Category Archives: USA

Michigan | State tracking community impacts of ice storm

Gov. Rick Snyder today offered an update regarding the recent winter ice storm.

Michiganders in several counties and communities continue to suffer the effects of this past weekend’s winter storm. Thousands of residents remain affected as the holiday week commences. Utility crews have been brought in from several states to assist in repairing critical electrical lines.

Unfortunately, given the severity of the storm, recovery efforts will continue to take time, but I have been assured that crews are working around the clock to restore power.

Michigan State Police began working with local emergency management partners before the storm to help ensure adequate preparation and response efforts. To date, local governments have not requested additional assistance from the state.

MSP’s Emergency Management & Homeland Security Division continues to monitor the situation closely to ensure the public health and safety of Michigan citizens. The State of Michigan stands ready to offer assistance to local governments if and as requested.

We thank all responders and utility crews working so hard this holiday to restore normal operations and minimize impacts to our citizens and communities.

The American Red Cross and many local communities have established shelters and warming centers for those who have lost power. Citizens are encouraged to contact their local emergency management agency or call 211 for location information.

For a list of those resources and other important safety tips and reminders, please visit www.michigan.gov/msp/0,4643,7-123–318651–,00.html.

Florida | Broward County Homeless Initiative Partnership seeks volunteers to assist with 2014 Homeless Count

The Broward County Homeless Initiative Partnership, in collaboration with the Broward Regional Health Planning Council, Inc., Broward Sheriff’s Office, 2-1-1, Nova Southeastern University and Hands on Broward, is seeking 200 volunteers to assist the Homeless Continuum of Care with the collection of data for the 2014 Homeless Point-In-Time (PIT) Count Survey and 100,000 Homes Registry Week on Tuesday, January 21, through Thursday, January 23, 2014.

The 100,000 Home Registry is designed to create a registry of homeless people in Broward County and line up a supply of housing and service resources to help them end their homelessness.

All volunteers are required to attend a mandatory orientation session, which will be scheduled in January 2014. The orientation will cover the new and extended survey tool, training, safety, and coordination procedures and regulations. Five orientation dates, held at various locations across the County, are available to facilitate volunteer schedules. Volunteers will sign up for their specific count location and shift time upon completion of the orientation. Volunteers can contact Sander Schrantz at Sander@handsonbroward.org for additional information.

According to Michael R. Wright, administrator of the Broward County Homeless Initiative Partnership, the County is charged with counting every homeless person and asking them to complete a survey. The count is used to substantiate need for all federal and state grants. “An accurate count helps Broward County get needed resources to help persons experiencing homelessness in Broward,” Wright said.

The survey is used to provide up-to-date information about the needs of persons experiencing homelessness and is an opportunity for the community to engage in efforts to end homelessness and learn about the Homeless Continuum of Care. The Homeless Continuum of Care is a network of organizations, advocates, residents and businesses that plan programs to implement a full range of emergency, transitional and permanent housing, along with prevention and other services to help alleviate homelessness in Broward County. The County’s goal is to end chronic and veteran homelessness by 2015 and family and youth homelessness by 2020.

Shira Fowlkes, MPH, Point-In-Time coordinator, said there are minimal requirements to volunteer, but having concern and compassion for persons experiencing homelessness and the desire to help are good characteristics. Volunteers will primarily assist with the “Unsheltered Count / 100,000 Homes Registration” and should have their own transportation and be comfortable walking and interacting with persons living on the streets. Other volunteers may assist in other areas of the Point-In-Time Count. “All volunteers will assist alongside of veteran workers who can answer questions and provide guidance,” Fowlkes said.

The Homeless Initiative Partnership (HIP), a section within the Community Partnerships Division of the Broward County Human Services Department, plans and coordinates services for homeless persons, and serves as liaison to the Homeless Initiative Partnership Advisory Board, which acts as agent for the Board of County Commissioners in the development and implementation of homeless assistance programs. HIP is also the lead agency for the County’s Homeless Continuum of Care, a network of organizations, advocates, residents and businesses that plan programs to help alleviate homelessness in Broward County. The goal is to end chronic and veteran homelessness by 2015, and family and youth homelessness by 2020. For more information, call 954-357-6101 or visit Homeless Services.

