Mass Fatalities Planning & Response for Rural Communities Course, October 13, 2016

The Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium is bringing free Department of Homeland Security-certified training to Du Quoin, IL on October 13th, 2016

This 8-hour awareness-level, instructor-led course is designed to prepare rural first responders and officials with the basic knowledge, skills and abilities to manage a mass fatality incident impacting their jurisdiction. Target audience includes first responders, coroners/medical examiners, public health officials, and others with responsibilities during a mass fatality incident. Issues addressed include establishing roles and responsibilities, assets management, remains processing and identification, diversity issues and development of a mass fatality plan that affect the construct of a mass fatality response.

Register by September 29th to reserve your seat. More details are available on the RDPC website.


Disaster Risk Reduction Workshop for Businesses to be Held on September 21, 2016

The Jackson County Health Department and Shawnee Preparedness and Response Coalition (SPARC) will be hosting “Disaster Risk Reduction is Everybody’s Business!” at the Carbondale Civic Center from 9am to 4pm on Wednesday, September 21, 2016.

This free workshop for businesses, business organizations, and local government officials will introduce the concept of reducing disaster risk by analyzing and eliminating the causal factors of disasters.  These disasters could range from a fire at an individual business to an earthquake that destroys communities and disrupts regional commerce.

Workshop participants will learn why disaster risk reduction is more cost effective than the traditional model of responding to a disaster and how to limit disaster losses and speed recovery efforts.  Participants will be provided with a tool kit to aid them in business continuity planning.

The keynote speaker for the workshop will be Dr. Mark Keim, CEO of DisasterDoc, and a world-renowned expert on disaster risk reduction.  Dr. Keim is a southern Illinois native and survivor of the 1982 Marion tornado, who went on to lead the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s (CDC) emergency response to the 2001 World Trade Center attack and Anthrax letter emergencies, and Hurricane Katrina in 2006.

Registration for this event can be found at

If you have any questions feel free to contact Terry Fulk at 618-684-3143 ext. 176 or email



Is Your Southern Illinois Community Storm Ready?


Being prepared for severe weather is something that every household in every community should be focusing on. Severe weather is dangerous and often times deadly to those who become victims of its elements. One particular and proven way to reduce the threat of becoming a victim to severe weather is to prepare for it. But even if every residential population within a community is ready for storms, the community itself needs to also be ready for storms. A community has an obligation to its citizens and infrastructure to be Storm Ready. The National Weather Service provides a framework known as Storm Ready for communities willing to participate in severe weather preparedness to help assure that their residents are safer during severe weather. In this article, we will take a look at the requirements and procedures for communities across southern Illinois to become Storm Ready communities.


What is Storm Ready and why should you participate?

StormReady® is a program of the National Weather Service that enable communities, businesses, organizations and other groups to better protect their stakeholders from severe weather and weather-related emergencies through advanced planning, preparedness and educational techniques. The Storm Ready program uses specific requirements based on the population of communities to help cities and towns be better prepared for hazardous weather conditions such as tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, extreme temperatures, winter storms, flooding events and more. Communities should consider becoming StormReady® as a step in the right direction in protecting their citizens. This program will show local residents that the community cares about their safety and has taken extra steps to ensure preparedness for severe weather has been made.


Becoming StormReady® – First Step: Establishing Communication Objectives

The first step for making your community StormReady® is to establish communication objectives. A community must have an operations center that maintains a 24/7 awareness on approaching hazardous weather for issuing local warnings and warning the public. This task often falls into the duties of local emergency management officials but can also be shared among law enforcement and firefighting agencies within a community, which is especially helpful for rural communities with understaffed police departments and volunteer emergency service agencies. This center should be able to activate anytime there is severe weather threatening the area and it must be able to disseminate warnings to the public through means such as warning sirens, social media and text alerts. If your community has more than 2,500 residents, you must establish an Emergency Operations Center for this requirement.


