Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Reprint from the United States Department of Health & Human Services

The CDC is actively investigating human cases of influenza A (H1N1) in several states and is working closely with Canada, Mexico and the World Health Organization. The CDC is continuously updating its investigation information.
As with any infectious disease, CDC recommends that people should take everyday preventive actions.
Read the WHO report.
Acting HHS Secretary declares a Public Health Emergency nationwide involving Swine Influenza A. Press Release
Questions and Answers on 2009 Flu

Get information direct from HHS at:

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pandemic/Swine Flu ??? What does all of this mean?

1. Widespread; general.
2. Medicine Epidemic over a wide geographic area and affecting a large proportion of the population.

Swine Influenza (Flu)
U.S. Human Cases of Swine Flu Infection(As of April 28, 2009 11:00 AM ET)
State & # of laboratory confirmed cases:
California-10 cases
Kansas-2 cases
New York City-45 cases
Ohio-1 case
Texas-6 cases
64 cases
International Human Cases of Swine Flu InfectionSee: World Health Organization
The human swine flu outbreak continues to grow in the United States and internationally. Today, CDC reports additional cases of confirmed swine influenza and a number of hospitalizations of swine flu patients. Internationally, the situation is more serious too, with additional countries reporting confirmed cases of swine flu. In response to the intensifying outbreak, the World Health Organization raised the worldwide pandemic alert level to Phase 4 . A Phase 4 alert is characterized by confirmed person-to-person spread of a new influenza virus able to cause “community-level” outbreaks.” The increase in the pandemic alert phase indicates that the likelihood of a pandemic has increased.
CDC has activated its emergency operations center to coordinate the agency’s emergency response. CDC ’s goals are to reduce transmission and illness severity, and provide information to help health care providers, public health officials and the public address the challenges posed by this swine influenza virus. Yesterday, CDC issued a travel warning recommending that people avoid non-essential travel to Mexico. CDC continues to issue interim guidance daily on the website and through health alert network notices. CDC’s Division of the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) is releasing one-quarter of its antiviral drugs, personal protective equipment, and respiratory protection devices to help states respond to the outbreak. The swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is susceptible to the prescription antiviral drugs oseltamivir and zanamivir. This is a rapidly evolving situation and CDC will provide updated guidance and new information as it becomes available.

For more information, check the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at:

The best way to prevent the spread is “universal precautions”

Universal Precautions
1. wash hands before and after each medical procedure (may use a waterless hand cleaner)
2. wear gloves whenever there is a possiblity of coming in contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials (body fluids and tissues)
3. wear full-body gowns whenever there is a possibility of blood splashing onto the rescuer
4. wear face masks and eye protection whenever there is a possibility of blood splashing into the rescuer's face
5. dispose of all contaminated sharp objects in an appropriate puncture-proof container
6. dispose of all contaminated personal protective equipment in an appropriate container marked for bio-hazardous waste

Resources to stay informed:

Health Map

Center for Disease Control

Los Angeles County Department of Health Services

Monday, April 27, 2009

Here is a way to store your medical history on your cell or PDA

Here is a down-loadable program that allows for you to have your medical history on your cell phone/PDA. While you have to weigh the pro and cons of having this information on your cell/PDA if it is lost or stolen...there is a definite benefit of having this info accessible if you are in a traffic accident or have a medical emergency and you are unable to articulate this information to first responders and/or ER personnel.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

From 8 to 108...Each One Teach One...We Are All Connected...The World Village

Residents and friends of Pledgerville Senior Citizens Villa in Pacoima, CA. gather to learn the basics of disaster preparedness. With a focus on having a 7 to 14 day emergency supply of medications, preventing post disaster injuries (put on shoes, drop-cover and hold, securing non structural items around house/apartment), water and food supply that supports dietetic needs (low sodium, no sugar and packed in water), our meeting was very productive.
One of the FAQ's I get (frequently asked questions) is where to get the specific flashlight/radio combo that is in my "GO" bag. There are many great products on the market, but the specific one that I have is: The Power Station
The company I purchased it from is Quake Kare and in searching the web site, I could not find that specific product, but they have others. Click the link to see the web site as well as a few other preparedness suppliers.
I hope this is a good start, but there are many other great places to get preparedness supplies.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Foodology Hosts Fire Extinguisher Demonstartion/Empowers Employees

Foodology of Sun Valley California empowered it's employees by hosting a fire extinguisher demonstration and safety training. Above, Firefighter/Instructor Jeff Hudson stands with our class.

