Detroit School Board Files Massive Complaint Against State For Abuse Against Students of Color (IMAGES)

Detroit School Board Files Massive Complaint Against State For Abuse Against Students of Color (IMAGES)

Anonymous teachers are currently calling for an investigation into allegations of racially-charged, inappropriate discipline against students of color who lost their school and were forced to relocate into nearby, primarily white districts, in Bridgeport, Michigan. It is just one part of a massive Title VI complaint filed by the Detroit Board of Education against Governor Snyder and the state of…

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Zombie Preparedness Month: For a better tomorrow

Emergency managment is promoting Zombie preparedness. Why, you might ask? Well, because a ficititional zombie apocolypse requires the same actions and preparedness as most natural (and very non-fictional) disasters. It is sad that we generally don’t take disasters seriously, but in our defense, we have lived through the Y2K scare, mad cow disease, swine flu and multiple “judgement days”. So, naturally we’re a bit desensitized. Solution: using the popular zombie culture to promote things we should care about, like surviving a hurricane or a nuke. What’s next? Perhaps a vampire blood drive, because the damned were once fictitious people too. http://www.emergencymgmt.com/training/Are-Zombies-Preparedness-Perfect-Match.html?elq=35161240d7b3476a9ec018cac3e8fa57

Ebola in the U.S.—Politics and Public Health Don’t Mix

By Judy Stone

“Against stupidity, even the gods strive in vain.” — Fredirich Schiller

I’ve been glued to the Ebola news, riding the roller coaster of emotions. While  very impressed with CDC’s director, Dr. Tom Frieden’s, initial press conference (10/2/14), I became infuriated at the subsequent statements from Lisa Monaco, Homeland Security Advisor, and the tragicomedy of the Dallas hospital’s farcical response, prompting this post.

Dr. Frieden was calm, reassuring and authoritative in handling this CDC press conference. He conveyed the critical messages well, “Remember, Ebola does not spread from someone who is not infectious. It does not spread from someone who doesn’t have fever and other symptoms. It’s only someone who is sick with Ebola who can spread the disease.” And he was candid: “It is certainly possible that someone who had contact with this individual, a family member or other individual could develop Ebola in the coming weeks. But there is no doubt in my mind that we will stop it here.” He emphasized basic, proven public health strategies of careful infection control, contact tracing, and isolation.

In contrast, although she acknowledged the possibility of a secondary case, Ms. Monaco appeared less credible as she stated, “I want to emphasize that the United States is prepared to deal with this crisis both at home and in the region. Every Ebola outbreak over the past 40 years has been stopped. We know how to do this and we will do it again.”

While I agree that we have the knowledge, experience, and resources to be able to control Ebola, most of the experts are academicians or practice in relatively well-heeled ivory towers. I have practiced Infectious Diseases and Infection Control for 30+ years, primarily in a number of community hospitals, and offer a different perspective here, based on these experiences.

Administrators vs. Practitioners

Increasingly, decision makers are administrators who are disconnected from the realities of patient care. The latest fad, for example is to design hospitals to look like hotels and be “inviting” to patients, although they are very dysfunctional for delivering patient care, especially problematic in ICUs.

Similarly, when “bioterrorism preparedness” first became the rage, our hospital and health department focused on high tech units and hazmat suits while ignoring basic hygiene. I went ballistic, given that there was no soap nor any paper towels in the public school bathrooms, something the county health commissioner said was “not within their purview.” Gotta have priorities, right?

It is not all that different now. One hospital I am familiar with has Powered Air Purifying respirators (PAPRs), purchased with bioterrorism preparedness grants, but neither stethoscopes nor other dedicated equipment for isolation rooms. So nurses and docs gown up to go in the room of a patient with a “superbug” but take their stethoscopes into the room and then on to other patients, perhaps remembering to wipe it down first.

