Winter Weather Awareness and Preparedness

January 21, 2016

Freshly fallen snow glistening like icicles on tree limbs is a beautiful side effect of winter. Despite the beauty winter can bring, the season can also bring dangerous weather such as blizzards and ice storms. It is important to be prepared for the unexpected, especially when traveling. You never know when you may run into car troubles and in times of extreme cold, a travel preparedness kit can be a lifesaver. It is also important to make sure to have these preparedness kits in your house as well, due to the danger that a winter storm could knock out power, leaving many homes without heat.

It is important to do research and be prepared for inclement weather before winter starts.

Ready.gov, the Department of Homeland Security’s Emergency Preparedness Website gives great tips on how to prepare for winter weather, what to do during a storm, and what to do after a storm is over.

The National Weather Service’s winter weather hub includes resources and information about forecasts, winter storms, hazards, weather predictions and much more. They also offer Simple Steps to Stay Safe and winter weather advisories searchable by zip code.

The CDC offers more tips for preparation and actions taken during and after storms. The CDC also provides information about health problems that can arise due to winter hazards.

The Red Cross provides information about common winter weather terms that are often misunderstood and more information about preparedness.

GPO’s US Government Bookstore offers publications for sale about winter weather preparedness.

GPO’s Federal Digital System offers Winter Storms, a Hearing before the Subcommittee on Disaster Prevention and Prediction.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE RESOURCES?

Click on the Links: For the free resources, click on the links above in the blog post.

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the Author: Teresa Mock is an intern with GPO’s Library Services and Content Management division.


September is National Preparedness Month

September 3, 2015

As the year goes by, the temperature gets colder and the nights grow longer, so remember to stay safe and prepare for the unexpected. September is National Preparedness Month (NPM), and we are here to provide some helpful publications you can use to get ready. NPM was established in 2004 by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). It was created in response to the 9/11 attacks and is meant to reach out to citizens and help them plan for any disaster, man-made or natural, that could strike.

003-017-00569-1GPO has a handful of different guides from our U.S. Government Bookstore, and each covers steps to help prepare for a wide variety of different situations. The publication Thunderstorms, Tornadoes, Lightning, Nature’s Most Violent Storms: A Preparedness Guide, Including Tornado Safety Information for Schools focuses on the many different weather-related disasters that can occur, the damage and destruction each could cause, and the best plans for preparing before such a catastrophe happens.

Another notable guide is Are You Ready?: An In-Depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness; it offers tips on anything from terrorist disasters to flash floods. Focusing on the before, during, and after, this manual is a great asset in creating some comprehensive safety techniques for yourself and family in the months to come.064-000-00058-6

For those looking for a piece oriented more towards the best options to take in the case of a tornado or hurricane, GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications has an extremely in-depth guide online for free! Safe rooms for tornadoes and hurricanes: guidance for community and residential safe rooms provides excellent background on the science of high-speed wind disasters and offers up some great advice to those living with the threat of such an event occurring. From the structural engineering of homes and buildings to the design of state-of-the-art safe rooms, this guide, developed by FEMA, outlines the best direction for creating a safe room for your home or community.

If you are more interested in hearing about the history and Federal side of National Preparedness Month, GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys) has stored all of the proclamations made by the President to make this month official, as well as any Congressional Hearings or other related documents. For complete, free access, and to take your search further, click here.

If you just want more info on the entire month of September, and any events related to National Preparedness Month, we have a website for you to visit and browse, click here for access! You can also head over to the National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration websites, which have steps and services to keep you updated on the weather around you. For those with disabilities who want to become better prepared, there is a website designed with helpful tips and steps for you in case of almost any emergency. Click here to get started. Feel free to go through all the links above and discover the best ways to prepare yourselves and your families for any situation. Stay safe!

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE RESOURCES?

You can obtain the resources mentioned in this blog by clicking on the links above or through any of these methods:

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Giovanni Salvatori is a Summer Intern in GPO’s  Library Services & Content Management office.


