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In remembrance of those lost in Darfur, and in recognition of the mass atrocities continually committed in the region, IJP recognizes April as Genocide Awareness and Prevention Month.
The FERN cooperative agreements are intended to target state, local, and tribal FERN laboratories to provide increased analytical capacity and expertise (including method development and validation) in the event of food outbreaks or other large-scale food emergency events requiring surge capacity testing of implicated food samples.
Selected labs with potential sample collection capabilities may be tasked with sample collection activities in support of this program. The FDA estimates that the analysis of up to 480 emergency response and surveillance samples per year may be needed.
These cooperative agreements will also be utilized to implement standardized analytical results through the usage of standardized methods, equipment platforms (funded through this cooperative agreement) analytical worksheets, and electronic reporting.
Grantees will also be involved in small-scale, short-term method development and method validation projects as directed by the FERN NPO.  Matrix extension assignments are also required and can have the potential of requiring rapid turn- around times to respond to food outbreaks.
The Miami-Dade County Emergency Operations Center has been activated and is closely monitoring Erika.
The Business Recovery program is a public-private collaboration to ensure private sector emergency preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation. The goal of this program is to minimize the number of businesses, especially small and medium sized, that fail to reopen due to a lack of accurate and actionable information, during and following an emergency or disaster event. Additionally, the exchange of timely information between the private and public sectors, as illustrated in the diagram below, will facilitate emergency management response and recovery and enable businesses to make appropriate decisions to sustain continuity of operations. This chart illustrates the type of information shared and how it flows between the public and private sectors during an emergency or disaster event.
Gary Gendron, fiance of Lucie Aylwin, one of the victims of the shopping mall collapse in Elliot Lake, addresses the media on Thursday.
The failed Elliot Lake rescue mission has experts warning that an already shaky emergency response network will likely get worse. Ontario’s community safety minister, Madeleine Meilleur, denounced the federal cut, saying it came without consultation. Ali Asgary, director of York University’s disaster management program, said Canada needs more than the five HUSAR teams now based in Vancouver, Calgary, Manitoba, Toronto and Halifax.
The federal budget also announced an end to the government’s Canadian Emergency Management College in Ottawa, which has trained emergency responders since 1954. McBey described it as a perfect storm: governments cut back on funding of emergencies services and inspectors while aging infrastructure is crumbling. In an e-mail, Julie Carmichael, a spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, didn’t say whether the federal government would reconsider its cuts to disaster funding in light of the Elliot Lake tragedy. The Canadian military has a DART team that responds to disasters, but provinces have to request it, and its focus is to provide medical care and drinking water, said military spokesperson, Lieutenant Greg Menzies.
The Elliot Lake disaster occurred when the mall’s rooftop parking lot, collapsed Saturday afternoon. Experts say that prevention through building inspections must be part of any disaster management plan.
According to the woman I spoke with today in the truck, Cisco deploys the truck as a public service to assist public safety officials and rescue personnel after disasters strike an area hard enough to take local communication systems down.
As part of flood relief efforts, the Colorado State Emergency Operation Center (EOC) called on AmeriCorps and VISTA members for help.
The term disaster can refer to an event, or series of events, natural or human induced that causes a significant amount of damage; whether it be in loss of lives or in the physical shifting of the environment. As TxCC’s Emergency Response Team working in West, our goal was to help facilitate the transition into this new reality.
Upon learning the Incident Command operational systems from the  immediate responders, Team Rubicon, our crews were thrown into the field. As operations expanded over the course of the next few days, our responsibilities shifted from West Fest to the other locations that were providing relief and resources.
The deployment in West was our crew’s first experience leading during a disaster, and we all struggled and overcame the challenges it presented together. This week the Texas Conservation Corps (TxCC), a service program of American YouthWorks, announced that it will operate emergency response teams.
