 25 College and University Blood Collecting Units which aimed to institutionalize the Pledge 25 Project in Davao City's tertiary educational institution. Its vision was to maintain sufficient blood supply in the city.

Pledge 25 is a young blood donor group of the Red Cross Youth that aims to encourage young people to regularly donate their blood starting the age 18 until they reach the age 25.

Another one was Project One for Tree ng RCY, an established partnership with People Collaborating for Environmental Economic Management in Davao (PCEEM Davao) Foundation Inc. and NCCC Cares Foundation Inc. They project adopted 20 hectares of land in Upper Tamayong, Marilog District, which is part of the Talomo-Lipadas Watershed, a highly threatened watershed in the city.

Its aim was to extend the tree planting activities of the Red Cross Youth in the barangay level and to establish preventive/mitigating measures against future severe flooding at the low lying and and landslide/soil erosion-prone areas in the hinterlands through tree planting. Aside from tree plants, the barangay community was also educated on the importance of trees and reforestation by the participating RCYs.

The third one was the technical team that composed of four independent units equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills on technical service promotions and output delivery. The four groups were divided into the Editorial Board (VITAL LINK) – official publication/newsletter, Fund Generation and Promotions which was the creation of various income generating projects, Production Unit – produce Audio-Visual Presentations and MIS which the systematic databank of RCY members.

Red Cross Youth is the youth program of the Philippine National Red Cross. Its mission is to educate children and youth in the spirit of Red Cross and provide opportunities for directing and harnessing their energy and idealism into worthwhile activities within the framework of the organization. Objectives of the RCY were Advocacy and Inculcation of Moral Values and character Building, Protection of Life and Promotion of Community Health, Service and Solidarity National / International Friendship, Understanding and Education for Peace and Dissemination of Red Cross Principles and International Humanitarian Law.

For two consecutive years – 2006 and 2007 – the Davao City bagged the coveted title making them now part in the Hall of Fame awardees on outstanding youth mobilization. ###

Monday, November 17, 2008

Disaster Leadership Training - American Red Cross Takes the Lead

This past week, people across region got together at the American Red Cross National Headquarters for the National Capital Region Disaster Leadership Training Conference.

Training ranged from Disaster Action Team (DAT) training to Mass Care/Shelter Operations to Emergency Operations Center (EOC)/Emergency Support Function (ESF) #6 to Serving People with Disabilities, and many more.

Not only was the leadership training offered by the American Red Cross, but partners also taught and attended the classes.

This training is supported with funds provided by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and demonstrated organizations training together to best be prepared and provide leadership before, during, and after a disaster or major emergency.

Many of the participates are not only involved with the Red Cross, but also with multiple local response organizations including the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), Volunteer in Police Service (VIPS), Volunteer Mobilization Centers, etc.

The training provided an excellent opportunity for people who often take training in their local community/county to be able to also train with people in other jurisdictions and organizations.

This leadership conference should serve as a model for future training.

Picture below are some of the representatives that attended the Disaster Leadership Training Conference. The picture was taken in the American Red Cross National Headquarters Disaster Operations Center (DOC).

Feedback from Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (RDCC) in the Philippines

One of the goals for the volunteer work through the Corporate Service Corps (CSC) was not only to offer the training and exercise evaluation locally, but also enable them to teach others and sustain the work we did this past summer.

It was great to offer training while we were there, but will they use these lessons to teach others?

Last week, we received the following email from a representative of the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (RDCC) in the Philippines.

"The activities that we've been through had greatly improved the level of preparedness, response and awareness of the government other private organizations. The Police Regional Office headed by BGen Andres G Caro II had ordered and directed last October that all Chiefs of Police of the 4 Provinces, 9 cities and 46 municipalities to undergo a 3-Day ICS and Crisis Management Training to enhance and improved their level of consequence management in any event. (We) were the main trainers for this.

All is well here and we really appreciate the lessons you imparted to us in the series of activities that we been through. Thank you......."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

From project manager to global citizen in a month

This past week, we have been featuring
emergency response, preparedness, and exercise
videos from Davao City, Philippines.

The complete story, featured on ibm.com, can be found at:
then, CSC in Philippines (complete story).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Preparing For The Worst Case Scenario - Island Garden City of Samal - Deep Water Search and Rescue Exercise

"The City Disaster and Coordinating Council (CDCC) of the Island Garden City of Samal staged Water Search and Rescue Drills last July 29, as a culminating activity in the observance of the National Disaster Preparedness Month.

