New disaster management software released worldwide (Video) - InaSAFE 2.0 free and open source
InaSAFE 2.0 (Published on Apr 3, 2014)
InaSAFE is free software that allows disaster managers to study realistic natural hazard impact scenarios for better planning, preparedness and response activities.
New disaster management software released worldwide (Video) - InaSAFE 2.0 free and open source
Singapore offers Changi facility as ASEAN disaster response centre
COMMENT: This is an interesting development earlier this weekend from the Asia-Pacific perspective, and could be a model for the United States to cooperate and coordinate their resources in the “Ring Of Fire” seismology and volcanology zone that circumnavigates the Pacific Ocean.
The city-state of Singapore in South-East Asia has enthusiatically offered their Changi maritime facility for this purpose. The strategic location of Singapore, in the heart of the Strait of Malacca that connects the Indian Ocean with the Pacific Ocean, provides the perfect scenario for emergency preparedness and disaster management from an international maritime perspective. The United States government, for its part, as seen in the TodayOnline photo here with US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, would be wise to cultivate this natural relationship between two modern economic entities.
Along those lines, this blogger would like to propose a similar concept on the United States side of the Pacific Ocean, that could benefit the State of California and the San Francisco Bay Area in particular. A disaster response center (centre for our international audience) located in an exisiting maritime scenario in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’m speaking of Vallejo, California, and Mare Island in particular.
Why? Mare Island in Vallejo, California, already has a maritime history, and much of the infrastructure to accommodate maritime activities still exist at that location. Mare Island is scheduled to host a transportation fuel depot in the near future. Also, the California Maritime Academy or CMA is a military-oriented education institution, part of the California State university system, located in South Vallejo and already has a 3D simulation facility for accommodating such maritime disaster training exercises. Add to this the federal United States Coast Guard facility nearby across from Mare Island, and Vallejo’s strategic location away from the San Andreas and Hayward earthquake fault-lines, and you have ample reasons for Vallejo and Mare Island to be seriously considered for such a mission.
Responsible policymakers in the city and region should, in the professional view of this blogger, consider this scenario as a serious proposal to offer the United States federal government. This would provide a way to stimulate the city’s economic base, attract a highly educated workforce to live in the city, and once again, give Vallejo and Mare Island reason for optimism and pride. Just make sure to give this blogger full credit if this proposal indeed becomes a reality.
COMMENT: In the wake of this weekend’s M5.1 earthquake in the Los Angeles region, the issue of resiliency or the ability of municipalities to cope with both a certain level of population and infrastructure growth, and the ability to handle major natural and man-made disasters in the face of that growth, is a monumental challenge that most public and private sector personnel will have to cope with going forward.
Today we are hearing of new approaches to this challenge in the form of global entities helping to create so-called resilient cities, and municipalities appointing chief resilience officers, for example.
Rockefeller Foundation (see graphic) has been in the lead role worldwide in publicizing the issue of creating resilient cities. They have initiated the 100 resilient cities project (see link) in which cities in major metropolitan regions pledge to do just that. Their definition of this is as follows (quote): "is about making people, communities and systems better prepared to withstand catastrophic events – both natural and manmade – and able to bounce back more quickly and emerge stronger from these shocks and stresses." So far, only 33 cities around the world have accepted this challenge. In California, the cities that have pledged to do this are San Francisco, Oakland, Alameda, Berkeley, and Los Angeles.
For Los Angeles in particular, they also have the added incentive from the recent Swiss Re reinsurance company’s report in which they ranked in the top 10 global cities (9th) that are at risk of being hit by natural disasters (see link).
In the face of all this, emergency managers in the United States are becoming more aware of the fact that in this movement to encourage resilient cities and employing chief resilience officers, that the issue of cities modernizing their infrastructure and first responder potential in becoming 21st century cities (see link) is a challenge that they are willing to make in cooperation with policymakers and decisionmakers.
Although these efforts by responsible people on national and international levels are to be commended, one has to wonder at what point is all this preparation for natural and man-made disasters will prove to be too much or overwhelming of the resources and manpower available. Does this mean that at some point in the future, a truly global entity with global jurisdiction that transcends national boundaries will be accepted by the American population?
Building 21st-Century Cities Means Taking the Long View
100 Cities Will Soon Have Their First-Ever Chief Resilience Officers
The 10 Cities Most At Risk Of Being Hit By Natural Disasters
Research Report: Local Homelessness 2012: “We have come dangerously close to accepting the homeless situation as a problem that we just can’t solve.” — Linda Lingle, Philanthropedia (Menlo Park, California)
COMMENT: San Francisco Bay Area should be ashamed of themselves when it comes to dealing with the very real issue of homelessness. Especially the counties that make up the “wealthy” side of the Bay Area…San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara. This metropolitan area is considered the most wealthy in all America; yet find it difficult to even deal with in material terms the growing plight of people falling behind in our post-industrial, technologically advanced society.
