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Entries in Preparedness (18)


How Safe Are Your Memories?

Recently I had the pleasure of working on a unique project co-authoring an article with someone I know that does scrap booking, and photo management. That person is Karen Siegel Fitting . I like projects like this not just because it forces me to think outside the box but also because it gets people to think differently about disaster preparedness.

That article is below in its entirety for your enjoyment and if you love scrap booking, photography or have lots of photos please take the time to visit Karen Siegel Fitting's website where you will learn plenty about the subject of photo management.


Photos, when lost, are often the one thing people wish they had saved. Homes, computers, furniture can all be repaired or replaced. It often takes a loss for us to realize how important it is to make backups. Here are some tips for implementing a system right now.

Keep your most cherished printed albums near the door so you can 'grab & go' in the event of emergency evacuation. This might be wedding or genealogy albums that are irreplaceable. Of course, there are great scanning solutions that are inexpensive and well worth the effort to have an electronic version - just in case.

Having a USB drive that contains current family pictures is a great safety measure. During a disaster, it will be important to show recent photos to aid in search & rescue, especially for children. Many mobile phones have space for a memory card - consider taking pictures of your family right from your phone and save it to that card. Remember though, the key is to have current day pictures so update them, at least quarterly, for growing children.

Backing up to CD or DVD and keeping them in a fire safe box might be considered common practice. Be aware. Paper burns at 400 degrees and standard fire safes are rated for 350 degrees. CDs, DVDs, and photographs melt and become destroyed at around 150 degrees. Depending on the importance of your images, there are safes on the market that will accommodate you though they are more expensive than standard fire safes. You will want to know how long they can survive in the heat as well as their temperature rating.

CDs and DVDs also have a limited use and actually wear down in time; even the ones that are not re-writable typically become worn down after using them about 1,000 times. If you decide to back up to CD or DVD make sure you make extra copies and store them in a safe place away from heat. One copy to use and another to store may be a good idea.

As an alternative, there are external hard drives and servers at reasonable prices that can withstand fire for at least 30 minutes as well as flooding. We are seeing the improvement of technology to help us keep our memories safe at a great price! In addition, it is worth considering the use of an internet based back-up solution for the most important images.... Just in case.

Now the question to ask is manual vs. automatic back up? Even though the manual backup may take longer, you have more assurance it is getting done. Using a trusted, reliable automatic backup will be more efficient; however it is up to you to make sure you double check that it is doing the job well. A blend of these options is your best solution to lessen the risk of potential loss.

Our computers are becoming the modern day shoebox for our photos and important memories. It is even more important today to make sure those memories last for future generations to enjoy.

Additional Info: Underwriters Laboratories. "Record Protection" and Underwriters Laboratories. "Ten things you did not know about UL's safe testing" (both 16 Dec. 2009)

Karen Siegel Fitting has been helping her clients keep up-to-date with their photos for over 7 years. Since January, 2009 her clients have completed over 30 albums, hundreds of pages, and have maintained sanity in the effort of keeping their photos managed. Learn more about how to get your photos out of hiding and into your life at by visiting Karen at her website PhotosKeptAlive.

Keith Erwood is the Owner and Principal of Continuity Corporation a risk management business, specializing in business continuity, disaster recovery and emergency preparedness for business. Keith has also authored numerous articles on preparedness issues and writes the, he regularly speaks on preparedness as well. Keith is currently the President of his local chapter of ACP (Association of Contingency Planners - International) and recently started

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Disaster Tip of The Week: Have A Battery Powered Radio and Extra Batteries

When a catastrophic disaster occurs it often results in the loss of power. However, many radio stations will still be able to transmit information over the air waves.

In order to hear this information, and hear news about highways, rescues, orders to evacute and other important information you will need to have either a battery powered radio, a solar powered radio or a radio that works when you wind it up.

The radios I personally use work with both batteries and through winding it up, but everyone has there own preference.