The scenario -- Reacting to a report from barangay captain Rey A. Villaabrille of Catagman about a capsized rubber boat with about 10 passengers, Incident Commander Rene E. Ambrona immediately alerted members of the IGaCOS City Disaster Coordinating Council (CDCC) and called for a briefing to assess the incident and dispatch the group to the site for water search and rescue (WASAR) operations. As per report, the boat capsized within the vicinity of the municipal waters of barangays Catagman, PeƱaplata, and San Jose at around 10 AM that day." (Source: samalcity.gov.ph)

Andrew Levy from the Corporate Service Corps and Neighbors Helping Neighbors was on hand to evaluate the exercise.

The complete article with details about the exercise can be found at: http://samalcity.gov.ph/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=338&Itemid=124

The following is video taking during the event.

This time it was only a drill.

For additional information, please email neighborshelpingneighbors@live.com.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Making Due With No Supplies

The following video is an annual event held in Davao City with a competition between the barangay responders. These volunteers are often

- self taught,
- self funded,
- self organized,

and make use of the limited resources they have on hand, at times without the support of their local barangay (town leadership).

Not only have all of them responded to emergencies in their communities, they also know how to have fun.

It was an honor to get to know these dedicated volunteers and true heroes. They are role models for others around the world.

Additional information about this competition can be found in an earlier posting at Competition Brings People Closer.

Earthquake Shakes Mindanao Region

While in the Philippines, we had the opportunity to work with the youth at several schools.

"The Buddy Buddy System".

Additional information about this exercise can be found in an earlier posting at Sharing Message With Your Family.

Explosion in Downtown Davao Makes International News

The following took place in downtown Davao City, Philippines.

Representatives from the Corporate Service Corps were on-hand to evaluate this event.

This is only a drill.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Responding to Emergencies in the Philippines

Riding along for actual Central 911 calls in Davao City.


Corporate Service Corps Evaluated The Following School Highrise Fire Emergency Exercise in Davao City

You Never Know When or How Disaster May Strike

It is always best to be prepared.

Preparing for Disasters

The following article was distributed last week through fema@service.govdelivery.com

(6) IBM Center for The Business of Government Report – Preparing for Disasters:

IBM Center for The Business of Government. Preparing for Disasters. Washington DC: IBM, October 30, 2008, 62 pages. At: http://www.businessofgovernment.org/pdfs/OBrienReport.pdf

This new IBM document contains two essays. The first is on “Keys to Effectively Partner in Temporary Networks,” by William Ross O’Brien. The second is on “Emergency Management Networks in California,” by Richard Callahan, Dan M. Haverty, and Ross Clayton.

From the Introduction by Albert Morales and David Abel with IBM:

The first essay, “Keys to Effectively Partner in Temporary Networks,” by Ross O’Brien, examines the roles of nongovernmental organizations in large-scale emergencies. He interviewed aid workers who participated in the response to the Asian Tsunami in 2004 and leaders in nonprofit organizations involved in the response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He observed a series of characteristics that helps explain why some aid organizations were more effective emergency responders. Organizations that display these characteristics are more capable of creating and using temporary networks to address a specific emergency event. He offers advice on what both nonprofit and public managers might do to prepare for such networks in advance.

Separately, but similarly, Dr. Richard Callahan and his colleagues Dr. Dan Haverty and Dr. Ross Clayton examine in the second essay, “Emergency Management Networks in California,” how the State of California has developed a series of emergency response networks and specific tools for preparing and responding to emergencies, whether the emergencies are forest fires, homeland security events, or public health episodes. California has one of the most developed set of emergency response networks in the country, in part from its history with disasters dating back to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. A number of innovations, such as the Incident Command System, were developed by California and are now used nationally.

Together, these two essays provide useful insights for both nonprofit and public managers in preparing for potential future disasters. We hope this report will help them be more prepared.

Friday, November 7, 2008

THINKForum - Serving The World - Role Models of Corporate Social Responsbility

Neighbors Helping Neighbors would like to welcome all the participants of the


A presentation delivered by Andrew Levy, at Showcase Ontario, Lessons Learned From A Global Citizen, highlights some of the experiences mentioned during the session today.

If you would like to discuss this further, please email neighborshelpingneighbors@live.com

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Lessons Learned for MRC

As the polling places have opened in the United States, there are already long lines at local schools.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors will monitor the news reports from the polling to capture some lessons learned that may benefit the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) or other mass distribution organizations.

