Ocean Grove Emergency Preparedness

12/25/2013

TEACHING ELEMENT 1A

Emergency Management News

On 09/29/2013, the National Weather Service (NWS) issued an alert that the Olympic Peninsula was going to experience a strong windstorm with gusts up to 75 mph.  Shortly thereafter, Ted Buehner, NWS Coordinating Meteorologist for the Seattle Office, called each emergency manager on the peninsula to advise them of the possibility of “explosive winds” in the storm.  Wind storms of this magnitude that come down the strait can come ashore directly at Ocean Grove.

The Jefferson County EOC will be activated whenever forecasts indicate winds at or above 75mph.  If you have a text enabled device, you can get alerts from the EOC by signing up for NIXLE, a free warning system, at http://www.jeffcoeoc.org/nixle.htm.

Emergency Preparation – EP1a – Action Plan

There are two kinds of action plans that we will address. In “Preparation in a Year”, the action plans are tactical quick things to do given various types of events.  That is what is covered in EP1a.  The next training element, EP1b, will address a more formal family preparedness plan. The latter is more comprehensive and will require some adaptation to fit local needs.

Forms and Tools –FT1a – Links and References

FT1a provides links to sites that provide current information about potential and current disaster events.  There are also links to sites to assist in emergency preparation before and recovery after a local disaster.

Hazard Identification – HZ1a – Damaging Winds

The first natural hazard that Ocean Grove encountered since we started putting together the Teaching Elements is Damaging Winds. HZ1a in the Hazard Table details some of the damaging winds on the peninsula and when they affect Ocean Grove.

 Reality Check – RC1a – Understanding Alert Meanings

Words like “watch”, “warning” and “advisory” have specific meanings within the emergency response community.  This explains those meanings so you can judge how dangerous an event is for you personally.

 

09/12/2013 

Proposed Training / Education Schedule 

This is the second posting from the Ocean Grove Emergency Preparedness (OGEP) Committee.  The first, on July 8th, was an introduction to the team and its mission.  In this posting, we are laying out a proposed training / education plan for the next 18 months.

The core of the training will be based on training elements derived from the “Prepare in a Year” program put out by Washington State Emergency Management.  We will provide the basic information from the state emergency management web site, but will supplement it with ideas and information tailored to East Jefferson County in general and Ocean Grove in particular.  Training elements will be numbered 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b … to coordinate with the lesson order in the “Prepare in a Year” program, with the “a” training element being directly from the program and the “b” training element being related supplementary content.  Typically, the “a” and “b” training elements will be separated by a few weeks.

Since this is a volunteer effort and we have not yet ironed out the timeline for drafting, reviews, etc., we did not assign hard dates to each training element.  Ideally the “a” training element will be about once a month and the related “b” element a few weeks later.  There may be interruptions due to holidays, vacations, etc.  Members of the community will receive either email notification or a letter when a new training element is posted.

Each training element will consist of four sections: Emergency Management News, Preparation, Hazards and “Reality Check”:

 

Emergency Management News

This section will contain announcements of emergency management related events in Ocean Grove or the community at large.  For example, on August 18th there is an all-county picnic at HJ Carroll Park for people to meet and revitalize their Neighborhood Emergency Groups.  This has been mentioned multiple times in the media already.  We will also try to schedule live training events, such as “How to sign up for NIXLE.”

We will also use this category to plug you into what is happening in the professional emergency management / 1st responder community that might either impact you or be of interest.  As an example, there are currently two part-time job openings in the Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management.  You can access the job descriptions at http://www.jeffcoeoc.org   The position offerings close on August 31st.

Emergency Preparation

There are four phases in emergency management: mitigation, preparation, response, and recovery.  This section will contain the training elements for mitigation and preparation.  We are not yet authorized or organized for response.  How easy recovery is will depend on how well each person has prepared.

Hazards

Every five years, the County updates its “Hazard Identification and Vulnerability Analysis” (HIVA) for inclusion in its Hazard Mitigation Plan.  This is required by law to be eligible for Public Assistance after emergencies.  We will present the articles in this section so that you can be aware of the possibilities and probabilities of various types of disasters affecting the area.  When possible, we will tailor it to Ocean Grove events.

Reality Check

This section will deal with physical, geographic, legal, etc. things that can affect you in emergencies and which may not be obvious to the general public.  For example, after an earthquake the fire department will go into an automatic “windshield survey” protocol.  Firefighters will drive predetermined routes in privately owned vehicles to assess the damage so that limited resources can be prioritized.  They will not be in fire equipment because they would be stopped by the first emergency, which might not be the worst emergency.