Before we do any firefighting, there is a class friendly lesson on safety, how to use a class A, B, C extinguisher and how to check and see if your extinguishers are charged properly.

Remove Formatting from selectionEverybody gets to feel the heat, walk the line and fight the beast (put out the fire). Pull the pin, Aim the nozzle, squeeze the handle and sweep slowly to put out the fire. By knowing the proper use, safety and maintenance of the class A, B, C extinguisher, you increase your preparedness IQ.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Taking a CERT Class Is A Great Way To Lead Your Community

Southern California is exposed to a wide variety of hazards, both natural and man-made. Earthquakes, fires, severe storms, power outages, and acts of terrorism are just some of the potential emergencies we may encounter.
Imagine that you have no electricity, no gas, no water and no telephone service. Imagine that all the businesses are closed and you are without any kind of emergency services. What will you do until help arrives?

The first step to getting your home prepared is talking. Talking to your family, friends and neighbors about what the plan is for "___________" (fill in the blank...earthquake, fire, gas leak, black out, act of terrorism, etc)

The next step is to take action. Make survival/"GO" bags, establish a meeting place, review the location and how to check/shut off utilities, check water and food supplies, copy, scan and preserve important documents (drivers licence, passport, insurance policy, medical records, bank accounts, etc.)

Make disaster preparedness a part of your families wellness program. A great way to inspire your community is to lead by starting a CERT training class in your neighborhood. In the city of Los Angeles, this training is free. In a time when budget cuts and staff reductions cause many programs to end, CERT is still available.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Recycle Your Children's Old Backpacks Into "GO" Bags

I am not going to count on anybody else to save my family. It is my job as their father to prepare, educate and empower my family. The federal government will help after the incident, but have you given your friends and family the tools to make to that time?
I love having fun with my children, but more important I enjoy empowering my children. Instead of carrying my daughter after the disaster, by having her "GO" bag ready my daughter is empowered to survive. I have four children. Each of my children has a "GO" bag in our family’s disaster kit. If I was to go buy new backpacks and supplies, it could get to be very expensive. With expense comes procrastination. In the picture below, you see a pink backpack. That backpack was my middle daughter's back pack from last year. When the new school year started, when I bought new backpacks, I took the old backpacks and made "GO" bags. All of the items pictured below fit into one backpack. For a list of the items suggested to go into your "GO" bag click on this link:
1.) Water

2.) Food

3.) Cash/Documents

4.) Clothes

5.) Flashlight

6.) First Aid Kit

7.) Medicine

8.) Radio

9.) Toiletries

10.) Tools

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hillside hosts LAFD/DAC to educate employees

Hillside Memorial Park offers a vision of serenity along the South Bay curve of the 405/San Diego freeway. With the information shared during the DAC (Disaster Awareness Course), employees can feel better prepared in the event of a disaster, episode or challenge. Thank you for your kindness and hospitality.

CERT Division 1 Quarterly Training-Can you say "triage"?

Being proactive in your community is one of the best ways to inspire neighborhood empowerment and promote preparedness. The evening of April 14, 2009 was a perfect example of citizens increasing their disaster IQ and sharpening their CERT skills. The topic of the night was triage.
Thank you to all who came, asked questions and shared stories. The true strength of the CERT program is the CERT members. It is because of you the program lives, breaths and grows. Lets keep our enthusiasm, work within the parameters, but keep thinking outside of the box. "Unified Command" with vision and pride.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Neighborhoods, Communities & Work Place Preparedness

House by house, church by church, neighborhood by neighborhood, the tools of preparedness are passed along. In a city the size of Los Angeles, it takes a dedicated force of foot soldiers to teach the survival and preparedness tools of CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) & DAC (Disaster Awareness Course). Above we have Firefighter Jeff Hudson teaching a group from California State University at Northridge the basics of fire extinguishers prior to the live fire/hands on portion of our presentation. To schedule a demonstration for your group, call the Los Angeles Fire Department/Disaster Preparedness Unit at (818)756-9674 and ask for the "fire extinguisher demonstration". There are some specific requirements to have this live fire/hands on presentation, so ask for the form and we can fax that right to you.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Lighthouse in the Storm