Hurricane Katrina, 10 Years Later

August 26, 2015

Image compliments of noaa.gov click to enlarge.

August 29th will mark the tenth (10th) anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. It was one of the deadliest and the costliest natural disasters in U.S. history.

As you may recall, this hurricane touched down in Mobile, Alabama, and significantly damaged and left people stranded in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Biloxi, Mississippi during President George W. Bush administration’s second term as President of the United States of America.

A few key primary source references based on Hurricane Katrina that should be included in your historical U.S. Government publications, or weather-resources library include the following:

Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, George W. Bush, 2005, Bk. 2, July-December by National Archives and Records Administration

This primary source reference work chronicles George W. Bush’s second term presidency from July through December 2005. This volume includes the President’s remarks on Hurricane Katrina on Sunday, August 28, 2005, plus additional remarks on September 1, 2, 5-8,12, and an Address to the Nation on Hurricane Katrina Recovery from New Orleans, LA on September 15, 2005, a Memorandum on the National Flood Insurance Program on October 12, and more.

040-000-00775-0Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned, February 2006 by the President of the United States and the Assistant to the President for the Department of Homeland Security and Counterterrorism

Hurricane Katrina’s historic 115-130mph winds coupled with a powerful storm surge that created a 27 foot long stretch of the Northern Gulf Coast that impacted nearly 93,000 square miles that was not isolated to one state or city. The book is a Lessons Learned view of what can be implemented to prevent natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina from happening in the future. The report’s focus is centered on disaster preparedness and emergency management responses. It contains an analytical, narrative chronology that provides a detailed account of Hurricane Katrina from the point of the storm’s development in the days “Pre-Landfall,” and the next chronicles both the “Week of Crisis” from August 29 through September 5, and concludes with the transition from response to recovery. This volume concludes with the most important chapter: “Transforming National Preparedness.”

052-071-01438-1A Failure of Initiative: Final Report of the Select Bipartisan Committee To Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina, February 15, 2006 by the U.S. House of Representatives, Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina

This report is a summary of the Committee’s work to investigate the preparation for leading up to the Hurricane Katrina storm and the two weeks following the storm. It does not cover the extensive rebuilding of the impacted areas after the storm made its landfall to the cities and states that were in its’ path.

Call Sign Dust Off: A History of U.S. Army Aeromedical Evacuation From Conception to Hurricane Katrina by the Department of the Army, Office of the Surgeon General, Borden Institute008-000-01040-4

This book, published in year 2011, covers the conceptualization of the initial attempts to use aircraft for evacuation, reviews its development and maturity through those conflicts, and focuses on the history of MEDEVAC post–Vietnam to the transformation of the MEDEVAC units from medical to aviation command in 2003 and the response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Much has been written about U.S. Army aeromedical evacuation—or MEDEVAC—and most works have focused on the war in Korea or Vietnam. This book focuses on the unique use of helicopters to accomplish this mission. Part I looks at the heritage of MEDEVAC from its beginnings in World War II through the bitter battles in Korea, the interwar years, and the long struggle in Vietnam. Part II covers the 1980s, a time of domestic duties and contingency operations. Part III reviews the turbulent 1990s with the end of the cold war, a hot war in the Persian Gulf, dramatic military force reductions, and a call to duty in the Balkans. Part IV stretches into the millennium, covering the events of 9/11, further conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq—the Aviation Transformation Initiative that moved MEDEVAC from medical to aviation control—and the national response to Hurricane Katrina. In general, after Part I, a thematic approach is used, and the chapters are organized with interweaving sections covering doctrine (service and joint), organization, and operations.

008-070-00804-1Operation Dragon Comeback: Air Education and Training Command’s Response to Hurricane Katrina by the U.S. Air Force, Air Training and Education Office of History and Research

This volume is the Air Education and Training Command’s (AETC) response to Hurricane Katrina as a pivotal event in the organization’s history. It showcases the men and women that rushed to the aid of their wingmen at the Kesslar Air Force base in Biloxi, Mississippi, and provided support for humanitarian efforts to the communities and the country in time of need. In addition to the coverage of Hurricane Katrina’s approach and landfall, this resource also attempts to cover the few months of recovery efforts that took place at Kesslar Air Force base during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Air National Guard at 60: A History (eBook) by Air National Guard999-000-44446-1

Within this commemorative 60 year anniversary of the National Guard, you will also find many accounts of the emergency response relief efforts during the historic Hurricane Katrina to include saving people stranded by the flood waters, supplying medicine food and clean water staples and more.