New York | FDNY crews resuscitate two cardiac arrest victims during holidays

122413a1Off-duty FDNY Lt. Rudy Goop thought the morning of Dec. 23 would only involve a little food shopping for Christmas. Little did he know, he and the members of Engine 88 also would save a life.

“All I did was what I’m trained to do,” he said. “This is what we do every day; I just was off duty today.”

At around 9:30 a.m., after waiting in line for 30 minutes, Lt. Goop (Engine 46) and his 17-year-old son Andreas had just made it inside the door of a cheese shop on Arthur Avenue when they heard a woman scream.

He looked outside and saw commotion at the end of the same line, so he told his son to continue waiting and he ran to help.

A man in his 60s was lying on the sidewalk with blood coming from the back of his head. The man was not breathing and had no pulse, so Lt. Goop immediately started chest compressions.

Other people started trying to help, saying they had called 911 and offering to assist with CPR.

Within two minutes, the members of Engine 88, including Capt. Richard Kirschner, and Firefighters Martin Tighe, Michael Dolan, James Murphy and Christopher Murray, drove down the street.

The firefighters, many of whom Lt. Goop knew, grabbed their gear and took over chest compressions. Lt. Goop said he was going to then help firefighters set up the defibrillator, but “they were so quick, they already had it applied and ready. It was great; they were right on top of it.”

Capt. Kirschner said about 50 to 100 people were standing around watching, “it put more pressure on the firefighters, but it is nice to know it all worked out well and that so many people were able to see an off-duty firefighter and a fire company save a life just two days before Christmas.”

The device advised that it was going to shock the patient, which brought back his pulse and breathing just as EMS members from a local hospital arrived.

“I would have been in the way at that point,” Lt. Goop said. “So I just got back in line.”

He said he was thrilled to learn that the victim, who was transported to St. Barnabas, was doing well hours later.

“This proves CPR works,” Lt. Goop said. He also joked that, “I hope my family likes [the cheese] on Christmas, and I have this great story to tell.”

122713a1FDNY firefighters and EMS members saved the life of a young boy in Manhattan on Dec. 26.

After receiving the call around 8 a.m., firefighters from Engine 3 and EMS members rushed to the home.

“As soon as the elevator opened I heard yelling,” Capt. Patrick Williams, Engine 3, said. “So right away we knew it was serious.”

The boy was lying on the ground and his mother was doing CPR.

Capt. Williams and Firefighters Steven Adorno, Steven Dulski, Charles Downs and David Summerfield took over chest compressions and rescue breathing.

Moments later, Paramedics Gregory Companion and Christell Cadet arrived. They took over and were able to restore his pulse and breathing before transporting him to Bellevue Hospital.

Paramedic Companion said on the way to the hospital, the boy continued to improve and he was crying by the time they arrived.

“Everyone worked as a giant team and worked perfectly,” he said. “It was a long day, but it was rewarding, worked out nicely.”

He also noted that Paramedic Cadet just graduated from the EMS Academy on Dec. 6, and this was her first cardiac arrest save.

The firefighters also had a busy day, rushing to save another cardiac arrest victim just a few hours later.

Everyone noted that that early CPR from the child’s mother helped save his life. Read how you can learn CPR for free from the FDNY.

Vermont | Residents without power urged to seek shelter after icestorm

Gov. Peter Shumlin and Vermont emergency officials said late today that many areas of Franklin County, Chittenden County, and the Northeast Kingdom remain without power.

Restoration has been slowed by lines that were repaired once and damaged again as precipitation continued to fall, and ice melted and then refroze.

As temperatures drop this evening and are forecast to remain low, the Governor and Vermont Emergency Management Director Joe Flynn are urging residents, particularly those without power in their homes, to make certain they find shelter before it is too late.

“Even though much of Vermont was spared the worst predictions of this ice storm, the Champlain Valley and the Northeast Kingdom were hit hard, and we are doing everything to ensure the roads are open, the power is restored and people have a safe place to stay while the work is completed,” Gov. Shumlin said.

