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Thursday October 19, 2017

HOW TO HELP DISASTER SURVIVORS IN TEXAS

Intergovernmental Affairs Advisory

HOW TO HELP DISASTER SURVIVORS IN TEXAS

 

August 29, 2017

The compassion and generosity of the American people is never more evident than during and after a disaster. It is individuals, non-profits, faith- and community-based organizations, private sector partners, and governmental agencies working together that will most effectively and efficiently help survivors cope with the impacts of Tropical Storm Harvey.

Please follow a few important guidelines below to ensure your support can be the most helpful for Tropical Storm Harvey disaster survivors.

TO DONATE TO RELIEF EFFORTS

The most effective way to support disaster survivors in their recovery is to donate money and time to trusted, reputable, voluntary or charitable organizations.

Cash donations offer voluntary agencies and faith-based organizations the most flexibility to address urgently developing needs. With cash in hand, these organizations can obtain needed resources nearer to the disaster location. This inflow of cash also pumps money back into the local economy and helps local businesses recover faster.

Please do not donate unsolicited goods such as used clothing, miscellaneous household items, medicine, or perishable foodstuffs at this time. When used personal items are donated, the helping agencies must redirect their staff away from providing direct services to survivors in order to sort, package, transport, warehouse, and distribute items that may not meet the needs of disaster survivors.

Donate through a trusted organization.  At the national level, many voluntary-, faith- and community-based organizations are active in disasters, and are trusted ways to donate to disaster survivors. Individuals, corporations, and volunteers, can learn more about how to help on the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) website.

In addition to the national members, The Texas Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (Texas VOAD) has a list of vetted disaster relief organizations providing services to survivors.  Texas VOAD represents more than three dozen faith-based, community, nonprofit and non-governmental organizations.

TO PERSONALLY VOLUNTEER IN THE DISASTER AREAS

The State of Texas is asking volunteers to not self-deploy, as unexpectedly showing up to any of the communities that have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey will create an additional burden for first responders.

The National VOAD has also noted the situation may not be conducive to volunteers entering the impacted zone and individuals may find themselves turned away by law enforcement.

To ensure volunteer safety, as well as the safety of disaster survivors, volunteers should only go into affected areas with a specific volunteer assignment, proper safety gear, and valid identification.

At this time, potential volunteers are asked to register with a voluntary or charitable organization of their choice, many of which are already in Texas and supporting survivors on the ground.

The National and Texas VOAD websites are offering links to those who wish to register to volunteer with community- and faith-based organizations working in the field.

Most importantly, please be patient. Although the need is great, and desire to help strong, it is important to avoid donating material goods or self-deploying to help until communities are safe and public officials and disaster relief organizations have had an opportunity to assess the damage and identify what the specific unmet needs are.

Volunteer generosity helps impacted communities heal from the tragic consequences of disasters, but recovery lasts much longer than today. There will be volunteer needs for many months, and years, after the disaster, so sign up now.

Tropical Storm Harvey is still dangerous, with the potential to impact additional areas of Texas and Louisiana. As the situation changes, needs may also change in these areas. Continue monitoring traditional and social media channels to learn more.

If you have any questions, please contact FEMA’s Intergovernmental Affairs Division at (202) 646-3444 or at FEMA-IGA@fema.dhs.gov.

 

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Download the FEMA App to locate and get directions to open shelters across the state, and receive weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five different locations anywhere in the United States.

Follow FEMA online at www.fema.gov/blog, www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema and www.youtube.com/fema. Also, follow Administrator Brock Long’s activities at https://twitter.com/fema_brock. The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

 

2017 Fire Service Legislative Day

The 2017 Fire Service Legislative Day was held May 4, 2017 and had record breaking attendance from across the state.  We want to thank everyone who joined us and visited their representatives of the NC House and Senate at the General Assembly.  It is hard to imagine what would make a bigger impact than having over 200 firefighters from across North Carolina show up in uniform to deliver a united message from their constituents. Thank you again, we look forward to doing it all over again in 2018.