064-000-00058-6Are You Ready?: An In-Depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness by U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency

Guide for citizens on how to protect themselves and their families against all types of natural and man-made disasters and hazards from tornadoes to terrorism, floods to fires, extreme cold to extreme heat. The “Are You Ready? An In-Depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness” from FEMA can be used as a reference source or as a step-by-step manual. The focus of the content is on how to develop, practice, and maintain emergency plans that reflect what must be done before, during, and after a disaster to protect people and their property.

How do I obtain these resources?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: This week’s blog contributor is Maureen Whelan, Senior Marketing Team Leader for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales program office in Washington, DC. Maureen oversees print and digital content dissemination strategy and manages third party free and paid content distribution through platforms and vendors, such as Apple iBookstore, Barnes and Noble.com, Google Play eBookstore, Ebscohost databases, Overdrive, and more.

 


Summer Safety Resources from the Federal Government

August 20, 2015

Summers are all about sun and fun, right? Unfortunately, summer can also come with a lot of things to worry about, from minor things like insect bites, to more major incidents like wildfires. California’s many summer wildfires serve as stern reminders of how a simple flame can get out of hand. Summer can be a downright dangerous season if you’re not careful. A little thing like forgetting to put on sunscreen can turn a fun day at the beach into a disaster; not being properly hydrated can turn a day trip into a trip to the hospital. When you and your loved ones go out to enjoy the weather this summer, it’s important to be informed of what can happen so that you can better prevent it.

Before going out into the heat, make sure you do some research on some summer safety tips.

Poolsafety.gov, Ready.gov, and FEMA.gov are great websites to get more safety tips and resources.

GPO’s U.S. Government Bookstore offers many publications on topics related to summer safety so that you and your family can fully enjoy all summer has to offer.

055-000-00681-4Mission: Sunwise Activity Book is a great publication for kids that offers puzzles and pages to color all while teaching about sun safety.

055-000-00672-5[2]Public Playground Safety Handbook shares safety information for public playground equipment and promotes greater safety awareness for those who maintain public playground equipment. This handbook is useful for any member of the public concerned with public playground safety and interested in evaluating their local playgrounds.

Are You Ready?: An In-Depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness is an in depth guide for citizens on how to protect themselves and their families against natural and man-made disasters. The guide includes information on how to plan, respond, and recover after a disaster as well as information on assembling a good disaster supply kit.064-000-00058-6

008-070-00810-6[1]Special Operations Forces Medical Handbook is a reference originally designed for medics in the field. The book offers medical information for those in outside environments and is organized according to symptoms and organ systems. The book is even printed on tear-resistant and water-resistant paper.

GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys) offers some free related resources as well:

GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications provides access to some free, related resources worth checking out:

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE RESOURCES?

You can obtain the resources mentioned in this blog by clicking on the links above or through any of these methods:

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Tiffane Tingle is a Student Intern in GPO’s Library Services & Content Management office.


Remembering 9/11: Tales of Heroes and Tough Lessons

September 11, 2014

9-11 Decade of Remembrance Twin Towers and Pentagon Logo designed by David McKenzie at the Government Printing OfficeIn remembrance of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Government Book Talk revisits blogger Michele Bartram’s post from September 11, 2013.

There are certain moments and events that are etched in our national consciousness. Ask any American who was alive in the 60’s where he or she was when John F. Kennedy or Martin Luther King was assassinated and you will hear a stirring personal story. For our generation, it was September 11, 2001.

Image: September 11 Decade of Remembrance logo with World Trade Center Twin Towers surrounded by a figure representing the Pentagon. Created by David McKenzie with the Government Printing Office for the U.S. Government Bookstore.