Shelters were opened Sunday by the Vermont Red Cross and will remain open at North Country High School in Newport, Enosburg High School, and the Barton Village Office.  Vermont Emergency Management and Homeland Security remain in constant contact with Vermont utilities to be aware of areas of greatest outages, are providing support to help facilitate the restoration process, and are working to ensure public safety.

“We are concerned that some Vermonters remain in their homes and are reluctant to seek shelter while awaiting power restoration,” Gov. Shumlin said. “Anytime you have freezing temperatures and no power, people are put at risk. We want anyone who may need shelter for the next couple of days to get there safely, as soon as possible.”

irector Joe Flynn advised that emergency managers “continue to closely monitor the incident, remain in constant contact with Vermont utilities to be aware of areas of greatest outages, are providing support to help facilitate the restoration process, and are working to ensure public safety.”

Vermonter should also be aware of the dangers of exposure to carbon monoxide poisoning. Today, the Health Department confirmed one death from carbon monoxide poisoning in the Northeast Kingdom, along with multiple cases of illness related to the odorless, colorless gas reported by Emergency Medical Services crews in Newport yesterday.

The risk of CO poisoning increases when generators and heat sources such as propane cooking stoves are more likely to be improperly used indoors.

Early symptoms of CO poisoning can be confused with flu-like symptoms —headache, dizziness and nausea. It can also cause sleepiness, vision problems (including blurred vision), ringing in the ears, aching arms and legs, irregular breathing, fatigue and confusion. At very high levels, it causes loss of consciousness and death.

Actions those in affected areas should take are:

  • Check in with your neighbors, especially those who are elderly or may be in need of assistance.
  • Ensure your home has a sufficient supply of whatever you use as “fuel” to heat your home.
  • Have extra items on hand in case you can’t leave your house for a while.
    • Flashlight
    • Batteries
    • Battery powered radio
    • Water
    • Non-perishable foods
  • If you lose power and need a warm place to go Vermont 211 has a list of shelters that are open.
  • If you see a downed power line, leave it alone – always treat power lines as if they are live.  A live wire can kill you.
  • If clearing trees or limbs, make certain they are not in contact with a power line.  Trees and branches can conduct electricity and electrocute you on contact.
  • Never run a generator indoors.  Ensure it is outside – far away from windows or any other area from which exhaust can vent back into a living area.  Carbon monoxide can cause injury or death.
  • Have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home.

 

Helpful links:

DEMHS: http://vem.vermont.gov/preparedness/hazards/winter

National Weather Service Albany (Forecast office for Bennington and Windham counties): http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/aly/

National Weather Service Burlington (Rest of Vermont): http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/btv/

Vermont power outages: www.vtoutages.com

Vermont Division of Fire Safety: http://firesafety.vermont.gov/

DEMHS on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vermontemergencymanagement

DEMHS on Twitter: https://twitter.com/vemvt

Road conditions: www.511vt.com

Vermont | Icestorm recovery continues as power outages stretch into a new week

Gov. Peter Shumlin said today that slightly over 1,600 Vermonters remain without power, and utilities are expecting the vast majority will be restored by close of business tomorrow.

The Governor noted that the state’s Forest, Parks and Recreation crews have been deployed to northern Vermont with chainsaws and other equipment to clear trees and limbs downed during the recent ice storm, and the Agency of Transportation moved additional crews to help keep roads open so local emergency responders and power companies can access downed power lines.

“My thanks go out this holiday season to the crews working 24-7 to clear debris, restore power and keep roads open in the northern part of the state. And my heart goes out to the families who are struggling to get by without electricity,” Gov. Shumlin said. “This storm has been frustrating for all involved. We will continue to work with local emergency responders and power companies to restore power as quickly as possible, and push hard until the lights are back on in every home.”

The Governor said a few households may remain without power into early next week, and people should prepare for outages over the next few days as ice unloads from trees. He said utility crews from New York and New Hampshire have also joined the Vermont crews to speed power restoration.