In the event there ever is a major mass medical distribution, the lines are expected to be larger than that from an election.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Avoid MALWARE Fraud

"Security-on-a-Stick" to Protect Consumers and Banks From Sophisticated Hacker Attacks

Specialized USB-Stick Adds an Extra Level of Security and Protects Online Banking Transactions Despite Attacks on Personal Computers

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

You've Been Scammed At the ATM


The next time you go to an ATM and if your card happens to be "eaten", checkout the following scam, along with instructions on how to check to see if this happened to you and how to remove your card, if it did.


Common sense says never give anyone your pin number, especially someone who offers to help you get your card back.

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Did you know October is DHS's National Cybersecurity Awareness Month?

Ever wonder how secure your information is? Credit Cards, banking, health information.

Checkout the following video from someone who is "doing time".

Monday, October 27, 2008

Lost In The Line Of Volunteer Duty - Tragic Accident

Fairfax County Police Department
Public Information Office
4100 Chain Bridge Road, Fairfax, Va. 22030
703-246-2253. TTY 703-204-2264. Fax 703-246-4253
News Release: 08/295/1942/EJA/(6)
October 25, 2008

Missing Police Officer Recovered

Divers located Second Lieutenant Frank Stecco at 12:25 p.m. on Saturday, October 25. He was found in Pohick Bay approximately 100 feet from the point at which he was reportedly last seen. Boats, dogs and divers were actively searching when the discovery was made.

The murky waters and the contours and make-up of the bottom of the bay made this a particularly difficult search. The use of technology aided in searching potential areas where Lt. Stecco may have been. Divers turned to meticulous hand-by-hand searches within a grid pattern. Divers likened this search to dropping a quarter on a football field and attempting to find it by hand.

Colonel David Rohrer, Chief of the Fairfax County Police Department, confirmed the recovery saying, “My heart goes out to Frank’s family; my heart goes out to his police family; and my heart goes out to the community Frank worked in and loved.”

Chief Rohrer called Lt. Stecco a highly decorated member of the department. Lt. Stecco was transported with full honors to include a motorcycle escort to the Medical Examiners Office.

Lt. Stecco was a volunteer role player in a police helicopter water rescue exercise at Pohick Bay Regional Park when he disappeared in the bay at 2:47 p.m. on October 21, 2008. Extensive air, ground and water search and rescue efforts began immediately and continued through the recovery today. Federal, state, and regional public safety and military agencies helped sustain the search, contributing sophisticated detection equipment, expertise, boats, helicopters, specially trained dogs and supplies.

Lt. Stecco joined the Fairfax County Police Department in 1989 and served 11 of his 19 years assigned to the Mount Vernon District station. His bold, proactive style of policing earned the respect and admiration of his peers and supervisors and helped distinguish him as a courageous and selfless officer. He was awarded a Silver Medal of Valor in 1994, a Bronze Medal of Valor in 1997, and a Certificate of Valor in 2000 by the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce for acts of bravery above and beyond the call of duty.

Fueled by his passion and dedication for serving the children and teenagers of the county, Lt. Stecco opted to leave the Mount Vernon district and join the Department’s Youth Services Division just one month prior to his untimely death.

He leaves behind his wife, their three children, and his mother. Details of services to honor Lt. Stecco are not yet available.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Where does cutting a program tie to humanity?

The potential programs that may be cut due to the current economic situation is really unbelievable. Many programs directly impact the health and safety of our residents, not just locally, but across the United States.

After spending the summer working in a developing region, there must be some takeaway we can learn from that experience to deal with the budget shortfall.

There are people who were struggling to eat and deal with natural disaster, but in the United States besides significant potential cutbacks in critical emergency services, a government health club is at risk.

It is important to prioritize potential cutbacks and ensure that critical lifesaving programs remain in place.

When we look at the article submitted by Michael earlier, we see pictures of volunteers from the Red Cross. An organization that is primarily funded through donation dollars. In any major emergency, the Red Cross is usually there.

What is that in the pictures? We see the volunteers with green backpacks? In the United States, do we think Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) when we see green backpacks?

In this economic time, one thing really comes to mind, consolidation. Could we combine training programs? Could we combine outreach? Could we combine volunteer response? Are there volunteers that are not already involved with multiple organizations?

This is not directed to any CERT program. As several CERT programs across the country either have been cut or are at risk of being cut, could we potentially merge the CERT program with another organization, such as the Red Cross? What about expand the mission of the Neighborhood Watch program?

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program is essential in helping our citizens be prepared for a major emergency or disaster and also provides skills that can be applied in their everyday lives.