Taking it to the streets!
The street fair/block party sponsored by Cochran Ave. Baptist Church brings art, food, culture and community service to the grass roots level. Thank you to Rev. Charles Johnson and the members of Cochran Ave. Baptist Church for allowing the Los Angeles Fire Department-DAC (Disaster Awareness Course) to be apart of your event. I had a wonderful time and I look forward to meeting with you again soon. Let's keep the love flowing.
The motto for Cochran Ave. Baptist Church is..."where the mission of Christ is meeting the needs of the people". By being proactive in disaster preparedness, Cochran Ave. is leading by example and meeting the needs of the people. History tells us that in times of disaster, many will turn to the church as their lighthouse in the storm. Is your lighthouse in order?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

NBC/Universal Earthquake Preparedness Fair 2009

Firefighter/Paramedic Jayson A. Johnson with Human Resource Manager Allison Dombrow of NBC/Universal. A special thank you to Mike Ripley for inviting the Los Angeles Fire Department-DAC (Disaster Awareness Course) to participate in this outstanding event. We'll see you again next year!

This is the second year that I have personally been involved in the NBC/Universal Earthquake Fair. It is an inspiring to see the pockets of preparedness. Like seeds thrown across a concrete/urban field, often the people I speak to do not allow the roots of preparedness to truly take hold, but that is to be expected. The true reward comes when a few of those thrown seeds find the cracks in the concrete and the roots of knowledge grow deep. As the roots take a hold, the outward growth is nurtured and obvious. It is an honor to see the fruits of preparedness/labor blossom.
Just today, a young lady who reminded me of meeting at last years event, shared that she is currently going through a CERT class. That young lady is a wife, mother, sister and a daughter. Her knowledge touches at least six others directly. That my friends is how Los Angeles will handle the great dilemma. "How does thirty two hundred divide into four million"? (There are about thirty two hundred paid firefighters in the city of Los Angeles and over four million the math.) We must all share in the responsibility of getting the word out, the responsibility of getting the training and the responsibility of maintaining of skills. I can not tell you how many times someone has said to me...."Oh, I'm a CERT member, but I did it about ten years ago." Do you honestly feel comfortable with trying to remember training from ten years ago? Just think about how much our world has changed in the last ten years, the events that we have learned from in the last ten years. Y2k, 9/11, Katrina, Chatsworth Train accident to name a few. Los Angeles has some of the most experienced, knowledgeable and approachable firefighters in the world. Our training is done by sworn firefighters who have lived, worked and saved lives in all areas of this city. The training is free. What is stopping you and your family, friends and community from being prepared?

Culver/Palms YMCA Host Healthy Kids & Helps To Build Strong Communities

Under the leadership of Captain Carlos Avina and Firefighter/Paramedic Jayson Johnson, the LAFD CERT/DAC booth offers many ideas and suggestions on how to increase your families disaster IQ.

Italy feels the fury of Mother Earth


Published: April 6, 2009
L’AQUILA, Italy — At twilight on Monday, seven wooden coffins lay on the ground under a gnarled tree in Onna, a tiny village eight miles from here. A woman was slumped in grief over one, while people comforted her. After a few moments, five men strained to lift four coffins into a funeral van.

