Utilizing Our New Food Bank Facility

26 07 2013

Join us for our next membership meeting October 30, 2013, from 3:30-5:00 p.m.
El Pasoans Fighting Hunger will host the meeting and lead a tour of their new 200,000 square foot facility. 9541 Plaza Circle, (915) 298-0353. Host: Janie Sinclair, x109. Please RSVP to info@elpasovoad.org.


Join Us for the Next Membership Meeting July 24

17 07 2013


Members, partners and prospects are invited to join us at the next Membership Meeting on July 24, from 3:30-5:00p.m. We will discuss organizational preparedness using the Ready Rating online tool, and also discuss how the new National Mass Care Strategy depends on VOADs. Our host is the American Red Cross El Paso, 3620 Admiral Street (off Montana between Hawkins and McRae). Please RSVP to info@elpasovoad.org. Also, check out the upcoming disaster training classes on the Events & Trainings page.

City Helps Employee Devastated by Fire

25 01 2013


City Helps Family of Health Department Employee Devastated by Fire

On Friday afternoon, January 18, a fire tore through a home in Chaparral, New Mexico, leaving behind nothing more than ash and rubble. The family who lived there was left with little more than the clothes they were wearing. The family was that of City of El Paso Department of Public Health employee Santiago Varela. Luckily, his wife and grandchildren were able to escape the fire unharmed, but the Varela family is still left with the difficult task of starting over.

The Red Cross has provided temporary shelter for Varela and his family, but Santiago is now turning to his City of El Paso family for support.  It’s a city family he has been a part of for 25 years and where he currently serves the community as a Food Inspection Supervisor. Please keep the Varela family in your thoughts and prayers.

Financial donations can be sent to El Paso Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) with a note on the contribution that it is for the Varela Fire Relief Fund to P.O. Box 972236, El Paso, Tx, 79997-2236. Monetary contributions can also be made at any Wells Fargo bank location by depositing checks made out to “El Paso Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster” to account number: 1689506499. Any amount will be much appreciated. Thank you to our City leaders for making this possible.

The Holidays are Coming!

8 11 2010

So perhaps we are lucky that El Paso does not get severe weather in the winter, however, that is all the more reason to prepare just in case we do receive a couple of inches of snow. It is important to share tips with family members and co-workers and to have a plan in place. It is especially important to be informed since during the Holidays, we tend to host family and friends, use more electricity and gas, and therefore risks do increase. The following is an article released by FEMA on the importance of Weather Radios.

Winter Storm Preparedness: Weather Radios and Disaster Supply Kits

With winter rapidly approaching, every family should be prepared to face another season of destructive cold, storms and flooding. Every home should have a Disaster Supply Kit that includes a weather radio. The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urge all residents to act now to assemble their family’s emergency supplies before the start of the winter storm season.
The National Weather Service forecasters provide routine weather programming at all times. During life-threatening weather conditions, the radios send out a special alarm tone. This is critical, because weather can turn deadly very fast. Ice Storms and flash flooding are two examples which can occur when people are sleeping or unaware of the forecast. Both can be deadly if people do not have an emergency plan or enough warning so that they can get to a safe place.
With a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio, you will be alerted to dangerous weather and have time to take shelter. NOAA Weather Radios also broadcast warnings and information regarding technological disasters, such as chemical releases or oil spills. They can be purchased at most stores that sell electronic devices. Most run on batteries or have battery back-up.
Every home should be stocked with a supply kit and when storing the supplies, keep them easily accessible in case of an evacuation.
Source: http://www.FEMA.org

FYI: A Disaster Supply Kit should contain the following:
• Water – at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3 to 7 days
• Food – at least enough for 3 to 7 days
Non-perishable packaged or canned food / juices, foods for infants or the elderly, snack foods, non-electric can opener, cooking utensils / fuel, paper plates, plastic utensils
• Blankets / Pillows, etc.
• Clothing – seasonal, rain gear, sturdy shoes
• Medical supplies – first aid kit, medicines, prescription drugs
• Special Items – for infants and the elderly
• Toiletries – hygiene items
• Moisture wipes
• Flashlight – extra batteries
• Radio – battery-operated and NOAA weather radio
• Cash – (Banks and ATMs may not be open or available for extended periods.)
• Important documents – in a waterproof container
Insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, social security card, etc
• Keys
• Toys, books and games
• Tools – keep a set with you during the storm
• Vehicle fuel tanks filled
• Pet care items
Proper identification, immunization records, ample supply of food and water, a carrier or cage, medications, muzzle and leash.