Vermont State Police visited all shelters overnight and conducted welfare checks of vulnerable citizens. The Red Cross closed the shelters in Fairfax, Enosburg, Highgate and Newport due to lack of use, although equipment remains on scene to reopen on a moment’s notice if necessary. There are no road closure issues to report.

“This has been a frustrating time for Vermont families who have been without power for several days, and I appreciate that lines crews from throughout our region have given up time with their own families to ensure the power is restored as quickly as possible,” the Governor said. “We are focused and committed to ending these outages.”

Vermont | FEMA assistance requested after ice storm

At the request of Gov. Peter Shumlin, Vermont emergency management officials today asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to conduct a damage assessment in the Champlain Valley and northern Vermont counties impacted by the on-going ice storm.

The state is applying in an attempt to secure federal public assistance to help cover the cost of cleanup and recovery from the storm.

“I am requesting that the Federal Emergency Management Agency join State and Local teams to conduct a Joint Preliminary Damage Assessment in the Counties of Caledonia, Chittenden, Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, and Orleans for Public Assistance,” wrote Joe Flynn, Director of the Vermont Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security to FEMA’s Acting Regional Administrator Paul F. Ford.

Flynn noted that rain, freezing rain, snow, icing conditions, and near zero temperatures have impacted Vermont since Dec. 20, creating power outages affecting 22,000 households – about 75,000 Vermonters – at its peak. In addition, Flynn said, the fluctuations in icing conditions and the repeated need to clear and remove debris caused multiple outages for some customers.

“This has been a real challenge for the utility crews because icy tree branches continue to fall and knock out power lines, making it difficult for the lines crews to keep the power on,” said Gov. Shumlin. “It has also been a struggle for many Vermonters in these hard-hit areas, particularly in Franklin County and other northern Vermont communities, who are spending this holiday week without heat and electricity, often staying with friends and family.”

The Governor said the state would continue to push until power has been restored to every customer.  Although the number of outages dipped to under 500 earlier today, snowfall-laden trees knocked out power to additional households, with an estimated 1,440 homes without electricity as of late afternoon.

Flynn asked FEMA to send personnel beginning Jan. 2 to work with state and local teams to determine damage estimates. Depending upon final costs, Vermont could be eligible for federal assistance for some municipal and cooperative utility restoration costs, local debris clearance and removal costs, and other disaster caused infrastructure damage.

Maine | Outage numbers continue to fall but some Downeast areas still dark

Power crews are making good progress today, as ice storm recovery efforts continue. However, some areas in Hancock County are expecting to endure outages into next week. Hancock County officials are planning to keep shelters and warming centers open as long as they are needed.

All the affected areas are also bracing for another winter storm Sunday night into Monday, that may bring a significant snowfall, wintry mix, or both, and could threaten the power restoration process in eastern Maine.

Governor Paul R. LePage today thanked Bangor Hydroelectric, Central Maine Power, and Eastern Maine Electric Cooperative for their hard work and dedication in restoring power. “Our Maine line and tree crews, and crews from at least 6 states and 2 Canadian provinces left their families at home at Christmas time to work long hours in the cold to support Maine people. That is a gift we are all grateful for,” the Governor said.

The Governor also praised the many volunteers and State agency representatives who have been working throughout the storm response. “We don’t get through these emergencies without hundreds of volunteers,” the Governor said. “We’re thankful for Maine’s Red Cross volunteers, and volunteer fire-fighters, community response teams and community members who are stepping up. And our state agencies have done whatever was needed to make sure communities were supported. “

The Governor declared a State of Emergency on Saturday, December 21st in order to ensure that all state resources were available to support local response efforts. The State Emergency Operations Center and Emergency Response Team have been activated since that date. The Emergency Response Team is made up of all State agencies with a response role, plus the American Red Cross.

Maine | Winter/ice storm settling in over state

The State Emergency Operations Center is activated in response to a major winter storm targeting Maine.