Becoming StormReady® – Second Step: NWS Alert Source

In order to be Storm Ready, the National Weather Service (NWS) requires that communities have some form of warning source for hazardous weather information. This can be accomplished by simply including NOAA All-Hazard Radios with alert tone capabilities with agencies and personnel who will be responsible for severe weather threats and events within the community. There are numerous other methods of getting warnings which are approved by the NWS but a NOAA All-Hazards radio is one of the simpler ways to meet the requirements of this condition. Based on community populations, more systems may be required to meet this directive. Other systems may include the Emergency Managers Weather Information Network (EMWIN), commercial data services, and automatic relays of severe weather information by state-wide and county dispatchers and even local news and weather sources. The more sources for severe weather alerts will essentially increase the chances of better preparedness for a community so more options should be made for any community no matter the size.


Becoming StormReady® – Step Three: Hydro-Meteorological Monitoring

The requirement of hydro-meteorological monitoring for an official not familiar with meteorology might often seem as an advanced and scientific, and rather expensive option for ensuring that the community is ready for storms. This isn’t the case. This requirement simply asks communities to have one to multiple methods, pending population status, on gathering weather and flooding information. If your community is ever subject to flooding whether it be river and creek flooding, flash flooding and other forms of flooding, then your community should be monitoring flood stages and upcoming rain that will continue to threaten the area. This can be accomplished with access to radar data via-the internet or TV, access and use of weather instruments and locally owned and operated weather radar. All of these methods are affordable in modern times, even for the smallest of communities. Communities under 2,500 residents only need one option, such as access to internet or TV radar, in order to qualify for this requirement.


Becoming StormReady® – Step Four: Warning Dissemination

All communities who are trying to meet the requirements to make their communities ready for storms must be able to issue warning information to their residents. Rural communities with less than 2,500 residents only have to have one way of issuing such warnings. However, multiple ways of issuing warnings will increase the chance of safety and should be considered by all communities, whether large or small. NOAA weather radios, outdoor warning siren systems, sirens on emergency vehicles, TV override services and county-wide emergency alert systems are all examples of how to meet this requirement. In community owned facilities and infrastructure where the public might meet (i.e. parks, town halls, etc.), warning capability should be present using one and/or more of the methods listed above.


Becoming StormReady® – Step Five: Preparing Your Community

An important step and requirement of ensuring that your community is prepared for hazardous weather conditions is by providing education and awareness about hazardous weather conditions. For smaller communities, this requirement is very simple. For larger communities, more requirements may be needed. Communities with schools, hospitals and other critical infrastructure should communicate with occupants about various forms of hazardous weather an environmental events. Weather-related safety campaigns should be conducted by communities as well. An example of this would be donating NOAA All-Hazard Radios to members of the public who attend safety campaigns presented by the local fire, police and/or emergency management departments. Lastly, communities should maintain annual certified Skywarn Storm Spotters who report severe weather conditions for the local area. Communities with over 40,000 residents will be require to host their own Skywarn storm spotter training sessions.


Becoming StormReady® – Step Six: Hazardous Weather Action Planning

The final step of meeting the requirements of a community entering the NWS StormReady® program is to plan for actions regarding the threat of hazardous weather conditions. All communities dealing with hazardous weather should have action plans in place. These plans should be reviewed annually and updated when new information or changes deserve to be made. The plan should include warning point procedures, EOC and weather center activation information, storm spotter activation information, storm spotter roster and training information, criteria and procedures for activating outdoor sirens and other warning methods for the community and annual exercises related to hazardous weather incidents. If a community plans before severe weather strikes, they will be prepared a step further than a community that does not plan at all. Plan now and be prepared for chaos.


I’m ready to apply for the StormReady® Program!

If your community has met all of the requirements listed above, first of all, you should be congratulated for taking a further effort for helping to ensure emergency preparedness for hazardous weather conditions that threaten your community. The next step is to determine the requirements above based on your community’s population to be sure that you have taken all the necessary steps that need to be taken. After that, you can apply for the StormReady® accreditation provided by the National Weather Service. In most areas in southern Illinois, the local NWS Weather Forecast Office is located in Paducah, Kentucky.


Congratulations for taking the extra effort to help prepare your community for hazardous weather conditions. Southern Illinois communities should band together and help create a region of StormReady® communities – we can do it, we’re capable of making it happen. Please share this article with others and encourage them to contact their local community officials to check into whether or not their communities are prepared for hazardous weather conditions. Please share this article on social media and use the hashtag #ShawneePreparedness to help support the Shawnee Preparedness and Response Coalition (SPARC) for sharing this information.