I was right across from the Twin Towers twelve years ago today, getting ready to board a ferry for my daily commute from New Jersey across the Hudson River into Manhattan, when I saw the second plane hit the World Trade Center right across from me. So, too, I cried with a group of strangers as we stood on the ferry platform and watched in horror as the first tower fall, saw the dust cloud rise and felt the earth—and the world—tremble.

America and Americans have changed since that day… twelve years ago today. We have since heard stirring stories of heroes and sacrifice, and learned many grim lessons that are still affecting both policy and people today.

Many of these stories of heroism, missed opportunities, and resulting actions have been painstakingly and faithfully chronicled by a wide array of Federal agencies, ensuring the sacrifices and lessons are not forgotten.

Responding to the Tragedies

Both in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, DC, we saw how first responders and medical personnel rushed to save lives. These excellent publications tell the stories of the heroes from that day:

  • 008-000-01049-8Pentagon 9/11 (10th Anniversary Edition) (Paperback) includes a foreword by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and provides the most comprehensive account available of the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon and aftermath, including unprecedented details on the impact on the Pentagon building and personnel and the scope of the rescue, recovery, and care-giving effort.
  • 008-000-01048-0Attack on the Pentagon: The Medical Response to 9/11 not only tells the personal stories from medical personnel responding to the attack on the Pentagon, but also provides insight from MEDCOM officers detailed to New York to support National Guard troops guarding ground zero’s perimeter. It also includes the Army’s involvement in the recovery of deceased attack victims at the Pentagon and the work of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in identifying human remains at Dover Air Force Base. In addition, the roles of military and civilian hospital staffs and of military environmental health and mental health specialists in taking care of attack victims and their families are also examined.

Tough Lessons

The single must-read for every American about September 11 is the official version of The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. This publication lists the findings of the National 9/11 Commission, listing all the painful errors made leading up to the terrorist attacks and outlining specific recommendations for international, national, state and local changes in policy and procedures that the panel of experts felt needed to be implemented to ensure a similar attack never happened again. This seminal publication has served to inform all subsequent policies and legislation since 9/11. It is available in print or as an eBook.

911-commission-report

Image: Launch of the 9/11 Commission Report. Courtesy: CSMonitor.com

The Senate, Select Committee on Intelligence, and House, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence examined the intelligence failures leading up to 9/11 and jointly published the results in United States Congressional Serial Set, Serial No. 14750: Joint Inquiry Into Intelligence Community Activity Before and After Terrorists Attacks of September 11, 2001 With Errata.

027-001-00097-1Additional insights into the causes of and responses to terrorism can be gleaned from Terrorism Research and Analysis Project (TRAP): A Collection of Research Ideas, Thoughts, and Perspectives, V. 1. This publication provides the findings from the post-9/11 FBI Terrorism Research and Analysis Project (TRAP) Symposium. TRAP is a leading research consortium made up of international/domestic academics and law enforcement officers, and is a working group sponsored by the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit. In it, these counter-terrorism experts provide a better understanding of the causes of terrorist activity and possible government response tactics to mitigate terrorist actions.

064-000-00029-2As we watch the new World Trade Center going up in New York, we can be assured that builders are incorporating architectural and construction lessons learned from the World Trade Center Building Performance Study: Data Collection, Preliminary Observations, and Recommendations.

Policy and Legislative Response

United States Congressional Serial Set, Serial No. 14924, House Report No. 724, 9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act, Pts. 1-6 outlines the specific legislative changes enacted by Congress, providing both background and justifications for them along with attribution.

A print copy of the law itself can be purchased here: Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, Public Law 110-53 along with the details of the various committee conferences contributing to it in Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007, Conference Report to Accompany H.R. 1, July 25, 2007.

Defending the Homeland since 9/11

041-001-00657-5National Strategy for Homeland Security (October 2007) provides the common framework outlined by the George W. Bush Administration to guides, organize and unify the United States’ homeland security efforts.

