Monday, September 19, 2005

Disaster Preparedness!

Here in North Central Indiana we don't concern ourselves very much with hurricanes, but we are blasted from time to time with high winds and tornadoes.

In a recent article in the South Bend Tribune there was a pole asking if people felt they were prepared in case of a disaster. Most people said no. Unfortunately, I fall into that same category.

What should you make available for yourself and your family if there should be a disaster? Logically it depends on the type of disaster. There is quite a good list at FEMA.

Unfortunately, I didn't see anything about digital disasters. What would you do if you kept a list of the items that you own and it is only available on your computer? Be prepared for digital disasters, if it hasn't happened to you, IT WILL. Backup your data frequently and keep the backups in more than one place such as a safety deposit box or at a friends house in another town (you too could return the favor for the friend)!

Excellent resources can also be found at

Be prepared and be safe. ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!!!


Friday, September 16, 2005


This is from our Indiana Cooperative Library Service Authority (INCOLSA). They have had an ongoing update of extremely helpful sites of the week.

Ever wonder about those three-digit interstate highway designations?



The recent hurricanes and flooding in Louisiana and the southeastern States have generated the need for additional staff to support the Federal recovery efforts. FEMA is looking for qualified individuals to add to its disaster assistance reservists mitigation cadre. Disaster hazard mitigation provides information, guidance and technical assistance to individuals, businesses, and communities to identify resources and techniques to rebuild safer and stronger. Reservists are intermittent, on-call employees who provide support during presidentially declared disasters. They require knowledge and experience in a variety of disciplines: building science and architecture, public education, planning, environmental and historic preservation, property and casualty insurance, floodplain management and grants management.

If you would like to help the citizens and communities impacted by the recent hurricanes rebuild to a more disaster resistant standard, you may be interested in these job opportunities. Candidates must be immediately able to work in Louisiana and other southeastern states for an extended period of time. The work environment will be stressful and the hours long. Do not expect air conditioning or a room with a view. Do expect a rewarding job experience, in public service to the communities and citizens rebuilding their lives.

We are looking for highly motivated and flexible individuals with the following qualities:
· Customer service oriented; able and willing to work within culturally diverse audiences, communities and groups;
· Sensitive in assisting people who have been through traumatic events;
· Possessing technical background with the ability to explain technical matters to non-technical audiences and individuals; and
· Able to perform consistently at a highly functioning level in a stressed and ever changing environment.

Salary will be based on demonstrated experience and the technical difficulty of the position. Travel and per diem are paid at the government rate. Before personnel processing can be completed, applicants will undergo security and credit card background checks. Job specific training will be provided.

If you are interested in applying for one of the positions, position descriptions are available on the web at:

Please fax your resume and a cover letter explaining your qualifications for the position soon as possible to 540-542-2484 or 540-542-2482. Adherence to the following four items will expedite your application:

1. Write in big letters MITIGATION across the top of your application. Be sure to capture any experience you have had in emergency management and specifically hazard risk reduction activities.
2. Please note the degree to which you possess bilingual, multilingual, multicultural and ADA skills. We especially would like to know if you possess French and Cajun/Creole language skills
3. Include your social security number, citizenship (applicants must be U.S. citizens), date of birth and place of birth.
4. Please provide documentation on any professional licenses or certifications as related to positions posted.

The following types of hazard mitigation positions are available in our field offices:

Floodplain Management Specialists
Develops and implements strategy for National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) floodplain management coordination, compliance, and community outreach. Ensures coordination of Federal and State recovery activities that affect coastal and riverine floodplain.

Insurance Specialists
Provides technical expertise to the disaster field staff on all insurance matters, especially the National Flood Insurance Program. Provides expertise and resources to FEMA staff on insurance interface problem solving and communication. Disseminates flood insurance and floodplain management information to disaster affected communities. Attends town and community meetings in the impacted areas to provide information and answer questions about National Flood Insurance Program regulations and policy terms, coverage, limitations and exclusions.

Hazard Mitigation Community Planners
Assists local governments with hazard mitigation plan development, review, and approval process. Provides technical assistance to local officials in plan development, revision and review. Provides Mitigation and sustainability outreach to the planners within the disaster-impacted area. Ensures integration of plans and planning requirements among Mitigation programs and other Federal program areas.

Grants Managers and Specialists: Hazard Mitigation Grant Program
Develops a strategic plan for FEMA to assist the State in the implementation of the hazard mitigation grant program. Conducts applicant briefings in support of hazard mitigation project management. Manages grants program delivery, to include grant proposal development, and build capability at state and local levelsfor grants management.

Civil Engineers (Structural or Hydrology & Hydraulics)
Conducts engineering studies and analyses. Develops technical reports for internal and external distribution. Provides technical support for and review of hazard mitigation projects. Obtains/develops flood flow-frequency information. Conducts flood analyses and hydraulic studies. Develops benefit-cost analysis for flood control projects.

Hazard Mitigation Public Outreach and Education Specialists:
Works with federal, state and local partners to create and implement education and outreach strategies to help promote disaster resistant building techniques. Target audiences include individuals, businesses and communities within diverse populations.