How concerned should we be about the Zika Virus?


It is uncommon to learn about a new virus threat that has been discovered through the spread of diseases from mosquitoes. The current threat during these recent months has been evolving around the Zika Virus. It is important that you know what the virus is, how it is spread and how it can be prevented. Many are concerned that this is a major virus that can threaten the species of human being while others are not so concerned about it. So today, I have put together this article based on factual and scientific research behind the Zika Virus. The information within this article has been obtained by State Department of Public Health agencies, the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.


What is the Zika Virus?

Zika is a virus of mosquito-borne initiation. The first recorded issue of the Zika Virus was obtained in 1947 in Uganda through a study of Yellow Fever in primate species. In 1952, a human infection was later determined in Tasmania. Previous outbreaks of the Zika Virus have been recorded in Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Pacific. Most previous reported outbreaks of the Zika Virus resulted in minor health conditions with a mild fever being the main health hazard of humans that have become infected with the virus.


How does the Zika Virus spread in humans?

Male humans can become bitten by mosquitoes that are infected with Zika and contract the virus through such means. The spread of human to human in regards to the virus is usually done through sexual intercourse. The virus can be spread from a mother to her unborn fetus as well which presents the most significant concern of the Zika Virus crisis. It has also been reported, but not confirmed, that the Zika Virus can be transmitted through blood transfusion as well.


What are the symptoms of the Zika Virus?

Symptoms of the Zika Virus include mild-flu like symptoms ranging from headaches, red eyes, joint paint, fever, rashes and muscle pain. Humans rarely require hospitalization when infected by the virus and the reported fatality numbers caused by the virus are extremely low. The good news about getting the Zika Virus is that once a human gets it, they have the anti-bodies in their system which will prevent them from ever contracting the virus again.


Why is Zika such a big news item if the symptoms are so minor?

The main threat associated with Zika is geared towards woman who are pregnant. Zika infection during pregnancy can cause fetuses to have a birth defect of the brain called microcephaly. Other problems have been detected among fetuses and infants infected with Zika virus before birth, such as defects of the eye, hearing deficits, and impaired growth. There have also been increased reports of Guillain-Barre syndrome, an uncommon sickness of the nervous system, in areas affected by Zika. Unborn fetuses are at the most significant risk when it comes to the threat of transmission of the Zika Virus and that is why it is currently making national headlines.


Where is Zika being reported?

While locally mosquito-borne Zika virus reports in the United States are currently at zero, the virus has still been reported within the country. Traveling Americans to areas such as Africa and South America have contracted the Zika Virus and unknowingly brought it back the North America. The Virus is then spread and is now a threat in this country. In most cases, the virus is being spread through sexual intercourse by participants who unknowingly are infected with the virus. So yes, the virus is likely present in the United States though at the time, not considered a major outbreak of significant concern.


How to prevent becoming infected by the Zika Virus

For those who are traveling in regions of the world where Zika is present, tactics to prevent mosquito bites should be made. Insect repellent, clothing and mild outdoor presence can help prevent the contraction of the Zika Virus. In the United States, as a precaution, such insect repellent tactics should also be made even if local mosquitoes in the United States are not known to be Zika infected at this time. In regards to the threat of sexual transmission of the Zika Virus, this can be prevented through the practice of safe sex methods such as using a condom or simply not participating in sexual intercourse when one feels like they have the symptoms of the virus.


If you suspect you have the Zika Virus…

You should contact your local healthcare provider if you feel you might be infected by the Zika Virus. This article cannot act as medical advice but only give suggestive educational information for those who think they might be infected with the Zika Virus. It is suggested that those who assume they are infected first contact their healthcare provider to learn what they can do to overcome the infection. A person should also ensure they get plenty of rest and drink plenty of fluids to help combat the virus. While most people infected by the Zika Virus do not need major medical attention, women who are pregnant and children should seek proper medical care to prevent further issues from a potential Zika Virus infection.


Thank you for reading this article about the Zika Virus and its significance in regards to the United States of America. Please share this article with your friends and family and discuss it on social media using the hashtag #ShawneePreparedness to spread the word about the Zika Virus across the region.

