Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Join Multiple Citizen Corps Organizations To Make A Bigger Difference

H1N1 Clinics
Fairfax County Medical Reserve Corps (MRC)

We Train. We Exercise. We Do.

Several folks from other Citizen Corps programs have inquired how they can join others and help out with the Fairfax County Health Department H1N1 Vaccination Clinics.

For example, the Fairfax Coutny CERTs you have seen at the clinics, are also Fairfax County MRC volunteers. Many volunteers in Fairfax County are also members of and trained in other Citizen Corps programs.

In order to volunteer with the clinics, you are required to be an MRC volunteer. If you are interested in joining MRC, you can signup at https://www.fairfaxmrc.org/regprocess.php

You will then need to attend MRC 101 Orientation. The next class is December 16th from 7-9pm.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Local CERT Helps with Regional Rail Hostage Disaster Exercise



"Members of Fairfax County CERT participated in a disaster drill conducted by the Virginia Railway Express. The premise of this disaster exercise was a train crash; with an active shooter taking hostages aboard one of the rail cars.

This drill involved numerous federal law enforcement entities, along with Fairfax County fire and rescue department assets. It was an AWESOME disaster exercise, folks." (Reprinted from Fairfax County CERT Facebook)


Monday, November 2, 2009

No Cost Outreach - Volunteer Police Programs in Washington Post

Another option to saving taxpayer and grant dollars for advertising volunteer programs is to have them featured in a story in the local newspaper.

The Fairfax County volunteer police programs were featured in the Washington Post Metro Section and also appeared in the Fairfax County Times.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors first discovered this article while riding the Metro, reading the free newspapers that are handed out every morning to thousands and thousands of riders.


The complete article about their program and benefits to the community, Officers in their off-hours: inside the police auxiliary is available online.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Fairfax H1N1 Mass Clinics Also Featured in NY Times

The Fairfax County H1N1 Mass Clinics were also featured in the New York Times, H1N1 Widespread in 46 States as Vaccines Lag".


"In Fairfax County, Va., officials had planned to have swine flu clinics at 10 different locations on Saturday. But the county did not receive the number of doses it requested, and was forced to offer the vaccinations only at the government building. People began lining up with camping gear the night before to get vaccinations.

Merni Fitzgerald, Fairfax’s public affairs director, said officials were aiming to administer 12,000 doses of the vaccine to those most at risk for serious complications from the H1N1 virus, mainly pregnant women and children 6 to 36 months." (Source: NY Times Article)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fairfax County H1N1 Clinics Featured in CBS Evening News

On the day President Obama declared a National State of Emergency for H1N1, Fairfax County and the H1N1 Mass Clinics held at the Government Center are featured in the CBS Evening News report.



The following CBS Evening News Video and news story are available online.

The clinics were run by Fairfax County Health Department Employees and hundreds of volunteers from the Fairfax County Medical Reserve Corps.

Other Citizen Corps volunteer groups also participated, including Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) and Auziliary Police Officers (APOs).

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Want Fireworks? Go To A Public Showing

You may remember seeing the Pepsi Commercial where Michael Jackson caught on fire, yet you still insist on doing your own fireworks display at home.

Checkout the following video. It should make you think twice.

Caution the video is not for children.



Do Not Try This At Home.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Attention All WMATA Metro Riders - Please Read

Be Metro Ready!

All of you have heard the news of the Metro incident in Washington DC. However, the last time you were on public transportation, did you take the time to review the emergency procedures?

Please take a few minutes to review the WMATA Emergency Preparedness tips.

http://www.wmata.com/getting_around/safety_security/emergency.cfm

Spending a few minutes now, RIGHT NOW. It might help save your life or the help you provide may save the lives of others around you.

Sad to say, it takes a tragedy, such as the one we just saw, to bring emergency preparedness back to the forefront.

Be Ready. Be Metro Ready!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Fairfax County CERT Takes on DC Metro - And Is Prepared


Members of Fairfax County CERT completed WMATA training and became members of the Metro Citizen Corps.

The program consisted of three modules:

Module I – Program Orientation / Terrorist Activity Recognition and Reaction Training

Module II – Passenger Train Familiarization at the Metro rail yard

Module III – MetroRail Familiarization / Tunnel Walk (Actually entering the MetroRail tunnel system during operating hours)

Thank you to the Metro Transit Police Department and Department of Emergency Management for conducting this training.

Additional photos can be found at (including a train running by us just a few feet away):http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=80706&id=746279659&l=4835874bea

(Originally Posted By Andrew Levy on http://fairfaxcountycert.blogspot.com/)

The photo above also includes some of our instructors from WMATA Police/Emergency Management that also responded to the Metro incident on June 22. Our thoughts go out to the families and the response of all the rescuers.

This was an excellent program that really prepared us to react in the event of an emergency.

For additional information, please contact neighborshelpingneighbors@live.com

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Local CERTs Work Together with Support from Red Cross

On Saturday July 11, local area Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) from Arlington, Alexandra, Fairfax and others participated as victims in the Pentagon Force Protection Decontamination drill/test.

The local American Red Cross also provided support for the drill.

"At the start of the test, a harmless, traceable powder, the same one used in the previous test, will be released. After the release, volunteers who have been stationed in and around the Pentagon, will be transported by bus to a decon area. Upon arrival at the decon station, they will place their clothing in a bag and will remain wearing their bathing suit as they proceed through decon. Volunteer's clothing will be returned to them on the other side of the decon line."

Additional information about the drill is available at: http://volunteer.united-e-way.org/acvo/volunteer/spotlight/pentagondrill

Friday, June 19, 2009

DHS Answering President Obama’s call to service

Release Date: June 19, 2009

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

Answering President Obama’s call to service, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano will be joined by Deputy Secretary Jane Holl Lute and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate on Monday volunteering their time and efforts to promote service across the country. The President’s 81-day summer service initiative, United We Serve, challenges all citizens to get involved in their communities and start building a better future for the nation.

“Volunteerism strengthens a community’s capacity to meet challenges,” said DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano. “President Obama’s call for service—today and everyday—plays a critical role in our efforts to prepare and protect the nation.”

Secretary Napolitano will help jumpstart community readiness in Orlando, Fla., where she will work with local members of the FEMA Citizens Corps to help prepare their neighborhoods and communities for successful emergency response and recovery.

Deputy Secretary Lute will lead a citizenship class at the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights (NMCIR) in New York, N.Y., where immigrants from around the world come to learn English, learn about America and prepare to become U.S. citizens.

Administrator Fugate will discuss the importance of service at a roundtable in Denver with Americans who have made President Obama’s challenge central to their daily lives, including firefighters as well as volunteers from FEMA’s Fire Corps and CERT programs—two entities that train people to assist and become first responders.

United We Serve will culminate with a National Day of Service and Remembrance on September 11, 2009. This milestone will provide an opportunity to recognize the summer’s accomplishments, honor those who died on September 11, 2001, and encourage Americans to make an ongoing commitment to service.

###

Monday, June 15, 2009

Fact, Fiction, You?

This fall, through the collective reach of the entertainment industry in an unprecedented cooperative effort led by the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), Americans will be asked to give their time and talents to a cause they care about. The entertainment industry will also shine a spotlight on the great service and volunteer heroes who are changing our world for the better, both at home and abroad. The effort will begin with TV programming and will expand to other media later on.

We expect that virtually every American will hear this rallying message multiple times. PSA’s will point the public to a powerful web-based tool where they can find opportunities to serve with nonprofit organizations or through neighborhood projects. They will find “Do It Yourself” projects they can do on their own or with a group, family, or friends. Everyone will be able to find a way to make a meaningful contribution that fits his or her unique preferences.

This campaign will highlight five areas identified by President and Mrs. Obama as priorities for the country where needs in our communities are great and where volunteers can play a vital part in solving problems and lifting up communities:

1. Education and youth
2. Environmental conservation and reduced energy consumption
3. Health and well-being of all generations
4. Economic development and financial security
5. Supporting our troops and keeping America safe

To make this campaign successful, the entertainment industry needs our help. They need organizations to offer service opportunities, as well as “DIY” projects that people can do on their own. But first, they need stories to highlight the impact of service.

