- 1. The National Drought Mitigation Center which is located at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln was established to help communities reduce their vulnerability to drought. The center houses the US Drought Monitor which provides a weekly map that shows drought conditions throughout the country. The US Drought Monitor is a partnership with the US Department of Agriculture, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and about 350 experts around the United States. Drought relief for agriculture in part is based on information provided by the US Drought Monitor. The center works with state and tribal governments and national governments around the world to develop risk management strategies related to monitoring, early warning, and planning. (See endnote 2.)
- 2. The California Seismic Safety Commission in Sacramento, California, through their publication entitled A Safer, More Resilient California: The State Plan for Earthquake Research (CSSC Publication 2004-03, June 2004) (See endnote 95) discusses how best to mitigate the effects of earthquakes by encouraging earthquake research as part of its 5-year hazard reduction plan. It recommends and makes available information on: coordination of research activities in California; research priorities such as improving hazard assessments and seismic monitoring; cost-effective mitigation strategies; postearthquake investigations; social and economic vulnerabilities; new product development; turning research into practice by encouraging the adoption of relevant findings; and methods of cost-effective research.
- 3. Hazus-MH is a GIS-based regional loss estimation tool. It was developed by FEMA and the National Institute of Building Sciences. It provides loss estimates for earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods. Its disadvantage is that does not provide details of infrastructure at the local level. However, it identifies critical response facilities such as fire stations, police stations, hospitals, city emergency operations centers, and evacuation centers. It identifies and discusses utility infrastructure such as potable water systems, electric power systems, wastewater systems, oil refineries, natural gas systems, and communication systems. It identifies freeways, streets, bridges, railroads, airports, and harbor facilities.
- 4. The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program was established by Congress to coordinate the activities of the National Science Foundation, National Institute of
Standards and Technology, US Geological Survey, and FEMA. The Agency supports basic earthquake research related to earth sciences, social sciences, and engineering as well as empirical research carried out after earthquakes. It uses the information to develop better earthquake practices, performance-based tools, guidelines, and standards to improve risk assessment and provide better techniques of mitigation. FEMA is the lead group in providing and disseminating a variety of publications to the public and others.
- 5. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued a series of announcements and podcasts concerning floods and what to do in the aftermath. The topics covered under “Floods: Public Service Announcements and Podcasts” (Atlanta, Georgia, November 1, 2012) include mold, chainsaw injuries, hand washing, electrical safety, re-entry to damaged buildings and facilities, preventing tetanus, electrical safety, safe food, pharmaceuticals exposed to flood waters, potential drowning especially for children, identifying and treating hypothermia, dog safety, rodent control, driving through water, disaster distress hotline, and coping with depression. (See endnote 19.)
- 6. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have provided links to resources for emergency responses concerning: Hurricane Recovery; Generator Safety; Medical Recommendations for Relief Workers and Emergency Responders; Interim Assessment Tools for Occupational Safety and Health in Hospitals, Health Departments, and Shelters Involved in Hurricane Response; Air Quality; Carbon Monoxide; Confined Spaces; Cold Stress; Disaster Site Management; Electrical Hazards; Falls; Fire; Hazardous Materials; Healthcare Workers; Heat Stress; Identifying and Handling Human Remains; Motor Vehicles and Machines Safety; Musculoskeletal Hazards; Protective Equipment and Clothing; Stress and Fatigue; Other Stress and Fatigue Resources; Tree Removal/ Chainsaws; West Nile Virus; Interim Guidance on Health and Safety Hazards When Working with Displaced Domestic Animals; Pet Care; and Radiation. (See endnote 45.)
- 7. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Environmental Health, Division of Emergency and Environmental Health Services, in conjunction with federal, state, and local health agencies and the National Environmental Health Association present a series of courses, thereby training existing professionals in special courses including Environmental Health Training in Emergency Response and the specific areas of: food safety; potable water; wastewater; shelters; vector control; responder safety; disaster management; solid waste and hazardous materials; building assessments; and radiation. (See endnotes 50, 51.)
