Edited Version of June 10, 1998 Transcript

EIIP Transcript of Special Chat Event

"Live! From the Community and Family Preparedness Conference in Emmitsburg"

The following version of the transcript has been edited for easier reading and comprehension. Typos were corrected, date/time/names attributed by the software to each were deleted but content of discussion, questions, and responses are as stated by each participant. Answers from the presenter to questions by the audience are grouped beneath the appropriate question to facilitate meaning.


Amy Sebring: On behalf of the EIIP I am pleased to welcome you all to a very special session. Today we are coming to you LIVE! from the Community and Family Preparedness conference in Emmitsburg. Avagene Moore is up there on that end and we have several conference participants logged in with us.

The idea is for those of us who could not be there in person to learn about some of the new ideas being generated and shared at the conference. We will ask each of the participants to tell us a little bit about his/her involvement, then we will take a few questions for each. Please prepare your question --- but WAIT to be recognized. We have several guests, and a short amount of time.

Let's get this rolling by asking the Director of FEMA's CFP program to give us an overview. It is my pleasure to introduce and welcome Mr. Ralph Swisher. Ralph, is the conference meeting your expectations? Ralph may be disconnected --- perhaps we can come back. Rocky Lopes, are you with us? Now I am concerned about my connection. Am I coming thru?

Walt Kelley: Amy, you are coming through.

Isabel McCurdy: Loud and clear, Amy.

John Hayden: Yes Amy, you are.

Amy Sebring: Yes, thanks. Was beginning to wonder.

Burt Wallrich: Rocky crashed and is rebooting.

Amy Sebring: Thanks Burt, who is ready to roll there? Can we start with you, Burt?

We are coming from the computer lab at EMI. We expect high tech things down there but system may be a little bogged down on the East Coast! The CFP folks may have crashed the system. Tom Wahle, are you connected OK?

Rocky Lopes: Hi folks. Anyone from the Red Cross out there?

Carrie Barnecut: Angela, can I call collect? I did not bring your phone number's, so send them now and I'll copy them down. This sounds ominus. No, I will not be at BayNET you guys are on your own. Pat has the speaker's information, and I gave Nora Pat's and your phone numbers.

Jim Reisweber: Hi Rocky, Jim here at the office.

Phyllis Mann: Hello John V, LuAn. Wish you were here during beta test. Say hi to all.

Amy Sebring: Please hold up all comments for the moment. If you wish to speak with another participant. Use Direct Messaging to do it privately.

Sue Wheeler: Everyone here is having a problem, please be patient.

Amy Sebring: Thank you, Sue. Can you speak with us while they are getting sorted out? I wish Chip Hines were here to do his infamous soft shoe dance!!

Sue Wheeler: Ralph will be at my station.

Amy Sebring: Ok, Sue, let me know when he is ready.

Sue Wheeler: The first challenge given to participants here at EMI is, given the fact that most people think disasters -- test.

Kevin Farrell: Are the technical problems at EMI or at 'our' end?

Amy Sebring: I think it is down at EMI, Kevin. Perhaps the LAN could not handle so many logged in at once.

A Moore: Sorry, folks. I now know the problems our FEMA friends have logging in. We are trying furiously to get online but the program says we are logged on. Sorry to disappoint everyone.

(By this point, each of 12 computers and as many CFP participants had logged in, and were disconnected due to an overload of the LAN or some other technical problem; the CFP group tried repeatedly but could not successfully login and join the Virtual Forum. After some 35 minutes of trying, the group conceded to the fact they could not participate as planned. Amy was alerted by phone and graciously turned the session into a good discussion of other disaster education experiences around the country.)

Amy Sebring: Will also ask our audience if they would like to share some of their own efforts at community outreach. Have just had a successful Hurricane Awareness Week here in Corpus Christi. We got our seniors with the RSVP volunteer program involved and that attracted attention from our local media.

Angela Bowen: What is RSVP?

Amy Sebring: I am sorry Angela. We are supposed to spell out acronyms. RSVP = Retired and Seniors Volunteer Program. Many communities have this program in place.

Anyone else trying something creative? I also heard about a video made up the coast, where they showed a family doing everything wrong!

Angela Bowen: Do you have contact information for materials, etc? I'd be interested as we are preparing to do a huge campaign and that's a good target audience.

Amy Sebring: Our program is administered by our municipal senior services program, Angela. You may also have an Area Agency on Aging office to contact.

Hal Newman: Had a rough day here with the gas explosion downtown at a shelter for the homeless.

Amy Sebring: Hello Hal. Sorry to hear about your gas explosion. You had a comment?

Hal Newman: Could you provide me with more info on RSVP --- 35% of our residents are 65+ ?