The problems with controlling Ebola cases in the United States is not that we can’t care for people well, or with good infection control. We absolutely can. But the Dallas case abundantly illustrates some of the problems in caring for anyone with a communicable illness, whether a antibiotic resistant organism (aka “superbug) like carbapenem resistant enterobacter (CRE), measles or Ebola.

(More from Scientific American)

DelCo Zombie drill a success

Playing off of a resurgent interest in the walking undead, Delaware County’s Emergency Management Agency simulated a Zombie Uprising to train responders in decontamination techniques to be used in a haz-mat situation and bring some disaster preparedness information to the more than 200 participants from the community.

In large part, this idea came from an amazing little post from the CDC earlier in the year about disaster preparation in the context of a Zombie Apocalypse that a number of smaller EMAs and communities ran with as an awareness campaign.

Watch on amywoodtv.tumblr.com

The SC Emergency Management Headquarters is broadcasting LIVE - cool look at the center with activity as #Irene threatens the East Coast

Airbnb Partners with San Francisco, Portland on Disaster Relief

In 2012, when Superstorm Sandy struck the East Coast, thousands of residents were displaced from their homes. In wake of the panic and chaos, Airbnb, an online platform where people list and book accommodations around the world, saw an opportunity to leverage its existing services for neighbors to help neighbors. During the disaster, 1,400 Airbnb hosts — who typically collect payment for accommodations — opened their homes and cooked meals for those left stranded.

Risk Manager position, Eugene, OR

Risk Manager
Enterprise Risk, Environmental & Emergency Management

Posting: 11467
Location: Eugene
Closes: Open Until Filled

Closes:  Open until filled; priority review date December 1, 2011


The Risk Manager for the University of Oregon reports to the Executive Director of Enterprise Risk, Environmental and Emergency Management.  The position is a full-time, 12-month, Officer of Administration position with a fixed term appointment subject to renewal.  The Risk Manager manages and leads University Risk Management initiatives, including risk financing, risk transfer and loss control efforts through an enterprise risk management model.  These activities occur in a highly decentralized environment and a comprehensive risk management program will require collaborating with many campus partners.  The Director supervises two staff members.   


  • Plans, coordinates and assists in the administration of a broad, comprehensive insurance program involving the purchase of commercial insurance or administering any self-insurance funds/pools for exposures such as but not limited to property, liability, student athlete, student health, special events, study abroad and workers’ compensation.
  • Assess and ensure adequate and appropriate risk financing to meet the needs of a large, complex organization. 
  • Works with campus partners and leadership on developing and leading Enterprise Risk Management.
  • Work with campus leaders to develop and implement risk cost allocation strategies.
  • Leads collaborative campus wide effort to develop and implement an enterprise risk management program.
  • Consults with various UO departments on risk assessment, risk mitigation and loss control methods and programs.
  • Consult on risks associated with the numerous large events held on UO campus including assessing insurance needs.
  • Collaborates with campus and external parties to assess risk exposure and management of those exposures.  Makes recommendations on minimization.
  • Manage risk management staff to support their work and efforts in the areas of risk assessment, mitigation and claims management.
  • Works as part of management team for overall campus risk, safety and hazard mitigation.

Supplemental Questions

  1. Describe your experience in assessing and ensuring appropriate risk financing is in place in a complex organization. 
  2. Please describe a situation where you identified and resolved an issue involving others outside your normal reporting lines.   
  3. What strategies would you consider in promoting a comprehensive risk management program in a highly decentralized organization? 
  4. Describe your experience in framing risk issues in writing (e.g. briefs, position papers, findings, etc.) for executives, leadership and policy makers. 


The University of Oregon (UO) is a comprehensive research university with an enrollment of over 24,000 students.  Located two hours south of Portland, Eugene is a thriving metropolitan city noted for its dynamic quality of life and progressive cultural environment and is sited an hour’s drive from both the Pacific coast beaches and the Cascade mountain range.  The University is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU) and of the Pac-12 athletic conference.  Visit the University of Oregon’s website at: http://uoregon.edu.  Learn about the region’s natural and cultural resources athttp://travellanecounty.org/.