As a first step, EIF is looking for real-life stories that can be fictionalized for use in television episodes. If you have any such stories, please submit them by June 18. Stories can be submitted through the ServiceNation website at www.servicenation.org/stories.

Thank you to Alan Khazei (akhazei@bethechangeinc.org) for sharing this opportunity.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Wikipedia Anyone?

Still confused with all the definitions of Emergency Management and Disaster Preparedness out there?

May be you overlooked one of the most obvious websites to get a better understanding.

Wikipedia


Provides lots of content, links, resources, etc. from around the world.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Is this for real?

Is this just the latest scam in products?

Does your dog really need a lifejacket?

Spend a few minutes and take a look at the following About.com article.

To many, pets are families members and these life jackets really can help save their life.

While you might think your pet can swim, so can you, but how long can you swim.

So, this is not a scam, and we recommend that everyone, including pets, wears a lifejacket.

http://vetmedicine.about.com/od/summerheathhazards/a/FAQ_lifevests.htm

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Not into reading about boating safety, check out this informative video

About.com parenting provides a video that provides simple tips for boating safety with families.

Spending a few minutes going through this video can save a life.

http://video.about.com/childparenting/Boating-Safety.htm

Friday, May 22, 2009

How Boat Ready is your child?

Boating Safety should not solely about adult water safety.

The following website makes water safety fun for children, and even includes a contest

http://www.boatingsidekicks.com/kidsite/08contest-index1280.htm

The website is quite animated and great for all ages - from coloring pages to comics.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Wear It! Safe Boating

As folks get ready for Memorial Day weekend, they also get ready to hit the water.



Did you know that it is National Safe Boating Week?

Neighbors Helping Neighbors is a proud partner of the "Be A Survivor! Wear It!" Campaign.



The following website has some excellent tools and videos.



And if you don't believe that lifejackets save lives? Checkout the following results from prior year campaigns.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Are You Weather Ready?

We have seen quite a few new Ready websites over the past year.

But are you...

Weather Ready?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ready Classroom - Next Phase of Preparedness

"The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Ad Council have joined with Discovery Education to announce Ready Classroom, an online educational program." (Source: FEMA.gov)

The complete announcement can be found at:


And the official website for Ready Classroom is:

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Congrats to Penny Kelly - Fairfax County Public School Press Release

"Penny Kelly Receives EMS Award

Penny Kelly, who teaches Fire and Emergency Medical Science (EMS) at Falls Church Academy, has been named the Outstanding Emergency Medical Services Pre-Hospital Educator of the Year by the Northern Virginia Emergency Medical Services Council, Inc. Falls Church Academy is one of six high school academies in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS).

Kelly, who is the fire and EMS program’s first and only instructor, was praised by nominators for her dedication to the program and for enhancing the educational experience for her students. By networking with regional fire and rescue professionals, Kelly has facilitated flight medic helicopter visits to Falls Church Academy and field trips to the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Academy and Northern Virginia Community College’s Medical Education Campus cadaver lab for students.

“Under her leadership, the enrollment has grown each year, and plans are under way to add an additional program,” says Diane Pruner, FCPS director of the Office of Career and Technical Education. Pruner adds that Kelly has continued to refine and enhance the curriculum in order to provide her students with the best instruction possible and is always looking for new experiences to keep her students engaged. She volunteers her time to accompany Falls Church Academy administrator Dave Tremaine on visits to area high school guidance departments to promote academy programs.Since 2004, 60 of Kelly’s students have received basic Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certifications; she works with students to find employment or select an institution for continued study at the postsecondary level.

“Penny is an influential communicator who possesses the gift of being able to make complex subjects understandable,” says Capt. David Tobin of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. Kelly is a licensed EMT and EMT instructor and CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) trainer and is licensed to teach EMT and Fire Science in Virginia.

###

Note: For more information, contact Penny Kelly at 703-207-4000 or penny.kelly@fcps.edu.
"

Source: http://commweb.fcps.edu/newsreleases/newsrelease.cfm?newsid=1169

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ask Liz - Counterfeit Electronics

With the current state of the economy more and more people are more likely to purchase batteries, extension cords, electronics, etc. at discount stores, such as your local Dollar Store.

Before you buy your next electronic there, see this response to Ask Liz, "Is It Worth It? Counterfeit Electronics If you like bargains it's easy to find them these days in many stores that sell electrical items such as extension cords, power strips, and chargers. But is it worth it?"

The video is actually pretty scarey and eye opening.

http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Is-It-Worth-It-Counterfeit-Electronics.html

Simulating "The Really Big One?"

What if...

"The magnitude-6.3 earthquake that struck villages in Italy was horrible enough, but can you imagine what would happen to a city like Seattle if it were hit by a magnitude-9 shocker? That's exactly what Caltech's Thomas Heaton and Jing Yang try to do in a new series of simulations - and the picture isn't pretty." (Source: MSNBC).

The complete article and information on research on this topic can be found at:

http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2009/04/09/1886433.aspx

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Loads of Hope - Amazing Program for Basic Needs

The past few weeks, we looked at corporations providing help to those impacted by a disaster.

Tide Loads of Hope Program

"Nearly 30,000 loads of laundry cleaned for families affected by disasters, and counting….
In times of disaster people turn to the most basic of human needs—and one of those is clean clothes. The Tide Loads of Hope program provides relief by means of a mobile laundromat. One truck and a fleet of vans house over 32 energy-efficient washers and dryers that are capable of cleaning over 300 loads of laundry every day. We wash, dry and fold the clothes for these families for free. Because, as we’ve learned, sometimes even the littlest things can make a big, big difference." (Source: Tide.com)

To learn more about Loads of Hope, find out how you can help, and watch some videos, take a look at:

http://www.tide.com/en-US/loads-of-hope/about.jspx

Friday, May 8, 2009

Free Child's Make It Yourself Go-Kit


Looking at the current state of the economy, you might not put a children's Go-Kit on the top of your priority list.

Now you have no excuse. Lowe's is offering a free "Ready-To-Go Kit" that the children get to make themselves. What a great no cost activity.
"Safety month starts in June. Get prepared by building this Ready 2 Go kit!"
Lowe's Build and Grow Clinic
Saturday May 23, 2009
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

For additional information, visit:

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Sorry Folks, It looks like back to school.

Headlines read

"CDC Upsets Local Children, Sends Them Back to School

US pig flu cases prove to be as deadly as a stubbed ring finger"

The complete story can be found at:

http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/CDC-Upsets-Children-Nationwide-Forces-Them-To-Go-To-School.html

Virginia's 2009 Sales Tax Holidays

"May 25-31, 2009: Hurricane and Emergency Preparedness Equipment.

During this seven-day period, purchases of items designated by the Department of Taxation as hurricane preparedness equipment, including portable generators, will be exempt from the Virginia sales tax. Portable generators must be priced at $1,000 or less, and other eligible items must be priced at $60 or less for each item. For details, visit our Hurricane Preparedness Equipment Holiday page." (Source: Virginia.gov)

There are other states like New York and Florida who have also offered tax holidays for emergency preparedness.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Today is May Day! Is your library or museum "Ready"?

FEMA and other agencies work with cultural institutions to prepare for emergencies.

"Libraries, museums, archives, and arts and historic preservation organizations across the nation will set aside May 1, 2009, to participate in MayDay, a national effort to prepare for disasters."

Additional information can be found at:

http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=48125

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine Flu Music Video

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcwashington.com/video.

Webcast to the American People - H1N1

For Immediate Release:

HHS Secretary Sebelius and DHS Secretary Napolitano will host a Webcast to answer questions from the American people regarding the H1N1 flu on Thursday at 1:00 PM EDT. They will be joined by Acting Director of CDC, Dr. Besser.

The Webcast can be viewed at www.hhs.gov and www.cdc.gov.

Questions Requested For Daily H1V1 Briefing

This morning a request went out for public questions for the daily H1V1 briefing. The following question and comment was sent to: hhsstudio@hhs.gov

"There are programs, such as the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) across the United States where volunteers can help if mass distribution is needed. Residents should be reassured that volunteers have been training with professionals for quite a few years. This is not to say that more trained volunteers are not needed.

