Category: Family Preparedness Friday


Tips about Returning to Campus Safety

Written by Michelle Bufkin, AU Agriculture Communications Student/EDEN Community of Practice Social Media Assistant.

Safety is an integral part of the world we live in, and that is no different for students on a college campus. These tips should help parents and college students feel safer and more secure about starting college for the first time or returning to their campus home.

1. Know the look and location of campus emergency telephones.                         

Almost all college campuses have emergency telephones located throughout the campus. You should know the general location and look of these phones before anything happens. In the event that someone is following you, press all the emergency phone buttons you pass along the way so that the campus police can track you and find you quickly.

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2. Locate safe zones.                                                                

Locate where to go during a natural disaster in the buildings you will be spending the majority of your time, such as: where your classes are and the student center or cafeteria. Most campuses have posters or decals on the walls of places that are safe during a tornado or other natural disaster. Knowing this before a warning or watch is issued will help you calmly get to the safe location.

3. Pack an emergency kit.

This kit can be a small one that you can carry in your backpack: It actually is better if it is small, because that makes it easier to carry. Make sure you comply with your campus rules when preparing this kit, such as some campuses do not allow knives. Some good items to include in your kit are: a phone charger, a whistle to help emergency officials locate you, granola bars, bottle of water, a miniature flashlight, a campus and local map, a paper list of emergency numbers: relatives, roommates, Resident Assistant, and apartment managers.

4. Utilize the age old “Buddy System”

You may think you are too old or too cool for the buddy system, but the truth is it really could help keep you safe; plus it is fun to hang out with friends. If there are two or more downloadpeople together walking around campus, they are more likely to stay safe; because they are more alert to each other and the surroundings, and the likelihood of an aggressor confronting two people is lower than one person. Use this rule especially when walking around campus late at night or attending parties. If your school offers a free ride service, use that anytime you need to travel around campus at night.

5. Know how to react during an emergency.

Auburn University Department of Public Safety released a video demonstrating what to do if there is an active shooter on campus, it is beneficial for every college student to watch. The acronym used in the video is ALICE: Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate. The letters do not have to be used in this order, the situation determines what should be done. Alert refers to how you learn about the danger. Lockdown refers to locking and barricading the door between you and the aggressor. Inform refers to telling the authorities where you are and where the aggressor is. Counter should be used if the aggressor makes it into your safe area. Do not just hide. Distract and disrupt the aggressor by throwing whatever is at your disposal: book bags, books, desks, or whatever is within reach. The police suggest that Evacuate is the best option; remove yourself and anyone else from harms way if at all possible.


Prepared by Michelle Bufkin, AU Agriculture Communications Student/EDEN Community of Practice Social Media Assistant. 

Opening page graphic for Disaster Masters online gameDisaster Master is an 8-level game that tests children’s knowledge about how to react before, during, and after a disaster. The player must answer questions correctly to accumulate enough points to unlock the next level, which include: wildfire, tornado, hurricane/blackout, home fire, winter storm, tsunami/earthquake, thunderstorm/lightning, and the hot seat. Each level tells a story and asks multiple choice questions about what the characters should do to survive the disaster. If the question is answered correctly the player continues to the next level, but if it is answered incorrectly the game could be ended. A graphic novel is also available to print after every level. This game is an easy, entertaining, and engaging way to help teach your children about what to do to prepare for an emergency. A Spanish version is also available.

Opening screen shot of the Build a Kit online gameBuild a Kit  places you in multiple scenarios and tells you to pick items to place in your emergency kit. Once you submit your items it tells you what you have included and what you forgotten. You can print your list at the end of the game. This game, available in English and Spanish, is a quick and easy way for children to begin learning what goes into an emergency kit so they can help prepare for a disaster.

Disaster Hero is a multilevel video game that tests children’s (grades 1 through 8) knowledge about natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods. Disaster Hero allows the player to choose an experience level, and then launches into an age appropriate narration. Each level contains games pertaining to what to do before, during and after each disaster, including: make a kit, get to a safe room, stay informed, clean up, and first aid. In each game questions pertaining to the disaster at hand are asked, and points are given for correct answers. Each disaster has a bonus round where the knowledge about that disaster is tested once again. This game is an interesting and entertaining way to help your children solidify what they should do before, during, and after a natural disaster.

 

 


Written by Michelle Bufkin, AU Agriculture Communications Student/EDEN Community of Practice Social Media Assistant.

1. Add an emergency supply kit to your child’s book bag or locker.
Back-to-School-Internet-Safety
You know you need an emergency supply kit at home. Do you know that  having a kit for your child at school is also important? The kit may come in handy if the school goes on lockdown or if there is another disaster or emergency. Make sure everything in the kit is allowed. Most schools do not allow knives on campus or medicine outside the nurse’s office.
Include emergency contact information cards in your child’s kit, book bag, or another accessible location. Even though your child may be old enough to memorize emergency contact numbers, he or she might forget the number during an emergency, or might be in a situation where someone else needs to call.