008-000-01068-4A new publication from the Air Force Reserve called Turning Point 9.11: Air Force Reserve in the 21st Century, 2001-2011 tells the story of how the Air Force Reserve responded to 9/11 and have contributed to the security of the United States in a post-September 11 world.

050-012-00440-4In a similar vein, Rogue Wave: The U.S. Coast Guard on and After 9/11 chronicles the involvement of the U.S. Coast Guard on that fateful day and the evolving role in national and world security since.  Part of the Coast Guard 9/11 response is told in this touching video about the boatlift to evacuate people from lower Manhattan is told in a video narrated by Tom Hanks entitled: BOATLIFT, An Untold Tale of 9/11 Resilience.”

A touching video about the boatlift to evacuate people from lower Manhattan on 9/11 (September 11) is told in a video narrated by Tom Hanks entitled: BOATLIFT, An Untold Tale of 9/11 Resilience. Click on the image above or this link to view the “Boatlift” video.

The upcoming U.S. Army War College Guide to National Security Issues, Volume 2: National Security Policy and Strategy provides a summarized look at the national security curriculum now taught to our nation’s top military and civilian leaders by the U.S. Army War College. Revised with the lessons learned from the years since 9/11, this publication includes a chapter on ”Securing America From Attack: The Defense Department’s Evolving Role After 9/11.”

How can I obtain these Federal 9/11 publications?

  • Shop Online: Print Editions of these 9/11-related publications may be ordered from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov, by clicking on the links above in this blog post or shopping our Terrorism & 9/11 History collection under our US & Military History category.
  • Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.
  • Visit our Retail Store: Buy copies of these publications at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.
  • Find them in a Library: Find these publications in a federal depository library.

About the author: Adapted by Trudy Hawkins, Writer and Marketing Specialist in GPO’s Publication & Information Sales Division in Washington, DC, from an original post by Michele Bartram, former Government Book Talk Editor in support of the U.S. Government Online Bookstore (http://bookstore.gpo.gov).


Celebrating National Safety Month: Resources and Publications

June 19, 2014

2014SafetyMonth-FeatureJune is National Safety Month. The National Safety Council (NSC) sponsors this month-long event for calling attention to key safety issues, showcasing safety resources, and raising awareness for the prevention of safety concerns and hazards.

The NSC provides access to a variety of educational National Safety Month materials, available on their Web site for free to NSC members. If your organization isn’t already a member, you can join right from their site. They also provide access to many free materials for the general public. Anyone can sign up to receive the free materials via email.

The National Safety Month Web page also provides access to a free Home Safety Checklist to help you identify common risk areas within your home.

You can also follow the NSC’s safety chat on Twitter at #NSM14.

The U.S. Government Printing Office’s U.S. Government Bookstore offers an entire collection of publications devoted to safety issues: the Emergency Management and First Responders collection. Many of the publications in this collection have been highlighted in previous Government Book Talk posts, like this one from January 2014 that focused on preparing for extreme cold and other natural and man-made disasters and showcased the publication, “Are You Ready? An In-Depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness.” Also highlighted in the post are some books for kids on safety preparedness: “Ready…Set…Prepare! A Disaster Preparedness Activity Book for Ages 4-7,” “Ready…Set…Prepare! A Disaster Preparedness Activity Book for Ages 8-11,” and “Watch Out – Storms Ahead! Owlie Skywarn’s Weather Book.” The Federal Emergency Management Agency also has tons of resources on their site to help the public prepare for disasters of all kinds.

In addition, Federal depository libraries nationwide provide the public with free access to Federal Government publications on a wide variety of topics, including safety and emergency management and prevention. Locate a library in your area!

017-033-00508-7One publication in this collection is particularly interesting, especially in light of the frequent and tragic mine accidents we hear about on the news. “When Do You Take Refuge? Decisionmaking During Mine Emergency Escape – Instructor’s Guide and Lesson Plans” is an interesting booklet created by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services. The training program was designed to help trainees practice correct decisionmaking skills during an underground mine emergency. It actually consists of three parts: a computer-based training that includes scenario simulation (included as a CD-ROM), the instructor’s guide and lesson plans, and an evaluation (both included in the booklet).