What plans are in place for areas of the country that do not have a robust MRC or volunteer network, and areas where more volunteers are needed, including potentially leveraging volunteers from the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Red Cross, religious organizations, and other affiliated Citizen Corps programs?

As we learned from September 11, it is times like this when people see the need to act. However, with time, that need fades.

Thank you for keeping the public regularly updated.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors
http://citizencorps.blogspot.com"

Day In The Life - Emergency Manager

Often when we think of the role of Emergency Manager, we think of an emergency management office that might reside in an office of emergency management.

With all the recent news about peanut recalls, what might a day in the life of a state Department of Agriculture Emergency Manager look like.

While the following was written in 2003, it helps define a model for this role.

http://www.michigan.gov/mda/0,1607,7-125-50772_2404_4863-74271--,00.html

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Take Your Mind Off The News - Eat Ice Cream For A Good Cause

"Bring your friends and your camera to 31 Cent Scoop Night™ tonight at Baskin-Robbins®. Join us as we honor America's firefighters with a $100,000 donation to the National Volunteer Fire Council National Junior Firefighter Program."

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Information Overload

As mentioned yesterday, with all the Web 2.0 tools, like Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, and others, information travels faster than it ever has. With some of that content creating concern.

"Some observers say Twitter -- a micro-blogging site where users post 140-character messages -- has become a hotbed of unnecessary hype and misinformation about the outbreak"

The complete story can be found at:

http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/04/27/swine.flu.twitter/index.html?iref=werecommend

Monday, April 27, 2009

If you cant trust the internet for information where can we go?

In the last blog entry, we questioned the accuracy of some of the information on the internet. So where can we go to get validated up to date information.

The following US Government website:

"One-stop access to U.S. Government avian and pandemic flu information."

Wikipedia

As we know online technology is a great fast resource for information.

The following wikipedia swine flu page provides more detailed information:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swine_Flu

However, remember the people entering this information might not be trained professionals and cannot be totally verified, as with a lot of the information on the internet. This is being provided for reference only.

Can technology help with the race against pandemic flu?

To see what is being done to use technology to get ahead of a potentially deadly migration, take a look at some of the innovative discussions taking place globally.

http://www.ibm.com/ibm/ideasfromibm/healthcare/aug14/index.shtml

The website also includes some videos highlighting major outbreaks in the past. While many of us were not around at the time, these videos really highlight some events that happened not that long ago. And steps that are being taken to help try to prevent something so widespread from happening again.

Where can I get more information about the swine flu?

The following article in yesterday's USA Today provides for some excellent Q&A about Swine Flu.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2009-04-26-swine-flu-questions-answers_N.htm

According to article from MSNBC, U.S. declares state of emergency - Swine Flu

"The world’s governments raced to avoid both a pandemic and global hysteria Sunday as more possible swine flu cases surfaced from Canada to New Zealand and the United States declared a public health emergency. “It’s not a time to panic,” the White House said. " (Source: MSNBC)

A complete press briefing can be found at:

http://www.dhs.gov/ynews/releases/pr_1240773850207.shtm

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Does your community have a Medical Reserve Corps? Maybe it should

According to recent news reports, "The World Health Organization warned countries around the world Saturday to be on alert for any unusual flu outbreaks after a unique new swine flu virus was implicated in possibly dozens of human deaths in North America."

The local news headlines say "New U.S. Swine Flu Cases Spread "Pandemic" Fear Virus confirmed in Kansas and probable in New York City".

The complete article can be found at:

http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/us_world/NATL-Deadly-Flu-Outbreak-Linked-to-US-.html

Now while this article should not cause major panic, it is always good to take basic health precautions and consider volunteering for a local Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) program, in the event a local response was needed for a pandemic flu.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

It's Official!


Today, President Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act into law.
http://www.servicenation.org/newpatriotism

Thank you to everyone that provided their support.

Online Systems Getting Hit By Budget Cuts

According to http://az211online.blogspot.com/, "As part of the (Arizona) State’s effort to balance the 2009 budget, the Arizona 2-1-1 Program has been defunded."

This does not mean that emergency alerts are going away for this state, they will be maintained through a blog.

"Emergency Bulletins
The Arizona Division of Emergency Management is preserving the Emergency Bulletin System at http://arizonaEIN.blogspot.com/"


Things are a little different for health services where you will be referred to a non-profit agency.

"Health and Human Service Resources
The health and human service database is no longer accessible via az211.gov. There are a number of non-profit organizations in Arizona that provide Information and Referral services and may be able to assist you."

Looking for additional information at www.az211.gov, took us to the blogspot link listed above.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Neighbors Helping Neighbors Provide Support To Local CERT Program

The following was submitted to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.

Fairfax County CERT and the professional instructors are the best of the best and provide a world class program. There is no other program in the nation that provides such hands-on expertise with instructors with extensive background. Where else can you find a CERT instructor who responded to Katrina, Pentagon, or World Trade Center? Where else can you find a CERT instructor who is on the Urban Search and Rescue Team and deploys to worldwide disasters? Our citizens deserve the knowledge of these experts who live in our community. Many of us do not have the time to be volunteer fireman, but do have the time to take the CERT training and give back as volunteer instructors and outreach. What other CERT program has been on a National Food Show? Ourprogram has the CERT instructor who was featured to thank for that. Not only should you keep the MA2 position, in times when you need to cut other areas, Fairfax County should be considering expanding the program. Fairfax County CERT expanded the program this past year under the leadership of these three instructors who came up with CERT Basic, 2, 3. This gives more access to CERT program to people in other parts of the county and does not cost the county a dime. Please think again about cutting the CERT program. Losing our MA2 would be a deep loss to Fairfax County. Not only do you need to think about the position, but also the people behind it. The people who have made a difference in our lives.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

AED Recall

The following information was provided today in an email from the U.S. Fire Administration.

"Medical Device Recall: ZOLL AED Plus Defibrillator

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is reporting the following medical device recall:

Product: ZOLL AED Plus Defibrillator. This product was manufactured from May 2004 through February 2009 and distributed from May 2004 through February 9, 2009.

Use: This device is used by emergency or medical personnel, by others who have completed CPR AED training courses, or the public at large. It is intended to treat patients in cardiac arrest. The device analyzes an unconscious patient’s heart rhythm and instructs the user to press a button that delivers an electrical shock to the heart to restore a normal heart rhythm.

Reason for Recall: The AED failed to deliver the defibrillation energy. "

Additional information can be found at:

http://www.fda.gov/cdrh/recalls/recall-021209b.html

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Untapped Potential? Emergency Management Websites?

A report, "Untapped Potential: Evaluating State Emergency Management Agency Web Sites 2008" is available from the University of Kansas Transporation Research Institute

http://people.ku.edu/~dguth/WebVersionEMA.pdf

While we might not agree with all of the information, there is some pretty good information and statistics.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Calling 911?

The following website provides tips on how to call 911

http://www.wikihow.com/Call-911

Recently an area 911 system was unavailable. That raised the question, if you cannot reach 911 because their system is down, who do you call?

We recommend that you keep a sticker on all your phones with your local police emergency and non-emergency number. The emergency number is often the 911 dispatch center.

In the past, you would have called the operator to connect your call. With all of the services on the internet, it has probably been some time since you called the operator on your telephone.

Now that this service is automated, you rarely speak with a person right away when calling the operator.

Having the police non-emergency number posted by all of your telephones can be a lifesaver, in the event the 911 system goes out in your area. You might also want to have listed the phone number for your local fire station and hospital.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Hopefully this is not a sign of the times - McGruff gets punched by a bus driver.

According to the article, "McGruff the Crime Dog, the stern but beloved police mascot who teaches kids how to stop crime before it happens, became a victim himself this weekend when a Metro bus driver punched him in the face as a stunned group of children watched, authorities said."

The complete article, which goes into further detail and potential charges/history, can be found at:

http://www.dcexaminer.com/local/Metro-bus-driver-takes-bite-out-of-McGruff-the-Crime-Dog-40558982.html

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Did you know March is Red Cross Month?