Creating a Resilient Community for all types of Hazards!


Southern Illinois has had its fair share of hazardous incidents. We’ve seen major tornadoes in this area over the years that have been entered into history books as a result. We’ve seen train derailments and hazardous material spills in our past. We’ve seen a historical windstorm that many considered to be like an inland hurricane. We’ve experienced major flooding, major drought and everything in between. We’ve not experienced much in terms of mass shootings, extreme workplace and community violence or terrorism, though. But that isn’t to say that we will never experience these kinds of acts. Most areas in the nation that have experienced terrorism and extreme violence never imagined it would happen there and when it did, it was significant to the ideology of resiliency for those community.

In the end, Southern Illinois and the people of this region need to focus efforts of developing resilient communities across the board. Resiliency will help to allow each of our communities to prepared for and quickly recover from all types of hazards whether natural, man-made or technological in nature. We owe it to our neighbors, family, friends and children to help ensure that our area is ready to major events and incidents before they actually happen. In this article, I will be going over several points of recommendation that each community in Southern Illinois should be considering to help strengthen their local preparedness and develop a powerful position of resiliency.


Whole Community is a must!

We all need to be in agreement when it involves the practice of Whole Community in regards to preparedness and resiliency. Managing emergencies and protecting our community isn’t just the job of public safety officials and community leaders; it’s the job of everyone, including you. With the Whole Community approach to emergency management, everyone within a community is involved in the process – city management, departments, organizations, businesses and even residents. This goes for any sized city, town, village and even unincorporated areas of the region. Everyone needs to chip in and use their skills and observations to help make this area more resilient to disasters and other hazards that we might face in the future. City leaders should be looking into ways to help involve all members of the community in the emergency management process.


Establishing Trust by Recognizing Needs

Community leaders who are racing to develop a Whole Community effort will come to a standstill if there is no trust between officials and residents of the community. Trust is a key issue in the success of a Whole Community effort, without it, the effort is useless and will likely fail in the end. By establishing trust between members of organizations of the community, everyone can start working together in a collaborative manner sharing the same common goals and objectives. Trust can be developed using one significant method – identifying the needs of the community and addressing them. This is where innovation and idealism will play a large role, especially in smaller communities of this region. The needs may require more resources and financial assistance, so it is important to innovate ways that the community needs can be met. If we start addressing the issues of our community, they will see our dedication and passion in helping them and that will make them trust us more in the end.


Community Policing Strategies

In many cases, when it comes to the resiliency and prevention of major criminal acts and terrorism, local law enforcement is going to play a major role in the local strategies and tactics. It is important that the law enforcement officials of a community are trained and knowledgeable in the aspects of terrorism and major criminal interdiction tactics. However, law enforcement shouldn’t be the only way we are presenting terrorism and major criminal intervention tactics in our local communities. When law enforcement takes over completely, a lot of trust issues occur due to various objections to local government control and the secrecy that usually comes with it. Let the police do their jobs, yes, but also involve the citizens in community policing as well. Programs such as Neighborhood Crime Watch for example can allow the citizens and entities of a community to willfully participate in criminal intervention tactics throughout the community and it allows people and local government to work together for a common goal. Your citizens are most likely willing to volunteer to help their communities remain resilient to hazards, take advantage of that, today!


Integrating Culture and Diversity into the Community

Have you really looked at the diverse culture around southern Illinois? Take our natural areas for example, we have regions that appear to be mountainous to areas of dense forest and even swamp lands. Look at our various communities – towns embracing Italian decent to even the diverse populations of Carbondale. Diversity and cultural differences are a significant part of Southern Illinois, it really wouldn’t be the same Southern Illinois without all of our diversity and differences in cultures. With that, we need to be focusing on integrating diversity and culture into our local communities. We need to not only celebrate all members of the community but we need to include then in all forms of preparedness and resiliency programs. Major trust will form for a community that addresses the needs of all people in their community basing such activities on diversity and cultural empathy. Community leaders and citizens alike need to be recognizing the cultural differences of the diverse population in this area and integrating ways to celebrate such diversity into our daily lives. We all need to work together and be happy for one and others way of life in order to sustain a resilient Whole Community.