These are not recommendations, but potential ideas to think of ways these programs can continue with limited funding and resources. Many of these changes would need to occur at the National Level, to adjust the guidelines of the organizations.

While the following article, Catastrophe On A Shoestring, is several years old, it shows how these volunteer programs are often first to be reduced.

Now more than ever, organizations are going to need to make best use of their resources, combined resources.

Reach Out Mission - "To serve humanity, is to give time, treasure and talent"

Reach out mission

"To serve humanity, is to give time, treasure and talent"

Around 20 people joined the reached out mission to give school supplies and conduct earthquake drill in Kiman-aw Primary School and Silapawan Primary School at Silapawan, Paquibato District, Davao City.

The 20 people were volunteers from the two organizations, the Philippine National Red Cross- Davao City Chapter and NCCC cares, a foundation of the New Center Commercial Center. Both organizations were headed by the Engr. Edwin Patalagsa, Chapter Service Representative of Disaster Management Service of PNRC-Davao City.

It took three hours and crossing ten rivers just to arrive in the place. Angel May Cabaylo, Red Cross youth volunteer said, "I was so afraid since the road was so stiff." It was even more fearful since the truck wasn’t able to move forward while crossing the 9th river. The volunteers were stranded for almost two hours and through their "bayanihan spirit" of the volunteers and help of some residents the problem was finally solve.

The group arrived at lunchtime; the volunteers were group into two since we will be visiting two schools. I was with the team of Kiman-aw where school children were excited to see the group since they have been waiting for four hours. They welcome the team by singing their native song to their visitors. To some volunteers the experience was priceless.

Ms. Cabaylo added "I would never exchange the happiness I saw where the kids jumping for joy and saw their happy faces while receiving their new bags and notebooks".

The school has a total of 75 pupils ranging from Grade I to IV levels. Most of them were from Ata-Manobo tribe. The teachers were Mr. Mario C. Fernandez and his co-teacher Mrs. Arlene H. Abapo. They were diligent and patience even as it means going away from their homes and families. They deserve to be called us heroes, said one of the pupils.

Although it was plan that there will be an earthquake drill. It was cancelled the reason: it was raining.


The Red Cross Youth (RCY), youth arm of the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), is celebrating Red Cross Youth Month this October with the theme "Red Cross YOUth ACT." PNRC chairman and CEO Sen. Richard J. Gordon said the theme is proactive as it intends to motivate the young volunteers of Red Cross to do more for humanity and take part in providing solutions to the different problems of the community.

"We encourage all chapters to take part in this annual event and recognize the vital role of the youth in the PNRC and in nation-building. Let us all support the different activities in line with the Red Cross Youth Month," said Chairman Gordon.

Formal opening ceremonies is slated at 10 a.m. on October 11 at the Robinson Galleria Mall in Ortigas Center, Pasig City. Invited guests are singer and RCY Star Volunteer Yeng Constantino of ABS-CBN’s Pinoy Dream Academy (PDA), Ronnie Liang, also of PDA, and Audrey Zubiri, wife of Red Cross Governor Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri.

This year’s celebration features Partnership and Youth Development Week (Oct. 6-12) wherein there will be a memorandum agreement (MOA) signing with the National Youth Commission (NYC) and Sangguniang Kabataan, a provincial-wide youth instructor’s training course and orientation of local youth committees. The RCY Month will also have a Friendship and Service Week (Oct. 13-19) wherein a local youth exchange program takes place; and Promotion of Healthy Lifestyle Week (Oct. 20-26) which highlights the JFAP (Junior First Aiders Program) Investitures.

Activities lined up during the RCY month include motorcades, parades, Bike for Humanity, mall and campus tours, youth disaster response team camps, and Red Cross youth debate. The youth debate will be telecast at ANC (ABS-CBN News Channel). During the closing ceremony, the PNRC-RCY will honor this year’s Best Chapter Youth Council.

Article Submitted By Michael Esguerra, Neighbors Helping Neighbors International Youth Representative.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Stay'n Alive Without Funding

As most have heard, local jurisdictions are facing budget issues.

The following webpage includes details of reduction options presented to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

How do you feel about closing a police station?
What about elimination of Clinic Room Aides from School Health Program?

And the many volunteer programs that could be impacted.

Take a look at the following presentations for detailed proposed options.


Stay'n Alive - With CPR

A New Take On An Old Classic

You get the point. Keep'em Alive.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

First Aid Today - Stay'n Alive

The following segment recently appeared on the Today Show.