Please be safe and enkoy the Holiday season!

National Preparedness Month 2010

19 08 2010

September is National Preparedness Month
Be a Part of the Preparedness Team
By Darryl J. Madden, Director, Ready Campaign

How often do you think about emergencies or disasters? Probably not very often. Maybe after it happens to someone else. However, taking just a few steps can give you the tools to ensure you and your family’s safety in an emergency.

According to the 2009 Citizen Corps National Survey, only 36 percent of individuals believed there was a high likelihood of a natural disaster to EVER happen in their community. But disasters happen every day in many different forms – from hurricanes to snowstorms, even localized events such as floods and power outages.

Many people think that it will be easy to grab items from your pantry if disaster strikes. But what if you aren’t at home? What if your family is separated? What if you have to leave quickly? What about your elderly neighbor? The Ready Campaign and Citizen Corps encourage you to take a few extra minutes this month to plan for any emergency.

September is National Preparedness Month (NPM) and a good reminder that we all have a responsibility to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities. Emergencies will happen, but taking action now can help us minimize the impact they will have on our lives.

This year, NPM focuses on encouraging you and other Americans to take active steps toward getting involved and becoming prepared. Preparedness is everyone’s responsibility. We have to work together, as a team, to ensure that individuals, families, and communities are ready. Make a plan, Put together an emergency supply kit. Stay Informed. Work as a team to keep everyone safe.

Throughout September, activities and events will take place across this country to highlight the importance of emergency preparedness and promote individual involvement, such as first aid trainings, town hall meetings and much more. Look for opportunities to participate in these events in your community.

For more information on NPM or for help getting your family, business or community prepared, call 1-800-BE-READY, TTY 1-800-462-7585 or visit ready.gov, listo.gov or http://www.citizencorps.gov, where you’ll find free preparedness resources such as Family Emergency Plan templates, Emergency Supply Kit Checklists, and much more. The Ready Web site also has a special section for kids, ages 8-12, (Ready Kids) and small- to medium-sized businesses (Ready Business). Emergencies can happen at any time and to anyone. Are you Ready?

Beat the Heat El Paso!

9 07 2010

The City of El Paso

The Spring and Summer months are especially prone to conditions that create severe weather, such as thunderstorms, lightning strikes, floods, tornadoes and thunderstorms and extreme heat in the Summer. In the past three years, El Paso has seen 32 heat related deaths in the area, with 12 deaths in 2004 alone.

Part of the action plan is to use the Buddy System to look out for each other, especially the elderly and infirmed during the hot Summer days that lay ahead. Officials also suggest creating and maintaining an emergency kit that should contain: water (3 gallons per person), non-perishable foods, a first-aid kit, flashlights, a portable radio and batteries.

For more information on how you can be a Buddy, contact the Severe Weather Task Force at (915) 771-1011 or (915) 771-5703.

What is a Buddy?

Anyone can be a buddy. A Buddy can be a friend, relative, neighbor or landlord. A Buddy should be someone an elderly person who lives alone can trust in his or her home.

What does a Buddy do?

A Buddy makes a daily personal visit or telephone call to his or her elderly Buddy during a heat wave or is on the lookout for distressed animals that may be experiencing the dangers of extreme heat. A Buddy encourages the elderly person to rest, stay cool and drink plenty of fluids. If there are any errands that must be done, the Buddy does them or makes sure they get done.

How to help an elderly person saty cool

Air conditioning is the best safeguard, but many elderly persons do not have or turn on their air conditioner. If there is no air conditioning, all elderly persons should at least have open windows and an electric fan. Buddies make sure the elderly are wearing light weight clothes appropriate for the heat, that they have water to drink and that windows are open to provide ventilation. (CAUTION: If the windows are kept closed and the room is very hot, using a fan can make the danger worse.)