In the end, resiliency and preparedness are not difficult to accomplish, even for the most rural community in Southern Illinois. The main and most significant strategy that we can take is to identify everyone in our communities and consider how they can be involved in the effort of creating a Whole Community approach to managing major events and emergencies that may occur in the future. We need to prepare now so that if one day, something major happens, we can be prepared for it beforehand and recovery a lot quicker than we would had if we were not prepared to begin with. Thank you for reading this article. You are encouraged to share it and discuss community resiliency on social media. Use #ShawneePreparedness as the hashtag to help create a trend of local discussions for this topic.

Disaster Preparedness Success Starts at Home!


Does your family have a plan for a major emergency? This is a question that you should be asking yourself for the safety and resiliency of you and the members of your household. Imagine the various types of disaster scenarios that could occur in this specific area. Tornadoes happen around here and they threaten our communities each year. Numerous seismic zones surround the region creating fear of major and significant earthquakes that will change the history of disaster management for the world. And the mother of all disasters, a terrorist attack, isn’t something that is unheard of these days especially with the various foreign and domestic groups that wish to disrupt the American way of life and our freedom as the most powerful country in the world.

All disasters start locally! When a disaster occurs, it occurs in a specific region. In 2001, when the World Trade Center was attacked, the disaster started out as a local New York City crisis before it became a federal matter. In 2005, the City of New Orleans was the forefront of the monstrous Hurricane Katrina before it became a federal disaster mission. The Joplin tornado was a Joplin crisis before the federal government declared the area a disaster zone. Disasters start at home, the homes which we raise our families in, so it is our responsibility to protect our families because it is essential. The state and federal government branches are not going to be right there with us before the disaster strikes, they will intervene when local resources have been exhausted after the disaster has occurred. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us, ordinary citizens, to help keep our nation safe and resilient of disaster.

An important approach in emergency management that families and citizens should be made aware of is Whole Community. The Whole Community approach to emergency management is innovative because without it, emergency management will likely not succeed. Whole Community is the effort involved where the entire community of the nation participates in emergency management and preparedness. The only realistic way we will be able to prepare America for the threats it faces is to start locally with the support and coordination of the entire community. Now is the time that we all step up and do our part in making sure that our families are safe from harm and together we can accomplish this task, as a Whole Community devoted to local preparedness that will eventually create a national trend.


Disaster Preparedness and the 3-P System

Families and citizens should participate in preparedness activities by being prepared at home for major emergencies and events that could take place in the future. The 3-P system creates an easy to follow framework for families and citizens to participate in. The 3-P system consists of Planning, Preparedness and Practice. In this article, we will go into more detail about the 3-P system and how you can use it at home to enhance the preparedness effort of our family and household.

Planning for a Disaster – The first step of preparing your household and family for a disaster scenario is to plan for it. Planning is essential and without it, the results of an emergency happening will likely end with chaos and confusion. With planning, especially before the actual event, families and households can have knowledge of what actions to take if and when a major disaster ever strikes. What consists of the planning stage, though? This is where members of your household should discuss what type of disasters are likely to occur in this area and how each of you will respond to it and meet with one and other in a safe environment. Imagine a tornado striking the area – what is next for your loved ones, your children and your friends? How will you all connect with one and other to ensure that each of you have made it out safely? This is where planning comes into play and it should be done long before a disaster strikes, it should be done NOW!

Preparing for a Disaster – The next phase of the 3-P system is the actual act of preparedness itself. This is where you look to what resources you and members of your household will need to survive a disaster. Maybe consider adding a storm cellar or a safe room to your house. Maybe consider creating a ‘Go-bag’ to take with you if you need to evacuate your home due to a local hazard. Stockpile on food and bottled water that will last a while when you need it the most. The act of preparedness is to be ready and resilient for a disaster before it strikes. This includes everyone in your household, even your children, who will likely suffer more during a crisis because they are confused more than anyone else.

