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2009 Fedhealth e-news archives


Scroll down to read 2009 e-newsletters...

IT’S A DISASTER! e-news  12/17/2009   



Due to the holidays we’re skipping our normal "In the Spotlight" segment this month, but will get back on schedule in January. If you’d like to submit a story about what your nonprofit, CERT, MRC, school or group is doing so we can share it with our readers, please email Janet at info@itsadisaster.net  
We also want to wish all of you a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and hope the coming year brings you and your loved ones much happiness, good health and prosperity! 
Please keep our First Responders, our Military and their families in your thoughts and prayers during this holiday season (and throughout the year). Their service and sacrifice to keep us safe is very much appreciated.


Traditional Fundraiser examples: We posted some examples of potential earnings for schools and groups considering our book fundraiserLearn more 
Special for Churches: We are donating 10% cash back on any order placed by Churches and faith-based organizations. There’s also an easy referral program where we’ll donate 10% - 30% back to any referring entity. Call 1-888-999-4325 for details!  
If you know a nonprofit, school, agency or volunteer group who could benefit from our book and/or funding ideas, please have them call 1-888-999-4325 or email for a complimentary information kit.


... Militants in Iraq have used a $26 off-the-shelf software to intercept live video feeds from U.S. Predator drones?! Senior defense and intelligence officials said Iranian-backed insurgents intercepted the feeds by taking advantage of an unprotected communications link in some of the remotely flown planes' systems. But there is no evidence that militants were able to take control of the drones or otherwise interfere with their flights. Source: Wall Street Journal
... the CDC has received reports of fraudulent emails (phishing) referencing a CDC sponsored State Vaccination Program for H1N1. The messages request that users create a personal H1N1 (swine flu) Vaccination Profile on the CDC.gov web site. Users that click on the embedded link in the email are at risk of having malicious code installed on their system. Source: CDC  
... public safety and emergency management agencies can benefit from the combination of funding contained in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and fiscal year 2009 and 2010 budget appropriations. But it’s also causing a good measure of chaos as state and local governments try to spend billions of dollars in a short time frame. Source: Emergency Management Magazine

Note from Bill & j: Above article has links to several grant sources. And keep in mind our products qualify as public education providing about a $4-to-$1 return on match!
Check out this U.S. Severe Weather Map by the Weather Underground that has a graphical interface of the nation plus it breaks down Warnings by county. Click here   
(hat tip to Howard Pierpont, Chairman of DERA)
Universal Detection Technology is a developer of monitoring technologies, including bioterrorism detection devices. For example, UDT, in cooperation with NASA, has developed a bacterial spore detector that detects certain biohazard substances. And they resell handheld assays used for detection of five bioterrorism agents, radiation detection systems, and antimicrobial products. Learn more
The Catastrophic Planning and Management Institute in cooperation with Linden Labs recently launched a new Second Life sim, an innovative disaster awareness project called the "The Disaster Zone’ that will assist in planning and preparing for real disasters with virtual worlds. The project includes 14 collaborative islands and one overarching goal: limiting deaths related to natural disasters. Read more here or here
Got a cool link or idea? Email it to Janet at info@itsadisaster.net

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and stay safe out there, j & B


IT’S A DISASTER! e-news  11/25/2009   



We have personally known Scott Walz, Vice President of
netEOP, Inc. for over a decade and wanted to share some information about one of their products being used by many state, regional and local Emergency Management, Homeland Security and Health agencies, Universities and others since 2005.

is a Web based "All Hazards Capability Planning" tool that centrally stores your Emergency Plans and allows plan stakeholders with proper login permissions to make suggestions and updates to their section of the plan, and easily interact with each other. Prior to the introduction of these tools, emergency preparedness documentation and planning was limited by access and paper.

Some key Features & Benefits of
netPlanner 2009

- allows multiple users to access plans simultaneously from anywhere with an Internet connection.

- includes references and a cross walk to lead organizations through the process of creating emergency plans that address
National Incident Management System (NIMS), the Emergency Management Assistance Program (EMAP) and other guidance provided by local, state and federal agencies and organizations.

- addresses the National Planning Scenarios, Target Capabilities and Universal Tasks prescribed in the National Preparedness Goal. 

- includes the ability to easily attach various procedures, protocols checklists, pictures and other documents for critical site planning and resource typing.

- includes the ability to attach to existing forms, such as Incident Command System (ICS) job action sheets and checklists, as well damage assessment forms, emergency declarations, situation reports and other emergency planning documents.

- easily integrated with Web-based EOC information management tools and GIS mapping tools.

To learn more, check out netEOP’s
3-minute video 

To arrange an online demonstration, contact Scott Walz at
swalz@netEOP.com or call 816.737.1900 or visit http://netplanner.neteop.com/  



A great way to clean out leftover dollars is to purchase IT’S A DISASTER! books for staff, volunteers and local citizens. We can individually receipt various buckets to commit the funds so groups won’t be required to return any unused dollars. Plus it provides minimum $4-to-$1 match and we customize books (or CDs) at no charge. To learn more call 1-888-999-4325 or visit



Christmas Tips & Ideas for Troops
: Some links about sending packages, gift cards or Christmas cards to our brave military men and women here and abroad. (Note: some sites have year-round programs and projects.) Learn more

Special for Churches
: We are donating 10% cash back on any order placed by Churches and faith-based organizations. There’s also an easy referral program where we’ll donate 10% - 30% back to any referring entity. Call 1-888-999-4325 for details...


...the CDC confirmed a West Virginia physician contracted the H1N1 virus twice?! Dr. Debra Parsons, a pediatrician at Kid Care West in Cross Lanes, was met with reactions of doubt from local health officials last month when she said two flu tests had come back positive for H1N1, or swine flu. Parsons says she's spoken with CDC representatives about the results, and they said the double infection isn't all that unbelievable. "They said this happens every year with seasonal flu, so there's no reason to expect that it wouldn't happen with swine flu," Parsons said. "Every flu strain can change a little bit." Source: Charleston Daily Mail  

...Secretary Napolitano unveiled a new Web site -- www.dhs.gov/criticalinfrastructure -- designed to provide stakeholders and the public with easily accessible information about their role in safeguarding critical infrastructure and key resources (CIKR). The Web site features a link to the new CIKR Resource Center, which includes information about how to sign up for free Web-based seminars on the tools, trends, issues, and best practices for infrastructure protection and resilience; resources concerning potential vulnerabilities for chemical facilities; and details about the National Response Framework, which outlines guidance for all response partners to prepare for and provide a unified response to disasters and emergencies. Source: the Gov Monitor    
...Google, Microsoft and Yahoo joined with NASA, the World Bank and PR agency SecondMuse to organize the first ever Random Hacks of Kindness event mid-Nov. For two days experts worked on ways to use technology to help solve real world problems, such as how people can get information and find each other during disasters.
Sources: InCaseofEmergencyBlog.com  and CNET 
USFA’s Cooking Fire Safety and Holiday Fire Safety pages are loaded with tips and videos on fire safety and prevention for the coming season.
In Case of Emergency, Read Blog: A Citizen’s Eye View of Public Preparedness developed by John Solomon is an excellent source of information for both citizens and officials. The blog (initially started for John’s research for his coming book due in 2010) helps collect, highlight and organize information about preparedness from the civilian’s point of view. It highlights model individuals, communities, organizations, schools and businesses and offers guidance on ways that citizens can get involved. http://incaseofemergencyblog.com/  
X-Flex is a new kind of wallpaper: one that’s quite possibly stronger than the wall it’s on. Invented by Berry Plastics in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, this lifesaving adhesive is designed for use anyplace that’s prone to blasts and other lethal forces, like in war or natural-disaster zones, chemical plants or airports. Kudos to our friends at National Terror Alert for the article and video posted here