Salary is commensurate with skills and experience.  This position is a full time, twelve month, fixed term, renewable appointment as an Officer of Administration (OA).  Generous benefits package, including comprehensive health, vision and dental insurance coverage, retirement plans, tuition benefits for employee or an eligible dependent, and paid leave policies.




  • A minimum of 5 years’ experience in risk management, or other relevant professional experience which includes a minimum of 2 years supervisory experience. 
  • Thorough knowledge of traditional risk management principles and practices.
  • Demonstrated leadership and management ability in a complex, multiple facility organization.
  • Proven success developing staff, with the ability to manage a diverse work force.
  • Thorough understanding of Enterprise Risk Management concepts and program development.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of insurance coverage options, industry standards, current trends and their application to a large university.
  • Demonstrated high commitment to customer service.
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited higher education institution.
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills and excellent oral and written communication skills.


  • Advanced academic degree.
  • Experience working in higher education risk management.
  • Professional certification such as an Associate in Risk Management or CPCU.   
  • Demonstrated ability to analyze business and insurance transactions.

Diversity:  Demonstrates commitment to the university’s affirmative action and equal opportunity goals and plans and provides leadership at the department level and within the university as a whole on all aspects of the university’s diversity plan.
Ethics:  Leads by example and maintains the highest ethical standards within the department and within the university.

An Equal-Opportunity, Affirmative-Action Institution Committed to Cultural Diversity and Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE:  Submit a cover letter clearly describing how you have developed and demonstrated the requirements for this position; a resume; a Human Resources Job Application Form (https://hr.uoregon.edu/webapp/index.php) and a list of three professional references.  For full consideration, applications must be received by December 1, 2011; position will remain open until filled.  Position is subject to a criminal background check.

Mail:  Human Resources, 5210 University of Oregon, Eugene OR 97403-5210.

Hand deliver during business hours:  Human Resources, 677 East 12th Ave., Suite 400.

  • Email:  Send email to Cindy Brock, Human Resources, at cbrock@uoregon.edu.  Please be sure to add “Job posting Risk Manager” to the subject line of the email.
  • Fax:  541-346-2548

This announcement is available in alternate formats upon request.  If you are a qualified applicant with a disability and need accommodation with the application or interview process, please call 541-346-3159.

The University of Oregon is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution committed to cultural diversity and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Avoiding The Ultimate In Surprise

Everyone remember the I Love Lucy show? Well, that show really epidemized what it meant to surprise and be surprised by all the antics that the main character, Lucy, got into–show after show. One thing that’s very clear is that no one really likes surprises (except maybe for some comic relief and that’s one reason I believe the show was the most popular season after season).

So what’s the problem with surprises? They are not inherently bad–there can be good surprise and bad ones. The issue is really that people want to be prepared for whatever is coming there way.

Even surprise parties or gifts somehow seem sweeter when the recipient isn’t completely “taken by surprise.” One of my bosses used to often repeat to the team, “I don’t like surprises!”

Hence, the importance of what we all got in the habit of saying–communicate, communicate, communicate–early and often. With the tragic tornados that struck last week across the south killing some 329 people, we are reminded how important early warning to surprises in life can be.

The Wall Street Journal reports today that new technologies are being developed for early warning of these tornados such as:
- Visual cues–Antennas that can track cloud-to-loud lighting, which is often invisible from the ground, but it “drops sharply in a storm just before a tornado develops” and can therefore provide early detection for those that can see it.
- Sound waves–Using “infrasonic microphones” we can pick up storm sounds from as far as 500 miles away at frequencies too low to be detected by the human ear and can filter out the noise to track the storm’s severity and speed, and therefore hear in advance if it is turning dangerous. Early warning saves lives...even a few extra minutes can provide the much needed time for a person to get to a shelter.