2. Use a map to mark your child’s school route, designating safe zones where he or she can get help during an emergency.
If your child is walking or riding a bike to school show him or her the way a few times. The child should be comfortable taking the route. Remind him or her that shortcuts are not permitted. Point out places along the way that offer shelter if there is ever bad weather, or some other threat. These places could be other schools, community centers, libraries, or friends’ houses. Having these safe zones will make you and your child feel more secure on the journey to and from school.

3. Review the school’s safety plan with your child.
Most schools are now required to post tornado and fire evacuation routes in every classroom. In addition, each school will have an emergency operations plan. You can ask the school principal for a copy. Also ask what plans they have in place to protect against intruders.

4. Teach your child how to react in an emergency.
Teachers cannot always protect children when things go wrong. Talk to your child about these events without using fear tactics, and explain what he or she should do in similar situations. For example, your child should know what to do if a person shoots a gun on the school grounds or in the building. Students of varying ages will benefit from the Auburn University Department of Public Safety video demonstrating what to do if there is an active shooter nearby. Teach your child about ALICE; it may keep him or her safe.

ALICE is an acronym for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate. The letters do not have to be used in this order, the situation determines what should be done. Alert refers to how you learn about the danger. Lockdown refers to locking and barricading the door between you and the aggressor. Inform refers to telling the authorities where you are and where the aggressor is. Counter should be used if the aggressor makes it into your safe area. Do not just hide. Distract and disrupt the aggressor by throwing whatever is at your disposal: bookbags, books, desks, or whatever is within reach. The police suggest that Evacuate is the best option; remove yourself and anyone else from harms way if at all possible.

For more resources about helping children before and after disasters visit this website.


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Plan to Stay in Business

As a business owner or manager, you are a leader in your community and have the opportunity to set an example for your employees, customers, and community to follow. This September for National Preparedness Month, join your community in preparing for emergencies and disasters of all types, and leading efforts to encourage the community as a whole to become more prepared.Plan to Stay in Business in the case of a #disaster! #familypreparednessfriday #EDENotes publish.extension.org/edenotes

Disasters not only devastate individuals and neighborhoods, but entire communities, including businesses of all sizes. As an employer in your community, having a business continuity plan can help protect your company, its employees, and its infrastructure, and maximizes your chances of recovery after an emergency or disaster.

Ready Business asks companies to take three simple steps: plan to stay in business; encourage your people to become Ready and protect your investment.

This year, the Ready Campaign and Citizen Corps, with support from members of the National Preparedness Community across the nation, including a wide range of businesses and organizations, is focusing on encouraging individuals, families, and businesses to take active steps toward becoming Ready. We must work together as a team to ensure that our families, businesses, places of worship, and neighborhoods Ready.

Ready Business, an extension of the Ready Campaign, helps business owners and managers of small and medium-sized businesses prepare their employees, operations and assets in the event of an emergency. At Ready.gov/business, companies can find vital information on how to get started preparing their organization and addressing their unique needs during an emergency.

For more information, check out:


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Emergencies Affect All of Us, Including Our Pets

If you are like millions of animal owners nationwide, your pet is an important member of your household. When planning your family for disaster, don’t overlook the needs of your cherished family pets. The likelihood that you and your animals will survive an emergency such as a fire or flood, tornado or any of the all hazards depends largely on emergency planning done today.

September is National Preparedness Month (NPM); while you make a plan to prepare your families also consider your family pet. Some of the things you can do to prepare for the un

If you evacuate your home, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR #PETS BEHIND! Read this short #blog post about what to do with your animals in case of a #disaster. #familypreparednessfriday #dogs #cats

expected, such as assembling an animal emergency supply kit and developing a pet care buddy system, are the same for any emergency. Whether you decide to stay put in an emergency or evacuate to a safer location, you will need to make plans in advance for your pets. Keep in mind that what’s best for you is typically what’s best for your animals

If you evacuate your home, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND! Pets most likely cannot survive alone and if by some remote chance they do, you may not be able to find them when you return.

If you are going to a public shelter, it is important to understand that animals may not be allowed inside. Plan in advance for shelter alternatives that will work for both you and your pets; consider loved ones or friends outside of your immediate area who would be willing to host you and your pets in an emergency. Make a back-up emergency plan in case you can’t care for your animals yourself. Develop a buddy system with neighbors, friends, and relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for your pets, if you are unable to do so.

For more information, check out:


This September You Can Be The Hero

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September is National Preparedness Month (NPM). It is a time to prepare yourself and those in your care for emergencies and disasters. If you’ve seen the news recently, you know that emergencies can happen unexpectedly in communities just like yours, to people like you. We’ve seen tornado outbreaks, river floods and flash floods, historic earthquakes, tsunamis, and even water main breaks and power outages in U.S. cities affecting millions of people for days at a time.

Police, fire and rescue may not always be able to reach you quickly in an emergency or disaster. The most important step you can take in helping your local responders is being able to take care of yourself and those in your care; the more people who are prepared, the quicker the community will recover.