Got a cool link or idea? Email it to Janet at info@itsadisaster.net


IT’S A DISASTER! e-news  10/28/2009   



DHS and United States Water Patrol need your help identifying small vessel threats
 A small vessel, such as a commercial fishing vessel or recreational boat, can be used as a waterborne improvised explosive device, as a platform for conducting an attack, or to smuggle weapons or terrorists into the United States. Recognizing the threat, in mid-2006, the Department of Homeland Security initiated a working group to develop a small vessel security national strategy. DHS’ Office of the Inspector General recently released a report called "DHS’ Strategy and Plans to Counter Small Vessel Threats Need Improvement" (OIG-09-100) that criticizes Customs & Border Protection (CBP), the Coast Guard and DHS policy for failing to write a complete strategy that includes measures of effectiveness and resource requirements. Overall, OIG writes the department has made progress, but more remains to be done.  
Basically the nation’s ports, waterways, and maritime borders remain vulnerable to small boat threats.
Small vessels include recreational boats and yachts, commercial fishing boats, towing vessels, uninspected passenger vessels, and any other personal or commercial vessels involved in U.S. or foreign voyages. With 95,000 miles of shoreline, 300,000 square miles of waterways, 360 ports of call, 12,000 marinas, and an estimated 17 million small vessels presently operating in U.S. waters, it is extremely difficult to distinguish friend from foe.
Enter the United States Water Patrol. According to USWP Commander ADM Larry Teruji Sakai, U.S. Water Patrol, formed in 1999, is a 100% all volunteer 501c3 organization and they do not receive any funding or grants from any Federal, State or Local Governments. All supplies, gas, equipment and repairs are paid with donations from USWP members and the public.
Some functions and services of the U.S. Water Patrol include…
Homeland Security: provide support, manpower and equipment as needed while patrolling on land and water monitoring activities on and around waterways like Dams & Locks, Power Stations, bridges, Shipping, Airports, public water supplies, etc.
Safety Patrols: aid and assist the public with water related distress calls such as Disabled boats, Accidents, Escorts, Search and Rescue, monitoring unsafe Water conditions, Diver Support, etc.
Security: patrolling and monitoring activities on and around Marinas, Ramps, Water front parks, businesses, railroad tracks and bridges, power plants, water intakes, reservoirs, etc.
Public Service: provide a variety of information to the boating public on safe boating, safety and life saving equipment, charts, maps, etc.
Assistance: Search and Rescue, body search, boat fires, First Aid, towing, gas, boat recovery, Launching and Docking assistance, Extracting boats, Diver Support, Escort, Security checks, etc.
USWP is also a participant in America's Waterway Watch. AWW is a combined effort of the U.S. Water Patrol, U.S. Coast Guard and its Reserve and Auxiliary components, and it’s purpose is to raise awareness of suspicious activity that might indicate threats to our country’s waterways and homeland security. Unfortunately, according to the OIG Report, AWW is not widely known. Of the estimated 13 million registered boaters within the U.S., only 440,000 received informational brochures with vessel documentation packets and another 1 million received data on AWW when they renewed their vessel’s state registration. But almost 90% of the estimated registered boaters have not been reached.
If you are a tow boat operator, a recreational boater, a fisherman, a marina operator, or otherwise live, work or engage in recreational activities around America's waterways, the U.S. Coast Guard wants your help in keeping these areas safe and secure. Individuals can report suspicious and unusual activity via the 24-hour hotline, 1-877-24WATCH (1-877-249-2824). Coast Guard personnel monitor The National Response Center hotline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The U.S. Water Patrol has some excellent suggestions on where people should watch for "suspicious activity", how to report it (including how to make proper descriptions of people, boats or vehicles), and how to get involved with USWP and/or America’s Waterway Watch.
Learn more at www.uswaterpatrol.org and please consider donating to USWP’s cause.
Most of us don’t like to think about threats or disasters, however talking about these things can help people understand what to expect and do in the event of a crisis. And faith-based organizations play an integral role in helping communities prepare for and recover from all types of emergencies and disasters.
In a 29-Sep-2009 speech, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano called upon volunteers, first responders, veterans, the faith community, organizations and America's 30 million small businesses to do two things… "1) Get an emergency kit, make a reunification plan -- get better informed about the types of emergencies that your community is most likely to encounter." And 2) Americans need to ask co-workers, family and church members and groups they belong to … "‘What's our plan?’ and take time to discuss what will happen if disaster strikes -- if there's an emergency of any type, so that we respond with resilience and preparedness, not with fear."
So … what is your plan? Would your church, synagogue, business or family know what to do if disaster strikes?
Our IT'S A DISASTER!... books can help families and groups prepare for the unexpected. Churches, nonprofits and groups can order books for only $3.50 each (U.S.) (75% off $14.99 list) … and books can be customized at no charge to include local emergency numbers, shelter locations and other important data for citizens, employees, volunteers and members.
For example, the Catholic Charities of Arkansas Diocese of Little Rock changed our title calling it their "Family Emergency and Disaster Planning Guide". Plus their first 10 pages contain a letter from the Bishop, prayers and important phone numbers for the entire state.
And, in case funds are limited, Churches and groups can get sponsorship from businesses and others to help pay for books or sell ad space. Or families or neighborhoods can pool orders together to save on freight and get this data into homes and offices where it can do some good.
Through a special program, Fedhealth will donate 10% cash back on any order in support of that faith-based group or send extra books for that amount. There’s also an easy referral program where we’ll donates 10% - 30%  back to ANY referring entity.
Learn more by calling Fedhealth at 1-888-999-4325
p.s. If you know a faith-based organization, youth group, school or any agency, volunteer group (like a CERT, MRC, etc) or nonprofit who could benefit from this book and/or our funding ideas, please have them call 1-888-999-4325 or email info@itsadisaster.net for a complimentary information kit!
Billy Box Adventures: Read about our BB Adventures as we journey around the country looking for our new home. View page
Look inside book: We added a few more topics from our book in PDF like Floods, Preparing for a Nuke, Winter Storms and others. We encourage people to please share the data with others and let them know the entire 282-page eBook is only $2.50 U.S. And paperbacks are discounted 50% - 75% off or available from several nonprofits and resellers (links on our site). Learn more 
Videos n pics: We've posted some more photos contributed by various groups showing how they use our books in their local communities. Please send us YOUR videos, pics or stories so we can share them with others! View page 
Facebook: Click here to become a Fan!

Twitter: Click here to follow us
...President Obama signed a National Emergency Declaration on H1N1 that allows healthcare systems to quickly implement disaster plans should they become overwhelmed?! For example, it now will be easier for hospitals to set up an alternative screening location for patients away from the hospital’s main campus. Source: Flu.gov  
...in late July, the CDC abruptly advised states to stop testing for H1N1 flu, and stopped counting individual cases?! The rationale given for the CDC guidance to forego testing and tracking individual cases was: why waste resources testing for H1N1 flu when the government has already confirmed there's an epidemic? Some public health officials privately disagreed with the decision to stop testing and counting, telling CBS News that continued tracking of this new and possibly changing virus was important because H1N1 has a different epidemiology, affects younger people more than s easonal flu and has been shown to have a higher case fatality rate than other flu virus strains. CBS News learned that the decision to stop counting H1N1 flu cases was made so hastily that states weren't given the opportunity to provide input. Source: CBS News
...by posting your birthday, your pets’ names and having your Mom be a "friend" on social network sites can increase your chances of identity theft?! Many people use their birthdate in passwords and personal identification numbers, and security questions often ask for it to resend a lost password. So broadcasting a birthdate could help cybercriminals pose as others as they log on to various Web sites, experts warn. The same goes for pet names and the names of children. If your mother is a Facebook friend, her maiden name (a popular security question) is within reach of the bad guys. Source: CNN 
Remember to change smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries when changing your clocks back on November 1..!!! And check out the IAFC and Energizer’s Change Your Clock Change Your Battery® kit containing many tools you can use in public-education and media-outreach efforts to encourage communities to prioritize checking their detectors as the time changes. www.energizer.com/firesafety 
WeAreSafeAndSound.com provides a free communications service to find and mass notify family and friends of one another's well-being and whereabouts before, during or after a disaster. www.wearesafeandsound.com 
"Disaster preparedness for Health Professionals," , a 4-part series by the University of California on UCTV, helps illustrate how anyone - from a single individual to a complex organization - can be better prepared for a future emergency. Each video covers a different topic: Natural Disasters, Chemical and Biological Agents; Pandemic Influenza and other Emerging Infections; and Disaster Volunteerism. The U of C created the series in partnership with the Califor nia Preparedness Education network. www.uctv.tv/disaster
Got a cool link or idea? Email it to Janet at info@itsadisaster.net


IT’S A DISASTER! e-news  9/28/2009   



We are going to hog the spotlight this month since we’re proud to announce our new 5th Edition
of "IT’S A DISASTER! …and what are YOU gonna do about it?" is here!!

Some new enhancements / changes include…

--  Power Loss Mitigation (tips on generators)

--  Brief explanation of who responds during a disaster or emergency

--  Civil Disturbance or Civil Unrest

--  Moved all nuke information into Terrorism topic

--  Expanded Infectious Diseases (added Swine flu, C.diff, more tips, etc)

--  Streamlined all topics and much, much more!

We encourage agencies, businesses, churches and groups to use our book as customized giveaways and discount them 50% - 75% off list.