Situation:

A major winter storm is affecting the entire State of Maine. Warnings /Advisories in place:

  • Freezing Rain Advisory (1/4 inch of ice): York County
  • Winter Storm Warning: Significant snowfall, with some sleet and freezing rain: Aroostook, Northern Oxford, Franklin, Penobscot, Central and Northern Somerset and Piscataquis Counties,
  • Ice Storm Warning: One half inch or more of freezing rain: Remainder of the State

National Weather Service indicates that freezing rain and drizzle will continue into Monday in many areas, causing locally dangerous conditions. Because of the long duration, both NWS forecast offices are still forecasting a total of one half to three-quarters of an inch of ice in the warning areas, with local amounts of an inch possible. All parties should continue to monitor local weather forecasts.

Outage reports:

Power outage numbers are fluctuating as restoration takes place and new outages are reported.

Injuries/Fatalities:

  • None reported

Other impacts/responses:

  • The State Emergency Operations Center was activated at 8:00 am at Level 2 status (MEMA staff plus DACF/Forestry, MaineDOT, DPS/Maine State Police, Public Utilities Commission and Red Cross
  • Warming center open at 31 Turkey Lane in Buxton; however has no occupants presently and therefore may close this afternoon
  • The American Red Cross is standing by to staff shelters as the need warrants: no Red Cross shelters are open at this time

Declarations:

  • Governor Paul R. LePage declared a State of Emergency on December 21, to ensure that all State resources would be available to assist affected communities

Critical Safety messages:

  • After ensuring that your family is safe, check in on friends and neighbors who may need assistance. Neighbors helping neighbors save lives. Share safety information with those who might not have received it.
  • Ice on roadways and falling trees and power lines will make travel dangerous or impossible.
  • Travel is strongly discouraged. If you must travel, keep emergency supplies in your car such as flashlight, food and water. Keep a safe distance from other vehicles, including plow trucks. “Please don’t crowd the plow”
  • All the utilities are reminding the public that no fallen power line is safe to touch. If you find a downed power line, call your electric utility immediately
  • Death can result from improper use of generators. To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, use generators outside only, at least 15 feet away from doors and windows. Have a carbon monoxide detector with battery back-up where people sleep
  • Signs of carbon monoxide poisoning are headache, nausea, vomiting or dizziness. Get out of the house and call 911 at once.

For more help and information:

New York | With influenza prevalent, new regs aim to protect patients and healthcare providers

State Health Commissioner Nirav R. Shah, M.D., M.P.H., today declared that influenza has become prevalent in New York State.

Under a new regulation, this requires regulated facilities and agencies to activate their policies and procedures to ensure that their personnel wear a surgical or procedure mask in areas where patients may be present if they have not received a flu vaccine and engage in activities in which they could expose patients to the flu if infected.

The measure is intended to protect patients from getting the flu from their healthcare workers. Influenza can be severe and cause death in persons with underlying medical conditions. Healthcare workers can pose a risk to patients by transmitting influenza infection. The regulation has the added benefit of protecting healthcare workers who are unvaccinated from acquiring the flu from patients and others.

“Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect against influenza, and it is important for individuals who come in contact with patients to be vaccinated to help prevent the spread of flu,” said Commissioner Shah. “For those who have not been vaccinated, this regulation is intended to provide patients and caregivers an added layer of protection.”

The New York State Department of Health (DOH) regulatory requirement (Section 2.59 of the New York State Sanitary Code) that health care workers wear masks applies to health care settings regulated by DOH. The settings include general hospitals, nursing homes, diagnostic and treatment centers, certified home health agencies, long term home health care programs, acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) home care programs, licensed home care service agencies, limited licensed home care service agencies, and hospices.

The mask requirement remains in effect until the Commissioner declares influenza no longer prevalent in New York State.

Although masks are not as effective in preventing influenza transmission as vaccination, evidence indicates that masks decrease transmission from people experiencing respiratory symptoms. In addition, because persons incubating influenza may shed influenza virus before they have noticeable symptoms, wearing a mask is expected to lessen the transmission without imposing a burden on health care personnel.

Flu activity in the State is now considered to be widespread, with laboratory confirmed cases in more than 45 counties and all boroughs of New York City so far.