"On February 27, 2009, President Barack Obama, Honorary Chairman of the American Red Cross, signed a Presidential Proclamation marking March 2009 as "Red Cross Month" encouraging all Americans to support this humanitarian organization."

The proclamation can be found at the following White House website: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/American-Red-Cross-Month-2009/

To get more information on how you can get involved, including training, volunteering, donations (money or blood), read the complete story at:

http://www.redcrossnca.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=201:march-is-red-cross-month&catid=56:community-services&Itemid=72

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Besides Donating Equipment, Facilities, and Other Resources - There are Other Things

How about partnering with a non-profit, such as the American Red Cross?

The following is an example of Starbucks partnering with a local American Red Cross chapter to offer "Disaster Response Volunteer Boot Camp"

http://www.v2v.net/actions/disasterbootcamp

Similiar "Disaster Action Team (DAT)" boot camps are offered across the United States. While not grab a few of your co-workers and take the classes together?

Are you afraid to approach your company about this? No corporate involvement is really needed to get a group of people together to be active in your community.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Companies Partnering Together

Cisco is also a major playing in the disaster response space.

In 2008, their disaster relief efforts included snowstorms and earthquak in China, the cyclone in Myanmar, and others.

Some of the details can be found at:

http://www.cisco.com/web/about/ac227/csr2008/cisco-and-society/human-needs/disaster-relief.html

Also, companies like Cisco have been partnering with companies like IBM to help provide an even better "on-demand" technology solution.

Monday, March 16, 2009

IT and Consulting Companies Such As IBM Playing a Role In Disaster Response

But response goes beyond companies like Walmart, Home Depot and Lowes. It is essential for communications and technology systems to be restored. And others put in place to help with the response and recovery.

"IBM's Global Disaster Reponse: Helping people, leveraging technology, skills".

Some technology examples can be found at:

http://www.donorsforumsf.org/documents/disaster_response_hires.pdf

Saturday, March 14, 2009

An article about Home Depot would not be fair without also showing some examples of what Lowe's has done to help the community as well.

For example, "Lowe's and Partners Aid Isabel Victims; Company Provides Community, Monetary Support"

Included in the article, available at http://lowes.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=386 includes FEMA representatives in local stores helping them file for federal relief.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Home Depot Front and Center

Our last article discussed Walmart's role in the community during a disaster. Companies like Home Depot are also first on the ground.



"The Home Depot and its more than 300,000 associates are passionate about helping their neighbors during times of need. When disaster strikes, The Home Depot is among the first organizations on the scene to ensure its customers have the supplies, resources and support they need to rebuild their homes and communities."



Additional information on their program can be found at:



http://corporate.homedepot.com/wps/portal/!ut/p/c0/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3gDdwNHH0sfE3M3AzMPJ8MAHxcDKNAvyHZUBAA3rcQa/

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ever Wonder What Fortune 100 Companies Do To Help In A Disaster?

The next couple of articles will features companies such as Walmart, Home Depot and others.

The Suburban Emergency Management Project, provides some insight on Walmart activites.

“Big-box retailers such as Wal-Mart were extraordinarily successful in providing help to damaged communities in the days, weeks, and months after the storm,”

The complete article, Wal-Mart Way in Disaster Response, can be found at:

http://www.semp.us/publications/biot_reader.php?BiotID=569

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Spring Forward and Remember Safety - Inside and Out

So you just finished going around your house and changed all the clocks. But did you change all the batteries in your smoke detectors?

Since you probably didn't, when you go through your house again, take a look at when the last time you replaced the smoke detector itself. If it has been more than 10 years, you might consider replacing them.

While walking around the house, make sure external lights are all working and your sidewalks are clear. Also check under the sink and in your garage and make sure chemicals are out of reach to children. The same is true for medications. If it is expired, why keep it?

Make sure you properly dispose of items that you no longer need.

Friday, March 6, 2009

PreventionWeb - Building the resilience of nations and communities to disasters

"In support of the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) the UNISDR* has launched PreventionWeb, a website for disaster risk reduction (DRR). PreventionWeb informs and connects professionals working in disaster risk reduction, and promotes an understanding of the subject by non-specialists.

PreventionWeb provides a common platform for institutions to connect, exchange experiences and share information about DRR."

Visit PreventionWeb at http://www.preventionweb.net/

The website provides:

  • Data and Statistics
  • Academic Programmes in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)
  • Education Materials for DRR
  • Terminology
  • People in DRR
  • Share with the DRR Community
  • and more.
UNISDR* - UN International Stategy for Disaster Reduction.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Creating a Nationwide Wireless Broadband Network for Public Safety

Earlier in the week, we talked about wireless communication. The following directly relates:

The Public Safety Spectrum Trust - Creating a Nationwide Wireless Broadband Network for Public Safety – EMForum.org www.emforum.org – Weds 3/11 – 12:00 Noon EDT

EMForum.org is pleased to host a one hour presentation and interactive discussion March 11, 2009, beginning at 12:00 Noon Eastern time (please convert to your local time). Our topic will be the Public Safety Spectrum Trust Corporation (PSST), a non-profit corporation selected by the FCC as the Public Safety Broadband Licensee for the 10 MHz of 700 MHz public safety nationwide broadband spectrum. The PSST’s mission is to provide an organizational structure through which decisions of national public safety leadership can guide the construction and operation of an interoperable nationwide public safety-grade broadband network.

Additional information on this call can be found at: http://www.emforum.org/vforum/090311.htm

This educational service is provided by the Emergency Information Infrastructure Project (EIIP).

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Not Homeless But Need Some Help From Your Neighbors

Well not everyone is out on the streets, but nonetheless, finding a job might be difficult.

The following article talks about how people are reaching out to people in a religious organization or other group to help them find a job.

It's about the network and who best to turn to? The neighbors we see on a regular basis.

http://money.cnn.com/2009/02/26/news/economy/hired_butler/index.htm?postversion=2009022613

Monday, March 2, 2009

Local Volunteers Making A Difference

Looking through the eyes of others, working to get back on their feet, local volunteers group together to help others.

The Fairfax Times featured an article this week about getting neighbors in our community out of the cold.

"This winter, he has been spending his days in school, working temporary jobs through Labor Ready and getting services at the Lamb Center in Fairfax. When the sun goes down, he has been able to get a hot meal and warm place to sleep each night, thanks to Fairfax County's hypothermia shelter program.

"Without the program I wouldn't be going to school. I wouldn't have a place to study," Phillips said. "I just hope they keep doing what they're doing. People need it."

The hypothermia program, now in its fifth year, was started after two men died of hypothermia in the county. Fairfax County's homeless shelters are perennially overcrowded and there can be a waiting list of 100 people or more to get into a shelter. A segment of the homeless population does not want to live in a shelter."

http://www.fairfaxtimes.com/news/2009/feb/25/keeping-warm-night/

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Volunteer to Save the Economy - New York Times

"THIS week, President Obama called upon all Americans to volunteer, to pitch in and give back. We hope that the president is serious about this challenge, because providing more opportunities for national and community service won’t just lift the nation’s spirit, it could help save the economy.

...

As Americans have proven in times of crisis, what we ask of ourselves matters a great deal. If we want to create the most jobs for the lowest cost with the least bureaucracy and foster the spirit of sacrifice that the president envisions, the economic recovery plan should find a place for more Americans to do good works in hard times."

The complete article, which was featured on www.servicenation.org can be found at:

Telecommunications Service Priority - What's That?

National Security/Emergency Preparedness "NS/EP telecommunication services are services used to maintain a state of readiness or to respond to and manage any event or crisis that causes or could cause injury or harm to the population or damage to or loss of property or that degrades or threatens the NS/EP posture of the United States. "

Additional information on the TSP program can be found at http://tsp.ncs.gov/

The Technical Service Priority (TSP) Program has two components: provisioning and restoration.


  • "A provisioning priority is obtained to facilitate priority installation of new telecommunications services. Provisioning on a priority basis becomes necessary when a service user has an urgent requirement for a new NS/EP service that must be installed immediately (e.g., an emergency) or by a specific due date (e.g., essential) that can be met only by a shorter than standard service vendor provisioning timeframe."