Also … our 4th Editions are discounted even further while supplies last – call 1-888-999-4325 or email
info@itsadisaster.net for details.

One final note ~ if you know a U.S. or Canadian agency, volunteer group (like a CERT, MRC, etc), a faith-based organization, youth group, school or nonprofit who could benefit from this book and/or our funding ideas, please have them call 1-888-999-4325 for a complimentary information kit!

Click here to look inside book and learn how to order…



As you may have noticed, our e-news has a new look! We’re always looking for stories from agencies, volunteers and others on how they use our products in local communities – both as an educational tool and as a fundraiser.
We also will be happy to announce new books from time to time by First Responders, consultants or groups (see below) that might be of interest to our readers.

If you have any news, ideas or feedback you’d like to share, please email



Rick Tobin, President and CEO of TAO Emergency Management Consulting and owner of High Hope Publishing has just released an exciting adventure-action novel…

Curse of the 8th Buddha

The world did not end in 2012. There were earth changes, but most humans survived. One of them is Richard Sinclair, a California trouble magnet. Now, during the 2013 recovery of a quake-damaged San Francisco, he oversees a Bay Area construction site for the Governor’s Emergency Management Agency. Sinclair’s employers are unaware he is also a new recruit in the Knights Templar Society. His secret assignment is to capture lost Templar treasure uncovered in the rubble. But instead of gold, Sinclair uncovers a primordial psychic minefield: the powers of an ancient civilization that allow him to unlock the darkest secrets of anyone he touches.

Along the perilous path of Templar intrigues he is confronted by his maniacal Templar overseer, by a contrary former lover and by the wiles of his twin soul who now serves the Liliths—relentless primeval enemies of the Templars. The Liliths hunt him for their purposes in a ritual drama that demands his blood. Can Richard Sinclair, plagued with psychological demons and weaknesses, survive challenges of the heart and physical doom as he is manipulated by a treacherous secret society? His journey is interwoven with Templar obsession for gold, deceptions of evil conspiracies and the redeeming power of eternal love after he is shackled by the curse of the 8th Buddha.

Curse of the 8th Buddha by
Rick Tobin
$14.95 at Amazon.com 
284 pages



…the U.S. Geological Survey has declared the devastation in some parts of Georgia recently to be in the 500-year flood levels?! FEMA said 3,600 residents and business owners had filed for federal assistance as of Friday 9/25 and some estimates suggest as many as 14,000 homes may have been damaged. Source: Disaster News Network 

… the third and final phase of the National Dialogue on the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review goes live for one week beginning Monday, Sep 28, 2009. This is your last chance to provide your best ideas and feedback to DHS for consideration. Source: National Academy of Public Administration 

… a new phishing scam is spreading through Twitter via direct messages?! Twitter confirmed direct messages come in followed by a link to what appeared to be a legitimate Twitter log-in page but nabs your credentials if you type in your password. Source CNET 



National Institute of Standards and Technology and the U.S. Fire Administration have teamed up to produce "FIRE.gov," an online newsletter that contains short articles describing ongoing fire-related research activities around the world.  www.fire.gov 

Safe America Foundation
wants families to learn to stay in touch via text messaging, Twitter and social networking sites in the wake of a disaster if traditional communication methods fail.  www.safeamerica.org

has assembled all kinds of tips and data on how to keep foods fresh longer as well as when to get rid of them. www.stilltasty.com 

Got a cool link or idea? Email it to Janet at info@itsadisaster.net



IT’S A DISASTER! e-news  8/26/2009



Since September is National Preparedness Month we wanted to place Citizen Corps "In the Spotlight". (Please share this data with family, friends and co-workers so they can learn how to get involved!) 

Citizen Corps encourages Americans to take steps to prepare themselves and their families for the unexpected and get involved in their local communities. There are currently 2,400 Citizen Corps Councils which serve 225,809,480 people or 79% of the total U.S. population.

Citizen Corps is comprised of five different but equally important programs:

Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)
- When emergencies happen, CERT members can give critical support to first responders, provide immediate assistance to victims, and organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site. CERT members can also help with non-emergency projects that help improve the safety of the community. www.citizencorps.gov/cert/index.shtm   

Fire Corps
- Citizen advocates can assist local fire departments in a range of activities including fire safety outreach, youth programs, and administrative support. www.firecorps.org 

Medical Reserve Corps (MRC)
- MRC volunteers work in coordination with existing local emergency response programs and also supplement existing community public health initiatives, such as outreach and prevention, immunization programs, blood drives, case management, care planning, and other efforts. Did you know MRCs could use 10 non-medical volunteers for every 1 medical volunteer?

USAonWatch - Neighborhood Watch
- USAonWatch (a.k.a. National Neighborhood Watch program) provides information, training, technical support and resources to local law enforcement agencies and citizens.
Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS)
- VIPS Program provides support and resources for agencies interested in developing or enhancing a volunteer program and for citizens who wish to volunteer their time and skills with a law enforcement agency. www.policevolunteers.org

Some Affiliates and Organizations that work closely with Citizen Corps include American Radio Relay League (ARRL), Civil Air Patrol, The American Legion, Home Safety Council, National Safety Council, National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) and many others.
To learn more about Citizen Corps or to check if there's a local council in your community, please visit www.citizencorps.gov
And check out our funding programs that can help your CERT, MRC, Explorers and other volunteer groups   
As we approach the 8th anniversary of the 9/11 attack on our country, we ask everyone to please take some time to reflect on how that event impacted our nation and ask yourself ... are you and your loved ones prepared if we are attacked again?
Although it was a traumatic, devastating blow to our psyche, economy and confidence, we pulled through it. People often forget terrorist attacks against our nation began long before 9/11/2001, but that day may forever live in infamy. Unfortunately the heightened awareness that resulted from that attack has diminished immensely and we, as a nation, are slipping back into that comfortable complacent zone.
A fitting tribute to the 9/11 victims might be to make a commitment to learn more about preparedness in general. For example, what would you do if a dirty bomb went off near your place of business? Where would you go if you were told to evacuate for days, weeks or months? Did you know if a small nuclear device detonates several miles away that you could increase your chances of survival by taking shelter with the proper shielding materials around you? (Taking shelter below ground can reduce exposure to deadly gamma rays by 90%, but it is critical you have proper shielding around you and stay put for several hours, days or weeks since you can't see, smell, feel or taste radiation.)
Discussing terrorism and preparedness is not fear-mongering (as we are sometimes accused of doing with our book) rather it is educational and hopefully beneficial. The thought of a chemical, biological or nuclear attack (or any major disaster) can be overwhelming, but people need to acknowledge the threats exist and prepare for the unexpected. Bill and I repeatedly say ... if more people would learn what to do before, during and after many types of emergencies and disasters it could alleviate anxiety, fear and problems. First Responders may be completely overwhelmed during a crisis so businesses and citizens should take responsibility and prepare and plan for many types of scenarios.
As we said earlier, September is National Preparedness Month. Please consider getting involved with your local community to learn more about preparedness, crime prevention and response.
And please ... never forget the sacrifices many responders and volunteers gave so willingly on that day ... and everyday.
Look inside book: In honor of National Preparedness Month 2009 we've posted several topics from our book in PDF. Topics include DC's Terrorist Threat Level Advisory System, Floods, Hurricanes, Preparing for a Nuke, Wildfires and others. We encourage people to please share the data with others and let them know the entire 298-page eBook is only $2.50 U.S. And paperbacks are discounted 50% - 75% off or available from several nonprofits and resellers (links on our site). Learn more
Videos n pics: We've posted some videos and photos contributed by various groups showing how they use our books in their local communities. Please send us YOUR videos, pics or stories so we can share them with others! View page 
Facebook: Click here to become a Fan!

