Talking About Disasters
Guide for Standard Messages -- 2004 Edition

Rocky Lopes, Ph.D.
Manager, Community Disaster Education
American Red Cross National Headquarters

Susan Russell-Robinson
Staff Scientist
U.S. Geological Survey

Ron Gird
Outreach Program Manager
NOAA National Weather Service

July 21, 2004 -- 12:00 Noon Eastern Time

Transcript (HTML)
Transcript (MS Word)

Related Websites:
Talking About Disaster Guide
National Disaster Education Coalition

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Dr. Lopes is responsible for the American Red Cross Community Disaster Education Program. In this position, he is responsible for interpreting social science research for public use by designing, developing, and implementing Community Disaster Education materials and activities used by more than 150,000 paid and volunteer Red Cross staff nationwide, who collectively reach tens of millions of Americans annually. He actively works on building and maintaining coalitions with various public and private national organizations that share common educational goals by serving as Convener of the National Disaster Education Coalition. He has spoken at many national and international forums, and is a recipient of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's "Outstanding Public Service Award" as well as the first "Disaster Saves" Award presented by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for his leadership in disaster education activities.

Lopes has earned his undergraduate degrees in Microbiology, Linguistics, and Education from the University of Maryland at College Park and his Masters of General Administration degree from the University of Maryland University College Campus. He obtained a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California in Education and Sociology in 1989.

Lopes has been an active Red Cross volunteer since 1972 with the several local Red Cross chapters in Maryland and Oklahoma. Starting as a CPR and First Aid Instructor, he soon became an instructor trainer. He continues to train instructors for both CPR/First Aid, as well as Disaster Services, for the American Red Cross. He remains involved as a Red Cross volunteer at the local level to this day.

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Susan Russell-Robinson is a staff scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). While her current activities focus on science collaboration in the Northeast, she has scientific expertise in explosive volcanism and gas monitoring along the San Andreas Fault in California. In 1980, she served as one of the first USGS information scientists, a new position developed to provide news media with clear, easy to understand updates on status of volcanic unrest at Mount St. Helens Volcano.

Susan has extensive experience with communicating the risks associated with natural hazards. She authored a wildly popular series of posters and photo cards to assist teachers with leading discussions about natural hazards. She chaired the U.S. Work Group for the annual International Awareness Day of International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR). In 1993 she co-produced with Fairfax County (Va.) Public Schools an electronic long distance learning field trip titled about "Kids Take Charge." The live broadcast focused on preparedness for earthquakes, hurricanes, and other severe storms. Susan is one of the founding members of the National Disaster Education Coalition (NDEC). She is active in promoting disaster preparedness in the workplace.

She resides in Reston, Virginia, with her husband Rob, who is a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

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Ronald S. Gird is a meteorologist with NOAA's National Weather Service (NWS) and is responsible for the NWS Customer Outreach and Education Programs, a position held since December, 1998. In this capacity Ron is responsible for managing all aspects of the NWS Outreach Programs for the 122 NWS forecast Offices nation wide. Ron determines annual outreach budgets and resources to ensure a satisfied partner and customer. Ron works on daily basis with NWS partners which include the American Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), The Weather Channel, the American Meteorological Society (AMS). Ron develops NWS Outreach performance measures to assess the effectiveness of NWS outreach and education goals. Ron manages the NWS Hazards Awareness and Preparedness publications to ensure a consistent, effective flow of information, products and services to the public and education community. Ron manages the partnership between the NWS and AMS Education Programs, including teacher training and student graduate fellowship awards.

Current duties include developing a software capability to improve the NWS response to customer inquires for information and data, create a nation-wide NWS Customer Service Training Plan, manage the NWS Exhibits at customer trade shows, and conduct annual meetings for the NWS Partners. Ron is a member of the California State University-Los Angeles Satellites and Education Advisory Committee, a consultant to Time/Life Books and technical advisor to organizations such as the National Geographic Society, the National Air and Space Museum.