John's Vashon Preparedness Blog

All of John Cornelison's blogs are listed on this page chronologically. Use the Calendar or Search functions in the right column to search through time, via keyword, or look at the parent blog page to view all authors' posts.

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Disaster news and links of interest for Vashonites
By John Cornelison on 5/28/2011 7:40 AM


2011 Amateur Radio Week ProclamationVashon Maury Island Radio Club will celebrate Washington’s Amateur Radio Week on Vashon with our own Field Day. (We’ll actually be over achievers by holding a two day event, on June 24 & 25!)

Events kick off Saturday with breakfast at Sporty's (an hour early at 8:00 AM) with a procession to the venue on Sunrise Ridge where we’ll...
By John Cornelison on 5/26/2011 12:43 PM


Federal support is growing for tribes to have increased resources and lines of communication with the federal government when natural and other disasters strike.

Several tribal officials have complained in recent years that when snowstorms, floods, or other emergencies have occurred in their areas, they have faced a slow response from the federal government in ways that might not happen to other communities. Lack of direct communication, poor coordination, and slow outreach have all been cited by tribal leaders as reasons for the problem.

- Full story by Rob Capriccioso on May 25 at: http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2011/05/tribal-sovereignty-disaster-legislation-introduced/

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By John Cornelison on 5/26/2011 11:52 AM


imageA second disaster threatens to overtake Joplin MO by way of a tidal wave of unsolicited goods (things like clothing, miscellaneous household items, mixed or perishable foodstuffs, diapers...) and volunteers who just show up to help.  Critical resources are being redirected from the important work of response and relief to managing what has become a crush of unneeded donated items.  Social networking sites are promoting collection drives while radio stations, small and...
By John Cornelison on 5/26/2011 10:49 AM


Personal Localized Alerting Network (PLAN) is a new public safety system, announced May 10th, to send free text alerts to cell phones. Geographically-targeted Presidential, emergency and AMBER alerts will use unique vibrations and tones to send alerts of imminent threats to safety. PLAN complements the existing Emergency Alert System (prior to 1998 known as the Emergency Broadcast System) and will be implemented by the FCC and FEMA. While the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) Is apparently voluntary, the Warning, Alert and Response Network (WARN) Act requires those wireless carriers to activate PLAN technology by April 2012.  AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon have pledged earlier support.

IPAWS-OPEN Architecture, per www.fema.gov/pdf/emergency/ipaws/ipaws_cap_mg.pdfThe...
By John Cornelison on 5/26/2011 6:58 AM


“900 security cameras feed into a central command center”

I see plaid! Photo: VashonSoftwareLast week, a senior DHS official examined security measures at the nation's largest ferry system; Betsy Markey, DHS's assistant secretary of intergovernmental affairs, rode aboard a ferry last Thursday in Seattle as it sailed from Colman Dock to Bainbridge Island; Markey's visit comes as a part of...
By John Cornelison on 5/25/2011 8:29 AM


Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano (May 19) Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced the release of FY 2011 grant guidance and application kits for 12 DHS grant programs totaling $2.1 billion to assist states, urban areas, tribal and territorial governments, non-profit agencies, and the private sector in strengthening our nation's ability to prevent, protect, respond to and recover from terrorist attacks, major disasters and other emergencies. In FY 2011, DHS grants were reduced by $780 million from the FY 2010 enacted level, nearly a quarter of FY 2010 DHS grant funding.  Read the full announcement here.

...
By John Cornelison on 5/24/2011 7:37 AM


Cliff Mass“According to the regional climate simulations being done by my group and others at the UW, global warming will bring MORE low clouds during the spring around here.” – Cliff Mass in his June Gloom and KUOW Weekday blog. While he thinks most people will like the hotter summers also forecast - I’m not so sure I like that!

Sadly, if you hadn’t heard KUOW has ‘fired’ Cliff Mass over editorializing on the Weekday Show. His shows have been insightful – and even brilliant. I’m surprised KUOW thinks their audience can’t handle an occasional opinion.