This new program was made possible through an AmeriCorps grant provided by the One Star Foundation. The announcement about the disaster response teams was made at a swearing-in ceremony for new Corpsmembers on the South Steps of the Texas Capitol on March 22, 2013. Volunteers, including many young men and women from Service and Conservation Corps, have provided millions of dollars worth of free labor to the Sandy Recovery efforts in Far Rockaway. Last month, California Conservation Corps crews from throughout the state participated in an intensive flood response training program.
Alex Hreha admits that during middle school and high school he was “a below average student at an above average weight.” He lacked self-confidence and didn’t have much motivation for school or any kind of physical activity. Near the end of his junior year of high school, Alex started looking ahead to another uneventful summer of mowing his grandparents’ lawn. By the time school started again, Alex had lost over 25 pounds and gained a completely new outlook on life. During a project at Walnut Canyon, Alex wandered into the visitor center and came across a black and white photograph from the 1930s that pictured the Civilian Conservation Corps members who built the stone staircases that encircle the canyon. Alex had hoped to receive such a position ever since his service in CREC’s Sedona Youth Conservation Corps.
Even after a summer of leading Corpsmembers through desert monsoons, working in 110 degree heat, and volunteering at an animal shelter walking 150 pound pit bulls, Alex was not done with his service at CREC. After the end of the program in December 2012, Alex took another 3-month-long position with CREC so he could continue to gain experience. Patricia Bohnwagner, formerly of Urban Corps of San Diego, won Corpsmember of the Year in 2005 for her commitment to service. Patricia Bohnwagner learned about Urban Corps of San Diego from an advertisement she found in the PennySaver. Patricia was a Corpsmember when she first joined Urban Corps, but she was eventually promoted to Supervisor. It was Patricia’s positive experience with Urban Corps that helped her make the decision to stay in San Diego for as long as she has. As Patricia says, she and her sister “had a rollercoaster of a relationship” when they were younger. Now that it’s been over three years since she worked for the Corps, Patricia can look back at the experience and say that it helped change her outlook.
Patricia saved enough money during her deployment to move her mom out to California and furnish a new apartment for the two of them. Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, with an AmeriCorps member.
As Hurricane Sandy efforts transition from emergency response to long-term recovery, AmeriCorpsmembers are providing vital leadership in communities up and down the East Coast. AmeriCorps is skilled and experienced in volunteer management and gutting and mucking operations – and our teams are already having a powerful impact helping hundreds of Sandy survivors put their homes and lives back together.
I witnessed their impact first hand on a return visit to New Jersey and New York last week. With tens of thousands of homes damaged along the East Coast, there is a large need for volunteers to help displaced residents take the steps necessary to move back into their homes. Ernie Farmer, a crew leader from the Washington Conservation Corps, briefed me on the volunteer operation he leads out of a community center in Brigantine, NJ. One of the crews we met in Atlantic City was led by NECHAMA, the Jewish disaster relief organization. In many sites, AmeriCorps members are both leading volunteers and providing the muscle power for home repair. Removing damaged floors and mitigating mold reduces health risks and can save homeowners thousands of dollars – especially important for those who aren't covered through their insurance or can't afford contractors.


Maureen Gallagher is an 82-year-old widower living a few blocks from the shore in the Belle Harbor neighborhood in Queens.
Working with local partners and residents, national service will continue to provide leadership and muscle power to Sandy survivors in their time of need. Wendy Spencer is CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that engages millions Americans in service through Senior Corps and AmeriCorps, and leads the president's national call to service initiative, United We Serve. Hurricane Sandy took lives, destroyed homes and businesses, and left millions of people without power.
Some Corps worked through the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and FEMA, while others organized independent of the federal response. Broad Foundation, has launched the Emergency Response Network, which addresses the direct and immediate health and other needs of women and children who experienced genocidal and other violence and trauma in Darfur, The Sudan and who are now living in the United States. Broad Foundation is named after an inspiring businesswoman, who understood that the right kind of support at the right time could change the course of a person’s destiny. Broad Fellow, who will create a reliable network of interpreters, physical and mental health care professionals, social workers, educators, lawyers, and others who will work to meet the urgent needs of Darfurian women and their families and convene to determine how to best address the larger psychological and health challenges of Darfurian refugees living in the United States. We also urge other organizations, local and state governments and educational institutions to recognize this important commemoration, in order to help prevent human rights abuses and ensure justice for victims of the world’s most heinous crimes.