It is a must watch episode and may just Save A Life of a friend, co-worker, or neighbor!

Additional information or classes are available at your local Red Cross Chapter.

In addition to having a first aid kit and learning these essential skills, as Matt says, "Support the Red Cross, contribute if you can". If you would like to contribute to the local Red Cross, please complete the following donation form.

Fairfax County Police Programs at Risk - Citizens To Be Directly Impacted

Crime Prevention, APO, VIPS, and other Citizen Programs
At Risk Of Being Impacted
Who Will Answer The Mail?


"This is your chance to let your voice be heard. Several services and programs offered by the police department have been offered up to be terminated in order to cover the projected budget shortfall. One of the many purposed cuts includes my position, Crime Prevention. This would be for each district station.

I know we have all worked hard to make Fairfax County a safe place to reside, work and visit. It is my fear that if some of these budget cuts are passed, we would be taking a giant step backward in the fight against crime.

Plan to attend one of the upcoming Community Forums to share your feelings on this matter. Speak out and let the police department and Board of Supervisors know what is important to you." (Fairfax County Crime Prevention Officer).

Please plan to attend one of the following two meetings, along with us, either tonight or tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 22, Lynbrook Elementary School, 5801 Backlick Road,Springfield, 7-9 p.m.

Thursday, October 23, Fair Oaks Church, 4601 West Ox Road, Fairfax, 7-9 p.m.

Most people have no idea what a Crime Prevention Officer does, but they are impacted. Ever send an email to the local police station? It was probably a Crime Prevention Officer that contacted you. Does your community have a Neighborhood Watch Program? That is coordinated through the station Crime Prevention Officer.

Those are just two examples.

"The primary focus of my job is to be a liaison between the citizens of the district and the officers of the Station. I wear many hats, though. The job may sound pretty tame or even lame, but that is not the case.

In actuality, I am busier now than I was when I was a detective assigned to the Criminal Investigations Section. Crime prevention is a very demanding position. Quite a bit of my time is spent with HOA and Neighborhood Watch groups. Helping them with issues that may be present in their community. I also need to stay focused on recent trends within the various patrol areas and alert the citizens to try and prevent future crimes.

On average, I get 75-100 emails a day with requests or questions. This could be from a citizen, an officer or the captain of the station. Some allow a quick response, but some require research. I am also required to attend three to four meetings a week, on average.

Then there are requests for community events. These events are usually in the evening or on a weekend. Again, some are easy to deal with while others require pre-planning.

Yes, I would still have a job if they were to cut this position. That is not an issue. I do enjoy my job. I think that the citizens would be lacking if they were to cut the crime prevention slot, though. A regular patrol officer would not be able to do justice to the program, as it would be too many responsibilities piled upon them, on top of their patrol duties. This would not be fair to that officer or the citizens.

You asked about VIPS. Unless that volunteer worked at least 40 hours a week in Crime Prevention, it would not work. There are many weeks where 60 hours are not enough to do what needs to be done. So unless you have someone without any other obligations, I just do not see it working. I am the APO and VIPS coordinator, as well. So, I know how many hours most of them contribute. There are only one or two that have a lifestyle (i.e.- retired, no kids, etc.) that would allow them to put in the hours needed to do the job. This is not something that could be worked on for a few hours each week. Someone needs to be here and remain current with requests and evolving situations.

If you wish to discuss this further, we can. There are approximately 30 areas of responsibility which my job covers. Under those areas of responsibility there are many sub-headings. An example of this would be:

Neighborhood Watch-
1. Quarterly training held at the station for community members needing training
2. New Watches – help watches get started, provide training

Watch Maintenance
1. Monthly contact and documentation
2. Watch Revitalization- getting inactive Watches started back up
3. Provide new watches with signs and replace any damaged or stolen signs.

Coordinator’s Meetings

Distribution of Information to Watches (and Community as a Whole)
1. News Releases
2. Fliers

E. Address Community Concerns
1. Entering PSA Complaints
2. Meetings upon request


A. Promote Traffic Watch Program
B. Bicycle Safety Talks/displays
C. Pedestrian Safety talks/displays
D. Aggressive Driving (Laws)
E. Seat Belt talks/displays
F. Station Programs/Initiatives
G. VIN Etching
H. Lobby displays to coordinate with the awareness month/season

So, initially it may not look like a lot on the surface, but once you go below that, there are many areas that need to be focused upon

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

NWS Open House A Win Win for Community And Volunteers

Photo Source: Joshua Kinard

Several volunteers from local Citizen Corps Council organizations, American Red Cross of the National Capital Area and Fairfax County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) were on hand at the National Weather Service Baltimore/Washington Forecast Office Open House.

