Published September 15, 2009
Volume 17, Number 9

Four Vulnerability Preparedness Initiatives Slated for October

As Emergency Preparedness Manager with the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department, Genevieve Pastor-Cohen has an especially full plate in October. The department is orchestrating public awareness campaigns for four different community vulnerabilities: flu season, fire prevention, Community Emergency Response Team training, and earthquake preparedness. Here is a summary of local efforts relating to these issues.  

Flu Season, October 1: This year’s flu season brings additional concern about the H1N1 virus (originally referred to as swine flu). The federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have been working with state and local public health departments to track H1N1’s spread and impact.

While the CDC analysis “supports the conclusion that novel H1N1 flu has caused greater disease burden in people younger than 25 years of age than older people,” preparedness is the watchword and first line of defense. Follow these primary preventive measures:  1) Cover your cough or sneeze; 2) Wash hands often; 3) Stay home when sick; 4) Avoid others showing flu-like symptoms.

In late August Pastor-Cohen and other business continuity planners produced a list of 10 key pandemic planning components, ranging from Leadership and Education to HR Policies and Procedures and Key Business Processes. For details, contact her at GPastor-Cohen@lpfire.org. For information on the flu, vaccines, and other pandemic preparation, visit www.cdc.gov and  www.flu.gov.

Fire Prevention Week, October 4-10: Established to commemorate the 1871 Great Chicago Fire, Fire Prevention Week has become an annual vehicle to remind the public about the devastating danger and offer the latest tips on how it can be avoided. The theme for 2009 is “Stay Fire Smart! Don’t Get Burned,”  focusing on burn awareness and prevention, as well as keeping homes safe from the leading causes of home fires. Find out about local events at www.ci.pleasanton.ca.us/services/fire/ or by calling the department at (925) 454-2361.  

CERT Class, October 14: Keeping her commitment to redevelop the Community Emergency Response Team program, or CERT, Pastor-Cohen announces that a new class will be starting on October 14. CERT classes offer hands-on training in disaster first aid, basic fire fighting, disaster preparedness, damage assessment, utility control, light search and rescue operations, and team emergency organization. Register through the online Pleasanton USD Adult Education Course Catalog, in the “Health & Safety” category, at  www.pleasanton.k12.ca.us/EducationalServices/AdultEducation.

The Great ShakeOut, October 15: At 10:15 a.m. on October 15, millions of Californians will practice the earthquake preparedness drill “Drop, Cover, and Hold On.” Last year, nearly 5.5 million Southern Californians participated in the 2008 ShakeOut; the event is now statewide, the third Thursday of October each year. Businesses, organizations, and community groups of all sizes can conduct such drills on their own premises at the appointed hour. The idea is to create a kind of “muscle memory” to trigger the appropriate protective responses in case of an earthquake. It is also a good time for companies to review their own disaster planning to reduce losses and recover quickly. Register your drill at www.shakeout.org so organizers can keep track of the total participants. The website also has a wealth of materials to help prepare for the drill.


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