  • "A restoration priority is assigned to new or existing telecommunications services to ensure restoration before non-TSP services. Priority restoration should be assigned to a new service when interruptions may have a serious, adverse effect on the supported NS/EP function. TSP restoration priorities must be requested and assigned before a service outage occurs."

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Time to Rethink Costs of Major Programs? One system at a time.

The following article was featured in a local paper.

"“The Motorola program and price are extremely high for a public-safety radio,” said Lt. Col. Scott Padgett, a Loudoun resident who works for IBM. He said for $36.7 million, a Midwestern state could buy an entire public-safety radio system."

The article went on to add how much could potentially be saved.

"Sarantos said if the county reissued bids, it could save as much as $10 million. “That's one elementary school,” he added."

Source: Loudoun Times

Friday, February 27, 2009

Let's Eat - To Avoid Trouble

We have read story after story about the economy and the impact it has had on everyday people. Most people know a family member, neighbor, or even themselves have been impacted.

The following article highlights a great way for neighbors to get to know each other and "How potlucks help home values".

So why do communities often come together?

"It starts with trouble

In spite of the many benefits of building strong communities, it usually takes threats — particularly crime and land-use proposals — to galvanize a neighborhood, says Elton Gatewood, president of Neighborhoods USA, a national group of organizers from local governments and neighborhoods."

Looking for a no cost way to recognize your volunteers or improve security in your neighborhood? If so, check out the following article:

http://realestate.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-documentid=17560110&gt1=35000

Neighbors getting to know their neighbors really does make a difference.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

CDC Emergency Preparedness & Response Site

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has an Emergency Preparedness and Response website that "is intended to increase the nation's ability to prepare and respond to public health emergencies."


The latest website updates and announcements can be found at:

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Looking for that National Update?

"National Situation Updates are compiled for use in emergency management planning and operational activities. Updates include information and graphics gathered from a variety of sources including other federal agencies and departments, state and local government, and the news media."

National Situation Updates are available from FEMA at:

http://www.fema.gov/emergency/reports/index.shtm

"Updates are published daily Monday through Friday by the Information Coordination Unit, Assessment and Analysis Branch, Operations and Planning Division, Response and Recovery Directorate at FEMA Headquarters, Washington, DC."

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Events 101 - You Are Prepared!

Preparing for the Unpredictable: Planning for Emergency Situations and Operations Breakdowns

Thank you to everyone that attended Events 101.

"Events 101 is a one-of-a-kind workshop for people who plan public festivals, events and other programs. As accessible and informative for new or volunteer event producers as it is to seasoned event professionals, Events101 delivers in-depth educational sessions on the nuts and bolts of community and public event planning."

Now that we have discussed the importance of planning. Have you asked yourself, how do all of the pieces fit together?

Some of the questions to think about:

  • What is your check-in/check-out procedure?
  • Who is where?
  • How do you hand lost children? Who is staffing it?
  • Do you conduct background? How well do you know your volunteers?
  • Do you volunteers absorb the material in your security briefing?
  • Who is on your leadership team?
  • What happens when your leadership team is not there?
  • Who's in charge?
  • What happens when the power goes out or you lose communication?
  • How do you handle food safety?
  • When you have food for your volunteers, how long does it stay out?
  • Which organization does your volunteers represent?
  • Are volunteers your liability?
  • How do you handle special needs in an emergency?
  • What about people from other countries and different languages?
  • What about people who cannot hear verbal messages?
  • Who is watching the young volunteers?
  • How does the weather fit into your plans?
  • Do you have staging areas?
  • How will you handle evacuation?

And while you might think you have incorporated all of these things into your plan, have you "Asked a Volunteer?" Just to make sure they understand how they fit in.

Here is the Who's In Charge video.

If you need assistance planning for "Emergency Situations and Operations Breakdowns", please do not hesitate to contact us at neighborshelpingneighbors@live.com

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Keeping the Peace in 2009

Okay, it has been a month since you made that New Year's Resolution. And every day we hear the news about terror about the world.

The following article from 10 things to say to keep the peace offers some suggestions.

1. "Thank you for your opinion. I'll think about it."
2. "Is this a good time for you?"
3. "Would you like my thoughts?"
4. "Why don't we get the facts?"
5. "I need your help. Can you please...?"
6. "Let's wait on this until we have more information."
7. "What did you mean by that?"
8. "I don't like that, so why don't we do this instead?"
9. "I'm sorry you're upset."
10. "Let me get back to you."

The complete article with additional recommendations for each item can be found at:

http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/personal/01/15/rs.10.things.2.say.family/index.html

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Homeland Security USA

If you have been so focused on inauguration the past few weeks, you may have missed ABC's newest show,


Is this show any different from something you would see on TruTV?

Should the shows on TruTV be allowed, as it may "give anybody any ideas" as steford said on one of the message boards? Could the same not be said for video games, cable tv, and movies?

While the quality of the show is not what one may expect from a major network, the content provides a public understanding of a "day in the life" of someone working at DHS.

After all, it is about Neighbors Helping Neighbors. And Homeland Security USA helps us understand the jobs are neighbors in our community are doing to help protect us.

Please note, Homeland Security USA should not be consfused with D.H.S. The Series.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Every Active Volunteer Has A Reason

In December 1992, Andrew Levy’s parents were called by the doctors at Strong Memorial Hospital and told he had less than 3 hours to live. It was a 6 hour drive for them to get to Rochester, NY.

After several tests, he was hospitalized as the result of Guillain-Barré (GBS), an illness that impacts the peripheral nervous system. He was paralyzed for several months, confined to a wheelchair. Once he regained control of his muscle and nerve systems, he needed to relearn how to walk.

Today, fully recovered, Mr. Levy continues his commitment to volunteer work in a major way. In addition to his career as a certified senior managing consultant with IBM’s U.S. Federal Office of the CTO, he gives his time to numerous community organizations and through an IBM program called On Demand Community.

He actively volunteers with Engineering Week, Take Your Child To Work Day, Mentoring, MentorNet, Powerup, Earth Day, TryScience, College and Accessibility Ambassador, Online Safety, Emergency Preparedness and Response. He was also a part of IBM’s initial teams selected for the Corporate Service Corps, volunteering this summer in Davao City, Philippines.


When Mr. Levy was diagnosed with GBS, the American Red Cross used plasmapheresis to get him on the path to recovery. As he says, “The Red Cross saved my life”. Since then, he became very active in volunteer work, including emergency response, but surprisingly not with the local Red Cross chapter in Northern Virginia.

But this is really only the beginning of the story. What seems like a few years ago, Mr. Levy was volunteering at an American Red Cross of the National Capital Area Save a Life Event, representing other volunteer community response groups. An executive from the Red Cross came over to the volunteers to thank the volunteers. Then she turned to him with such excitement for the partner agencies for being there and asked, why do you volunteer. He explained the story about GBS and how Red Cross played a major role. The tone of the conversation quickly changed and became very emotional. It turns out that this person’s brother currently had GBS and was challenged to find doctors, support network, information, and just someone to talk to, who has been through it. Giving a new friend a hug goes a long way. Is this a case of being in the right place at the right time? Or just something that is core to all Red Cross volunteers, their values.

American Red Cross Values
  • Humanitarianism:
    We exist in order to serve others in need, independently and without discrimination, providing relief for victims of disasters and helping people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies.
  • Stewardship:
    We act responsibly, effectively and efficiently with resources entrusted to us, always seeking to improve.
  • Helping Others:
    We are attentive and responsible to those who we serve, always listening to their needs and looking for ways to serve through existing or new initiatives.
  • Respect:
    We acknowledge, respect and support the rights and diversity of each person in our organization and in the communities we serve.
  • Voluntary Spirit:
    We, as a family of donors, volunteers and staff, search for ways to provide hope to those we serve while demonstrating compassion, generosity and appreciation.
  • Continuous Learning:
    We seek, collectively and individually, to identify, obtain and maintain competencies and the awareness required for exceptional service.
  • Integrity:
    We act with honesty, demonstrate courage and accountability under pressure and openly share ideas and information with each other.