Terry Akins, Judy Howell, Andrew Levy, Ian Sterne, and Margaret Fowke spoke about the value of these programs, how to prepare for a disaster, ways to volunteer, and training programs available to the public.

The weekend also provided the opportunity for the volunteers to see the operations of the forecast office. A couple of CERT members, including a current CERT student, also attended the Skywarn class that was offered during the open house.

Thank you to the NWS for providing the wind and cold front, and a special thanks for Margaret Fowke (NWS and Red Cross Volunteer) who provided a behind the scenes tour of the facility.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Not Local to the National Capital Region? Make A Difference

For those that are not local to the National Capital Region, there are many other community events as part of "Make A Difference Day 2008".

Did you know that, "Make A Difference Day is the largest national day of helping others -- a celebration of neighbors helping neighbors. Everyone can participate. USA WEEKEND and Newman's Own salute Make A Difference Day volunteers by awarding $100,000 for charity."

The USA Weekend website lists many projects you can get involved with on Make A Difference Day.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Make A Difference Day 2008

Looking for that perfect Halloween Costume, but don't have the money to purchase a costume?

Why not consider trick or treating as a volunteer?

Thanks to Gabrielle for the idea, pictured below, wearing her costume (for the day) and volunteering at the Reston Fall Festival held yesterday, as part of VolunteerFest® 2008.

"The 14th annual VolunteerFest® on Saturday, October 25. Part of the national “Make a Difference Day,” this community-wide day of service engages more than 700 volunteers around Fairfax County at schools, libraries, parks and nonprofit agencies.

Volunteer projects include building outdoor classrooms, painting offices, creating a wildlife habitat and environmental cleanups. Service projects start mid-morning and end around lunch time. Make the most of your Saturday and volunteer.

Over the last 13 years, VolunteerFest® has engaged more than 15,000 volunteers at 490 projects for a total of 47,000 hours of service to the community."

Additional information and registration details for next weekend's events can be found on the VolunteerFest website.

Mark your calendars for next weekend.

See you at one of the many events in our local community!

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Did you know that

$25 provides five blankets at an emergency shelter

$350 will provide emergency food and shelter for 25 disaster victims for one day

$2,500 deploys one emergency response vehicle and drivers (including housing and meals for drivers) to a disaster relief operation.

There are many ways you can make a donation to your local Red Cross Chapter.

Here are some additional ideas, http://www.redcrossnca.org/Donate/make_a_donation.php3

Remember to designate the American Red Cross of the National Capital Area (UW #8022 and CFC #96686) or your local chapter during the United Way/Combined Federal Campaign!

You can also make a donation directly on their donation website.

Friday, October 17, 2008

With all the recent discussion, time for a light video

With all the recent comments, it seemed appropriate to take a step back and realize the value of both sides.

What does the National Weather Service really do?

If you are in the Washington, DC area this weekend and looking for something to do, why not check out

National Weather Service
Baltimore/Washington Forecast Office
Open House and Dedication
Saturday October 18th and Sunday October 19th

At the newly occcupied, brand new NWS Forecast Office
43858 Weather Service Road
Sterling, Virginia 20166
Free Parking On-Site

Directions to our new office can be found here

Things to do:
* Family Friendly with Demonstrations for the Kids
* Weather Balloon Launches every hour
* Get Registered as a NWS Spotter with our Basic Weather Spotter Class
* Tours of the NWS office
* Tours of NOAA's wind tunnel & environmental extreme chambers
* 4-5 pm each day: "Weather in Music and Prose" - A multimedia show combining computer imagery, poetry, and live music performance
* Watch Presentations by our Meteorologists to Learn About our Weather
* New Office Dedication Ceremony with Government Officials and NOAA/NWS Leadership at 1pm Saturday

SKYWARN™ Spotter classes will be offered at 2:00 PM Saturday, and 2:00 PM Sunday. Please click here to register! (Classes are limited to the first 75 participants for each day).

Representatives from the American Red Cross and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) will also be on hand.

Additional information can be found here, http://www.erh.noaa.gov/lwx/openhouse/

Thursday, October 16, 2008

International Youth Representative Selected for Youth Exchange

Oct. 28 to Nov. 5, 2008
South Korea

The (Philippine) National Youth Commission will be sending ten (10) youth delegates to South Korea for an RP-Korea Youth Exchange on Oct. 28 to Nov. 5, 2008.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors youth representative, Michael Esguerra, has been selected as a delegate.