Amy Sebring: I have a website address that can get you some info about programs in your area. Let me look it up and post it before the session is over.

Hal Newman: Thank you.

Amy Sebring: Beth, you had a comment.

Beth Armstrong: There will be lots of other good ideas on outreach-type programs in the next FEMA "Compendium of Exemplary Practices" which should be out later in the Summer. Check out the FEMA website.

Amy Sebring: That's true Beth. Also there are a number of good ideas on the FEMA CD-ROM. Yes, Ron.

Ron Kruml: You know, all of us are providing some type of public education program.

I would like to know what EMI will do to support those of use who actually provide these programs? There is a vast difference between training available to fire safety educators from USFA and disaster educators from EMI.

Amy Sebring: Well, since we can't seem to get through from the conference at the moment, would like to hear what you are doing in your communities. Many communities have been impacted this spring with severe storms. I think we have a heightened awareness just because of the news coverage --- an audience ripe to listen, perhaps.

Hal Newman: Neighborhood Emergency Services Teams are an outgrowth of our experience with the Ice Storm. We're training neighborhoods to be able to react to their immediate concerns and triage calls for the career emergency services.

Amy Sebring: Hal, is that similar to the Community Emergency Response Teams?

Hal Newman: Our program is modeled after the American CERT program. I guess I should mention that we're up in Montréal.

Amy Sebring: Bien venue!

Hal Newman: Merci bien. Thank you very much.

Isabel McCurdy: Bonjour. Another Canadian.

Hal Newman: Even with the recent Ice Storm situation --- emergency training is still a relatively tough sell. We find the Seniors are the folks pushing for the most training. And so we modified your CERT program for Senior's residences and apartment buildings. And we continue to get requests for training and emergency checklists.

Robert Lecky: Unless your community has funded an emergency manager you can forget coordinated responses.

Amy Sebring: Angela, you had a comment? Is anyone doing any special outreach on the tornado hazard this year??

Angela Bowen: Amy, I'm glad to hear that you feel you have an audience ripe to listen, but here in northern CA, that doesn't seem to be the case, which is why I'm here. We have an organization called BayNET, Bay Area Neighborhood Emergency Trainers and we're from all over. We are all experiencing a lack of interest and participation. Help!!!

Amy Sebring: I expect Californians to be almost inured to it, Angela. Disaster du jour... eg.

Angela Bowen: This is especially puzzling because we have been inundated by water from all sources. You think that would help but it seems to have hurt. We are seeing more of a defeatist attitude than a willingness to participate in CERT training.

Seminole: The big problem in Osceola County was the complete failure of the County to follow the All-Hazards approach to Emergency Management. They put too much focus on the issue of, "What do we do with people fleeing the coast in a hurricane?" They never thought they would be ground zero for anything!

Amy Sebring: Did you have a comment, John?

John Hayden: Here in Kissimme, we had a tornado with 34 deaths. At first, we had little response to training, but we enlisted the help of the amateur community, and we now have a very large class starting in the next few months. Due to the tornado, and the resulting response from ALL involved, the Red Cross has increased its number of classes, and types available here in the Orlando area.

Amy Sebring: We are having a tougher time getting educational materials (free). Are you having that experience?

Ron Gloshen: FEMA and the American Red Cross have provided the jointly developed brochures, such as "Your Family Disaster Plan," in the past at no cost to the emergency management community. The present effort seems to be to provide the brochures in camera ready copy, on the FEMA web page or on CD. I know here in Utah, we have given out thousands of the various brochures. Considering the limited budgets of most emergency management agencies, has this or will this slow or stop the dissemination of this information?

Hal Newman: Have you explored corporate underwriting for emergency information publishing needs?

Ron Gloshen: I believe using corporate sponsorship is a good idea but is time consuming, as is going through the process of printing your own brochures.

Amy Sebring: We need to find some more cost effective ways to communicate. I have my eye on NOAA radio for this purpose! We skipped Angela. Please jump in here, Angela.

Angela Bowen: Hal, how have you modified the CERT program for seniors and apartment buildings? I'd be interested in seeing copies of the newly developed materials.

Hal Newman: Please email me at <[email protected]>. I'll be happy to zap you our curricula work-ups.

Amy Sebring: Let's hear from a few of the folks who have not spoken up yet. What are you trying out in your community? Who can help with getting your message out? What kind of a job does the media do with this? Have you seen it work? That is, someone listened and it helped them? Will the hoopla about Project Impact help focus attention?

Robert Lecky: Media is real good in south Florida on hurricanes. Message gets old, though.

Amy Sebring: Yes, have people heard it so many times that they tune out?

Hal Newman: Media is wonderful, when we need them. Media roulette, when we don't.