It was because of her that Mr. Levy became a Red Cross Volunteer. While she says that he made a difference, helping her through this, she has clearly made a difference in his life. As, it is not what you receive, but the value and help you are able to give to others.

With the Presidential Inauguration and Martin Luther King Day of Community Service in the United States, this marked another major moment in Mr. Levy’s life. During this momentous time in our nation's history, Mr. Levy has reached the President's Call To Service of 4,000 hours, while volunteering this week with the American Red Cross, during MLK Day and Inauguration.

Everybody has a reason why they volunteer. At Neighbors Helping Neighbors, we would like to salute all the American Red Cross volunteers and all volunteers around the world. And give hope to those who are going through some tough times.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

4,000 Hours Marked On Special Day In Nation's History

"In his 2002 State of the Union address, President George W. Bush issued a challenge to all Americans to make time to help their neighbors, communities, and Nation through service. He called on each person to dedicate at least 4,000 hours – or two years – to service over the course of their lives. He created the USA Freedom Corps to help all Americans answer his call to service and help foster a culture of service, citizenship, and responsibility. "


This week, as we celebrate MLK Day National Call to Service and today with the inauguration of a new president, Neighbors Helping Neighbors would like to also congratulate Andrew Levy.

During this momentous time in our nation's history, he has reached the President's Call To Service of 4,000 hours, while volunteering during MLK Day and Inauguration.

Picture above being congratulated by American Red Cross' Celebrity Cabinet Member Leeza Gibbons (also from Entertainment Tonight and Leeza), in the Regional Disaster Coordination Center.

To get involved in community service and additional information on the President's Call To Service, please visit:

And to volunteer with the American Red Cross, please visit:

Monday, January 19, 2009

CapWin Not New To Inauguration

CapWIN plays a key role in interagency communication during inaugurations.

"IBM’s Capital Wireless Integrated Network (CapWIN) went online in June (2005). Housed at the University of Maryland s Center for Advanced Transportation Technology, it wirelessly transmits instant messaging, secure e-mail and images to as many as 10,000 users on their personal digital assistants or wireless notebook PCs. Meanwhile, Flarion’s 700 MHz broadband wireless trial in Washington DC sends voice, data and video from the field. Public Service WiFi Roaming is not an impossible dream. It’s reality."

Source: http://www.dailywireless.org/2005/01/27/capwin-becomes-self-aware/

To learn more about CapWin, request additional information.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Red Cross Regional Disaster Coordination Center (RDCC) Open House

The following message was released on Facebook. Please consider joining us for this open house to see the American Red Cross of the National Capital Area RDCC in action for inauguration.

"American Red Cross' Celebrity Cabinet Member Leeza Gibbons Visits National Capital Area

American Red Cross of the National Capital Area welcomes American Red Cross’ Celebrity Cabinet member Leeza Gibbons to the Chapter Headquarters’ Regional Disaster Coordination Center (RDCC) on Monday, January 19, 2009 between 1 p.m. - 3 p.m.

Please RSVP by sending an email to moringn@redcrossnca.org (Subject “RSVP”) by 10 a.m. Sunday, January 18, 2009.

For more information, go to our Events page or click on this link:
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=43643917295#/event.php?eid=43643917295"

MSN Public Service Announcement - Renew America Together and Be The Change

It is not too late to volunteer for the National Day of Service!

"Editor's note: In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, MSN is running a public service announcement for usaservice.org. Why is it running in this space, where we normally highlight interesting popular searches? Usaservice.org is all about searching for ways to help others out.

What's below was written by MSN staff.

Martin Luther King Jr. paid the steepest price in his service to his country. And his personal sacrifice in order to improve conditions for the less fortunate continues to inspire. On this MLK holiday weekend, one Web site in particular is asking you to get involved.

Usaservice.org is a nonprofit Web site from some of the people behind Barack Obama's wildly successfully campaign site. It calls for visitors to "renew America together." How? The premise is simple. It connects people to events and vice versa. A public service match-up, if you will.
They're asking people to volunteer during the holiday weekend -- and beyond.

The site makes it a snap to search for and find local volunteer opportunities as well as post a call for others to help with an event you're hosting. As of Jan. 14, more than 8,500 events have been registered on the site.

How can you get involved? It all starts here."

Source: http://specials.msn.com/Renew-America-Together.aspx

Additional information can be found on:

http://www.bethechangeinc.org/changewire/2009/01/08/mlk-day-videos/

Who's Got You Covered During Inauguration?

Company will provide insulating blankets for Inaugural Parade participants.

Additional details can be found at:

http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Keeping-You-Covered-at-the-Inauguration.html

Saturday, January 17, 2009

What to Know If You Go to Lincoln Memorial Concert

"Turnout for "We Are One: Opening Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial" will be comparable to the city's July 4 fireworks show, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty said."

For the complete "411 on the Opening Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial" please visit the following news report:

http://www.nbcwashington.com/around_town/the_scene/What-to-Know-If-You-Go-to-Lincoln-Memorial-Concert.html

5 hours in advance. "Gates open at 9:30 a.m., and the program begins at 2:30 p.m. The concert is free to the public"

Guests and performers include:

Jack Black, Steve Carell, Rosario Dawson, Jamie Foxx, Tom Hanks, Ashley Judd, Martin Luther King III, Queen Latifah, Laura Linney, Kal Penn, Denzel Washington, Forest Whitaker, Tiger Woods, Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Jon Bon Jovi, Garth Brooks, Sheryl Crow, Renee Fleming, Master Sgt. Caleb Green of the U.S. Army, Josh Groban, Herbie Hancock, Heather Headley, Bettye LaVette, John Legend, Jennifer Nettles, John Mellencamp, Pete Seeger, Shakira, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, U2, Usher, will.i.am, Stevie Wonder

One Stop Source For Local Traffic Reports?

Virginia Traffic Information Resources
For up-to-date information on Virginia traffic conditions, motorists are encouraged to:
  • Call 511 on a cell phone or land line
  • Log onto http://www.511virginia.org/
  • Tune to 1620 AM, in the Fredericksburg and Northern Virginia regions, for the Virginia Highway Advisory Radio.

American Red Cross of the National Capital Area Prepares Volunteers Deploying Into the National Mall Area

Readers and Contributors of Neighbors Helping Neighbors deployed by American Red Cross for Presidental Inauguration.

"Fairfax, Va. (Jan. 16, 2009) – American Red Cross of the National Capital Area prepares volunteers from all Red Cross chapters in the region – assigned to work in the National Mall area – to check-in on Mon., Jan. 19 beginning at 7 a.m. and deploying into Washington, DC on buses from the Montgomery and Fairfax County offices by 8 p.m.

A majority of the check-ins will take place at the Montgomery County office, 2020 East West Highway, Silver Spring, Md. Contact Red Cross Public Affairs Lead, Kim Covington (202-437-7348 or covingtonk@redcrossnca.org) for media assistance.

Volunteers will also be checking in at the Fairfax County office, 8550 Arlington Boulevard, Fairfax, Va. Contact Red Cross Public Affairs Lead, Kathy Thompson (240-375-9020 or
thompsonk@redcrossnca.org) for media assistance.

Many Red Cross volunteers have other assignments in locations throughout the region and will be checking in at the above offices throughout the day.

Red Cross Public Affairs Lead, Ryan Kaltenbaugh (703-609-7751 or rdkaltenbaugh@yahoo.com), will be on the scene working with Red Cross volunteers in the National Mall area.

More than 300 trained Red Cross volunteers will be on-hand and placed throughout the Washington, DC area providing assistance to local, state and federal authorities who are planning and coordinating the inaugural events.

Red Cross workers will be at mobile command posts working alongside DC government's command post on the National Mall. Red Cross is deploying over 30 two-person Red Cross Community Outreach "Go Teams" to provide public safety assistance throughout the National Mall area. Go Teams are trained in CPR and First Aid, and will communicate with first responders regarding assistance needed for those who may fall ill, become injured, people
who are negatively impacted by the cold temperature, and assist in locating aid stations. Go Teams will also assist with connecting lost persons by contacting local law enforcement to help locate families.