"The National Youth Commission wishes to inform you that you have been chosen as one of the official delegates of the country to the RP-Korea Youth Exchange Program to be held on October 28 to November 5, 2008 in South Korea."

If you can provide any expense assistance to Michael, please contact him at juno62089@yahoo.com

Fighting Crime with 1's and 0's as Discussed at World Bank

There was also discussion about the NYPD Real Time Crime Center during the presentation.

The following video highlights some of the specifics to the solution and how integrated technology can solve crime.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

SOA Key To "Connecting" Emergency Management Solutions.

The following picture highlights a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), as described in the presentation. Also included are links to some of the services that were discussed.

Solutions Highlighted During International Day on Disaster Reduction

During the International Day on Disaster Reduction presentation, several technical solutions were highlighted.

Over the next few days, addition material will be provided on these offerings. All of which can be operated independently or integrated together through the VirtualAgility solution.

VirtualAgility technology is secure, reliable and scalable. All of which are key elements to a disaster management solution.
The VirtualAgility OPS Center (VOC) is a COTS portal framework that integrates single sign-on, GIS, incident management, weather, presence awareness, comprehensive communications and other information sharing applications.
It is an SOA interface that aggregates data and applications and presents them in a user-defined display to provide a common operational picture. Context for data point display can include GIS maps, RSS feeds, weather, SOPs and plans.
Access to data can be authorized by role, mission or organization. Secure system access can be granted ad hoc to any approved user with a standard web browser, allowing instant additions of personnel during a crisis.

Additional information can be found on the VirtualAgility website at http://www.virtualagility.com.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Taking an International Workshop to the Next Level

As part of the International Day for Disaster Reduction, the World Bank e-Development Thematic Group (e-TG) has added a topic, Disaster Risk Management in the Information Age, to their edevelopment blog.

Some of the lessons learned from the workshops are being blogged under the topic of Disaster Risk Management in the Information Age.

International Day for Disaster Reduction - Presentation Now Available

Some may have noticed this blog pretty quiet over the past week.
Neighbors Helping Neighbors had the opportunity to participate in multiple forums, including International Day for Disaster Reduction with representatives from the World Bank, United Nations, NGOs, universities, and industry.

The presentation that Andrew Levy delivered is available on the World Bank website.

"We are very pleased with the outcome of this collaboration with you and the audience found this workshop very useful according to feedback we received.

We could now leverage this spirit of collaboration and goodwill which emerged between participating organizations as a result of this workshop. We have discussed the need for stronger collaboration to take this agenda forward, in addition to highlighting a number of best practices, specific solutions and lessons learned." (World Bank).

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Innovation Jam

It is not too late to join around the world for Innovation Jam 2008.

"More than 1,100 CEOs shared their visions of the Enterprise of the Future, as well as their aspirations and ambitions to build it. For many, however, the way forward is still uncertain. Right now, leaders around the world are asking: How can my organization turn our vision into the reality we seek?"

Now is your chance to help influence some of the world's greatest challenges.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors is pleased to contribute on topics related to Disaster Preparedness, Social Networking, and other topics.

Why not start JAMming today at https://www.collaborationjam.com/innovationjam2008/

Thursday, October 2, 2008

International Day for Disaster Reduction

Did you know that Wednesday October 8, 2008 is International Day for Disaster Reduction?

Working with representatives from the World Bank and United Nations, Neighbors Helping Neighbors is proud to be a partner and speaker at International Day for Disaster Reduction.

During the next week, Neighbors Helping Neighbors will focus on best practices and questions related to disaster reduction, with a focus on Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Children Around World

A few days ago, we had the opportunity to hear "A Prayer for Children" again.

This poem fit very well to the experiences that have been shared on Neighbors Helping Neighbors over the past year.

From helping a community in a developing country reduce their risk from a disaster or helping a fellow neighbor, it is important to realize that others may not be as fortunate as others.

At the same time, realizing that we should not feel sorry for those that do not have the same tangible item, as they lead very happy lives within their means.

The following poem is really appropriate for any religion and can be found on multiple websites.

A Prayer for Children

We pray for children…
who put chocolate fingers everywhere,
who like to be tickled,
who stomp in puddles and ruin their new pants,
who sneak Popsicles before supper,
who erase holes in math workbooks,
who can never find their shoes.