 Click here to follow us 
... according to the 2009 Citizen Corps National Survey, participants were asked to identify potential reasons for not preparing, and 30% said ... they thought emergency responders would help them in the event of a disaster?! Respondents also were asked, "What is the main reason you have not received any preparedness training?" ... and 33% said it's difficult to get information on what to do. Sources: Emergency Management and 2009 Citizen Corps National Survey 
... there are five elements to every terrorist attack?! These elements are (1) Target Identification, (2) Intelligence Gathering & Planning, (3) Logistics & Training, (4) Rehearsals or "Dry Runs," and (5) the physical manifestation of the attack itself. Virtually every terrorist attack that has and will take place follows these elements in the presented order. Three of these elements can be detected if the observer knows what he/she is looking at and has a means of reporting the observation to the appropriate authority. Source: Examiner.com 
... cyber criminals are targeting children on Neopets (a popular site that lets kids "adopt" cyber pets)?! Internet pirates are sending kids emails or posting on Neopets bulletin boards about a secret site that lets them make a "magic paintbrush" to change their pets' colors. But instead of installing and downloading the magic paintbrush, victims download and install malware that can get to parents' banking information, Social Security numbers, passwords, and other data that may be saved on the PC that the child is using. Source: Trend Micro Consumer Newsletter  
DHS maintains a web site for emergency managers to plan and respond to emergencies involving the disabled. www.disability.gov 
Flu season is coming so check out HHS's Guides, Toolkits and videos for K-12 Schools, Colleges and Universities www.flu.gov/plan/school/index.html
Got a cool link or idea? Email it to Janet at info@itsadisaster.net


IT’S A DISASTER! e-news  7/29/2009



There are two important events coming up involving the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
so we're placing DHS "In the Spotlight" this month. 

Our thanks go out to NationalTerrorAlert.com
for their updates about these (and many other) homeland security-related events and news items. Please visit their link near the end of this article.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano invites you to participate in the National Dialogue on the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review (QHSR) starting 3-Aug-2009. This web-based interactive dialogue is designed to allow a broader range of opinions and ideas to inform the QHSR process, and to strengthen the Department's relationship with its array of partners and stakeholders, including other federal agencies, state, local, and tribal governments, law enforcement professionals, first responders, academic institutions, and the business community.

In order to capture this critical feedback, DHS is seeking your participation in three week-long, web-based dialogues

Each of the three dialogues will involve discussions on six topics being reviewed by DHS:

  -- Counterterrorism and Domestic Security Management 
  -- Securing Our Borders 
  -- Smart and Tough Enforcement of Immigration Laws 
  -- Preparing for, Responding to, and Recovering from Disasters 
  -- Homeland Security National Risk Assessment 
  -- Homeland Security Planning and Capabilities 

This unique experiment is being hosted by the National Academy of Public Administration, an independent, non-profit, congressionally-chartered institution, on behalf of DHS.

o  First Dialogue: Aug 3rd through Aug 9th - will seek your opinion on general priorities of different Homeland Security mission areas. 

Second Dialogue: Aug 31st through Sep 6th - will enable you to prioritize and engage in open and interactive discussions on critical mission areas of DHS. 

Third Dialogue: Sep 28th through Oct 4th - will seek your final review of the mission, goals and priorities articulated by the Department and the work of the internal and cross-functional DHS study groups. 

Learn more on National Terror Alert site or DHS' Homeland Security Dialogue site 

Also ... DHS's Ready Campaign, in partnership with The Advertising Council, has introduced a series of new social media tools to further engage Americans in taking steps to prepare for emergencies. At the center of the initiative is a Web page, "Be Prepared
," which features an interactive widget that provides users with updates on emergency situations, local emergency contact information, an instructional video, emergency kit checklists and more. The widget can be posted to social networking profiles, blogs, wikis and personal homepages. Learn more at http://ready.adcouncil.org/beprepared/  



September marks the start of National Preparedness Month 2009 sponsored by the DHS's Ready Campaign. Fedhealth is once again a NPM Coalition Member and will include tips and links in our e-news, Tweets and on our site. We hope to encourage businesses, Chambers, civic clubs, volunteer groups, schools and citizens to get involved and prepare for the unexpected.

Some links to visit and share include:
- Join your local Citizen Corps www.citizencorps.gov
- Share kid-friendly data with schools and youth groups www.ready.gov/kids
- Visit Ready Business www.ready.gov/business/ 
- Get customized copies of IT'S A DISASTER! books (or CDs or eBooks) for employees, customers, members and loved ones www.itsadisaster.net

- Earn 10% - 30% or more for your CERT, MRC, youth or church group, nonprofit, K-12 school, etc - Learn more 

... Microsoft released security updates today (Wed 7/29) -- outside of its monthly patch cycle -- for a critical vulnerability in Internet Explorer and a moderate vulnerability in Visual Studio. The vulnerabilities affect Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Windows Server 2003 and 2008, Internet Explorer 6, 7 and 8, Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003, Visual Studio 2005 and 2008 and Visual C++ 2005 and 2008.  Sources: CNET   
... research at the University of Liverpool has shown it is possible to develop an 'invisibility cloak' to protect buildings from earthquakes?! The technology involves the use of concentric rings of plastic, which could be fitted to the Earth's surface to divert surface waves.  Source: Science Daily

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board has a new safety video, "Emergency Preparedness." It runs about 20 minutes, and features computer animations and news footage to show various problems with responses to chemical emergencies, some of which result in death and injury to firefighters and others responding. www.csb.gov/videoroom/detail.aspx?vid=29 

Earthweek A Diary of the Planet
monitors disasters, emerging diseases and earth news. They have interactive maps, tons of archives plus a widget you can post on your blog or site. www.earthweek.com
An interesting blog you might want to bookmark is called "Pandemic Information News A daily chronicle of ongoing events pertaining to infectious diseases". The contributors do this voluntarily (one profile says monitoring this is just a hobby), however they compile some interesting articles from around the globe. http://pandemicinformationnews.blogspot.com/
Got a cool link or idea? Email it to Janet at info@itsadisaster.net


IT’S A DISASTER! e-news  6/29/2009



It is the mission of The Volunteer Connection (Six County RSVP and the Volunteer Center) to connect people with opportunities to serve, promote volunteering, "Tell the Story" of what volunteers are doing in Central Utah, celebrate the impact of constructive volunteering, and meet local community needs.

The six counties served by The Volunteer Connection are Sevier, Millard, Juab, Sanpete, Piute and Wayne. Shortly after establishing in 1998, there were 11 volunteer stations and 33 volunteers who had contributed over 2,100 hours of service. Today the nonprofit has over 270 volunteers reporting over 49,000 hours.

Shara Bastian has been employed with Six County AOG - Volunteer Connection since 2000 and is currently the Manager. The Volunteer Connection has two programs, which include - the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) for volunteers 55 and older and Volunteer Center for volunteers 54 and younger.
The Volunteer Connection also spearheads the Central Utah Regional Citizen Corps Council which includes five pillar programs - CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), Neighborhood Watch, MRC (Medical Reserve Corps), VIPS (Volunteers In Police Service) and Fire Corps among educating the public on disaster preparedness topics. The mission of the Central Utah Regional Citizen Corps Council is to harness the power of every individual, through education, training, and volunteer service, to make communities safer, stronger, and better prepared to respond to the threats of terrorism, crime, public health issues, and disasters of all kinds.
The Volunteer Connection also oversees other programs, and helps other organizations to accomplish their goals through volunteer service. Some of the partnerships formed are with hospitals, care centers, senior centers, schools, food banks, 4-H, etc.
The Volunteer Connection has been able to distribute the "It's a Disaster!" books, along with other preparedness information, within the Six County Region through various avenues such as Health Fairs, Safety & Preparedness Fairs, Events, Trainings, and community members.
One advantage of purchasing "It's A Disaster!" is it qualifies as community education providing a minimum $4-to-$1 return on match. (Match includes contributed goods and services like any reductions in price, all labor and materials to customize books, discounts on freight, etc.) For example, since 2004 the Richfield nonprofit has received over $59,000.00 worth of match they could use towards current and future grants.
Learn more about The Volunteer Connection at www.volunteer-connection.com  

The following article is a little longer than normal, but in light of recent threats we felt this data might be helpful.
No one wants to think about a nuclear crisis - and hopefully it will never happen - but we as a nation must accept the fact tensions are rising globally so we should prepare ourselves and our loved ones in the event the unthinkable strikes our soil.
For decades, movies and some in the media have portrayed a nuclear attack as a "doomsday" event implying most people would be killed on impact ... and survivors would want to die once they come out of their shelters. In reality, unless you are actually at ground zero or within a several mile radius of the blast zone (depending on the size of the nuke, of course), there is a very high probability you'll survive as long as you limit your exposure to radiation, take shelter with proper shielding, and wait for the most dangerous radioactive materials to decay.
Below are some tips extracted from the "More About Nukes (You CAN Survive)..." Appendix in our IT'S A DISASTER! book.

Radiation detection devices - You can't see, smell, taste or feel radiation, but special instruments can detect even the smallest levels of radiation. Since it may take days or weeks before First Responders could get to you, consider having these devices handy during a crisis or attack since they could save your life.