John Hayden: Here in Orlando, the local news has carried clips of the Skywarn and other training we have done. This HAS helped us as the people want to know more.

Robert Lecky: Media also play up the event to their own advantage and our disadvantage.

Diane Merten: In Benton County Oregon we have an Emergency Management Council that has been in place since early 1991 and we work pretty closely with local business and with Oregon State University and with the local school districts. And we have just received the designation as a Project Impact community.

Amy Sebring: Congratulations, Diane, and good luck!!

Hal Newman: Sorry --- what is Project Impact?

Amy Sebring: It is a FEMA initiative, whereby one county or city in each state is selected to be a pilot. See <http://www.fema.gov/impact.htm>.

Hal Newman: Thank you.

Ron Gloshen: I believe that Project Impact coverage in our media gives the community the impression that government will solve the problem.

Robert Lecky: Good point, never thought of that.

Amy Sebring: Do you emphasize personal family responsibility in your message?

Robert Lecky: Absolutely!

Angela Bowen: In a city with 850,000 people and an emergency management office that staffs three full-time employees and an executive secretary --- You bet!

Christopher: Regarding Project Impact, I was surprised to read that the communities were invited. It seemed to imply that they had not joined, but were being asked to join. Is this correct?

Amy Sebring: That is my understanding Christopher. Is that correct, Diane?

Diane Merten: We have been invited to participate and it needs to be that way because of the money match that is required. The guide book for becoming a disaster-resistant community is on the web and can be downloaded in full color.

Amy Sebring: It is also my understanding that any community can become a Project Impact city and be designated as such, but will not be eligible for a grant this year. I am thinking it may be worth it, just for the publicity.

Angela Bowen: In San Jose, we also have 51 identified languages spoken. No way we can afford to accommodate everyone, can be a big problem for us. For example, we can only do our CERT program in English now, but try to translate at least a couple of flyers in 5-10 languages. Way too expensive. Ideas?

Amy Sebring: Yes, that must be tough, Angela re: many languages spoken.

Hal Newman: Hey, if French is one of those languages, Angela, we've got you covered.

Angela Bowen: I'm always looking for opportunities to practice my French. Want to invite me up?

Hal Newman: No problem. We can work out an exchange.

Ron Kruml: Do we know if the conference folks are back online?

Amy Sebring: Ron, it is not looking good. Let me tell you though that there is an Act Now mailing list available from our website. And that we are supposed to be helping to distribute the newsletter from the conference. If you can subscribe to that mailing list, then we hopefully will get you some news.

Ron Kruml: Thanks for your efforts.

Amy Sebring: I apologize sincerely for the technical problems at that end. Most unfortunate. However, we will try again tomorrow evening during our Thursday evening Round Table session. We may be able to get a few folks on line with us off peak.

I will try to make sure they are using a dial up connection!!

Diane Merten: What's tomorrow evening?

Amy Sebring: We also have a discussion group for public education and outreach that you can reach off the home page.

John Hayden: Would you have an idea at what time I can have others from my office here?

Amy Sebring: John, Round Table is scheduled for 8:00 PM Eastern.

John Hayden: Thanks.

Amy Sebring: We only have a couple of items posted in the Discussion Group. But we would really like your participation and ideas shared that way also. Let me get that URL I promised on the RSVP program. I will be right back, feel free to chat.

John Vollmer: Here are a few things we are doing here in Washington State. We conducted a state-wide, month-long, multi-hazard "Prepare? Because You Care" campaign, a part of which is a state-wide Drop, Cover, and Hold earthquake drill broadcast on EAS. We estimate about 2 million participated this year. In our 1998 campaign, Oregon joined us on the Drop, Cover and Hold Drill. We also conducted a "Partners In Emergency Preparedness" conference this year in Bellevue.

This was a partnership venture with the ARC, Washington State Emergency Management Association and State Emergency Management Division. In addition, through another partnership with Puget Sound Energy and King County Fire and Life Safety and state EMD, we conducted an outreach program with the elementary schools using a super hero character (the Preventor) and brought a school assembly program to over 100,000 children. Just a few of the many things going on here.

Kevin Farrell: Two million participants? That's great. Amy, John was making a comment while you were out.

Amy Sebring: Here it is <http://www.cns.gov/senior/sc_rsvp.html>. This is a state directory of RSVP programs. Sounds like you are doing some imaginative things, John.

Amy Sebring: Thank you all so much for being here today. Again, sorry for the tech problems at EMI. Will try again tomorrow evening. And the Act Now update will also be posted in our Virtual Library, when I get it! I am going to get some lunch now.

Joanne McGlown: Thanks, Amy. See you tomorrow night!

Isabel McCurdy: Thanks Amy.