...
By John Cornelison on 5/22/2011 7:45 PM


Eric HoldemanIt was a different type of Judgment Day and it came early on Thursday when the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the 2011 Homeland Security Grants and the numbers were not pretty.  Most funding was down significantly and for others the funds were nonexistent.  The only true winners in the process were the big cities like New York that retained their full funding amounts--based on risk. See the Wall Street Journal article Some Cities Lose Funding to Prevent Terrorism

...
By John Cornelison on 5/22/2011 6:46 AM


There’re a few hot new releases from this weekend’s Hamvention over in my old home state. And I’m not referring to the sewage issue there!

The new KX3 seen at the Elecraft stand in Dayton - photo by Jeff Davis KE9VThe Elecraft KX3 is a new 1.5-2 pound, 10W PEP (& KXPA100 100W companion amp), 160-6 Meters, Software Defined Radio (SDR), Trail Friendly Radio (TFR, i.e., light, small, ~150 mA current) with many cool features like 8 AA batteries/internal charger & optional microphone, for ~$800. It does all modes: SSB/CW/AM/FM/DATA - including built-in PSK31 and RTTY encode/decode/display....
By John Cornelison on 5/20/2011 8:58 AM


An article published May 11, 2011 in Knowledge@Wharton, an online resource from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton Business School, looks at the question "what motivates individuals to listen to warnings and act" using the virtual world as a laboratory.  Robert Meyer, a Wharton marketing professor who is co-director of the Risk Management and Decision Processes Center, developed an "interactive simulation to study such factors as news media reports, storm warnings and the level of concern expressed by friends and neighbors" motivate people to act before an impending disaster.

Excerpts from the article include:  "The group that was bombarded with news about very bad storms actually prepared less in the simulation that followed than the other group. 'You have a crowding out effect with disasters,' according to Meyer. 'As you have one after another, people care less about the next one.'"  "...the group that viewed a graphic showing the most likely path...
By John Cornelison on 5/20/2011 8:49 AM


imageThe American Red Cross (ARC) launched a newly designed website, ReadyRating.org, to help businesses, schools and other organizations better prepare for emergencies. The announcement was made at an event involving business, education and government leaders at Red Cross national headquarters in Washington DC.  Ready Rating™ is a free, self-paced, web-based membership program that helps a business or school measure...
By John Cornelison on 5/20/2011 8:37 AM


VISD_Color_Logo_Bare.65x128VashonBePrepared is delighted to partner with the Vashon Island School District (VISD). We added them about a month ago to our list of key partners (see list with their logos on our home page), in recognition of their vital role in the island’s disaster preparedness and response roles.

In reality, the VISD have long been an informal partner, through their participation...
By John Cornelison on 5/20/2011 4:13 AM


A few handy videos are available on this topic courtesy of TechSoup. While oriented to nonprofits, many of the lessons also apply to small businesses:

After the Crash: Minimize your Downtime Disaster Planning: Backup, Backup, Backup! Disaster Planning: What Organizations Need to Know to Protect Their Tech ...
By John Cornelison on 5/18/2011 7:44 AM

Help! Can anyone figure out how to squeeze our long name into a tiny 50 by 50 pixel logo for use on our new Facebook page?! Our policies state we can’t abbreviate our name either. Hmmm.

By John Cornelison on 5/17/2011 7:50 AM


Hundreds of people and a score of emergency agencies will participate in Snohomish County’s largest disaster drill ever. "Shake, Rattle and Roll 2011" will be held Wednesday at Arlington's municipal airport. The scenario is a 7.5 magnitude earthquake along the South Whidbey Fault, which runs through Snohomish County.

imageParticipants include Medical Reserve Corps and community volunteers from Whatcom, Skagit, San Juan, Island and Snohomish...
By John Cornelison on 5/10/2011 8:39 PM


The King County Mass Care Workgroup is hosting the annual Mass Care Regional Forum on June 8 and you are invited! The goal of this free forum is to bring together government, non-profit, faith-based and other partners who would have a role in Mass Care (shelter, feeding, distribution of emergency supplies, etc.) for disasters in King County. Information will be provided and exchanged on planning efforts, emerging issues, resources, and channels for receiving and offering assistance during a disaster.