- survey meter - measures rate of exposure or intensity of radiation at that specific location if you stayed there for an hour ... like a speedometer in a car (cost: $300-$1,000+)

- dosimeter - a pen-like device you can wear that measures total dose or accumulated exposure to radiation as you move around (needs a charger too - cost: $45-$65+ each)

- KFM kit - (Kearny Fallout Meter) measures radiation more accurately than most instruments since it's charged electrostatically. Find plans online or available as a low-cost kit ($40-$75). And it's a great science project for kids.

- NukAlert - a patented personal radiation meter, monitor and alarm small enough to fit on a key chain. The unit warns you with chirping sounds if it detects radiation. (cost: $160)

Reduce exposure - Protect yourself from radioactive fallout with ...

- distance - the more distance between you and fallout particles, the better

- shielding - heavy, dense materials (like thick walls, earth, concrete, bricks, water and books) between you and fallout is best. Stay indoors or below ground. (Taking shelter in a basement or a facility below ground reduces exposure by 90%. Less than 4 inches (10 cm) of soil or earth can reduce the penetration of dangerous gamma rays by half.)
- time - most fallout loses its strength quickly. The more time that passes after the attack, the lower the danger.

The "seven-ten" rule - For every sevenfold increase in time after the initial blast, there is a tenfold decrease in the radiation rate. In other words, if you have shelter with good shielding and stay put for even just 7 hours ... you've really increased your chances of survival.

Indoor shelter locations - If you don't have a fallout shelter, these options could provide protection from dangerous radiation by using proper shielding materials.

- basement - find the corner that is most below ground level (the further underground the better)

- 1-story home / condo / apartment - if no underground facility, find a spot in center of home away from windows

- trailer home - find sturdier shelter if possible (like a basement or brick or concrete building)

- multi-story building or high-rise - go to center of the middle section of building. Note: if rooftop of a building next to you is on that same floor, move one floor up or down since radioactive fallout would accumulate on rooftops. Avoid first floor (if possible) since fallout will pile up on ground outside.

Indoor shelter shielding - Some very basic ways to build an expedient last-minute shelter in your home, apartment or workplace to help protect you from dangerous radiation include...

- Set up a large, sturdy workbench or table in location you've chosen. If no table, make one by putting doors on top of boxes, appliances or furniture.

- Put as much shielding (e.g. furniture, file cabinets, appliances, boxes or pillowcases filled with dirt or sand, boxes of food, water or books, concrete blocks, bricks, etc.) all around sides and on top of table, but don't put too much weight on tabletop or it could collapse. Add reinforcing supports, if needed.

- Leave a crawl space so everyone can get inside and block opening with shielding materials.

- Leave 2 small air spaces for ventilation (about 4-6" each) - one low at one end and one high at other end. (This allows for better airflow since warm air rises.)
- If you have time and ability to do so, add more mass or shielding materials (like earth) on the floor above you. Support or brace floor from below for the added weight.

- Have water, detection devices, radio, food and sanitation supplies in case you have to shelter for days or weeks.

EMP - A nuke causes an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that could disrupt or crash systems so you may not have access to TV or radio, phones, the Internet, ATMs, and other devices. It could also impact response efforts, electrical and water systems, food distribution, transportation and more.
You can read more on pages 231 - 243 in our 4th Edition of IT'S A DISASTER! Learn how to order the paperback (or eBook) and to find business links to vendors offering products and more data on nuke preparedness.

On a lighter note... we reserved a Twitter page 2 months ago and sent our first few tweets recently so we're officially twits!

Twitter and other social networking sites have proven very useful in disaster situations and many agencies are recognizing the benefits and scrambling to get online.
We plan to send a message a week about major disaster-related alerts or news, preparedness tips and new product or program announcements. If you'd like to follow us, please visit http://twitter.com/itsadisaster

... despite the increase in storms over the last 10 years, 62% of Florida coastal residents say they feel no threat from hurricanes..?! The poll also found that 16% think the government will provide food, water and shelter immediately after a storm, 83% have taken no steps to make their homes stronger and 48% have no flood insurance. Source: The Florida Times Union 
... two new studies by the Scripps research team offer a comprehensive analysis of earthquake activity in the Lake Tahoe region, which suggest a magnitude-7 earthquake occurs every 2,000 to 3,000 years in the basin?! And the largest fault in the basin, West Tahoe, appears to have last ruptured between 4,100 and 4,500 years ago. Source: ScienceDaily

The American Red Cross Dallas Chapter has produced F5, an 18-minute movie about a series of deadly tornadoes romping across North Texas. The film was a partnership between the Red Cross Dallas Area Chapter and the Southwest Community of Motion Picture Artists. Storm chaser Tim Marshall provided actual F5 tornado footage. The film was shown in some Dallas theatres and is now on YouTube   (Note: YouTube page has video split into 2 parts.)
The National Library of Medicine's Household Products Database provides information in a consumer friendly language on over 8,000 common household products and their potential health effects. http://householdproducts.nlm.nih.gov/
Got a cool link or idea? Email it to Janet at info@itsadisaster.net


IT’S A DISASTER! e-news  5/29/2009



A President’s View on Public Safety, Old and New
by Eric Brown - CEM, President of Homeland Security Foundation of America (HSFA)

"I imagine I grew up like most boys, meaning every day generated some kind of emergency or perhaps a catastrophe if you were to ask mom. My brothers and I never gave safety much thought. We didn’t have bicycle helmets and never loaded up on knee-pads, but I think it’s safe to say we pushed fun to the limit and beyond. As a result, we had no shortage of injuries, but as soon as we got patched up we ran right back outside. I’m gleefully surprised we’re all still alive today.

I began to connect the dots on the importance of public safety the day our neighbors had a kitchen fire. It was summertime and school was out. My mom rushed in to my room and told me to look outside. Sure enough a big cloud of black smoke was coming out of the neighbor’s home. I jumped up, grabbed our fire extinguisher and ran full-speed across the street, kicking my way in through the front door. The kids had tried to make French fries and, without warning, a fire started and quickly grew out of control. Inside the home, visibility was almost zero. There was one adult who’d been sleeping while the kids were cooking – he was trying to fight the fire with a kitchen towel. I pulled him clear and put the blaze out with the fire extinguisher. Afterwards, my mom said, "Son, I didn’t mean for you to run over there and almost get yourself killed!" I smiled and told her I was okay, but the event had changed me in a good way. Now, each time I think about safety, I remember this day, how an innocent batch of fries can result in an emergency situation or deadly disaster. It reminds me the importance of "It’s a Disaster!" as a learning tool and our duty to help Americans be safe.

is proud to work closely with our community partner Fedhealth to help build awareness for public safety. However, it’s been an uphill battle, primarily because people don’t usually think about safety until they’re smack-dab in the middle of disaster. Our efforts to date have been very serious. Unfortunately, they haven’t been very effective in this modern, multimedia day and time. We’ve given this a lot of thought and recently begun to study how well people respond to entertainment even during difficult times. More than ever, we now recognize the value of fun as a renewable resource and are committed to tapping into its potential in order to repower our safety initiatives for 2009 and years to come.

I’m blown away to see our teams thinking so far outside the box and moving forward with a spirit of creativity. Ms. Ruby Redbook, our new character for "It’s a Disaster", is just a real hoot. Ms. Redbook represents a unique way to get everyone connected and excited about this valuable resource, and I think creative efforts like this give us an edge in communicating our very important public safety message. There’s no doubt about it, we take our job extremely seriously, but we’ve learned the word spreads further and faster when we add a touch of fun in the delivery. We’re also using "It’s a Disaster!" in other creative ways, for example, as a classroom textbook for our Energy Security program Project Green Village, which provides green energy education, home audits and upgrades to the low income community. These are just a few of the ways we’re leveraging "It’s a Disaster!" to accomplish our mission. Through our focus groups, we’re generating a ton of good ideas, and I’m proud to announce we’re putting them all in play as soon as possible.

When it comes to "It’s a Disaster!", our goal very simply is to ensure every American benefits from the information found in this manual. Getting there is a huge undertaking, but through our efforts, if we can help one person be safe and live better, it’s well worth the effort."

Eric Brown is President of the Homeland Security Foundation of America (HSFA) and a certified Emergency Manager. HSFA is a non-Federal, non-profit public agency for public safety, energy security and health and human services, established to advance homeland security while preserving Americans’ civil liberties. For more information, please visit



Hurricane Season
officially kicks off June 1 and runs through November 30. NOAA forecasters say a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season is most likely this year and there is a 70 percent chance of having 9 to 14 named storms, of which 4 to 7 could become hurricanes, including 1 to 3 major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5).