- 8. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides a series of resources for coping with disasters for individuals, parents and families, teachers and schools, health professionals, and local and state health departments, in a document entitled Coping with a Disaster or Traumatic Event. (See endnote 54.)
- 9. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies provides a series of modules in disaster preparedness that can be utilized by communities in addressing the problems. These modules include information on: disasters; disaster needs assessment; response based on assessments; reporting; how to conduct assessments visually, through interviews, using sampling techniques, and relying on other sources; avoiding assessment bias; different assessment tools; finding recurrent patterns in various natural and weather connected disasters, as well as chemical and industrial accidents.
- 10. The American Red Cross responds to about 70,000 disasters in the United States yearly. They provide mobile emergency response vehicles, food, water, shelters, trained volunteer workers, health and mental health contacts, and other supplies both personal and for cleanup and temporary housing, etc.
- 11. The Corporation for National and Community Service provides a document entitled Disaster Relief Agencies (see endnote 96), which lists and gives a short statement on the services provided by a large number of volunteer and church groups which will help in a variety of ways during and after a disaster.
- 12. The “Environmental Health Emergency Response Guide” with project leadership by Brian R. Golob was developed by the Twin Cities Metro Advanced Practice Center in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Association of County and City Health Officials. It is an excellent source of information for environmental health practitioners to add as a resource to their knowledge and existing disaster plans within their communities. (See endnote 61.)
- 13. OSHA requires that employers comply with hazard-specific safety and health standards to ensure that workers receive necessary protection to avoid injuries and illness, short-term and long-term. Although some of the states have their own OSHA-approved State Plan, all states have to meet the requirements for the safety and health of workers involved in disaster response, cleanup, recovery, or any other situations that occur as a result of the disaster. OSHA is involved in: preparing for catastrophic events; the crisis management phase of the event; the recovery phase of the event; and the re-occupancy of the structures. They have highly trained response teams that can go into operation as needed and their laboratories and engineering services are always available and on call.
- 14. OSHA provides specialized training courses for workers and for trainers of workers in all phases of disasters. They offer a series of training courses in disaster work including the 15-Hour Disaster Site Worker Course Number 7600 which provides specialized information to those involved in utilities, demolition, debris removal, or use of heavy equipment. This course emphasizes knowledge, precautions, and personal protection by discussing hazard recognition, traumatic stress from the disaster, personal protective equipment to be used, and decontamination. There is an emphasis on the use and maintenance of proper respirators for the situation involved. Another course is HAZWOPER for individuals who are involved in chemical and oil spills and radiological disasters as well as the remediation of hazardous waste sites. (See endnote 62.) OSHA also provides a series of health and safety guides on a variety of topics. OSHA carries out on-site inspections and is involved in many other ways in worker safety and health issues.
- 15. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has prepared a set of guidelines for disaster waste management. They discuss the framework for disaster waste management including the four major phases: emergency phase, early recovery phase, recovery phase, and contingency planning. They present a series of tools that can be used in the work. (See endnote 65.)
- 16. FEMA is involved in all phases of disasters and disaster relief. When a major disaster occurs, the President of the United States makes a determination of what has occurred and then may declare a major disaster with the funding coming from the President’s Disaster Relief Fund which is managed by FEMA and disaster aid programs of other federal agencies. The local government is helped by numerous volunteers and if overwhelmed asks the state for assistance. The state helps with the National Guard and various state agencies. Damage assessment is made by local, state, federal, and volunteer groups which determine the types and amount of losses and recovery needs. The governor of the state requests a Major Disaster Declaration based on the facts that have been discovered and the resources available. FEMA evaluates the request and the recommendations and the community and state’s ability to recover and advises the White House. The President then approves the request or denies it, and FEMA contacts the governor. This process can take hours or weeks depending on the situation. The disaster aid programs include individual assistance; disaster housing; disaster grants; low-interest disaster loans; and other disaster aid programs which involve crisis counseling, unemployment assistance because of the disaster, legal aid and help with income taxes, and social security and veterans’ benefits. Applications need to be filled out for all types of aid and then they are evaluated and granted or rejected based on the situation. FEMA then helps the community with hazard mitigation studies and Best Practices for all types of situations. (See endnote 94.)