Food and Drug Administration is again accepting applications for the Food Emergency Response Network (FERN) Cooperative Agreement Program for Microbiological, Chemical, or Radiological laboratories. Numbers of samples and scheduling of samples will be determined by the FERN National Program Office (NPO) in coordination with grantees. This will be accomplished through a partnership with the private sector to encourage, where necessary, private sector emergency preparedness and mitigation. The information is shared primarily through the Business Continuity Information Network (BCIN), an internet application developed by Florida International University, which provides a secure platform for the government and the private sector to communicate. County emergency management coordinators will also use email, especially during the pre-event period prior to activating BCIN, to communicate with the private sector.
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She noted, however, that 90 per cent of emergencies in Canada are managed by municipalities or the provinces.
The roof had a history of leaking and Antoine-René Fabris, the lawyer for mall owner Robert Nazarian, said it was regularly repaired. The team was close to reaching the spot when the risk of falling concrete made it too dangerous to proceed. After surveying the damage near Sand Creek, Christina Harney, a CYCA Good Works for Youth VISTA member with Sand Creek Regional Greenway Partnership, jumped at the chance to offer support.
We dealt with critical aspects of disaster recovery that can be neglected when tragedy hits: donations and volunteer management.
The entire location was our responsibility; feeding, volunteer reception and coordination and handling the tons of donations that were received daily. ERT members were stationed at the Joint Assistance Facility (JAC), where they assisted over 80 homeowners with intake forms so that they could receive free assistance from volunteer organizations. We worked fourteen hour days, getting lost in our work and all that needed to be done, and slept in the office that served as our home base. Though based out of Texas, the teams will be prepared to provide relief when disaster strikes in other states.
These Corpsmembers will be some of the first young people to serve in the Texas Conservation Corps under its new name. This community, located on the far western tip of the Rockaway peninsula, sustained serious damage during Hurricane Sandy. Check out this video by a journalism student at Columbia University about the continued hard work of Corpsmembers and other dedicated volunteers.
It wasn't long after the training program ended that Corpsmembers had to put their floodfighting skills to the test. Then a friend told him about how she spent the previous summer as a member of an environmental conservation program for youth.
He was understandably concerned about spending long hours doing physical labor in the Arizona heat. Though he had never been a stellar student before, Alex produced excellent grades throughout his senior year.
He enrolled in a community college with the help of his AmeriCorps Education Awards and soon received his Emergency Medical Technician certificate. He wanted the opportunity to lead new Corpsmembers and hopefully help them realize the same benefits he gained from his experience with a youth crew. He was hired as Assistant Crew Leader of the Verde Watershed Restoration Coalition; a new invasive species removal crew. He plans to apply for an additional 3 months of service in March 2013, and then lead another Youth Conservation Corps crew during the summer. The ad included a long list of skills that a young person could gain by becoming a Corpsmember.
She is originally from Massachusetts, but she moved to California to live with her sister and help take care of her nephew. She will soon have the opportunity to be sent to a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) program in Texas. From Atlantic City to Union Beach to the Rockaways, I was deeply impressed with the resourcefulness and dedication of our members, who are serving long hours in difficult conditions. The tasks involved – removing debris, remediating mold, and gutting and mucking – are labor intensive. Working with state and local officials, an AmeriCorps strike team set up the operation in a matter of days.
In Union Beach, NJ, a blue-collar town of 6,200 where nearly a quarter of the homes were lost, I joined AmeriCorps members in ripping out the flooring of a storm-damaged home. Her home suffered extensive damage and she has been living with her daughter since the storm. We are proud to partner with New York Cares, our state service commissions, and dozens of other organizations in the affected states on this critical mission.