Some things to think about and do before hurricane season gets active…

- Make a plan and disaster supplies kits for your home and vehicles. (And consider making kits for your office too.) And get some Weather radios with battery backup and tone-alert feature.

- Consider getting flood insurance (and keep in mind it may take 30+ days to take effect). Learn more at www.floodsmart.gov

- Think about where you would go if you had to evacuate and learn evacuation routes in your area. (And if you are traveling into hurricane territory this summer, take time to ask and learn procedures, evac routes, etc.)

Learn more at National Hurricane Center  

Summer months also mean more wildfires in many parts of the country. Pay attention to officials’ warnings about campfires and burn bans … and please don’t throw your cigarette out the window when driving!

Some things to think about and do at all times…

- Make a family plan and disaster supplies kits for your home, vehicles and office. And get some Weather radios.

- Create a 30-100 foot safety (or defensible) zone around your home.

- Explain to kids that matches and lighters are TOOLS, not toys … and if they see someone playing with fire they should tell an adult right away!

- Think about where you would go if you had to evacuate and learn area evacuation routes.

Learn more about Firewise Communities at www.firewise.org and a few cool sites for young kids are www.sparky.org and www.smokeybear.com



Going to print:
We’re committing to print queue very soon so let us know if you’re interested in doing custom books on this job by calling 1-888-999-4325 or email info@itsadisaster.net

Customizable booklets:
Remember we can develop customized booklets in bulk using pages out of our 284-page paperback (e.g. hurricane booklets, Pan flu brochures, etc) and incorporate any additional local data you want in them. Call 1-888-999-4325 to learn more.

Call for pictures / videos:
If you have pictures or videos of how you use our books at events or trainings please email them to info@itsadisaster.net.



…since 1989, the federal government has spent over $96.1 billion for disaster assistance provided by FEMA but only $4.4 billion of the disaster assistance was for hazard mitigation?! Source: FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program: Overview and Issues. Washington, DC: CRS Report for Congress R40471 (26-page report in PDF)

… U.S. banks have lost hundreds of millions of dollars to cyberthieves who have electronically broken into ATMs and forged electronic transfers?! The FBI knows of one bank whose security system was breached and which lost $10 million in cash in a day, while another lost $5 million, enough to put it out of business.  Source: Reuters 



Check out this cool video demonstration! The TouchTable is an advanced system where multiple users can visualize, navigate and analyze large amounts of information. Two or more TouchTables can be networked, allowing people in different locations to work together in a common virtual space. The applications for this technology in the First Responder world are mind-boggling..! Watch video on YouTube

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) Emergency Preparedness and Response Guide is over 400+ pages of disaster resource information designed for veterinarians, veterinary technicians, emergency managers, and others interested in planning for animals in disasters. Available on CD or download Guide in PDF. www.avma.org/disaster/ 

Got a cool link or idea? Email it to Janet at info@itsadisaster.net



IT’S A DISASTER! e-news  4/28/2009



An interview with Howard Pierpont, Board Chair - DERA 

Howard Pierpont's earliest memory of a disaster was being carried on his father's shoulders up the stairs of the family summer home to view the flooding after a hurricane. The son of a meteorologist, he learned that nature was to be respected not feared. Part of this respect included not putting oneself in harms way and paying attention to the warning signs when bad situations were about to occur.

Mr. Pierpont has spent most of his life in preparation for whatever might happen. He became a Business Continuity professional and worked for Intel Corporation as a world wide BC coach. This involved identifying possible and probable threats and hazards, developing processes and actions to mitigate the issues and minimize the need for recovery of impacted organizations.

He joined the Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Response Association DERA
www.disasters.org in 2002. Originally founded in 1962 to assist communities worldwide in disaster preparedness, response and recovery, and to serve as a professional association DERA evolved through linking professionals, volunteers, and organizations active in all phases of emergency preparedness and management. DERA currently has active members around the world, representing national governments, non-profit associations, official agencies and departments, educational institutions, corporations, small business concerns, emergency management professionals, researchers, and volunteers. Pierpont assumed the Board Chairman position in mid 2008.

Howard has been affiliated with "It's a Disaster!" since 2008 and has traveled the United States promoting preparedness and the use of the book. "I wish I had known about "It's a Disaster!" when I was still in private industry," said Chairman Pierpont. "It is such a great guide for individuals, communities and companies on common sense preparedness." He continues to weave the book into multiple fabrics when dealing with business continuity issues in the communities

Learn more about DERA and how to become a member by visiting



Last week a new variation of swine flu surfaced that has countries scrambling to prepare for a potential pandemic. Although this type-A flu virus is the common H1N1 version that causes regular outbreaks in pigs, it doesn't normally affect people but human infections can and do happen.
This strain is disturbing the medical profession since it contains genetic pieces from 4 different virus sources: 2 swine, 1 avian and 1 human therefore it can spread and mutate easily. Another unknown is how mild or virulent this strain will potentially become.
Swine flu symptoms include high fever, lack of appetite, body aches and coughing ... and possibly runny nose, sore throat, nausea, puking and diarrhea.
But keep in mind ... the flu virus affects millions of people each year causing an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 deaths worldwide annually. So, although this swine flu does have the potential of spreading rapidly, people can and should take precautions to help reduce the spread of germs.
Some common sense tips about ANY flu outbreak include:
-- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue (or shirtsleeve) when you cough or sneeze.
-- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers (with at least 60% alcohol) are also effective.
-- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth and reduce or restrict handshaking.
-- Boost your immune system.
-- If you (or others in your home) get sick with the flu, STAY HOME from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
-- Avoid crowded places if you live in an area with a known cluster or outbreak.
-- Remember ... you will not get swine flu from eating pork and you won't get avian flu from eating chicken. Cook both to their proper internal temperatures (at least 160F for pork and 170F for chicken).
(More tips on Infectious Diseases are covered in our 4th Edition on pages 188 - 190. Also check out Business Continuity tips on pages 220 - 228.)
Stay current on Swine flu updates by visiting www.cdc.gov/swineflu
Travel updates are at www.cdc.gov/travel  or  www.state.gov/travel/

Customizable booklets update: Remember we can develop customized booklets in bulk using pages out of our 284-page paperback (e.g. pandemic flu booklets, hurricane booklets, etc) and incorporate any additional data you want in them. We'll have a price matrix online soon but call 1-888-999-4325 to learn more!

Call for pictures / videos: If you have pictures or videos of how you use our books at events or trainings please email them to info@itsadisaster.net for a new page we're designing. And check out a new video developed by our friends at The Griffith Corp on our Home page.

Going to print soon: We'll be committing to the print queue soon (i.e. we print a minimum of 25,000 books at a time by bundling 1,000 unit & up custom orders several times a year) so please let us know if you are interested in jumping in on this job. Next print might be late summer but we always keep thousands of "standard" books on-hand and can ship those with custom labels within 24 hours. Email info@itsadisaster.net or call 1-888-999-4325 for more information.

...a stack of 104 blank birth certificates has been stolen from the New York City Health Department's offices, leading investigators to worry that they may have fallen into the hands of terrorists?! The NYPD and the city's Department of Investigation are investigating.  Source: New York Post 
... Chinese cyber spies have penetrated so deep into the US system -- ranging from its secure defence network banking system, electricity grid to putting spy chips into its defence planes -- that it can cause serious damage to the US any time?! [National Counterintelligence Executive, Joel Brenner] said: "...You don't sneak counterfeit chips into another nation's aircraft to steal data. When it's done intentionally, it's done to degrade systems, or to have the ability to do so at a time of one's choosing."  Source: The Times of India
...Security firm Finjan has uncovered a large bot network with 1.9 million infected zombie computers?! The botnet is hosted in the Ukraine and controlled by a gang of six people who are instructing the machines to copy files, record keystrokes, send spam, and take screenshots. The criminals operating the botnet can make as much as $190,000 in one day renting out the zombies to others.  Source: CNET 

The CDC has posted a new skills training video: Screening People for External Contamination: How to Use Hand-held Radiation Survey Equipment. This 18-minute video demonstrates how to screen people for external contamination using a handheld Geiger Mueller Detector. The program is designed for individuals assigned to conduct mass screening for contamination from radioactive materials following a large-scale incident. http://emergency.cdc.gov/radiation/screeningvideos/  

FEMA, the Ad Council and Discovery Education have an online educational program called Ready Classroom. The site provides teachers with grade-specific activities, lesson plans and multimedia tools that teach students how natural disasters develop and inspires them to build their own emergency preparedness plans with their families.

Got a cool link or idea? Email it to Janet at info@itsadisaster.net


IT’S A DISASTER! e-news  3/31/2009

NOTE: This month's e-news is a bit longer than normal but there are some new funding opportunities and important news items on cyber security included below.