Today’s Business Insider brief writeup on the issue (see link) really sums it up. It depicts Silicon Valley in contrasting terms and really highlights the growing income and opportunity disparities that exist as a result of the wildly “successful” information-oriented, high technology businesses located in this region. According to this writeup, over 50 percent of Silicon Valley workers don’t make at least $90K salary to support a family of four in the region. That’s working adults struggling to maintain a place to live. With the homeless population, it seems all the monies in the world somehow cannot find its way down to the downtrodden inhabiting Silicon Valley streets. The “solution” from San Jose, for example, is to put up the homeless in motels (see link) and hope no one notices.
Meanwhile, up the peninsula in San Francisco, that city is working real hard to “whitewash” the fact that this most famous “tourist attraction” destination doesn’t have a problem with homelessness. Homeless on the streets? Wash away the problem (see link). Homeless in The City? There’s an app to handle that (see link). Don’t want the homeless near your building? An architect will design them out (see link). San Francisco simultaneously is having to deal with increasing homelessness among the youth and handling personal hygiene solutions on top of those examples.
The Well-Being Index for 2013 (see link) that Gallup produces on an annual basis is also interesting. In that nationwide index, where metropolitan areas were measure for (quote) “health, work environment, and access to basic necessities” (end quote), the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metropolitan area came out number 5 on the list, with the San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont metropolitan area coming in at number 7 on the list. So where does the homeless population in the entire Bay Area fit into that?
This image of a wealthy, nothing-is-wrong, Bay Area region — where compassion for the less fortunate among us is decreasing at a rapid pace — is seriously broken. Policymakers and the business community need to get a grip on this soon, or the humpty-dumpty image of this part of California will be broken and never be put back together again, like the poem says.
Jarring Photos Show The Homelessness Crisis Silicon Valley Is Afraid To Confront
Activists Say San Francisco Trying To Wash Away The Homeless
Homeless In San Francisco? There’s An App For That http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2014/03/26/homeless-app-sf
Phil Matier: Architecture Aims To Keep Homeless Away From San Francisco Buildings
S.F. homeless youth count nears 1,000 despite spending
Converted Bus To Begin Service As San Francisco Homeless Shower Station In May
San Jose moves ahead with homeless-in-motels proposal
HIV On The Rise In San Jose Homeless Encampment Known As “The Jungle”
State of American Well-Being: 2013 State, Community and Congressional District Analysis
COMMENT: When a video about space exploration starts off with, “If things don’t work out on this planet…”, by the narrator (watch video), that will perk up some ears. When the video in question is about the search for habitable planets similar to our own, that usually raises eyebrows. But when the video in question is linked to an article that references a conference being held in Arizona this week, featuring the Vatican and 200 scientists, that should bring you to full attention, especially if you’re an American. Make sure your coffee is espresso.
Space.com, a prominent website that covers NASA and other space exploration news, is the source of the video in question here. They are reporting (see article) that from March 16-21, 2014, Vatican officials and 200 scientists are meeting in Tucson, Arizona, where details on possible habitable planets that could have, and should have, been identified by the better known NASA Hubble or Kepler telescopes are being revealed and discussed.
People should be asking this question: where does the Vatican, a religious organization from a city-state in Italy, figure into this issue? The vast majority of people on this planet do not know, and are not aware of, the fact that Vatican City has not only been interested in the science of astronomy, but also that not far from Tucson, Arizona, is a massive telescope located on Mount Graham, built and owned by the Vatican itself, in joint partnership with the University of Arizona. This is no ordinary telescope, mind you. In operation now for many many years, this is the most powerful earthbound telescope in existence, with the primary feature of that telescope being an infrared device attached to the main optics, called by its acronym, LUCIFER, or the Large Binocular Telescope Near-infrared Utility with Camera and Integral Field Unit for Extragalactic Research. Using the infrared light spectrum allows the observer to see distant objects with greater clarity than ordinary optics in a telescope. This is a strange way of naming a telescope, coming from a supposed “Christian” organization.
Vatican Observatory was the subject of much controversy in the run up to its construction decades ago. The location on Mount Graham of this telescope, which is on sacred ground to nearby Western Apache and Chiricahua Apache tribes, offers the clearest nighttime views of the galaxy without light pollution from urban areas anywhere in North America. In the end, the U.S. government managed to approve the construction of this telescope over the Native American tribes’ objections.