Practice for a Disaster – Planning and preparedness is an important task in personal disaster management. However, without some type of experience in dealing with hazards, you and your family will never really be ready for a disaster, right? But how do you get experience for disaster management and preparedness without actually having to live through an actual disaster event in the first place? This is done through the act of practicing your emergency plans and preparedness efforts. With practice, you can gain the experience you and your family need, to survive a disaster that starts at home. You and the members of your household should create a mock disaster scenario at home and practice what each household member will be responsible for. This will also help you find gaps and hidden threats that might be negatively countering your household emergency preparedness efforts. Practice should be done frequently to be effective the most.


To end this article, it is important for families and households to understand the difference from being prepared for a disaster verses not being prepared for a disaster. If you are prepared, positive results after a disaster has occurred will likely be the case. If you are not prepared, chaos and confusion will be the result and those you love might be placed into significant danger. You are encouraged to continue following the Shawnee Preparedness and Response Coalition for more preparedness information and to further your research on the internet as well. Please share what you are doing for home preparedness on Facebook and Twitter using hashtag #SPARC to help others in your area gain ideas on how to protect their family and loved ones.

ICS 300 and ICS 400 Training Coming Soon

ICS 300 and 400 Classes

Where: ALL classes will be at John A. Logan College in Building H, Rm 125

Times: ALL classes will be from 5:30 PM 930 PM

ICS 300 Dates (must attend all 4 days):
March 29 & 31, April 5 & 7, 2016 (Tuesdays & Thursdays for 2 weeks)

ICS 400 Dates (must attend all 4 days):
May 10, 11, 17 & 18, 2016 (Tuesdays & Wednesdays for 2 weeks)

Prerequisites: ICS classes 100 and 200. Recommended to have also had NIMS 700 (all of these are online classes and can be found at: ).

Registration information: Online registration link , click on View Classes and Register Online.

Questions: For questions please contact Lisa Nagle at (618) 9852828, ext. 8510 or

QuakeSmart Business Preparedness Summit to be Held in Cape Girardeau on February 3rd

The nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)®, FEMA Building Science Branch, Missouri State Emergency Management Agency, Missouri Seismic Safety Council, U.S. Geological Society and other partners will present a QuakeSmart® Business Preparedness Summit for businesses in Southeast Missouri and Southwest Illinois on Wednesday, February 3 at the Southeast Missouri State University River Campus.

The summit is timed to coincide with annual Earthquake Awareness Month observances in Missouri and Illinois around the anniversary of the largest of the New Madrid series of earthquakes on February 7, 1812. The M7.5 temblor outside New Madrid, MO generated shaking as far south as the Gulf Coast, eastward to the Atlantic Coast, and northeast to Quebec covering an estimated 2.5 million square kilometers. The goal for Earthquake Awareness Month events is to remind residents of potential risk for damaging earthquakes in the New Madrid Seismic Zone.

According to Cape Girardeau County Emergency Manager, Richard Knaup, “As the recent floods have taught us, it’s important to be prepared in advance of natural disasters. Holding the QuakeSmart Summit near the anniversary of the New Madrid earthquake is a good reminder that earthquakes can and have happened in our area. Business owners and managers will be better prepared if they attend the summit to learn strategies to lessen the potential impacts and to ensure business continuity following earthquakes or other natural disasters.”

The free summit will feature the FEMA QuakeSmart Community Resilience Program which provides preparedness information, comprehensive earthquake assessments, and engineering and retrofit information designed to keep businesses open and viable post-earthquake. Attendees will learn how to prepare their employees in advance of natural disasters, complete QuakeSmart assessments, and begin budgeting for retrofit projects.

Wednesday, February 3, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Cape Girardeau QuakeSmart Business Preparedness Summit
Southeast Missouri State University, River Campus
Glenn Convocation Center
One University Plaza, MS 7895
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701
For:  Business owners, managers, facility managers, engineering and maintenance staff, and risk managers

The summit is free, but registration is required at Barbara Harrison at Barbara@flash.orgor (850) 385-7233, ext. 103 for additional information.

The summit is sponsored by Cape Girardeau County Emergency Management Agency, Cape Girardeau Fire Department, CCS Group, Inc., Central U.S. Earthquake Consortia (CUSEC), DRB Toolkit Workgroup, FEMA, FLASH, Illinois Emergency Management Agency, Missouri Seismic Safety Council, Missouri State Emergency Management Agency, Simpson Strong-Tie Co, WorkSafe Technologies, and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).