“The early reports of flu cases in New York further emphasize the importance of people getting a flu vaccination now” Commissioner Shah said. “A flu vaccination is a safe and effective way to reduce your risk for flu and also protect the health of your family and friends.”

Symptoms of influenza can include the sudden onset of fever, chills, headache, and muscle aches, as well as a cough or sore throat. These symptoms are often similar to cold symptoms, but come on more swiftly and are more pronounced. Although most people will usually recover from flu without complications, the virus poses a more serious risk for individuals younger than age two, those over 50, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems or chronic medical conditions.

Commissioner Shah reminds New Yorkers who have not been vaccinated for influenza that it’s NOT too late to get their annual vaccination. Since flu sometimes peaks in late winter or early spring, vaccinations at this time of year offer important protection. Health care providers and local health departments continue to have ample supplies of flu vaccine.

For more flu-related information, please visit the DOH website at http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/influenza/seasonal/.

Frequently Asked Questions regarding the regulation and other resources are available at http://www.health.ny.gov/FluMaskReg.

New Hampshire | State prepares for potential weekend #icestorm

Governor Maggie Hassan today announced that the state is taking steps to prepare for a potential ice storm beginning early Sunday morning. Storm forecasts are still shifting, with a wide area of the state at risk of significant icing, especially in areas of higher elevation.

“While there is still a great deal of uncertainty in the forecast, the potential for a significant ice storm this weekend means we must make preparations and take every precaution to support local communities,” Governor Hassan said. “We have been in communication with utilities, who are preparing to bring in additional crews to address any potential outages, and we are in regular contact with local emergency response personnel to ensure that they have the information and resources they need.”

“I met directly with department heads this morning, and all state agencies are taking appropriate steps to prepare,” Governor Hassan said. “In addition, we will be opening the state’s Emergency Operations Center and will increase EOC staffing as we reach the height of the potential storm.”

“There is still uncertainty about the impact of this storm, but portions of New Hampshire may experience moderate to heavy icing, especially eastern areas of the State,” said Perry E. Plummer, Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. “We may see ice up to one inch accumulating on trees and power lines resulting in power outages.”

“I encourage all Granite Staters to take appropriate precautions, such as limiting travel in areas affected by ice, making sure to have appropriate supplies and checking in on neighbors, especially the elderly or those experiencing disabilities. Residents should also clear heavy snow loads off of roofs and be sure to run generators safely if needed with appropriate ventilation,” Governor Hassan said.

In addition to stocking up on emergency supplies, such as water and canned food, in advance of the storm, Granite Staters are encouraged to take the following precautions:

  • Monitor weather conditions via news media, NOAA weather radio or Internet sources.
  • Have at least three days of non-perishable food and two gallons of water per day per person on hand as well as a manual can opener.
  • Have on hand flashlights, a portable radio and extra batteries.
  • Keep vehicle fuel tanks at least half full.
  • Fully charge cell phones, laptops and any other devices before the storm.
  • Assemble a first aid kit including prescription medications and special items for infants or people with disabilities.
  • Before the storm set refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings. .
  • Be a good neighbor and check on the well-being of relatives and acquaintances, especially the elderly or others with access and functional needs.
  • If the power goes out:
    • Use flashlights and battery-powered lanterns, not candles, for emergency lighting.
    • Operate emergency generators safely, with exhaust directed away from buildings.
    • Never use outdoor cooking appliances indoors because of the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning.
    • Report the outage to your electric utility. Do not call 9-1-1 unless there’s an emergency.
    • Stay clear of downed wires. Always assume downed power lines are live.
    • Practice generator safety, following operator manuals and tips available at http://www.nh.gov/safety/divisions/firesafety/bulletins/documents/2012-03ResidentialGeneratorSafety.pdf pdf file

The New Hampshire Insurance Department has also issued ice storm preparedness tips available here: http://www.nh.gov/insurance/media/pr/2013/documents/pr_122013.pdf pdf file.

Additional information will be posted at http://www.nh.gov/readynh/