The following was contributed by Patty Brooks, President - Strawberry Park Neighborhood Association, CERT member with San Jose Prepared, and (most importantly) wife and mother of 5 boys.

Do you know where to start when it comes to getting your neighborhood prepared?
by Patty Brooks
After my employer sent me to Life Safety Associates to be trained as an Emergency Response Team member I was hooked. I went home and began a regimen to prepare my family. I found CERT and completed the course with my husband. My husband went to the local fire station first aid & CPR class offered once a month in our community. I had my children train through Boy Scouts for first aid & CPR. I taught them through home drills and mock emergencies.
Yet still I worried about my neighbors and my community. I wanted to do more for them so I started a Neighborhood Association within my neighborhood. During our second quarterly meeting we had our local OES program come teach a 2-hour course on Home & Family Disaster Preparedness. 37 neighbors attended - this was a great start. Six month later we held an Emergency Preparedness Awareness Fair & Blood Drive and 327 more neighbors attended, 120 signed up to learn more. I received many emails from attendees following the event letting me know how they went home and built a family emergency kit.
Contact your Neighborhood Association and promote Emergency Preparedness in your neighborhood. Contact your council member's office in your district since they can tell you who to contact to learn how to join if one exists.
If your neighborhood does not have one, it is very simple to start one. Your council member's office can help you plus they can tell you how to get funding and put you in touch with others who are seasoned.
What do you need?
-- A few people to create a Board i.e. President, Vice President, Secretary & Treasurer. (No worries, I've seen them start with less)
-- Meet with your local council member's office.
-- Pick your boundaries, (what area of your neighborhood do you wish to represent)
-- As a Board, Create your Bylaws. (What is your purpose? What is the definition of a member? What are the names and positions of your board? What are your rules for voting, passing a motions?)
-- A bank account.
-- An EIN (employee identification number) number to open your bank account under the association's name. (This can be done online and at no cost.)
-- Your Council member's office will inform you of funding opportunities (if any) to pay for fliers and events. There are other ways such as charging a small yearly fee to join (i.e. $15 or whatever amount your board decides) or hold fundraising events (which are free). These are all great ways to raise awareness of your new association.
-- Hold Blood Drives and awareness events, take the local CERT course together, invite speakers to speak at your meeting such as your council member, police officers, firemen. This will help bring people in to your meeting and association as well.
-- Find out who in your neighborhood are elderly or disabled and who need checking on after a disaster.
I have a template for awareness fairs and great ideas on free events that not only raise awareness of your Neighborhood Association but will also benefit the community as well. Learn more at www.gobag.org  

Note from Bill & j: Thank you Patty for your commitment to your community and for reminding all of us how one citizen CAN make a difference! Please read Patty's article called Donating blood is a part of Disaster Preparedness on above site too.

On March 20, 2009 we revamped our site to reflect new pricing for businesses and consumers. This was a really tough decision, but it allows us to focus more on our fundraiser and grant programs for First Responders and others.

Government agencies, nonprofits, volunteer groups (like CERTs, etc), churches and faith-based organizations, civic clubs, Associations, schools and other groups will continue to receive the 75% off list price in support of our grant and funding programs. And all our funding ideas are the same as before with one exception... we're offering MORE cash back on business referrals - keep reading!

Consumer paperback orders will be redirected to nonprofits or resellers like Amazon, etc (as was done from 1999 through late-2007). We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but it helps establish the retail value of the book for matching grants programs, plus we'll stop undercutting nonprofits and schools using our book as a fundraiser item.(Although we DO encourage citizens to consider pooling orders together with their local church, Neighborhood or Homeowner's Association, volunteer groups, civic clubs, schools or nonprofits to get the Gov't/nonprofit pricing.)
Consumers (or anyone) can still purchase our eBook (in PDF) for only $2.50 through our site.

Business bulk pricing now starts at 50% off list since we just formed a new relationship with a large corporate sales force and this discount supports the normal book industry pricing. (Note: we will grandfather existing business customers with the old price on any future orders.)
Now for the COOL part ~ how this means more $$$ for nonprofits and volunteers...
If volunteer groups, nonprofits, schools, churches, civic clubs, etc want to refer business contacts directly to us, we're upping the donation back on business referrals to 30% of the gross order!
For example... say a CERT refers a local company to us who wants 200 books
     Cost to business for books (200 @ $7.50):        $1,500

     TOTAL amount earned for CERT (30%):
    $   450
Or a Volunteer Fire Dept refers a company to us who needs 1,000 custom books
     Cost to business for books (1000 @ $7.50):      $7,500

     TOTAL amount earned for VFD (30%):      
And remember... these amounts are non-dedicated, matchable dollars! And ... if groups cannot take a cash donation ... we can purchase needed equipment or provide that value in books.
Referred government agencies, nonprofits, schools, civic clubs and other groups will still earn the referring entity 10% of the gross sale as before.
Just remember to please refer your business, agency or other contacts directly to Fedhealth so we can handle them for you. (If referrals contact the outside sales force we won't be able to track them.)
Please call 1-888-999-4325 (7a-4p Pacific) or email info@itsadisaster.net for more information or learn more about our easy Referral Program.

... Baxter sent the deadly bird flu virus to European Labs by error?! The company admits that human H3N2 and avian H5N1 viruses somehow co-mingled in an Austrian facility. While H5N1 doesn't easily infect people, H3N2 viruses do. Sources: Bloomberg
... Computers already infected by the Conficker worm [which has been spreading globally since late 2008] are supposed to be automatically updated with some unknown software component on April 1st?! BUT ... according to InformationWeek, it's more of a threat to Web sites, corporate networks, and other Internet-networked services than individual PCs. "These botnets are designed, generally, to spew Spam or shoot so much traffic as to interrupt the availability of networks or Web sites in distributed denial of service (or DDOS) attacks."

Update Monday 3/30/09 4p:  Researchers just discovered a detection tool! Dan Kaminsky, director at IOActive who worked with The Honeynet Project writes "... Conficker actually changes what Windows looks like on the network, and this change can be detected ... very, very quickly. You can literally ask a server if it's infected with Conficker, and it will tell you." A quick way to tell if your computer is infected is to try to access the Web site of a major antivirus vendor (like Symantec, Trend, McAfee, etc), which the worm blocks.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has released a Conficker detection tool for government agencies and state and local governments to use that was developed by US-CERT.
The OpenDNS security services provider blocks access to the domains listed in the Conficker code. Microsoft has more information on its site, as does Symantec.

Note from Bill & j ... Don't panic -- but be aware a threat exists and this may impact the web going forward. Make sure you have an anti-virus package on all PCs (and hand-held devices if you do email on them), keep pkg current with updates (including Windows updates) and scan your devices OFTEN! And we suggest you NOT use browser-based sites to run a scan ~ purchase a well-known anti-virus package from a respected company and install it yourself!
... an electronic spying operation dubbed "GhostNet" has infiltrated at least 1,295 computers in 103 countries, including many belonging to embassies, foreign ministries and other government offices, as well as private offices of the Dalai Lama?! Researchers said that the system was being controlled from computers based almost exclusively in China, but they could not say conclusively that the Chinese government was involved. Source: New York Times 

The HOMELAND TV Network is owned and operated by The Griffith Corporation. The mission of the network is to provide the American people with information and programming on issues of homeland security, the military, local, state and federal law enforcement topics and the work of our counter-terrorism and intelligence communities. The Griffith Corporation believes that each American has an obligation to do his or her part to keep our nation safe. 
Iowa Conservation and Preservation Consortium's 87-page "Flood Recovery Booklet" posted on the Northeast Iowa Library Service Area's site has great Flood Safety tips including a section on how to dry materials and heirlooms like artwork, books, photographs, CDs/DVDs, etc. Read more
The CDC has launched RSS feeds for two of the most popular sections of the emergency.CDC.gov website: 1) Recent Outbreaks and Incidents, which provides information on selected public health emergency topics of recent public interest, ranging from Salmonella outbreaks to hurricanes to terrorism, and 2) Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity (COCA), which reaches out to the nation's clinicians with weekly updates and monthly conference calls. http://emergency.cdc.gov/rss/

Got a cool link or idea? Email it to Janet at info@itsadisaster.net

IT’S A DISASTER! e-news  2/26/2009



(Starting this month we’ll highlight customers and new ideas in this section.)