This year’s Forum features keynote speaker Joy Portella from Mercy Corps sharing her experience in going to Japan after the earthquake and tsunami. Presentations will include an overview of the development of a King County Disaster Behavioral Health Plan, how to apply the new Guidance on Functional Needs Support Services (FNSS) in shelters, and emerging issues and current activities in King County Emergency Management. Additionally, questions, concerns and ideas submitted by attendees will be addressed...
By John Cornelison on 5/10/2011 5:57 AM


seismograph The USGS is trying to achieve a denser and more uniform spacing of seismographs in select urban areas to provide better measurements of ground motion during earthquakes. These measurements improve our ability to make rapid post-earthquake assessments of expected damage and contribute to the continuing development of engineering standards for construction.

To accomplish this, we developed a new type of digital seismograph that communicates its data to the USGS via the internet. The seismographs connect to a local network via WiFi and use existing broadband connections to transmit data after an earthquake. The instruments are designed to be installed in private homes, businesses, public buildings and schools with an existing broadband connection to the internet.

...
By John Cornelison on 5/6/2011 11:36 AM
DAT2011FlyerThe Seattle Red Cross will conduct a free two-day Volunteer training on Saturday June 4, and Saturday June 11, 2011, from 9:00am-6:00pm. (Both days are obligatory.) The training will be held at Vashon Island Fire & Rescue, 10020 Southwest Bank Road.

According to Jeff Isaacson, Volunteer Recruitment Coordinator for American Red Cross Serving King & Kitsap Counties, people will be trained in both Mass Care and Disaster Action Team (DAT). So the classes will cover sheltering,...
By John Cornelison on 5/5/2011 1:46 PM
Citizen Corps logoTuesday, May 10, 2011 at 11 AM PST

In times of disaster, a trained and informed public is better prepared to protect themselves, their families, their workplace and their neighbors. This webinar will showcase several disaster training resources that are available in communities across the nation. FEMA recognizes that it takes a “whole community” approach to meet the needs of the public before, during and after a disaster. Learn how your community can train and educate its citizens to be better prepared and involved in your community’s disaster response and recovery efforts.

Join us for brief presentations by representatives from the American Red Cross, the Community Emergency Response Team program, ARRL National Association...
By John Cornelison on 5/5/2011 6:08 AM

imageGlenn Thomas WB6W has refreshed the website of the Western Washington Section of the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL). Check it out at: http://wwa.arrl.org

Also of interest is the joint Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) and Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) of King County website: www.AresOfKingCounty.org

By John Cornelison on 5/2/2011 2:11 PM

Everyone interested in King County Mass Care issues should plan on attending an all morning forum to be held June 8th at the King County Emergency Coordination Center (ECC) in Renton. Organizers include Jill Watson (Seattle), Dave Nichols (PHSKC), Sarah Miller (Auburn), Mike Ryan (Zone 1), Howard Ferrucci (American Red Cross), Rachel Myers (Renton) and Jan Beck (Bellevue).

The day will begin at 8 AM with an introduction to Mass Care. Resources will be available throughout the morning and a number of exciting information sharing opportunities are also under consideration in addition to a list of great speakers. Details should be published here at www.VashonEOC.com, but you can also contact Cathy Rogers as the day gets closer. Hopefully we can car pool together to this.

By John Cornelison on 4/29/2011 10:49 AM

The Vashon Maury Island Radio Club’s May meeting will be this coming Tuesday, May 3rd. 7:00PM at Vashon Fire Station 55 in the EOC room. Our first Show & Tell "Topic - Randy Bardwell, K7RDB presents his home-brew, high tech "uber go-box" and also VMIRC Business Meeting.