The material was designed for underground coal miners, but it is fascinating for anyone who wants a glimpse into this hazardous occupation. The lesson plan portion of the training is filled with real-life examples of emergency scenarios and “summary teaching points” to highlight the lessons. This interesting look into the life of a coal miner brings to light the need for strict safety measures in any occupation. National Safety Month reminds us that safety should be everyone’s priority, both at home and on the job.

How can I get this publication?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy this and other publications mentioned in this blog (with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide) from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore website at http://bookstore.gpo.gov:

Shop our retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday-Friday, 9am to 4pm, except Federal holidays, (202) 512-0132.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal Depository Library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications or CGP.

About the author: Our guest blogger is Kelly Seifert, Lead Planning Specialist for GPO’s Library Services & Content Management Division that supports the Federal Depository Library Program.


“Are you Ready?” for Extreme Cold and Other Natural and Man-made Disasters

January 23, 2014

Image below: Graph depicts how variations in the polar vortex affect weather in the mid-latitudes. Courtesy: National Science Foundation

Polar-vortex-fall-to-winter-chartAs the United States shivers under the Arctic Express, Polar Vortex, Polar Cyclone, Polar Low, Circumpolar Whirl or whatever name you call it (I just call it FREEZING!!!!) with snow, ice, and some of the most extreme cold conditions in decades, Americans will be happy to know that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has help available in the form of its extremely useful new disaster preparedness guide, Are You Ready?: An In-Depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness.

FEMA Are You Ready?: An In-Depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness ISBN: 9780160920745Intended as both a reference source as well as a step-by-step manual, this easy-to-follow guide has been designed to help Americans “learn how to protect themselves and their families against all types of hazards”.

According to the FEMA authors:

The focus of the content is on how to develop, practice, and maintain emergency plans that reflect what must be done before, during, and after a disaster to protect people and their property. Also included is information on how to assemble a disaster supplies kit that contains the food, water, and other supplies in sufficient quantity for individuals and their families to survive following a disaster in the event they must rely on their own resources.

The guide advises on planning before a disaster, responding during a disaster, and recovering after a disaster and is organized into the following sections: Why Prepare, Part 1 Basic Preparedness, Part 2 Natural Hazards, Part 3 Technological Hazards, Part 4 Terrorism, and Part 5 Recovering from Disaster.

Each chapter has specific tips on preparation, what to do during the particular disaster, instructions for what to do afterwards, and where to go for more information, including links for free publications.

Disasters and emergencies cover the gamut in three areas:

a)      Natural Hazards, including: Floods, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, Thunderstorms and Lightning, Winter Storms and Extreme Cold,  Extreme Heat, Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Landslides and Debris Flow (Mudslide), Tsunamis, Fires and Wildfires;

b)      Technological Hazards, including:  Hazardous Materials Incidents, Household Chemical Emergencies, and Nuclear Power Plants

c)      Terrorism, including: General terrorist threats, Explosions, Biological Threats, Chemical Threats, Nuclear Blast, and Radiological Dispersion Device (RDD).

Are You Ready?… for Winter Storms and Extreme Cold

FEMA-Are-You-Ready_page-80-Winter-Storms-and-Extreme-ColdAs I was concerned about the extreme cold, I turned to Part 2, Natural Hazards, Section 2.5 Winter Storms and Extreme Cold.

In the preparation part, I found useful terminology such as the difference between sleet and freezing rain, protective measures and supplies to gather, tips on how to winterize my car (e.g., have you cleaned your car battery terminals and used gasoline additives to keep water out of your fuel lines?) and how to dress for the winter weather (did you know mittens are warmer than gloves?).

FEMA-Are-You-Ready_page-83-Winter-Dress-for-ColdDuring a winter storm, “Are you ready?” gives more advice, such as what to do if a blizzard traps you in the car and how to watch for signs of hypothermia.

