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ROI: Region One Insights May 22nd, 2024
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National Preparedness Month

Posted by on September 11th, 2023 Posted in: Uncategorized

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September is National Preparedness Month which raises awareness of preparing for emergencies and disasters. Ready.gov is one of many organizations that provides a plethora of resources for making plans for emergencies, becoming involved in your community, and various informational sheets on preparing for disasters such as hurricanes, winter storms, active shooter situations, fires etc. Ready is a National public service campaign designed to educate and empower the American people to prepare for, respond to and mitigate emergencies, including natural and man-made disasters. The goal of the campaign is to promote preparedness through public involvement. The Ready Campaign also promotes an annual theme and this year “Focuses on preparing older adults for disaster, specifically older adults from communities that are disproportionally impacted by the all-hazard events, which continue to threaten the nation.”

Libraries can become involved in preparing their staff and patrons for preparedness by creating resources like a LibGuide or brochures for emergency preparedness that details how to handle different emergency situations such as, where to retrieve first aid kits, where to evacuate, and emergency contact information. Libraries should work in a supportive role in their community response and recovery from disasters and be involved in pre-disaster planning and decision-making. Library staff should meet regularly with first responders to create their emergency plans and conduct training and emergency drills. Libraries could also offer library workshops to their patrons on emergency preparedness and be encouraged to attend workshops on disaster planning and emergency preparedness.

NNLM has created a Disaster Planning and Preparation Forum for September 2023. This free virtual forum on disaster planning and preparedness will feature expert speakers presenting on data tools and resources, disaster planning communication, and institutional preparedness with a focus on greater inclusiveness and community resilience. Disasters may include weather events, pandemic, violence (mass shooter, violent protests), accidents (train derailment, building collapse, etc.), earthquake, explosion or any other event that may be sudden, unexpected and poses dangers to life and property. The webinar series will take place between September 12 – 28, 2023.

OnTheMap for Emergency Management and My Community Explorer Data Tools (https://www.nnlm.gov/training/class/onthemap-emergency-management-and-my-community-explorer-data-tools) is a one hour webinar featuring a guest speaker from the United States Census Bureau, and introduces the Census data tools:  OnTheMap for Emergency Management and Community Resilience Estimates. It is a part of the September 2023 NNLM Virtual Disaster Preparedness Forum. Attendees will be introduced to the Census data tools:  OnTheMap for Emergency Management and Community Resilience Estimates. They will also learn about the various Census Bureau surveys and programs that are involved with OnTheMap for Emergency Management and Community Resilience Estimates. They will become familiar with OnTheMap for Emergency Management to retrieve reports containing detailed workforce, population, and housing characteristics for potential disasters affecting your area. They will also become familiar with Community Resilience Estimates to discover how at risk your area or neighborhood is to a potential disaster.

Why Comics Work for Risk Communication (https://www.nnlm.gov/training/class/why-comics-work-risk-communication) is a training session being offered through NNLM. When a disaster strikes—whether that’s a hurricane or a coronavirus outbreak—people need to quickly understand the actual risk and what they can do to keep themselves safe. However, helping people to comprehend that information is difficult when the situation is complex and your audience is under stress. The comics medium, with its unique visual and narrative characteristics, can be an effective tool for risk communication. Comics can make the unfamiliar more concrete, adding clarity to information in uncertain situations. Comics also have the potential to humanize difficult asks for public safety by leaning into empathy and emotion. In this talk, Meredith Li-Vollmer, a risk communication specialist, will discuss how the health department in Seattle and King County, Washington has used comics to convey critical health information for emergency preparedness and response. This session will help attendees define risk communication, identify methods of communicating disaster preparedness information to the public using comics and discuss the value of comics in risk communication using comics.

Another workshop is the ASPR TRACIE: A Healthcare Emergency Preparedness Information Gateway (https://www.nnlm.gov/training/class/aspr-tracie-healthcare-emergency-preparedness-information-gateway). The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE) provides stakeholders easy access to healthcare emergency preparedness information, promising practices, and relevant new knowledge. ASPR TRACIE is designed to identify and remedy knowledge gaps and provide unique and complex technical assistance to a variety of stakeholders working to meet healthcare system and public health preparedness objectives. During this webinar, speakers will provide an overview of the three domains of ASPR TRACIE (technical resources, assistance center, and information exchange) and will discuss recent resources and tools ASPR TRACIE developed in coordination with its subject matter expert (SME) Cadre in response to current hot topics in healthcare preparedness such as: community resilience, equity in disasters, highly pathogenic infectious diseases, climate change resilience, utility failures/outages, workplace violence, and behavioral health and workforce resilience. Attendees will learn to identify resources in ASPR TRACIE for emergency planning & preparedness. They will also recognize relevant information tools for planning & preparedness.

The Graphic Medicine Virtual Book Club: Emergency Preparedness and Recovery (https://www.nnlm.gov/training/class/graphic-medicine-virtual-book-club-emergency-preparedness-and-recovery) is another training to check out through NNLM. After acquiring and reading Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans by Don Brown from your local library or book seller, please join us for a book discussion covering topics such as community and individual preparedness, equity issues in preparedness, uses of graphic non-fiction for preparedness outreach, and more. From the Publisher: “On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina’s monstrous winds and surging water overwhelmed the protective levees around low-lying New Orleans, Louisiana…The riveting tale of this historic storm and the drowning of an American city is one of selflessness, heroism, and courage—and also of incompetence, racism, and criminality. Don Brown’s kinetic art and as-it-happens narrative capture both the tragedy and triumph of one of the worst natural disasters in American history.” Upon completion of the class, participants will be able to claim 1 MLA CE Credit. In this workshop, attendees will discuss how community and individual preparedness failures lead to equity issues and what that could mean for our communities. This session will discuss lessons learned and failed opportunities to better understand preparedness in our lives and communities.

Informal Weather Education Outreach (https://www.nnlm.gov/training/class/informal-weather-education-outreach) is another emergency preparedness workshop. This one-hour webinar explores best practices in informal weather education outreach and share successful examples from the Extreme Events Institute (EEI) and International Hurricane Research Center (IHRC) at Florida International University (FIU) in Miami, Florida (http://eei.fiu.edu/).  Attendees will learn about the NOAA Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador Program and ways to make your community Ready, Responsive and Resilient. This includes weather science, safety, mitigation, and preparedness and engages public-private-corporate partnerships, including your local National Weather Service, emergency management, and media.  Attendees will also learn about FIU’s amazing NSF-NHERI Wall of Wind (http://www.ihrc.fiu.edu/). Attendees will learn basics in weather science, safety, mitigation, and preparedness.

This post was written by Meghan Hupe, Director of Information & Delivery Services, Dalgren Memorial Library, The Graduate Health & Life Sciences Research Library at Georgetown University Medical Center.

Image of the author ABOUT fsteele
Faith Steele, MLS, is the Outreach and Education Librarian for Region 1 for the Network of the National Library of Medicine at the University of Maryland Baltimore. She connects libraries to community health partners, provides training and funding to help communities access quality health information.

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