- Sharon Danielson KE7HBZ, VMIRC President

By John Cornelison on 4/27/2011 9:27 AM
imageSeveral major source of funds for Vashon – as distributed from FEMA to the State and then to the King County OEM have taken a major hit. Future funding is going to be tighter:

The State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSP), which supports a variety of state and local endeavors, including exercises, training, planning and equipment was cut by $225 million. That’s slightly more than 26 percent of the program, leaving a 2011 budget of $725 million. FEMA asked for $1 billion for the SHSP program. ...
By John Cornelison on 4/27/2011 9:15 AM
imageThe Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are pleased to share the following compilations of FEMA earthquake publications, at no cost:

Earthquake Publications for Teachers and Kids, FEMA P-710CD...
By John Cornelison on 4/27/2011 9:03 AM

clip_image002Washington State Emergency Management Association (WSEMA) will hold their annual conference at the Red Lion Hotel in Port Angeles, Washington on September 27-29, 2011. The theme for the 2011 conference is “Preparedness: It’s Not a Mystery”.

If anyone is interested in speaking, the deadline for their call for presentations is 1 Jun: contact Cheryl Bledsoe [Cheryl.Bledsoe (at) clark.wa.gov].

By John Cornelison on 4/27/2011 8:41 AM

VIFR Recipe FormSusan Wolf, Linda Hamilton & Barb Cooper have been working to collect recipes for a cookbook, the sales of which will go towards providing an Explorer scholarship.  Everyone is encouraged to submit a recipe toward this great cause! Though no publishing date has yet been set, you can check with Barbara Cooper at 463-2405 for the latest information, and to reserve your copies.

By John Cornelison on 4/26/2011 8:52 AM
4-26-2011 at 9.43.21 AMToday there is a 300 yard isolation zone set up around the Hyundai Oakland container ship in the Port of Tacoma after a ~4:30 AM leak from a 55 gallon container of chlorobenzotrifluoride solvent. See KIRO TV’s report for details.

Might there be other chemicals...
By John Cornelison on 4/26/2011 8:31 AM
AT&T has started selling portable cellular antennas so customers can provide their own wireless coverage in disaster-struck or remote areas. Typically cell phone companies deploy mobile trucks with larger mobile cell towers, but this gives responders control over their own deployments – albeit with fairly limited service:

The Remote Mobility Zone can handle 14 simultaneous calls, and data at less-than-broadband speeds. Coverage extends up to half a mile from the unit. The "portable cell tower" can also be mounted in a car or truck.

ARMZThe...
By John Cornelison on 4/25/2011 12:52 PM
image King County OEM’s Pascal Schuback had a neat 138 character tweet today that took me well over an hour to digest:

Know the difference 2B ready RT @USGS: How much bigger is a 8.7 2A 5.8? Click "Try It Yourself" Calculator at top of http://go.usa.gov/baq

As they note on their site, http://earthquake.usgs.gov/learn/topics/how_much_bigger.php:

The magnitude scale is really comparing amplitudes of waves on a seismogram, not the STRENGTH (energy) of the quakes. So, a magnitude 8.7 is 794 times bigger than a 5.8 quake as measured on seismograms, but the 8.7 quake is about 23,000 times STRONGER than the 5.8! Since it is really the energy or strength that knocks down buildings, this is really the more important comparison. This means that it would take about 23,000 quakes of magnitude 5.8 to equal the energy released by one magnitude 8.7 event.

...
By John Cornelison on 4/25/2011 12:34 PM
image As Eric Holdeman recently pointed out, federal disaster funding is all wrong in 2011:

“The Disaster Relief Fund is getting $2.65B (that's a B for billion dollars) and the Predisaster Mitigation Fund is at $50M.”

We’re catching the cows after they’ve left the barn and not heeding Ben Franklin’s advice that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” which is a 1:16 ratio – not the 1:53 ratio federal politicians have apparently settled on.

...

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