Kevin Farrell: So long everyone!

Robert Lecky: BYE.

Hal Newman: Merci, Amy. Have an excellent day.

Phil Kent: We are developing a Web based Emergency Response Link (ERLink) for the National Communications System in support of FEMA. It consists of a primary and backup secure web servers. We are bringing up a demonstration Web server <www.erlink.com> next week. Still a few rough edges, but please visit the site next week. I would welcome comments also <[email protected]>. Enjoyed the chat session, my first. I plan to drop in again. Bye, Phil Kent.

Isabel McCurdy: Thanks everyone for coming today. Glad you were here, Phil. Come again. And of course, everyone else. Who still is here?

Angela Bowen: I am. Will stay as long as anyone can chat.

AK Miller: Still here, too.

Isabel McCurdy: Angela, Enjoy today in spite of tech difficulties? Hi Andy.

Tim Brittan: I joined late, but looks like a very good turnout today.

Isabel McCurdy: Excellent turnout. But tech problems at EMI.

Angela Bowen: Am hooked!! Still looking for published educational information.

AK Miller: Someone mentioned corporate sponsorship in the discussion. We took the FEMA backgrounders and reworked them for our location and produced an all-hazards handbook for each household and covered the expense with advertising dollars.

Angela Bowen: How did the handbooks get distributed?

AK Miller: In the newspaper and with the door-to-door ads and US mail. Some people got several.

Angela Bowen: Who did the door-to-door? How large or small is your population?

AK Miller: Door-to-door was in conjunction with a local mass mailer. County has 146,000.

Angela Bowen: What about the language barriers?

Isabel McCurdy: Language?

Angela Bowen: We have 51 languages in San Jose

AK Miller: Luckily, English works for the community.

Isabel McCurdy: Could I get a copy of your hand book?

Angela Bowen: Me too?

AK Miller: We have also started to put the AHH on the WEB and with the web based language converter, you could cover some of the languages.

AK Miller: Isabel, try <http://www.pcema.com>. Or give me your address and I'll mail you a copy.

Isabel McCurdy: Thanks Andy.

Isabel McCurdy: Hi Steve.

Steve Charvat: Hello all. Sorry, I am late.

Isabel McCurdy: Are you at the conference, Steve?

Steve Charvat: No ma'am. I am chained to my desk here at Phoenix City Hall!

Isabel McCurdy: Chained, eh? Just having a look at your site, Andy. Be right back.

Angela Bowen: AK, see my personal profile and send me a copy. Angela.

AK Miller: It'll be in tomorrow's mail but you have everything in your profile as private, the address doesn't show.

Isabel McCurdy: Sorry, folks, bumped myself off. What did I miss?

Angela Bowen: Oh, Angela Bowen, City of San Jose OES, 855 N. San Pedro St. Rm. 404, San Jose, CA 95110-1718. I'll have to figure how to get that information off private.

AK Miller: Go in and use the check boxes to make what you want public.

Angela Bowen: Thanks. Anyone else have anything?

Isabel McCurdy: Not me. Shall we close for today?

Angela Bowen: Let me just verify. This occurs every Thursday at 5:00PM CA time and Tuesdays at 9:00 AM CA time?

Isabel McCurdy: Tuesdays are at 10:00 CA time.

Angela Bowen: Thanks. I look forward to talking with everyone again. Bye!

Isabel McCurdy: And of course, don't forget Wednesday.

Angela Bowen: Wednesday?

Isabel McCurdy: Today.

Angela Bowen: Was today a regularly scheduled "chat"? I thought it was a special session.

Isabel McCurdy: Every Wednesday at this time we have presentations. Today was a LIVE session.

Angela Bowen: OK. Tuedays at 10, Wednesdays at 9, and Thursdays at 5. Got it. AB

AK Miller: Don't forget in the library archive page you can download past sessions that you may have missed.

Angela Bowen: Very cool.

Isabel McCurdy: Angela, you got it. And don't forget to subscribe. Thanks Andy.

Angela Bowen: To whom, for what?

Isabel McCurdy: There are listserve to keep you abreast of events in the emergency management field. Check it out.

AK Miller: We need new partners and participants. Partners get a newsletter in their email and the discussion groups are tied to email too. See you tommorrow. Bye.

Isabel McCurdy: Bye Andy. See you tomorrow, thanks again for your help.

Angela Bowen: OK. Now I think I have everything. I'm going to spend some time in the site and see what I can pick up for myself. Thanks for all the help. Soon, I, too will be able to help the new people. See you tomorrow (hopefully). Bye.


Isabel McCurdy: Look forward to seeing you tomorrow, Angela. Well folks, anything else? If not, let's call it a day! Bye for now.