The Delaware Citizen Corps
was recently awarded two of the five awards designated for FEMA Region III. The "Bridge Builder Award" was for exemplary collaboration with key preparedness partners, specifically with the Delaware State Police and the effort in getting the Disaster Preparedness DVD in the state school systems by using the DSP Resource Officers. And the "Together We Succeed Award" was for hosting an exemplary "National Preparedness Month" event and the combined efforts of over 40 agencies and private sector partners, training, displays and activities and events for the planning of the 4th Annual DE Family Emergency Preparedness Day.

The number one priority of the Delaware Citizen Corps Council is to establish local and county councils, assist them with the development of a community outreach program for their town, city or county, and provide them the support required to start and maintain their outreach programs.

Since 2004 Bob George and Marny (Mac) McLee (State Citizen Corps and CERT Coordinators) have been ordering copies of IT’S A DISASTER! using Citizen Corps grant dollars. Some ways they use our books include giving a customized copy to every CERT trainee plus copies are brought to all Disaster Preparedness, CERT, and Citizen Corps briefings throughout the state. And Rosanne Pack (DEMA Community Relation/PIO) provides books and other educational materials at community events and DEMA functions statewide.

Over the years several companies and agencies have ordered books after learning about it from the Delaware Citizen Corps’ efforts and we set aside 10% of those orders as a thank you for sharing the word. DE Citizen Corps elects to use those amounts as a credit towards future purchases and they’ve received over $1,800.00 worth of credit from referrals to date!

Learn more about Delaware Citizen Corps and check out their five part video series on disaster preparedness at



On December 31, 2008 FEMA launched the first phase of DisasterAssistance.gov, a new, easy-to-use website that consolidates disaster information in one place. Currently, 17 U.S. Government agencies, which sponsor more than 50 forms of disaster assistance, contribute to the site.

Individuals can apply for many forms of assistance with a single, online application. According to FEMA the application information is shared only with those agencies that a user identifies and is protected by the highest levels of security. Users can:

- apply for FEMA assistance and U.S. Small Business Administration loans through a single online application

check the status of their online application(s)

-- choose to have their Social Security benefits redirected to a new address

-- have access to their federal student loan account information.

To learn more visit


PREPAREDNESS REMINDER (a.k.a. shameless plug)

During these tough economic times, many states and cities are facing major cutbacks to First Responders so it is more important than ever for businesses and consumers to know what they should plan for and do during an emergency situation.

One way to help is to get copies of IT'S A DISASTER! for your family, friends, employees and customers. Our 284-page manual is available direct to agencies, businesses, organizations and citizens at 75%
to 89% off the $14.99 U.S. list. And we customize books (or CDs) at no charge so groups can personalize them with logos and local information. Plus we have creative programs to help volunteers and groups raise funds while educating local communities.

Learn more about our book and
programs or call 1-888-999-4325 (7a-4p Pacific).



… last month State Farm pulled the plug on its 1.2 million homeowner policies in Florida, citing the state's punishing price controls?! The state's largest insurer joins a raft of competitors that have already reduced or dumped their property and casualty business in the Sunshine State, including Prudential, Allstate, Nationwide and USAA.
Source: Wall Street Journal  

online theft costs about $1 trillion a year, the number of attacks is rising sharply, and too many people do not know how to protect themselves?! And since the Internet is now part of society's central nervous system, attacks could threaten whole economies. Source: BBC News  



Deaf Link
has produced some short preparedness videos using American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters for the State of Texas. While much of the information contained in each video is generic, there may be an occasional reference to Texas and the Gulf of Mexico. Some topics include Flood cleanup, Hurricane Preparedness and Evacuation, and Special Needs planning.  www.accessibleemergencyinfo.com 

Johns Hopkins’ Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR) offers a Web-based tool that calculates and predicts the impact on individual hospitals of a flu epidemic, bioterrorist attack, flood or plane crash, accounting for such elements as numbers of victims, germ-carrying wind patterns, available medical resources, bacterial incubation periods and bomb size. Called EMCAPS (Electronic Mass Casualty Assessment & Planning Scenarios), the software program is believed to be the first that generates the anticipated outcomes of disaster planning scenarios developed by the Department of Homeland Security. The program is available for download (no charge) from Johns Hopkins’ CEPAR Web site at www.hopkins-cepar.org/

Got a cool link or idea? Email it to Janet at info@itsadisaster.net




IT’S A DISASTER! e-news  1/26/2009



The past month has brought frigid temperatures to many North Americans and unfortunately there’s more to come. Here are some tips from several sources in case you’d like to share them with others.

The leading cause of death during winter storms is automobile or other transportation accidents, and the second leading cause of death is heart attacks often caused by overexertion from working or playing in extreme cold conditions. Another risk is hypothermia which is very common with the elderly who sometimes die inside their homes because it’s so cold. Carbon monoxide poisoning is another major concern since some people improperly use generators, ovens or charcoal.

The CDC has a great Emergency Preparedness and Response
Winter Weather page with some fact sheets, PSAs and podcasts on carbon monoxide poisoning, hypothermia, frostbite and other safety issues.

There’s also a 15-page PDF called "Extreme Cold A Prevention Guide to Promote Your Personal Health and Safety".

And a good 6-minute video on Generator Safety is viewable on Washington State Military Department Emergency Management Division’s site.

Ready.gov also has some helpful tips on their
Winter Storms and Extreme Cold page  … or visit your city or county Emergency Management, Fire or Health Department sites since most agencies provide tips, text alert systems, and emergency contacts and plans.

As fyi, Winter Storms plus many other disaster and first aid topics are covered in our 284-page IT’S A DISASTER! book too. Please call 1-888-999-4325 or visit www.itsadisaster.net to learn more.



Two of the most common requests we’ve had over the past decade are smaller booklets covering specific topics and a Spanish version of IT’S A DISASTER!

We are developing price tables for bulk customizable "ala carte" booklets (e.g. groups can pick and choose pages or topics out of our book and add their local data into 16, 32, 48, 96-page booklets). Spanish products are much more involved (and costly) but we hope to have that option too. Watch for updates in future e-news issues!

In the meantime, if you have any feedback or needs please email Janet at



We just printed 3 custom books for Chesapeake Health Department, Delaware Citizen Corps and Northrop Grumman. Check out their 4-color cover samples (and several other custom book and CD samples) in PDF.

Keep in mind the entire book cover and first 10 pages can be customized in the print process on 1,000 units and up at no extra charge. And we can customize books in small quantity with peel & stick laser printed labels. Visit
www.itsadisaster.net or call 1-888-999-4325 for more information.



... a worm known as Conficker (or Downadup) has infected an estimated 6% of all PCs worldwide..?! And researchers remain worried about the next phase in the attack since hackers could use the collected machines (a.k.a. a botnet) to send spam, attack Web sites, or compromise more computers.  Source: Computer World

Note from Bill & j … make sure you have an anti-virus package on your PCs (and hand-held devices if you do email on them) and keep pkg current with updates [including Windows updates] … and run a full scan 2-4 times a month (or more!)

... a newly discovered fault in eastern Arkansas could trigger a magnitude 7 earthquake with an epicenter near a major natural gas pipeline..?! Haydar Al-Shukri, the director of the Arkansas Earthquake Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, said the fault is separate from the New Madrid fault.  Source: MSNBC.com Technology & Science 



Michelle Staples (author of "Save Your Horse! A Horse Owner's Guide to Large Animal Rescue") teaches CPR, CERT (disaster preparedness), Horse Awareness and Safety, Introduction to LAR for Horse Owners, and Emergency First Aid for Pets, is an EMT and a horse owner who has been involved with Standardbred rescue for over 16 years. Check out how Michelle is combining her training expertise and love of animals on a Caribbean Teaching Tour.

And learn more about Large Animal Rescue (designed for owners and First Responders) and how to order Michelle's book, classes and training CDs at
www.saveyourhorse.com/save.htm  p.s. Buy a copy of her book and/or CD and donate it to your local Fire Department!  

The Ready
Campaign has launched a new "Be Prepared" page which features an interactive widget that provides users with updates on emergency situations, an instructional video, checklists and guidelines on how to better prepare for an emergency. Users can also access a clickable map to find contact data for state and local government agencies, plus the widget helps users stay up-to-date on the latest Ready activities through Twitter news feeds. The widget can be posted to social networking profiles, blogs, wikis and personal homepages. http://ready.adcouncil.org/beprepared/

Got a cool link or idea? Email it to info@itsadisaster.net


And remember ... be aware... be prepared... and have a plan! Please ~
spread the word...

Stay safe out there, j & B

Bill & Janet Liebsch
1-888-999-4325 7a-4p Pacific M-F
www.fedhealth.net  or  www.itsadisaster.net 


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