Damage to the NCSFA Office from Downtown Raleigh Fire

The Office of the NC State Firefighters’ Association suffered extensive damage due to a fire in a six story lightweight construction building being built across the street. It was a five alarm fire for the City of Raleigh and their crews did a fantastic job. The office has sustained significant water and some heat damage. All the windows on the Jones Street side were blown out by heat and all the offices on the Jones Street side had sprinklers activated.
We are going to have to find alternate office space for the time being. I suspect reparing the damage to this building will take more than 6 months. The Board and Staff of NCSFA would like to let you know that for a few days service will be intermittent, but we will get things back up to 100% as rapidly as possible. If you experience a delay in a response or have a critical need that cannot wait, here are a couple of cell numbers:
Tim Bradley – 919-376-5135
Ed Brinson – 919-605-0115
Thank you for your patience during this time.

STATE HEALTH PLAN AVAILABLE FOR FIRE AND RESCUE PERSONNEL

STATE HEALTH PLAN AVAILABLE FOR FIRE AND RESCUE PERSONNEL

If you are an active firefighter or rescue squad worker or a member of the North Carolina Firefighters’ and Rescue Workers’ Pension Fund, under certain conditions you may be eligible to purchase health coverage for you and your family under the North Carolina State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees on a fully contributory basis. G.S. 135-48.40(d).

Who may be eligible to participate?

 

  • Members actively serving as firefighters or rescue squad workers and retired members who receive a monthly benefit from the North Carolina Firefighters’ and Rescue Squad Workers’ Pension Fund.

 

  • Dependents of members, including spouses and natural, legally adopted, or foster children up to the end of the month of their 26th

 

Participation is voluntary, but to be eligible to participate you must be:

 

  • Certified by your Fire Department, Rescue Squad, or Emergency Medical Services Unit Head/Administrator.

 

  • Ineligible for any other comprehensive group health insurance coverage, including Medicare, CHAMPUS, or other uniformed services benefits.

 

  • Without coverage under a comprehensive group health benefit plan for at least 6 consecutive months.

 

See the attached rate sheet for a breakdown of monthly premium rates associated with the Plan’s 2017 coverage options.

 

For more information regarding coverage options, enrollment, and eligibility visit shp.nctreasurer.com or contact the North Carolina State Health Plan at 855-859-0966.

 

News on Your Public Safety Answering Points (Communication Centers)

News on Your Public Safety Answering Points (Communication Centers)

 

Greg Hauser represents the NC Fire Service on the State 911 Board. In an effort to keep the fire service engaged and make local dispatch centers effective for the fire service, he suggest involvement at the local level by fire officers in the operation of the dispatch center. Here is an update on the 911 Board and some questions for you to consider.

 

Does Your Local PSAP (Public Safety Answering Points) Use EFD Protocols?

 

NCSFA Members are encouraged to find out if their local PSAP (911 Call Centers) uses dispatch standards and protocols. These protocols are extremely important and should be followed by all involved in emergency dispatch situations. There are many different types of protocols (Emergency Fire Dispatch ((EFD)), APCO, etc) and each may determine how fire services are dispatched.

 

PSAP Manager Training:

 

Training will soon be available for PSAP managers. This newly created program will focus on educating current PSAP about the history, trends, processes and technology in the Public Safety Communications industry. The training was created in cooperation with the 911 Education Committee and Richmond Community College. The program will be an 8-month program. To insure your department is getting the most from your dispatch centers, urge your PSAP manager to get involved.

 

State PSAP Allocations: Is the Strained Funding Model Degrading Your PSAP’s Effectiveness?

 

PSAP funding for allowable items is becoming strained in North Carolina. Have your Fire Service Command Staff become engaged with their PSAP managers to ensure dispatch services are not being degraded. If not funded properly, the County/agency may be responsible for finding the necessary funds to support the PSAP. This has the potential to degrade your PSAP’s ability to provide effective fire dispatch services.

 

Standards for PSAP’s

 

Nine (9) people were recently approved for the first class of reviewers and their PSAP training will begin in the coming year. Beginning in July 2017, all PSAP will be required to undergo an evaluation of their processes, procedures, technology and fall pack plans. Across NC only 2 PSAP’s are without approved backup plans, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Franklin County (Franklin County is very close to having their plan approved). The 911 Board Chair is looking into the five (5) PSAP’s that failed during Hurricane Matthew so that they can be turned into teaching opportunities. Finally, PSAP allocations were approved by the board and NCSFA members can go to http://it.nc.gov/nc911board to see their allotment.