Conclusion

The attached schedule is carved in Styrofoam.  If you have any suggestions for additional topics or the reprioritization of existing ones, please send them to horvath@cablespeed.com.  We don’t guarantee to change anything, but the team will give every idea genuine and honest consideration.

Ocean Grove Association – Emergency Preparedness

If you attended the 2013 Ocean Grove annual meeting or read the minutes from it, you know that we are in the process of getting the Ocean Grove Emergency Preparedness Committee active again.  In alphabetical order, the current participants on the team are:

Ken Horvath (Chair)

Beth Hutmacher (OGA Board Member)

Dan Nasman (OGA Manager)

Pat Nerison

Henry Souza

Laura Souza (OGA Board Member)

The Committee meets at 3:00 p.m. on the second Wednesday of every other month at Dan Näsman’s house.  In the event that it is not practical to meet on the second Wednesday of a given month, the meeting will be moved to the third Wednesday for that month, unless canceled all together.  The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at the OGA manager’s house.

Last year, the Board approved the committee’s mission statement and authorized it to proceed with the educational component of the mission:

Mission: To prepare the Ocean Grove Association (OGA) and its residents to better survive a major neighborhood disaster through education, preparation, response and recovery support.

 

How We Will Do This

Education

  1. Compile and maintain an information library on how to prepare for and respond to emergencies that threaten life and property.
  2. Publish OGA policies and emergency procedures on the OGA Emergency page of its web site, and provide print material to those without internet service.
  3. Arrange presentations and training for OGA residents from local public safety organizations on topics such as “the need for individual preparation”.
  4. Promote an awareness of the availability of emergency services from outside agencies, including communications and electronic information support such as Nixle.
  5. Attend the Neighborhood Emergency Groups meetings to get ideas to improve OGA readiness.

Our current thinking is to follow the “Prepare in a Year” program that is advocated by the Emergency Management Division (EMD) of the State Military Department.  This is a month-by-month education process that gives families a chance to increase their personal preparedness without being overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done.  Our intention is to publish it semi-monthly on the Emergency Preparedness page of the Ocean Grove Association website. In the middle of the month we will post the current chapter of the training and at the end of the month we will post supplementary materials related to the chapter, e.g. forms related to the chapter, local real-world events and hazards related to the topic, etc.  From time-to-time we will also schedule demonstrations or hands-on training, if available.

It is our intention to post a proposed calendar of the topics on the website by June 30th.  The 12 months of topics are:

 Prepare in a Year Activities

Month 1 – Action Plan

Month 2 – Out of Area Contacts / Communications

Month 3 – Water Month 4 – 72-Hour Comfort Kit

Month 5 – Important Documents

Month 6 – Extended Events Month 7 – Under the Bed Items Month 8 – Utility Safety Month 9 –  Drop, Cover and Hold Month 10 –  Fire Safety Month 11 –  Shelter in Place

Month 12 –  Home Hazard Hunt

Before we get too deeply into this, the team would like to get feedback from you to help tailor our efforts to the community’s wants and needs.  Please answer the following questions and reply to this email with them:

  1. Can you think of a better name for the Ocean Grove Emergency Preparedness Committee?
  2. What do you think the role of the committee (team) should be? 
  3. Are there particular topics you would like to see covered?
  4. Are you interested in learning about the natural and man-made hazards that we face in Jefferson County or the neighborhood?  (earthquakes, landslide, winter storms, etc.)
  5. Are you interested in learning how emergency management works in Jefferson County and what to expect in a local disaster?

 If you are willing to help at any level of this process please let me know and we can spend the summer getting everything in place. We have trained three ham operators and have three radios in the community and we have a number of family service radios to distribute. Other plans and needs will be determined by the planning group.

Here are a number of web sites that you familiarize yourself with:

http://www.jeffcoeoc.org/ Jefferson County Emergency Management (open the “preparedness information link”)
http://www.emergency-information.blogspot.com/ This site activates during an emergency watch.
http://www.emd.wa.gov/ The state emergency center. Lots of good information
http://www.epa.gov/japan2011/rert/radnet-data-map.html The EPA radiation monitoring site
http://ptwc.weather.gov/ The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center
http://www.ess.washington.edu/recenteqs/ Recent earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest.

(I made an emergency sites folder in my browser favorites file and have them all together there.)