This September, please prepare and plan in the event you must go for three days without electricity, water service, access to a supermarket, or local services for several days. Just follow these four steps:

  • Stay Informed: Information is available from federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial resources. Access Ready.gov to learn what to do before, during, and after an emergency.
  • Make a Plan: Discuss, agree on, and document an emergency plan with those in your care. For sample plans, see Ready.gov. Work together with neighbors, colleagues, and others to build community resilience.
  • Build a Kit: Keep enough emergency supplies – water, nonperishable food, first aid, prescriptions, flashlight, and battery-powered radio on hand – for you and those in your care.
  • Get Involved: There are many ways to get involved especially before a disaster occurs. The whole community can participate in programs and activities to make their families, homes and places of worship safer from risks and threats. Community leaders agree that the formula for ensuring a safer homeland consists of volunteers, a trained and informed public, and increased support of emergency response agencies during disasters.

By taking a few simple actions, you can make your family safer. Consider planning a Ready Kids event in your community to encourage families to get prepared with their children.September is National Preparedness Month (NPM). It is a time to prepare yourself and those in your care for emergencies and disasters.  #familypreparednessfriday #edenotes

  • Volunteer to present preparedness information in your child’s class or in PTO/PTA meetings.
  • Invite officials from your local Office of Emergency Management, Citizen Corps Council, or first responder teams to speak at schools or youth events.

Use local emergency management resources to learn more about preparedness in your community.

  • Contact your local emergency management agency to get essential information on specific hazards to your area, local plans for shelter and evacuation, ways to get information before and during an emergency, and how to sign up for emergency alerts if they are available
  • Contact your local firehouse and ask for a tour and information about preparedness
  • Get involved with your local American Red Cross Chapter or train with a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

For more information, check out:


Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho, It’s Off to School We Go

#Safety #checklist for when your kids get ready to go #backtoschool. #familypreparednessfriday #edenotes In my neck of the woods, kids headed back to school this week. And I’m guessing if yours haven’t started yet, they soon will be.

While I know for many parents back-to-school planning means meeting the teacher, buying cases of #2 pencils and notebook paper, and learning the new bus driver’s name, but have you considered starting the new year off buy learning your child’s school emergency plan or brushing up on your family emergency plan?

Remember, while no one likes to think of a disaster occurring, we like even less to think about a disaster occurring when we aren’t with our family.

Back to School Disaster Preparedness Checklist

Take the time now to:

  • Learn what your child’s school or day care emergency plan is.
  • Find out where children will be taken in the event of an evacuation during school hours.
  • Update your emergency contact information is at your child’s school or day care.
  • Pre-authorize a friend or relative to pick up your children in an emergency and make sure the school knows who that designated person is.
  • Have a family communications plan.
  • Review your family communication plan with your child; the plan should include contact information for an out-of-area family member or friend, since local telephone networks may not work during a major disaster.

What have you done to prepare your child for going back to school?


Knowing is Half the Battle

As a product of the 80’s I grew up not only playing with G.I Joe action figures, I mean really they made such better boyfriends for Barbie than Ken ever did, but also watching the G.I. Joe cartoons. Do you remember how each episode ended?

GI JOE

Every episode ended with a PSA that always finished with the line  “Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.”

It’s kind of funny how the one line, that didn’t really have anything to do with the show, has stuck with me for years.

Knowing is half the battle, transcends into the work that I do now with EDEN; educating people about potential disasters and what can be done to prepare for such disasters. So today, I feel like me G.I. Joe Mission is to tell you that EDEN has new resources to help inform you of some newly emerging and potentially disastrous topics, H7N9 and Novel Coronavirus.

While as of right now the Novel Coronavirus has not been found in the United States, but being informed early is one of the best steps to being prepared. As for the H7N9 bird flu, the US Government has declared that H7N9 ”

  • poses a significant potential for a public health emergency”. So do yourself and your family a favor get informed; because knowing is half the battle.

Keeping in Touch with Technology

Events across the country the past few weeks have really brought disaster preparedness to the forefront of our minds. Whether you think of the tragic events in Boston or West, Texas or of the flooding across much of the Midwest; including historical levels in the Chicago-land area, our country has been hit hard the past two weeks.

As many of you know, I am based in Indiana. But when the Boston bombings happened, it hit close to home. I have several friends from college that live and work in the area where the blasts occurred. Like many others, there was a sense of urgency to find out if loved ones were safe.

It didn’t take me long to see  how effective technology can be. As I looked at my Facebook feed here were the messages I started to see:

Friends in Boston

The sense of relief was astounding.

Many friends and families were able to connect in the same way, via Social Media. Others used text messaging or American Red Cross’s Safe and Well website.

According to Ready.gov, text messages are the best and way to communicate following a disaster since less bandwidth is required that a phone call, email, or social media update. How would you get in contact with your family? Have you talked about different options with your loved ones?

For more information read this article by Mariah Smith, of the Mississippi State University Center for Technology Outreach, Technology Can Speed Emergency Responses.