After the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami which killed more than 230,000 people, an early warning system was put in place there and again with the the recent Japanese earthquake and tsunami of 2011, we see the ongoing need for these efforts to advance globally. These efforts for early detection and alerts have always been around.

Already thousands of years ago, settlers built lookout towers and fire signals to get and give early notice of an advancing army, marauders, dangerous beasts, or other pending dangers. Nowadays, we have satellites and drones providing “eyes in the sky” and other technologies (like the proverbial trip wires and so on) are being developed, refined, and deployed to protect us.

Advance warning and preparation is important for risk management and life preservation and leveraging technology to the max for these purposes is an investment that is timeless and priceless. The challenge is in identifying the greatest risks (i.e. those with the most probability of happening and the biggest impact if they do) so that we can make our investments in the technologies to deal with them wisely.

The Japanese Government has banned entry to the 12 mile(20km) evacuation area around Fukushima.  Anyone (who isn’t emergency personnel) found in the area can be penalized by law (fine or imprisonment).  

In a matter of days, the government may allow a family member to return to the area briefly (2 hours) to retrieve a few valuable belongings.  Any such visit will require the representative family member to wear protective gear and undergo radiation screening upon their return.

Detroit School Board Files Massive Complaint Against State For Abuse Against Students of Color (IMAGES)
Doctoral candidate Charles Bell: "The pictures featured… provide a much needed visual aid to substantiate the highly questionable and discriminatory acts associated with the school to prison pipeli...

Doctoral candidate Charles Bell: “The pictures featured… provide a much needed visual aid to substantiate the highly questionable and discriminatory acts associated with the school to prison pipeline.”

FEMA declares New Orleans area levee system accredited, clearing way for lower flood insurance rates for many

The Federal Emergency Management Administration on Thursday declared the New Orleans area levee system accredited, clearing the way for the improved storm surge protection to be incorporated into National Flood Insurance Program flood maps, which should eventually lead to reduced flood insurance rates.

The problem of donating to disaster relief efforts (and how NGOs can start to solve it)


Two years ago, Haiti was struck by an earthquake leading to the deaths of tens of thousands of people and affecting an estimated three million people.

Unfortunately, it is far from the only natural disaster or crisis to strike within recent years. We’ve seen the outpouring of donations to disaster relief efforts in such places as Thailand and Japan (although the response has not always been consistent, as previously discussed in this whydev post on the Pakistan floods). The numbers are staggering: within ten days of the Haiti earthquake two years ago, $742 million had been committed to relief and a further $920 million pledged. The total eventually ballooned to over $3.5 billion.

The compassion and concern that people feel for strangers across the world is touching and even inspiring. Who could argue against such an outpouring of generosity?

Well, I can, and I’m not the first. All too often, the well-intended donations to disaster relief, motivated by emotion, are not as helpful as some would have you believe. Here’s why…

Half Man, Half Machine

I continue with my infatuation with everything robotics.

Here, the new Second Generation Exoskeleton Robotic Suit, the XOS 2, from Raytheon (Note: this is not a vendor endorsement) Life imitating art–these robotic suits have been a favorite in Iron Man and the movie Alien.

I can’t forget the scene in Alien when Sigourney Weaver puts on the robotic suit to fight the alien on the shuttle and blasts the alien into deep space. In only 3-5 years, our military men and women will be wearing these and fighting with super-human capabilities.

The big hang-up with these right now is that they are tethered to a power supply, which limits mobility, but as the video explains, untethered versions will be coming soon. I can envision commercial versions of these being worn in construction, manufacturing, warehousing–making work easier for people, decreasing job-related injuries and raising productivity.

I can also foresee theme parks where kids (and adults) prance around in mini-versions of these robotic suits and pretend they are superheros. I also imagine these will make it into law enforcement, fire and rescue, and other emergency management functions where keeping the peace or saving lives can be enabled by robots and exoskeletons too.