[Signs of hypothermia]… include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion. If symptoms of hypothermia are detected, get the victim to a warm location, remove wet clothing, warm the center of the body first, and give warm, non-alcoholic beverages if the victim is conscious. Get medical help as soon as possible.

Other Useful Information in “Are You Ready?”

In addition to information on specific types of emergencies, the guide includes a number of other very useful resources.

Assembling a Disaster Supplies Kit:  A whole chapter is devoted to assembling a good general disaster supplies kit for multiple locations: home, work and vehicle.

Practice Makes Perfect: Advice on how to practice and maintain your emergency plan is under Section 1.6.

General Evacuation Guidelines:  Tells what to do to prepare your home if you have to evacuate, such as utility shut-off and safety, reviewing and securing of insurance and vital records, and so on.

Special Needs: Information on how to do disaster planning to accommodate someone with disabilities is included.

Pets: Caring for pets in emergencies is not forgotten, either.

FEMA Hazard Maps: It highlights how to get free hazard maps from FEMA in your area by accessing FEMA’s Hazard Mapping Portal.

Homeland-Security-Threat-Assessments-Color-MatrixWarning Systems and Signals: The guide explains different national alert systems such as the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio (NWR), as well as the Homeland Security Advisory System with its Threat Conditions thermometer.

Quizzes: The guide even includes some quizzes such as the Terrorism Knowledge Check on page 172 that asks such questions as:

What would you do, if you were at work and…

a. there was an explosion in the building?

b. you received a package in the mail that you considered suspicious?

c. you received a telephone call that was a bomb threat?

Mental Health Issues: Tips are included on how to recognize if children vs. adults may need crisis counseling or stress management assistance as well as how to ease disaster-related stress (such as attending memorial services). For children, guidelines are included by age range of common reactions to traumatic events, along with tips on how adults can reassure children after a disaster.

For additional information about Federal mental and medical emergency resources, read our previous blog post: “Help is Just a Call, Click or Page Away: Federal Disaster Helplines & Emergency Medical Resources.”

Family Forms: The guide is customizable to you and your family with forms to fill out for your own emergency plans. Included is a form for you to use to fill out information as you collect it from your local authorities on possible hazards and emergencies in your community, the Risk Level and how to reduce your risk, along with a “Community and Other Plans” form to use to record answers from your local officials about your community’s disaster and emergency plans.  Also included is a form to draw and to record your family’s specific evacuation route and another to record your Family Communications Plan.

Checklists and Appendices: The guide also includes some handy appendices: Appendix A: Water Conservation Tips, Appendix B: Disaster Supplies Checklist, and the all-important Appendix C: Family Communications Plan.

Preparedness Websites: One is a list of Disaster Public Education Websites from both the Federal Government such as FEMA’s own Ready.gov site (www.ready.gov), as well as non-Governmental sites, like the Institute for Business and Home Safety, www.ibhs.org.

Disaster Recovery Assistance: Finally, advice and resources for getting disaster recovery assistance are covered in the Are You Ready? guide, too.

FEMA Are You Ready?: An In-Depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness ISBN: 9780160920745How can I get a copy ofAre You Ready?: An In-Depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness”?

Whether you live near an active volcano; in Tornado Alley or a Hurricane Zone; in wildfire, mudslide or flood-prone areas; or just want to be prepared for any emergency—natural or man-made—this guide will help you save the day!

  • MULTIPLE COPIES: FEMA recommends having a completed guide for each location for your family members: home, work or school, and your vehicle(s). Fill out the customizable sections in each copy with your relevant family, workplace and community information.
  • Shop Online: You can buy this publication from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov by:
  • Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.
  • Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.
  • Digital: Find a PDF version on the FEMA site.
  • Visit a Federal Depository Library: Search for it in a nearby Federal depository library.

About the Author: Government Book Talk Editor Michele Bartram is Promotions Manager for GPO’s Publication and Information Sales Division in Washington, DC, and is responsible for online and offline marketing of the US Government Online Bookstore (http://bookstore.gpo.gov) and promoting Federal government content to the public.


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