“They belonged to an entire family: a husband, wife and their two children,” said one of the men, Piero Taffo, who runs a funeral home in L’Aquila.
As the death toll continued to rise late Monday from a powerful earthquake that shook central Italy early in the day, officials said that as many as 150 people had been killed, at least 1,500 injured and tens of thousands left homeless.
The 6.3-magnitude quake seriously damaged historic buildings in the medieval hill towns of the mountainous Abruzzo region east of Rome. The deaths and damage was centered in L’Aquila, a picturesque fortress town at the epicenter, but more than 26 nearby villages were also affected, some seriously. Historic buildings in the surrounding region in the Apennine mountains were also damaged.
“Some towns in the area have been virtually destroyed in their entirety,” Gianfranco Fini, the speaker of the lower house of Parliament, said in Rome before the chamber observed a moment of silence.
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who canceled a trip to Moscow to survey the region by helicopter, declared a state of emergency.
“It’s a disaster never before seen,” said Franco Totani, a lawyer who said he was leaving L’Aquila to stay with an uncle in Rome. “I’ve seen earthquakes before, but this is a catastrophe.”
The narrow streets of L’Aquila’s historic center were filled with rubble, and parked cars were crushed under large blocks of debris. About 80,000 people live in L’Aquila and the surrounding area.
The cupola of the 18th-century Santa Maria del Suffragio church cracked open like an eggshell, exposing the stucco patterns inside the dome. Part of the transept of the 13th-century Santa Maria di Collemaggio basilica collapsed, as did a small cupola in the 18th-century church of SantAgostino.
Gianfranco Cioni, an architect in L’Aquila, said the authorities should have warned residents of the threat of an earthquake. “We had three months of tremors, each one stronger than the next,” Mr. Cioni said.
The earthquake struck around 3:30 a.m. Monday and could be felt as far away as Rome, 60 miles to the west, where it rattled furniture and set off car alarms. The United States Geological Survey said it was one of several quakes to hit the region overnight. Among the hardest hit places was Onna, a rural village of less than 400 people. At least 37 residents of the village died, the ANSA news agency reported. Onna’s older two- and three-story stone houses had nearly all been reduced to rubble.
Aftershocks shuddered through the area all day and into the evening, when a driving rain picked up, hampering rescue efforts. People clawed through the debris by hand, frantically seeking survivors.
Mr. Berlusconi said Monday night on national television that 150 people had been killed. But the ANSA news agency reported that officials said that 98 of the dead had been identified, and that another 20 bodies were still unidentified.
Mr. Berlusconi said the government was doing everything “humanly possible” to help those left homeless and would work to rebuild L’Aquila quickly. He said he would be in L’Aquila on Tuesday to assess the situation.
Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said rescue workers would work around the clock until all survivors had been found.
A spokesman for Italy’s Civil Protection Agency said on national television that an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 people had been left homeless. Electricity, telephone and gas lines were damaged.
In L’Aquila, parts of the main hospital were evacuated because they were at risk of collapsing, The Associated Press reported, and only two operating rooms were in use; bloodied victims waited in hospital hallways or in the courtyard, and many people were being treated in the open.
Four children died in the hospital after their house had collapsed, ANSA reported. Part of a building that housed university students in L’Aquila collapsed, and initial reports said one person had died and seven people were missing. At midday, shaken students and family members sat outside the rubble of the four-story building.
“We’re waiting for my son,” said a woman who declined to give her name. She stood among a knot of anxious onlookers and hid her eyes behind large sunglasses.
Newer buildings in the outer part of the city were also affected. Residents, many still in their pajamas, wheeled dusty suitcases through the streets, on their way out of town.
Outside a damaged convent, a dozen nuns, still dressed in bright orange and blue bathrobes, climbed into a van at midday to go to an assistance center. Sister Lidia, the mother superior, said an 82-year-old nun had died of shock. “The quake, it was very strong,” she said.
By evening, local residents had begun gathering at two stadiums in the town, where rescue workers were setting up 2,000 tents for the homeless.
Outside one stadium, a grief-stricken man could be heard talking on his cellphone. “Alessandro is still under the rubble,” he said.
Gaetana Leone said she had been evacuated from the historic center of the city. “It’s terrible,” she said. “I can’t go back home.”
But Ms. Leone tried to put on a brave face. “We’re the miraculous ones,” she said. “Even if we’ve lost our houses, we’re still alive.”
Speaking on Rainews 24, a new channel on state television, Guido Bertolaso, Italy’s senior civil protection official, said that the earthquake was “comparable if not superior to the one which struck Umbria in 1997.” That quake killed 10 people and damaged medieval buildings across the region, including Assisi’s famed basilica with its Giotto frescoes.
Seismic activity is relatively common in Italy, but the intensity of the earthquake on Monday was rare. It was the worst in Italy since a 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck Eboli, south of Naples, in 1980, killing more than 2,700 people.
The last major quake to hit central Italy struck the Molise region in 2002, killing 28 people, including 27 children who died when their school collapsed.
Rachel Donadio reported from L’Aquila, Italy, and Elisabetta Povoledo from Rome.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Everybody needs a "GO" bag

Children feel safe and secure when they know that parents/guardians have taken the time to provide for their safety.
Everybody in your home needs to have a "GO" bag. What is a "GO" bag you ask? A "GO" bag is a dedicated beg for each family member that includes disaster supplies as well as specific special needs items.
All of the above items fit in the backpack of my four year old son. Can you identify the ten essential items everybody needs in their "GO" bag?
1.) Food
2.) Water
3.) First Aid/Medicine
4.) Change of clothes
5.) Sanitation needs
6.) Special needs (for my son, toys and/or coloring book)
7.) Family Pictures/Medical Personal info. (on CD Rom)
8.) Out of state contact/next of kin family info
9.) Blanket/shelter (backdrop is a blanket)
10.) Money