By now you might be saying to yourself, is this crazy or for real? Yes indeed, this is real, folks. Why would the aforementioned video — that starts off with the narrator saying, “If things don’t work out on this planet…” — be of interest to anyone? Are we being told that our planet and civilization is in danger, and that something has to be done about it? What is the real scope and purpose of this week’s Tucson, Arizona, conference featuring the Vatican and 200 scientists? What do they really know about the state of our planet and civilization? Are we being setup for some “big” announcement in the near future? Keep your eyes and ears on alert.
Is Alien Life Out There? Vatican Observatory Co-Hosts Science Conference in Arizona
Lucifer Instrument Helps Astronomers See Through Darkness to Most Distant Observable Objects
Vatican Observatory News
Mount Graham - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
COMMENT: Overlooked by many people is the critical role of hospitals and other healthcare providers in emergency preparedness and disaster response and recovery. This was made evident with the New York Times article on March 12th (see link) criticizing the current state of hospital disaster plans in the United States, citing the U.S. Health and Human Services or HHS probe into this matter.
Per New York Times, Health and Human Services was following up on its decree December 2013 that the more than 68,000 medical entities in the country needed to comply with tough standards for keeping themselves operational during emergencies and disasters, citing the Hurricane Katrina tragedy. But medical industry professionals apparently are putting up resistance to HHS over the initial cost of compliance — about $225 million nationwide. The 68,000 entities in the United States that Health and Human Services want to be in compliance includes the following (quote): "large hospital chains, “mom and pop” nursing homes, home health agencies, rural health clinics, organ transplant procurement organizations, outpatient surgery sites, psychiatric hospitals for youths and kidney dialysis centers."
Previous to this, the Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics back in 2011 had referenced the fact that although U.S. hospitals had emergency and disaster plans in place already, the level of preparedness for handling extreme events — such as nuclear, chemical, biological, and epidemics — was below the expected level or readiness.
Narrowing it down to hospitals, the American Hospital Association or AHA (see link) did release and made available its latest information for 2014 on the total number of registered hospitals in the United States for public consumption — AHA Hospital Statistics, 2014 edition. Concerned citizens can communicate with the hospitals in their local municipality to get a general sense of preparedness for man-made and natural disaster events.
Citing Urgent Need, U.S. Calls on Hospitals to Hone Disaster Plans
2013 Disaster Planning Presentation Downloads
Hospitals and Disaster Preparedness: How Ready Are We?
Preparing Your ICU For Disaster Response Print & EBook
American Hospital Association: Fast Facts
When Pee Meets Pool: The Dangerous Chemicals That May Form When Urine Mixes With Chlorine http://www.medicaldaily.com/when-pee-meets-pool-dangerous-chemicals-may-form-when-urine-mixes-chlorine-271101
Peeing In Pools Can Create Dangerous Neurotoxin Cocktail http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2014/03/12/peeing-in-pools-can-create-dangerous-neurotoxin-cocktail/
COMMENT: Couldn’t let this one get away. This is one of those news stories that on the surface appears to be funny when first mentioned (“peeing in the pool? what?”), but it now appears to be a genuine health concern for the public and is completely based on sound chemistry from high school or university.
Apparently, Purdue University in the United States and China Agricultural University in China separately did research on this topic, now confirmed by a University of California Davis chemistry professor, that indeed humans peeing in chlorinated pools do place themselves in harms way. Harm as in the creation of toxic chemical compounds that affect everybody’s basic health. A simple Google search of the chemistry involved in this process produces this chemical formula:
C5H4N4O3 + Cl + H2O = CNCl + NCl3 + H2O
Uric acid + Chlorine + Water = Cyanogen chloride + Nitrogen Trichloride + Water
You see, Uric Acid is a byproduct from your urine; Chlorine and Water is what you swim in your pool or a public pool. The resulting chemical reaction is Cyanogen Chloride and Nitrogen Trichloride. We’ll let Wikipedia do the honors of explaining what the resulting chemical reaction really is and does to your health:
"Also known as CK, cyanogen chloride is a highly toxic blood agent, and was once proposed for use in chemical warfare."
"Nitrogen trichloride can irritate mucous membranes - it is tear gas."
Just as the UC Davis chemistry professor confirmed. And especially dangerous for the most vulnerable of us all — older persons and children. So next time you decide to frequent your own pool or a public pool, make sure to consider public health concerns (yours and others). Better yet, concerned citizens may want to lobby the pool industry on “greening” the pool (if it is possible) by reducing or eliminating the use of Chlorine as a necessity. Now you know why Mother Nature cannot be topped in its wisdom. Sea water was meant for swimming (salt + water), not chlorinated pool water (chlorine + water).