Red Cross inaugural services throughout the National Capital Region also include: mobile canteens with volunteers serving meals, snacks and drinks to fire and rescue workers, law enforcement and other first responders; volunteers stationed at the RFK Stadium Reception Center ready to provide assistance; a dozen Red Cross Liaison Officers located in Emergency Operations Centers (EOC) throughout the region; and also managing Red Cross Emergency
Response Vehicles (ERV) and three Red Cross Mobile Command Vehicles (MCV) positioned throughout the region.

During the inaugural events, the American Red Cross of the National Capital Area is leading the Red Cross efforts and is partnering with American Red Cross National Headquarters in assisting local, state, federal agencies and other organizations in this large-scale event.

For the Presidential Inauguration activities, the American Red Cross of the National Capital Area is leading and coordinating the involvement of the four other Red Cross chapters in the National Capital Region. The American Red Cross of the National Capital Area serves as the Regional Chapter for the American Red Cross in the National Capital Region, which consists of five Red Cross chapters in Alexandria, Arlington County, Loudoun County, Prince William and the National Capital Area, which includes District of Columbia, Montgomery County, Prince George’s
County and cities of Fairfax and Falls Church.

For more information, contact Public Affairs at the American Red Cross of the National Capital Area’s Regional Disaster Coordination Center (RDCC) Phone: 703-584-8775 Fax: 703-573-8587
Email: eisevents@redcrossnca.org Web: www.redcrossnca.org
# # #

American Red Cross of The National Capital Area Assists With The 2009 56th Presidential Inauguration

The American Red Cross of the National Capital Area has a very unique role in this community and country in that we partner with government agencies, non-profit partners and private organizations in supporting major events such as the inauguration. The DC Government requested the Red Cross' assistance to serve in a public safety capacity for the 2009 56th Presidential Inauguration. The Red Cross does not endorse political parties or candidates, however we maintain our mission in helping people regardless of their political, religious or cultural background. American Red Cross has a long-standing history partnering with public safety officials during large-scale events, and has been supporting presidential inaugurations since 1909.

For the Presidential Inauguration activities, the American Red Cross of the National Capital Area is leading and coordinating the involvement of the four other Red Cross chapters in the National Capital Region.

The American Red Cross of the National Capital Area serves as the Regional Chapter for the American Red Cross in the National Capital Region, which consists of five Red Cross chapters in Alexandria, Arlington County, Loudoun County, Prince William and the National Capital Area, which includes District of Columbia, Montgomery County, Prince George's County and cities of Fairfax and Falls Church.

Visit our website for the latest news, visitor resources and learn more about how the American Red Cross in the National Capital Region is assisting with the 2009 56th Presidential Inauguration: http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http://www.redcrossnca.org%2FEvents%2FInauguration.php

Friday, January 16, 2009

Are you Web 2.0 Ready? Ready.gov is!

You may have noticed a new "Homeland Security - I Am Ready" widget on the left frame of this blog. Besides the ability to add this to a blog, there are many of Web 2.0 technologies

"Ready Launches Social Media Tools to Encourage Preparedness
Fri, 16 Jan 2009 06:00:00 -0600

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Ready Campaign, in partnership with The Advertising Council, introduced a series of new social media tools on January 16, 2009 to further engage Americans in taking steps to prepare for emergencies."


The complete press release can be found at:

http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1232126867101.shtm

We have noticed that a portion of the widget is cut off, and we have contacted Ready.gov to make them aware and to provide assistance in correcting this.

Northern Virginia - State of local emergency effective Jan. 17-21, 2009

The following local state of emergency starts tomorrow:

"Northern Virginia Regional Commission
NEWS RELEASE
January 15, 2009, 5:10 p.m.
In Preparation for Inauguration

Northern Virginia Local Governments Issue Pre-Emptive Emergency Declarations

Consistent with the actions of Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine regarding preparations for th e presidential inauguration, the Northern Virginia local governments agreed today that each will declare a state of local emergency effective Jan. 17-21, 2009. The declarations will allow these governments to more easily get the resources needed to respond and recover from any potential emergencies related to the 56th presidential inauguration.

This action will allow the jurisdictions to be eligible for reimbursement for expenses of the presidential inauguration, which will bring an extraordinary number of people through Northern Virginia.

These unique circumstances, which have already resulted in an unprecedented requirement for inter-agency and inter-governmental coordination, warrant coordinated local government action to prevent or alleviate the threat of injury and harm to the public and damage or loss of property. Northern Virginia local governments have a long history of working cooperatively to prepare for disasters collaboratively across jurisdictional boundaries, bringing together elected officials, chief administrative officers, emergency management, law enforcement, fire and public health personnel.

Northern Virginia encompasses the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax City, Falls Church, Manassas and Manassas Park and the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Stafford.

For more information, contact Merni Fitzgerald, Director of Public Affairs, Fairfax County, at 703-324-3189."

Source: http://alexandriava.gov/news_display.aspx?id=19008

Is the A in Arlington for Amazing? Help Where You Need It

Arlington, Virginia Government has an extensive website with resources to help you through challenges related to inauguration.

"Arlington is proud to be a part of this historic moment for our nation – and is focused on ensuring as many people as possible can get to Inaugural events safely."

The website can be found at:

http://www.arlingtonva.us/Portals/Topics/AboutArlington/page67655.aspx

Thank you to Volunteer Arlington for providing this information.

Some of the resources on the website include:

NEW! Print-and-go guides on how to get from your neighborhood to Inaugural events

And may more resources.

If you are living, staying, working, or in/around the Arlington area, it is essential you become aware of these valuable recourses.

211 Get Connected. Get Answers.


Are you in town for inauguration but need information about the city? Include 211 VIRGINIA as part of your plan.

"2-1-1 is an easy to remember phone number connecting people with free information on available community services. When you dial 2-1-1, a trained professional listens to your situation and suggests sources of help using one of the largest databases of health and human services in Virginia.


2-1-1 VIRGINIA is a service of the Virginia Department of Social Services provided in partnership with the Council of Community Services, the Family Resource and Referral Center, CrisisLink, The Planning Council, the United Way of Central Virginia, and the United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg."


However, we discovered that some phones in Northern Virginia are getting messages to check the number "211" and please dial again.


After contacting 2-1-1 VIRGINIA through email, they provided the follow-up backup numbers that will work throughout the region. They are working to correct the problem.



Program Type 211 Centers, Information & Referral
Intake (703)752-5254
Toll Free (800)230-6977
Fax (703)516-6767
Web site http://www.crisislink.org/

Not Sure How Cold It Really Is?

If you are not sure how cold it really is and how often we get these temperatures and wind chills in the Washington DC area, checkout this news story.

Coldest Day in 5 Years!

http://www.nbcwashington.com/weather/stories/Brrrr--Coldest-Day-in-5-Years.html

"High temperatures will only be near 20 degrees, and some areas will be near 0 Saturday morning. "

Inauguration comes every 4 years, these temperatures are even less often!

How About A FREE Hot Coffee To Keep You Warm?

"What if you gave 5 hours to help your community?

What if we all did?

Your small commitment could add up to something BIG.

From January 21, 2009 through January 25, 2009, when you pledge 5 hours of volunteer time, Starbucks will salute you with a free Tall brewed cup of coffee in participating U.S. Starbucks stores.

Not valid at airports or Barnes & Noble locations.

YOU IN?

Visit http://pledge5.starbucks.com to learn more.

Not sure what to do with your 5 hours?

You could:
- support a local food bank
- provide skills to a nonprofit
- clean up your community
- walk or run for a cause
- mentor a child or teen
- help a local family in need" (Source: Facebook Event).

Death Of A President Caused By Inauguration Cold - A Look Back on Lessons Learned

As we look at the windchill factor in the Washington DC area this morning, it currently below zero.

We cannot stress enough, the impact weather can have on people. Even if you are dressed in layers, remember there are parts of your face that may be exposed for long periods of time.