Hazard Mitigation Advisors:
Applicant services; works with diverse citizens and businesses, providing advice and promoting rebuilding techniques for homes and businesses that will prevent or reduce losses from future disasters. Disseminates mitigation and insurance information. Reports and logs pertinent information gathered from public contacts and other sources.

Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) Mitigation Supervisors: Large team management position. Field supervision of Mitigation Advisors in statewide remote locations. Oversees logistics and administrative functions, and the training and development of Hazard Mitigation Advisors. Coordinates with DRC managers to optimize disaster assistance applicant routing and maximize opportunities for interviews.

Hazard Mitigation Economic Analysis
Reviews proposed mitigation projects to determine benefit cost; provide technical assistance to state and local governments in benefit cost analysis. Conducts loss avoidance studies.

Performs architectural review of a wide range of projects, plans, and contracts for principles of design and agency standards and policies. Recommends architectural solutions and hazard mitigation for damaged public buildings.

Writers – Technical and Consumer Product Development
Coordinates, identifies, and investigates the documentation of mitigation successes and best practices. Gathers information from residential, commercial, public and voluntary agency segments of the community to develop, write/edit, and produce mitigation best practices stories for mass distribution. Works closely with FEMA Public Affairs to develop stories that document, illustrate and promote mitigation projects that minimized disaster damage. Develops fact sheets and consumer information.

Environmental Liaison Officers (ELO) and Environmental/Historic Preservation Specialists
The Environmental Liaison Officer manages the Environmental and Historic Preservation (EHP) compliance component of a disaster operation and represents FEMA’s interests with Federal, Tribal, and State EHP resource agencies and organizations. The ELO’s primary duties include developing and implementing EHP action plans based on JFO priorities, managing and supervising EHP staff, and coordinating with disaster programs to ensure EHP compliance. The Environmental and Historic Preservation Specialists provide technical assistance to FEMA’s disaster programs to fulfill FEMA’s legal responsibilities under various environmental and historic preservation laws, Executive Orders and regulations. Under the direction of the Regional Environmental Officer, ELO, or appropriate team leader, the Environmental Specialist assists program staff in integrating environmental considerations into the development and review of projects proposed for FEMA funding. For this category only, if you apply,
please clearly mark ENVIRONMENTAL/HISTORIC PRESERVATION CADRE on your application.

Hazard Mitigation GIS Specialists
Provides, analyzes and presents spatial data in the form of maps and data reports. Provides data that supports hazard mitigation activities; coordinates data acquisition with other offices in disaster recovery.

Computer Graphics Technicians and Media Production
Develops and produces FEMA disaster specific mitigation graphics, photographic and other media presentations and publications for the hazard mitigation efforts. Creates the associated narrative and integrates it with professional presentation materials and briefing support packages. Uses creative skills to develop a meaningful message to diverse audiences.

Publications Development & Distribution Management: Manages and supervises the design, development and mass distribution to diverse audiences of print and electronic media in support of FEMA, State and local community education and outreach projects. Creates and delivers mitigation presentation and promotional materials: graphics, posters, signage and others. Provides publications support in response to changes that require immediate alternate policy or program direction. Organizes and maintains mitigation publications inventory and manages mass distribution to Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC), Mitigation Assistance Centers, community meetings, special events and various state, county, and city officials. Maintains an orderly and safe publication storage and distribution area.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Frozen Tomatoes?


I thought you could only can them. NOPE. According to Patricia Ann Dodson in her column in the South Bend Tribune on September 14, 2005 She noted that Roma tomatoes work best, but since I don't know one from the other it's pointless. Anyway.."wash and remove the stem, scald until the skin starts to crack, remove from boiling water and soak in a sink of cold water, be careful as they will be hot for a time, remove the skins, place in plastic freezer bags and put into the freezer." The article didn't note for how long the tomatoes would still be good in the freezer.


Higher heating bills this winter.

According to Susan L. Macey the Indiana utility Consumer Counselor in Indianapolis heating bills will be going up. What a surprise. Ms. Macey noted in her letter in Voice of the People in the South Bend Tribune on September 14, 2005 that consumers can receive a free pamphlet by going to or calling 888-441-2494. The pamphlet describes how to understand budget billing and making energy efficiency improvements to your home.

Great, can't afford to get to work, can't afford to keep reasonably warm. Well...maybe this will help.

First, you could come to the library on cold snowy days and hang out. Since we have both hot chocolate and cappuccino in the cafe, you're bound to have a dandy time here!

Secondly, you could follow this link and see the search I did on energy savings in your home!


Phishing not fishing, Spam not Spam?

Whoa....hold on here. What are you talking about? The average American Internet user is not sure what podcasting is, what an RSS feed does, or what the term “phishing” means (Copied from Click here to see the new lingo!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Katrina, computers and public libraries

Received this from a library listserve today.

To all--we are in desperate need of computers/printers.  We are being inundated with evacuees needing to file FEMA applications, unemployment, search for loved ones, etc. and are coming into our public libraries to use the computers.  Our libraries have greatly extended their hours to accomodate the people but they need additional computers and printers.  If you can please put the word out that if anyone wants to help immediately, this is our greatest need.
The specs for the computers we need are:
Pentium 3
Windows 2000, prefer XP
Laser printers if you can still get toner for them

If you are willing to help the SURVIVORS of Hurricane Katrina, please e-mail me at