As the storm bore down on the Northeast coast during the last days of October, Corps across the country were already mobilizing to help with the relief effort. Since its inception, the IJP has worked to obtain justice for the victims of the Darfur crisis at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands. Federal or State surveillance assignments will also be a source of samples for lab analysis. It will cover the Wessex route as far as Epsom, Chessington South, Oxshott, Weybridge, Shepperton and Feltham.The vehicle, called an emergency intervention unit (EIV), has been in use for a month and has attended a number of infrastructure incidents which in the past would have caused longer delays to services.
Since returning from my 2 weeks in West, working disaster relief and thinking about disaster, the main idea that keeps coming back to me is the severing that occurs when disaster strikes. After deploying to West, our crew was hit with the insanity of West Fest Fairgrounds donation site, the major drop off and distribution center for donations that oversaw over 120 tons of donations. We developed a volunteer reception center that could handle the flow of people coming to lend a hand, and directed these people to crew members working in the warehouse itself for task delegation. Team members coordinated volunteers with locations needing assistance all over the city, and arranged for critical resources to be brought into the areas most devastated by the explosion.
We cried with each other from the stress, bad food and exhaustion, but also for the tragedy and grief of our temporary home and all the people in it we had quickly come to love. In addition to the devastation caused by the storm surge and high winds, over 100 Breezy Point homes burned to the ground the night Sandy blew into New York City.
The video includes an interview with Dakota Deringer, a Corpsmember with Conservation Corps Minnesota & Iowa.
On Christmas Eve, CCC Crews from the Monteray Bay Center (Watsonville, Salinas and San Jose) and the Napa Satellite were dispatched to sandbag a creek that overtopped in East Palo Alto, south of San Francisco.


She talked about how she got paid to work outdoors in beautiful natural settings, but she described the work as back-breaking and exhausting. Alex loved having the opportunity to travel throughout the state and help protect the natural beauty of such places as Walnut Canyon, Aravaipa Canyon, The Coronado Mountain Range, and the Sedona and Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests. Looking after a group of teenagers was a new challenge for Alex, but the two months of the program were ultimately very rewarding.
Alex was eight years younger than some of the adults on the crew, but he jumped at the opportunity to continue building his leadership skills. His goal is to eventually use the rest of his AmeriCorps Education Awards to go back to school and get the credentials he needs to pursue a career in emergency medical response. Patricia had her high school diploma, but she was unsure what she wanted to do with her future. Patricia also planted trees in the Urban Forestry Department, and she helped find employment for Corpsmembers as a Supervisor for the Corps’ internship program. Both her sister and brother-in-law were in the Navy; Patricia first came to California when her brother-in-law was deployed and her sister was left to care for her nephew alone. After completing the program, she hopes to return to California and get her associate’s degree as a Registered Nurse.
She is fairly confident that her time in the Corps played a big part in getting her where she is today. This work requires skilled crew leaders and an infrastructure to recruit, train, and supervise volunteers.
They reached out to local partners, secured a location, found housing, and established a seven-day-a-week volunteer operation. Our members bring tools, training, and a supercharged work ethic that rubs off on the volunteers they serve with.
But AmeriCorps members and volunteers provide something else harder to put a dollar figure on but no less important: an enormous emotional lift.
It takes partnerships of many kinds to help a community recover and rebuild, especially from a storm as devastating as Hurricane Sandy.
Corpsmembers have played a significant role in helping communities in New York, New Jersey and 5 other states recover and rebuild. Some Corps travelled thousands of miles to assist in the relief efforts, while other Corps worked in their own backyards.
Through this work, the IJP encountered many members of the Darfurian Diaspora in the United States, especially women and children, who were in urgent need of medical care and who were at risk of becoming disenfranchised without relevant assistance. Other types of incident the vehicle has attended include trespassers and helping reopen the railway after a passenger had fallen onto the track.It has been funded until March 2014 and as well as responding to emergency incidents, it will also be used to patrol known hotspots to help reduce incidents such as cable theft and vandalism.