And we pray for those
who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire,
who can’t bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers,
who never “counted potatoes,”
who are born in places where we wouldn’t be caught dead,
who never go to the circus,
who live in an X-rated world.

We pray for children
who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions,
who sleep with the dog and bury goldfish,
who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money,
who cover themselves with Band-Aids and sing off-key,
who squeeze toothpaste all over the sink,
who slurp their soup.

And we pray for those
who never get dessert,
who have no safe blanket to drag behind them,
who watch their parents watch them die,
who can’t find any bread to steal,
who don’t have any rooms to clean up,
whose pictures aren’t on anybody’s dresser,
whose monsters are real.

We pray for children
who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,
who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food,
who like ghost stories,
who shove dirty clothes under the bed and never rinse out the tub,
who love visits from the tooth fairy,
who don’t like to be kissed in front of the school bus,
who squirm in church and scream in the phone,
whose tears we sometimes laugh at
and whose smiles can make us cry.

And we pray for those
whose nightmares come in the daytime,
who will eat anything,
who have never seen a dentist,
who aren’t spoiled by anybody,
who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep,
who live and move,
but have no being.

- Ina Hughes

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Partnerships and Awareness with Business and Government

Two of the other organizations we need to partner with are businesses and government agencies.

Last week, readers of the Neighbors Helping Neighbors blog participated in the

Emergency Preparedness Fair in Alexandria, Virginia.
The preparedness fair should be seen as a role model for other government agencies and businesses.
During the morning, participants were given a bag with some supplies to start their kit.
Representatives from the Alexandria Citizen Corps Council, Alexandria Police, Fairfax County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Fairfax County Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), Volunteer Fairfax, Animal Services, National Weather Service, USDA Food Safety, and other agencies were there to speak about their programs and answer any questions.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Today Is The Day of Action!

Yesterday, we introduce our readers to ServiceNation.

And Today
September 27
is the

Why September 27th?

The Day of Action will take place on Saturday, September 27th, 2008. This date was specifically chosen because it is:

- the day after the first Presidential debate,
- the day after Congress adjourns for recess, and therefore most congressional members will be in their home districts on this day,
- National Public Lands Day, a day to highlight and celebrate our public green spaces across the country.

There are 2713 events planned in 50 states across the country!

Why not participate in one of the events?

Friday, September 26, 2008

National Declaration of Service Coalition Partner

Neighbors Helping Neighbors is proud to be the newest coalition partner with ServiceNation.

ServiceNation is a national campaign to increase service opportunities, solve chronic social problems through service, and promote a culture of service in America. ServiceNation is a vision of a new America, an America where citizens unite to take responsibility for strengthening communities and building a better future, and where service is a core ideal of citizenship. The ultimate vision of ServiceNation is an America in which, by 2020, 100 million citizens will volunteer time in schools, workplaces, and faith-based and community institutions each and every year (up from 61 million today), and that increasing numbers of Americans annually will commit a year of their lives to national service.

Sign the pledge and participate in a Day of Action on September 27, 2008.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What's Your Connection? Newspaper Partners

Recently we have been included in discussions about outreach and getting citizens aware of Citizen Corps programs.

Our community partner discussions fit perfectly to this conversation.

What's Your
When asked, how did I get involved locally with disaster emergency response, the answer was simple. There was a small one paragraph article in the local newspaper. I was unable to attend the first round of classes, but when a similar paragraph appeared several months later, I responded. I had no idea this program existed.
Yesterday, we discussed an article in the Ellenville Journal, a local town newspaper.
It was the Connection Newspapers - The View and the Fairfax Times, were I first read about the CERT program. And through the CERT program learned about the many programs offered through the Citizen Corps.
Earlier in the year, we spoke with the local newspapers who were very interested in including this public information as a story. It is very similar to the paragraph articles, like child safety seat inspections, they include from the Police Department.
The next time you struggle how to balance funding issues with reaching out to new members of your community, consider having a conversation with your hometown newspaper. That no cost conversation can go a long way. Thing of the reach this could have, as many hometown papers are delivered to the driveways of most residents in the community.
This may just get others started on the path of emergency preparedness and volunteering in their own neighborhoods. And might not even cost your organization a dime.

No Cost Internet For Awareness - You've Been Exposed

As we continue to think about partners or ways to increase awareness at no cost, we spent a few minutes to see where Neighbors Helping Neighbors (http://citizencorps.blogspot.com/) has appeared on the internet over the past year.

Here are some of the places articles or references can be found.