M 6.9 Earthquake, 77km WNW of Ferndale, California
COMMENT: Late night earthquake off the Northern California coast on Sunday at 10:18pm (system) or 9:18pm (local) Pacific time. Opportunity here to educate and point out a few things about earthquakes in and around California, and especially in Northern California with the threat of tsunamis under certain conditions.
Everyone knows California is prone to and is expecting “the big one” to occur at whatever point in the future. Some people actually know the major faultline running through California is the San Andreas Fault Line, stretching from Southern California border region, through the Salton Sea, through Los Angeles County north to San Francisco Bay Area’s peninsula, then right along the coastline north to the Eureka area, and then turns west into the Pacific Ocean. There is another faultline (see graphic) that intersects the San Andreas Fault Line in the Pacific Ocean. This is the area of concern, because this intersection in the Pacific Ocean is where three continental plates converge — North American plate (east), Pacific plate (west), and the smaller Juan de Fuca plate (north) covering Oregon and Washington coasts.
The blue large circle (see graphic) is the M6.9 earthquake located 40.829°N 125.134°W or west of the red line separating the Juan de Fuca plate from the Pacific plate. Not far from the intersection of the three continental plates. Although the USGS or United States Geological Service reported no tsunami from this earthquake event, the threat of tsunamis is always on the minds of residents in this part of California. For example, the last tsunami that hit this region — the 2010 Eureka earthquake — occurred on January 9, 2010, when a M6.5 earthquake struck not far from the current M6.9 earthquake location, the ensuing tsunami resulted in structural damages, PG&E power loss and no telephone service.
One point of concern when situations like this occur is the isolation of this region in California. Because Humboldt County is less populated and in the extreme north of the State, this region rarely gets the kind of media attention as the more populated San Francisco and Los Angeles regions receive on a daily basis. No doubt this is part of the reason several attempts at secession from California by Northern California counties have occurred, including the most recent one in 2014 for splitting California into six states. Nevertheless, it behooves us here in California to pay attention and not forget that natural events can have a major impact.
Skybox Imaging Captures World’s First High-Resolution, HD Video of Earth from Space (1080p HD)
COMMENT: Here is a perfect example of how technological advancements have outpaced government legislation and will be impacting our modern world now and into the future.
Skybox Imaging Inc. from Mountain View, California, is now offering 3D satellite imaging of military-grade quality for public and private entities involved in emergencies, disasters and business continuity. The catch here is that these 3D military-grade images are full motion 1080p high definition videos with pixel resolutions at the sub-meter level. Public and private entities who subscribe to Skybox Imaging are able to monitor in realtime anything imaginable from humanitarian aid events to natural disaster responses to urban planning scenarios, for example.
How did they do this? Skybox Imaging launched their initial SkySat-1 micro-satellite on November 21st, 2013, into orbit and recently demonstrated their achievement in the video clip seen here. Now that they have accomplished that feat, they are right now progressing to build ground stations and launching up to 24 micro-satellites that will cover all of the Earth’s surface.
This San Francisco Bay Area company hopes to revolutionize how our modern world is managed (some would argue micro-managed) by public and private entities using technological means that before now only the world’s military has access to previously. The obvious concerns here would be invasion of privacy on the individual level. A private corporation with a network of micro-satellites spanning the globe that can record full motion 3D 1080p videos, kept in computer storage for who knows how long of a period of time, and can be accessed and sold to anyone at the right price, warrants top level scrutiny from policymakers and the general public.
COMMENT: Many people do not realize that elected government officials also play a vital role in major emergency and disaster event scenarios. As an example, this short video from the NY-NJ-CT-PA Regional Catastrophic Planning Team attempts to educate the general public on what should happen in major metropolitan regions in the United States when a worst case scenario is presented, and the role of government elected officials in the recovery and mitigation process. It highlights the government Operations Emergency Manager or OEM as the primary point person or go-to professional in putting together the pieces of the recovery puzzle.
Elected officials, such as the local Mayor and Council members, are not emergency management professionals, but are the primary contact for not only directing emergency management professionals in the global recovery scenario, but also assuring local citizens that continuity of government is in place and functioning. To that end, local elected officials are encouraged to read the latest information references listed here on what best practices are being utilized and where they fit in the global recovery scenario.
How Elected Officials Can Prepare for, Respond to Emergencies
Elected Officials are Rarely Educated About Emergencies
disaster recovery: a local government responsibility