She is serving behind the scenes helping nonprofit and government agencies, collaborating with the relief effort, and helping others get connected to the proper resources – such as volunteers, financial assistance and in-kind donations.
Displaced residents, unclear of the fates of their homes and families members, picked through piles of donations. We managed reentry registration, handing out damage assessments to affected homeowners and helping guide them to the resources they needed. We helped people find their dogs, we listened to their stories, we fed them and ate (too much) and we bonded about Jesus. When the crews are not responding to emergencies, they will work on conservation and disaster mitigation projects throughout the state of Texas. Though the program has a new name, it will continue to provide youth the opportunity to solve real community issues through impactful conservation and disaster relief projects in Texas and adjacent states. Alex says he woke up the next morning with “blisters growing out of blisters,” but it felt good to come home tired after a day of productive work.
There were a number of occasions throughout the summer when Alex was able to put his EMT training to use. The three-month-long program gave Alex a chance to also learn new skills in forestry; on his fourth day of chainsaw orientation he was able to cut down a 100 foot tall Ponderosa Pine. At one point, as Supervisor for the Corps’ educational program, Patricia taught elementary school children about power line safety and the benefits of trees. When her sister decided to leave the Navy and move back east, Patricia stayed in California to see where her job with the Corps could take her. As part of the Guard, Patricia teaches a Combat Lifesaver course for troops preparing to deploy. She currently has over 30 college credits, but it’s been difficult for her to maintain a regular school schedule with her long work hours and the deployment to Iraq.
This includes canvassing door-to-door, creating work order and volunteer tracking systems, securing donated supplies, training volunteers, and sending out crews to gut and muck homes.
Emerging from her car, she was overcome with gratitude, with tears streaming down her face as she hugged and thanked the volunteers.
When available, it will be used on other railway routes which travel into south London when required.Improving the railwayThe EIV is one method being used by the Network Rail and South West Trains Alliance to improve the railway in the south and south west of England. The expulsion of a people from the routine of their daily lives, into something unimaginable, with no set guidelines or instruction manual.
We received contact information for the hundreds of people offering services, developed a media management program, made site maps of affected areas, and put up a facebook page as an informational resource. We developed a database for volunteer hours and homeowner intake forms that was maintained daily, and served as an informational platform to the public. He filled out an application and was soon officially a member of the Sedona Youth Conservation Corps, a program operated by Coconino Rural Environment Corps (CREC).
Shortly after receiving his EMT certification, Alex was accepted for a position as a CREC Youth Conservation Corps Mentor.
At one point he was able to help a Corpsmember with a scratched cornea, and on another occasion he diagnosed and assisted a Corpsmember who was suffering from hyponatremia; a condition of excess heat, too much water, and not enough electrolytes. Patricia started at Urban Corps in November 2002…and she ended up staying there for the next seven years.
She had to sleep on friends’ couches after her sister moved, but she saved enough money to eventually get a shared apartment and buy her first car.
After earning her associate’s degree, Patricia should only be three or four semesters away from a bachelor’s degree.
Similar scenes are playing out across the affected areas, as volunteers come from near and far to lend a hand. More than ?360m a year is spent on improving and maintaining the track and infrastructure across the route. This is certainly the case for the town of West, Texas, a small community of about 3,000, that became a household name when a fertilizer plant exploded on April 17th,2013. We recorded their volunteer hours and other data  so that their presence will help reduce the local cost of the disaster and then we coordinated precise locations and tasks so that their work could be best utilized.
We dedicated our time to creating a structure that could be transitioned to city appointed leaders, who would lead the long term recovery program. We learned about resilience and optimism, and that people can get through the unimaginable if they stick together.
He thrived during the next six weeks of the program, which involved doing trail maintenance, rock work, and fence construction. Looking back at her years with the Corps, she was hard-pressed to come up with a favorite project or assignment. Patricia’s goal is to complete her bachelor’s degree and find employment as a nurse within the next six years. A further ?30m is being spent to improve the reliability of the power supply used to run trains.



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