Weather.com has compiled

25 things you didn't know about the Presidential Inauguration

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Inauguration Weather Notification

For those who are starting to arrive in town for inauguration,

"A wind chill advisory remains in effect from 4 am to 12 pm est Friday. The coldest air of the season will move into the region tonight and Friday. Bitterly cold temperatures combined with northwest Winds of 10 to 20 mph with periodic gusts to 25 mph will produce Wind Chill values around 5 below zero late tonight and Friday Morning."

A Facebook Chance To Win Tickets to Official Youth Inaugural Ball

"Are you between the ages of 18 and 35 and a facebook user?

Would you like to go the Official Youth Inaugural Ball in Washington DC on Tuesday, January 20th, at the Washington & Towers, 1919 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington D.C.?

We thought so and we want to give one of you two tickets!

Here's how you can win: The person who is responsible for the most Declaration of Service signatures on facebook between right now and 5:00 pm on Sunday, January 18th, gets the tix! We can't offer travel or lodging, but these tickets are the hottest tickets in town!

All you have to do is sign our Declaration of Service facebook application and put it on your profile page, and invite your friends to sign. If you've already signed, you just need to add it to your profile and get your friends to sign it too. The application will keep track of how many people sign because of you, and whoever gets the most people to sign gets to go to the Ball.

Here's how:IF YOU HAVE NOT ALREADY SIGNED THE DECLARATION OF SERVICE...Go sign at http://cts.vresp.com/c/?BetheChangeInc./8d615fd2ed/5af77566e2/3c4f8568d3 location near the top right hand corner.Then, follow the steps below to publicize the Declaration on your facebook profile to begin getting your friends to sign because of you:

1) Add Declaration of Service application to your profile.
2) The application will post an update to your newsfeed that you have signed the application. You can post this to your newsfeed repeatedly from the Declaration of Service application (we recommend you do this regularly)
3) From the invitations page (http://cts.vresp.com/c/?BetheChangeInc./8d615fd2ed/5af77566e2/5ede45d12c), you can send the Declaration of Service to your friends to sign (do this everyday)
4) Update your status frequently and tell your friends to sign from YOUR profile, and post on friends walls asking them to sign from YOUR profile.
5) Other creative ways we expect you will figure out!To invite more friends and to post that you've signed to your newsfeed again, simply click on the Declaration of Service app on your profile or go to http://apps.facebook.com/servicenation_pledge/invite.

IF YOU HAVE ALREADY SIGNED THE DECLARATION OF SERVICE BUT HAVEN'T ADDED IT TO YOUR PROFILE YET...

Go to http://cts.vresp.com/c/?BetheChangeInc./8d615fd2ed/5af77566e2/cbeb91d887 and go through the five steps above.

AND IF YOU HAVE ALREADY SIGNED AND ALREADY ADDED THE APP TO YOUR FACEBOOK PROFILE, CONGRATULATIONS, THANKS TO YOUR IDEALISM YOU HAVE A HEAD START!

Here is where this gets cool. The application is viral, so the way to really drive up your numbers is to get your friends to sign on the Declaration application that you added to your profile AND add the application to their page too. Anyone who subsequently signs the Declaration on their profile page will be credited back to you (as well as being credited to you friend). And if their friends also add the Declaration to their profile pages, signatures on those pages WILL ALSO be credited back to you. The bottom line: the more friends you get to sign on your page and add the Declaration to their pages, the more signatures you will accrue.

TO CHECK YOUR NUMBERS AND SEE HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE SIGNED "BECAUSE OF YOU" ...Go to your profile, and click on the Declaration of Service application (on the left beneath your friends). The number of signatures you have accrued will be displayed (Note: if you then click SIGN NOW it will take you to http://cts.vresp.com/c/?BetheChangeInc./8d615fd2ed/5af77566e2/8f9b291ead and you can sedn out another round of invites!).Good luck, and may the best facebooker win!

For full contest rule see: http://cts.vresp.com/c/?BetheChangeInc./8d615fd2ed/5af77566e2/6f649de2b6If you have any questions you can post them to the WIN TICKETS TO OBAMA'S OFFICIAL YOUTH BALL discussion.

Yours In Service,
The ServiceNation Team"

Your Voice On The President's Desk At Night

Have you heard about the Citizen's Briefing Book?

"Share your ideas on any issue facing the new administration, then rate or comment on other ideas. The best rated ideas will rise to the top -- and be gathered into a Citizen's Briefing Book to be delivered to President Obama after he is sworn in. "

http://citizensbriefingbook.change.gov/

Our Concerns For Those With Special Needs

In the past two weeks, Neighbors Helping Neighbors raised concern on this website and multiple discussion groups in the Capital Region, about the limited information and resources available for those with special needs.

NBC Washington now reports, "Organizers warn people with disabilities to have backup plans".

The complete story can be found at:

http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Inauguration-Will-be-Accessible-Daunting-for-the-Disabled.html

For those that missed the news conference with the Governors of MD and VA and Mayor of DC, the one thing that was made clear is EVERYONE needs a plan. As mentioned during the press conference, this will not be a day a usual of packing up your family in the van to go to the Air and Space museum.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What I Want for You - and Every Child in America

"Dear Malia and Sasha,

I know that you've both had a lot of fun these last two years on the campaign trail, going to picnics and parades and state fairs, eating all sorts of junk food your mother and I probably shouldn't have let you have. But I also know that it hasn't always been easy for you and Mom, and that as excited as you both are about that new puppy, it doesn't make up for all the time we've been apart. I know how much I've missed these past two years, and today I want to tell you a little more about why I decided to take our family on this journey.

When I was a young man, I thought life was all about me—about how I'd make my way in the world, become successful, and get the things I want. But then the two of you came into my world with all your curiosity and mischief and those smiles that never fail to fill my heart and light up my day. And suddenly, all my big plans for myself didn't seem so important anymore. I soon found that the greatest joy in my life was the joy I saw in yours. And I realized that my own life wouldn't count for much unless I was able to ensure that you had every opportunity for happiness and fulfillment in yours. In the end, girls, that's why I ran for President: because of what I want for you and for every child in this nation.

I want all our children to go to schools worthy of their potential—schools that challenge them, inspire them, and instill in them a sense of wonder about the world around them. I want them to have the chance to go to college—even if their parents aren't rich. And I want them to get good jobs: jobs that pay well and give them benefits like health care, jobs that let them spend time with their own kids and retire with dignity.

I want us to push the boundaries of discovery so that you'll live to see new technologies and inventions that improve our lives and make our planet cleaner and safer. And I want us to push our own human boundaries to reach beyond the divides of race and region, gender and religion that keep us from seeing the best in each other.

Sometimes we have to send our young men and women into war and other dangerous situations to protect our country—but when we do, I want to make sure that it is only for a very good reason, that we try our best to settle our differences with others peacefully, and that we do everything possible to keep our servicemen and women safe. And I want every child to understand that the blessings these brave Americans fight for are not free—that with the great privilege of being a citizen of this nation comes great responsibility.

That was the lesson your grandmother tried to teach me when I was your age, reading me the opening lines of the Declaration of Independence and telling me about the men and women who marched for equality because they believed those words put to paper two centuries ago should mean something.

She helped me understand that America is great not because it is perfect but because it can always be made better—and that the unfinished work of perfecting our union falls to each of us. It's a charge we pass on to our children, coming closer with each new generation to what we know America should be.

I hope both of you will take up that work, righting the wrongs that you see and working to give others the chances you've had. Not just because you have an obligation to give something back to this country that has given our family so much—although you do have that obligation. But because you have an obligation to yourself. Because it is only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you will realize your true potential.

These are the things I want for you—to grow up in a world with no limits on your dreams and no achievements beyond your reach, and to grow into compassionate, committed women who will help build that world. And I want every child to have the same chances to learn and dream and grow and thrive that you girls have. That's why I've taken our family on this great adventure.

I am so proud of both of you. I love you more than you can ever know. And I am grateful every day for your patience, poise, grace, and humor as we prepare to start our new life together in the White House.

Love,
Dad"

Source: http://www.parade.com/news/2009/01/barack-obama-letter-to-my-daughters.html