One important thing to remember though is if your radio uses only battery power, make sure you have plenty of extra fresh batteries on hand. 

Also excellent and highly recommended are the NOAA weather alert radios that you can set to come on during an emergency.

No matter what type you prefer just choose something and keep it in your disaster kit.


Bay Bridge Closure and How to Mitigate Workforce Disruptions

Workforce disruptions can be caused by a large number of different events such as strikes, protests, workplace violence, absenteeism due to illness (think pandemics and epidemics like the current H1N1 virus) and even transportation issues.

Typically the impact of these events can be mitigated, but to do so requires planning for the event ahead of time.  Including these types of events in your continuity planning and enterprise resilience will certainly put you ahead of the game when these incidents arise.

In the past I have witnessed several of these types of disruptions in both large and small scales and in many of these cases the businesses that had plans in place fair far better than those that do not.

In the last two months the Bay Bridge has been closed down twice for repairs. The first was a planned shut down during a holiday weekend, but extended due to discoveries of needed repairs. The second occurred after the recent repair job failed.

There are many ways to mitigate the impact from these events ranging from staggered and flexible work hours for employees, making arrangements for key employees to stay in other locations, having some employees work from home, car pools, planned shuttle services, utilization of other transportation services, etc.

Each of these can help your business reduce impacts from these types of events and each of these also presents their own problems which is why you should be planning these things in advance and making them a part of your continuity management programs.

Knowing what you will do in these types of events will also assist you for planing other events that may also cause workforce disruptions. If you are considering creating a plan or would like other solutions to supplement what you are already doing please give us the opportunity to assist you. Visit our site at: Continuity Corporation or give as a call 877-565-8324


With 81 Healthcare Workers Infected With H1N1, Are Hospitals Doing Enough To Curb The Spread?

With the number of healthcare workers in the United States becoming infected with novel Influenza A (H1N1) reaches at least 81, we are left with the question Are hospitals doing enough to protect against the spread of the H1N1 virus?

While I cannot speak for each healthcare facility individually, I would have to say with the information in the MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report) the answer is a resounding no. Half of the 48 included in the study were found to have been infected in the heatlhcare setting and include one possible case of a heathcare worker infecting another. The report also has found 11 cases deemed to be patient to healthcare worker transmission.

According to the report, only two of the persons included in the study indicated that they always wore surgical masks (inadequate protection) and only 1 indicated that they wore an N95 respirator mask. Two others indicate they wore masks sometimes.

In the healthcare setting it is important to identify patients with swine flu or H1N1 early, or as Dr. Michael Bell of the CDC's Center for Preparedness, Detection and Control of Infectious Diseases puts it these patients, "need to be identified at the front door" of the hospital so that personnel will know they need to take preventive measures, such as wearing masks, isolating the patients and paying particular attention to hand hygiene.

He also stated "absolutely essential that healthcare personnel be vaccinated annually, for their own protection and to protect patients in hospitals."

It is also important that healthcare workers remain informed and take proper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) precautions.

I've also come to discover at one location where a confirmed H1N1 case was being taking care of, that healthcare attendance within the unit dropped 25% at that particular facility.

This may be attributed to a lack of educational awareness, a lack in PPE equipment, a lack of adequate hospital preparedness measures or a combination of the three. Of course the argument can be made that it was coincidence, or the workers were actually ill, but this is most likely not the case.

While it is impossible to 100% completly stop the spread of the H1N1 virus or any other such disease, there are steps that can be taken to prevent and reduce the spread.

Healthcare facilities need to ensure that proper education of employees is taking place and that these procedures are being followed. They also must ensure that proper and timely screenings are being done as potential patients are entering the hospital or other healthcare setting to help reduce the spread.



National Guard Drill Last Week In Des Moines, Iowa

National Guard units from three States Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska along with 500 members of other emergency response agencies took part in a a large scale drill last week.

The exercise was called vigilant Guard 2009, and included a simulated train wreak and about 166 Iowans took part in the drill playing injured and dead victims.