Friday, October 26, 2012

Nixle: Community Alert Systems

Unless you've spent the last few days isolated from society without internet and news coverage, there's a good chance that you've probably heard something about Hurricane Sandy.

Hurricane Sandy is currently a Category 2 hurricane.  As of this morning, the hurricane is affecting the Florida coastline.  Although there are various projected paths and a bit of uncertainty as to where Hurricane Sandy will be making her debut on land, at this point in time the hurricane is predicted to severely affect almost all of the East coast!

A weather event such as Hurricane Sandy will most likely bring a great deal of rain, thunder and lightning, and extremely high winds (upwards of 100+ mph).

Depending on the location of your department and the severity of the storm, there is a pretty good likelihood that your department might be greatly affected by this storm.

Although it is too late to really institute any new technology for your department at this point in time, every department should look into Nixle for future major weather issues (and major events in general).  Civilian communications are critical to an effective emergency response, and over 85% of civilians can be instantly reached on their mobile phone by text message. In crisis situations, timely information saves lives, and there is no more effective channel to quickly reach large populations than mobile text messaging.

Nixle allows police departments, fire departments and various other city agencies to use them as a publishing system to send alerts via text message and email to the residents of your community.  This information can go out to the community as a whole or it can be targeted toward specific locations within the community, such as alerting residents in a certain section of town that it is recommended they evacuate due to flood waters.

As if the service offered by Nixle wasn't great enough, this program is FREE to public service agencies.  To enroll, you simple need to register your agency on their website.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Dupont Rescue Experience 2012

Those who work in the search and rescue field will tell you that training does not equate to real-world experience.  Learning how to descend and retrieve an injured person at a drill tower does not bear the same risks and adrenaline as doing so in a ravine.  Because of this, it is important to have hands on search and rescue training on location, and not just at your training facility.

The Dupont Rescue Experience 2012 is being held November 2nd-4th in North Carolina.  This is an amazing hands-on location-based wilderness rescue training.  Courses include Mountain Bike use in rescue, Rope Rescue, Land Navigation,Wilderness Management Considerations, K9 Search and Rescue, and All-Hazards Planning. The course involves standard classroom education coupled with hands-on execution of the training.  All hands-on training is done within the state park, making the rescue scenarios as close to real-world events as possible.

Registration for this event is still open for this event.  Interested persons can register for $65 (NC rescue squads or $185 for out of state rescuers).  Registration forms can be found on the Dupont Rescue Experience Website.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Mock School Shootings

Since the mid-1990's a couple hundred child have died from the results of a school shooting.  Although the National School Safety Center has released checklist of characteristics common among students who have acted out as a school shooter, there is really no way to know who will become a school shooter and if/when it will happen.  Because of this, there is nothing better than to be prepared for an event that no first responder ever wants to respond to.

October 21st-27th is America's Safe Schools Week according to the National School Safety Center.  Is there a better way to make sure your schools will be safe in the event of a disaster or shooting than to actually practice for it?

Tahoma Junior High School in Ravensdale, Washington takes their drill quite seriously.  The drama club is actively involved, as they are caked in bloody make up and prepared to ensue chaos when the mock-shooting starts.  The drill has other details of school shootings too, such as the exits being chained shut and a gunman on the loose with a gun (an officer and gun with blanks, of course).  The mock gunman fires (blanks) in the hallways and towards classrooms as students and teachers flee to quickly locked classrooms where headcounts of students begin.  Although that might seem like enough, all of the emergency responders get involved as well.  Police and SWAT storm the school, paramedics set up an emergency triage center.  All in all the treat the event like it was actually happening.  This year marked the sixth year of performing this drill.

It might seem like overkill to prepare kids, teachers, and responders to prepare for an event that might never happen, but you'd be surprised what they've learned...and what they are still continuing to learn.  Prominent points are they are realizing the difficulty of reaching the injured stuck behind locked doors or that they're triage location has the ability to quickly come under rifle fire from second story windows.

Watch the video to learn more, and to see if this is something you should think about executing in your neighborhood.