Archive for the tag 'emergency preparedness'

Source: Mephell/Deviantart.com

According to a report by YouGov.com, a research and consulting organization, 64 percent of Americans are woefully unprepared for a major natural disaster, even after the events of Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Katrina, and a series of other major natural disasters smacking us around in recent years.

The report finds that people making disaster-readiness plans has slightly increased from 31 percent to 36 percent since 2011, showing that the majority of Americans have failed to adequately prepare themselves in the event of another major disaster. This is the breakdown of YouGov’s numbers,

Of the 36 percent who said they were equipped for natural disasters, their preparations included the following:

  • Emergency supplies (for example, flashlights or first-aid kits): 89 percent
  • Food stocks: 74 percent
  • Creating an evacuation or an emergency plan: 50 percent
  • Disaster insurance: 22 percent

Of the 89 percent who had emergency supplies, their supplies included the following:

  • Flashlights:  97 percent
  • Water:  92 percent
  • First-aid kits or medicine:  92 percent
  • Sleeping bags or blankets:  83 percent
  • Face masks: 18 percent
  • Iodine pills:  15 percent

While general preparedness is low, concern and fear over another natural disaster has increased, especially across the Northeast, where 31 percent report that they are “very concerned” following Hurricane Sand, doubled from the previous year’s report of 17 percent concern in polling done after Tropical Storm Irene, the highest percentage in the country.

A lot of people have prognosticated in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy that this was finally the storm that got everyone’s attention, and that in the future, people will be more prepared for the advent of another natural catastrophe. I’m not so sure. While Sandy’s devastation was massive and destabilizing, only time will tell how New Yorkers will prepare and respond, both personally, and politically, should another superstorm come to wreck our city.

Skipper, The Professor, Gilligan, and Thurson Howell III. Source: Fanpop

I always thought that, if the S.S. Minnow’s shipwrecked crew had a ham radio during their three hour tour, instead of a dinky transistor, maybe Maynard G. Krebs and his pals would have eventually gotten off of that headhunter- and witch doctor-infested tropical isle in the middle of nowhere.

An impressive collection of antique ham radios. Source: Marcin Wichary / Flickr. Click to enlarge

My naïveté aside, it will be a radio frequency geek’s paradise when ham radio enthusiasts gather en masse at Floyd Bennett Field  this weekend for Field Day, the culmination of Amateur Radio Week, featuring public demonstrations of emergency communications devices, sponsored by the national association for Amateur Radio (ARRL). The Kings County Radio Club will be demonstrating from 12:00 p.m., June 23, to 4:00 p.m., June 24 in Floyd Bennett’s Building 272. Last year, more than 35,000 hams (that’s really what they call themselves) participated in Field Day.

Priding themselves on resourcefulness and techy know-how, ham operators construct emergency stations in parks, shopping malls, schools, and backyards around the country… using only emergency power supplies.

From their press release:

Despite the internet, cell phones, email, and modern communications, every year entire regions find themselves cut off from the rest of the world. Tornadoes, fires, storms, emergencies, and other disasters can leave people without the means to communicate. In these cases, the one service that has never failed has been Amateur Radio. These radio operators, often called “hams” provide backup communications for everything from the American Red Cross to FEMA. This weekend, the Kings County Radio Club will be joining thousands of other Amateur Radio operators showing their emergency capabilities.

According to Allen Pitts of the ARRL, “The fastest way to turn a crisis into a total disaster is to lose communication. From the earthquake in Japan to tornadoes in Missouri, ham radio provide[s] the most reliable communication networks in the first critical hours of the events. Ham radios work when there is nothing else available.”

The public is invited to attend to see ham’s new capabilities as well as to learn how to get their own FCC license before the next disaster strikes (which, hopefully it won’t, but it’s always best to be prepared).

According to the Kings County Radio Club, there are now more than 700,000 Amateur Radio licensees in the United States and more than 2.5 million worldwide. To learn more about Amateur Radio, go to www.emergency-radio.org.

The following announcement from the Office of City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn was forwarded to us by our friend, Ed Jaworski, president of the Marine-Madison-Homecrest Civic Association. If memories of abandoned cars, a blizzard-crippled transit system, stranded ambulances, unplowed thoroughfares, and six-foot-high snowbanks make your blood run cold, that should be impetus enough to attend tomorrow’s hearing. Pertinent details, such as date, time, location and contact information, have been bolded:

Dear New Yorker,

Next Wednesday, November 30th, the City Council’s Committees on Public Safety and Sanitation and Solid Waste Management will be holding a joint oversight hearing on the borough-based snow plans and citywide winter emergency protocols issued by the NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY) and the Office of Emergency Management (OEM), respectively.

Copies of the DSNY borough-based snow plans are available at http://www.nyc.gov/html/dsny/html/snow_plans_mapping/snowplans.shtml, and the OEM Snow Preparedness and Response Report is available at http://www.nyc.gov/html/oem/downloads/pdf/2011snowreport.pdf.

We know snow removal and other snow-related issues are on many people’s mind, especially as we edge closer to winter, and anyone who wishes to is more than welcome to attend this hearing.

The hearing is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. in the 14th Floor Committee Room at 250 Broadway in Lower Manhattan.

If you would like to testify, please be sure to register with the sergeant-of-arms on the 14th Floor. Due to increased building security procedures, please bring identification and allot some extra time for entry through the building lobby.

You can also email your written remarks to us at speakerquinn@council.nyc.gov, and we’ll be sure to forward them to the committee’s staff.

If you have any questions about Wednesday’s hearing, please feel free to contact Jarret Hova in the Council’s Infrastructure Division. He can be reached by phone at (212) 788-9104 or email at jhova@council.nyc.gov.

Thanks and have a wonderful weekend.

Sincerely,

Christine C. Quinn

Speaker

NYC Council

 

Peter F. Vallone, Jr.

Chair

Public Safety Committee

NYC Council

 

Letitia James

Chair

Sanitation and Solid Waste Management Committee

NYC Council

After putting forward 16 bills in March to improve the city’s snow response in the wake of the December 26 Blizzard Boondoggle, Mayor Michael Bloomberg threatened to toss out the whole package. Now the two sides have reached a compromise, and yesterday the City Council passed just six bills into law.

The problem is, the six bills are toothless folly guaranteed to further erode residents’ confidence that the city can meet our most basic of winter needs.

See the bills the City Council threw out, and understand how we got screwed.