If the temperature is very high, the elderly person should be taken to an air conditioned environment such as a neighbor or relative’s air conditioned home, a movie theatre, a shopping mall, supermarket, library or any other city buildings. Cool baths and showers are helpful.

For more information on city sponsored Heat Relief Centers that may be open during periods of unusual heat call 771-5702.

Protect your Pets

Make sure your pet has a cool dog house or shelter, always have plenty of cool water (remember that water that sits outside during hot weather will end up getting very hot and undrinkable), food, and remember NEVER to have your pet restrained or tied up outside.

In extremely hot or cold weather – bring your pet inside your home. If you notice symptoms from exposure to extreme weather conditions such as: If you see them with rapid breathing, dry mouth and nose, rapid heart rate, and gums are grayish pick or red they are experiencing early stages of heat stroke. THIS IS AN EMERGENCY! GET HELP IMMEDIATELY! Take them to the veterinary as soon as possible.

It is never recommended that your pet remain outdoors for an extended period of time. Remember to have plenty of shade for them as well as plenty of clean, cool water placing it under a shade accessible to your pet. It is important to take these precautionary steps!

Protect your pipes, protect your home

7 01 2010

Texas Department of Insurance

January 5, 2010 Jerry Hagins or Ben Gonzalez
News Release (512) 463-6425

Avoid Home Damage from Frozen Pipes

AUSTIN – Texas weather can change quickly, especially in the winter. A fast-moving cold front can cause temperatures to drop below freezing within hours. Outdoor pipes, pipes in unheated areas, and pipes that run along uninsulated exterior walls can burst if the water in them freezes and expands. This can shatter pipe seals or the pipes themselves, sending water pouring through your house. You can avoid thousands of dollars of damage to your walls, ceilings, carpets, and furniture by taking a few simple measures to protect your home.

Before the Freeze
• Protect faucets, outdoor pipes, and exposed pipes in unheated areas by wrapping them with rags, newspaper, trash bags, or plastic foam.
• Insulate your outdoor water meter box and be sure its lid is on tight.
• Cover any vents around your home’s foundation.
• Drain and store water hoses indoors.
• Protect outdoor electrical pumps.
• Drain swimming pool circulation systems or keep the pump motor running. (Run the pump motor only in a short freeze. Running the motor for long periods could damage it.)
• Drain water sprinkler supply lines.
• Open the cabinets under sinks in your kitchen and bathrooms to allow heated indoor air to circulate around the water pipes.
• Set your thermostat at a minimum temperature of 55 degrees, especially when you’re gone for the day or away for an extended period.
• Let indoor faucets drip; it isn’t necessary to run a stream of water.
• Make sure you know where your home’s shut-off valve is and how to turn it on and off.
• If you leave town, consider turning off your water at the shut-off valve while faucets are running to drain your pipes. Make sure you turn the faucets off before you turn the shut-off valve back on.
• If you drain your pipes, contact your electric or gas utility company for instructions on protecting your water heater.

If Your Pipes Freeze
• If a pipe bursts and floods your home, turn the water off at the shut-off valve. Call a plumber for help if you can’t find the broken pipe or if it’s inaccessible. Don’t turn the water back on until the pipe has been repaired.
• If the pipe hasn’t burst, thaw it out with an electric heating pad, hair dryer, portable space heater, or towel soaked with hot water. Apply heat by slowly moving the heat source toward the coldest spot on the pipe. Never concentrate heat in one spot because cracking ice can shatter a pipe. Turn the faucet on and let it run until the pipe is thawed and water pressure returns to normal.
• Don’t use a blowtorch or other open-flame device. They are fire risks and carbon monoxide exposure risks.

If You Have a Loss
• Contact your insurance agent or company promptly. Follow up as soon as possible with a written claim to protect your rights under Texas’ prompt-payment law.
• Review your coverage. Most homeowners and renters policies pay for property repair. In addition, most policies pay for debris removal and for additional living expenses if you have to move temporarily because of damage to your home. If you can’t find your policy, ask your agent or company for a copy.
• Homeowners policies may require you to make temporary repairs to protect your property from further damage. Your policy covers the cost of these repairs. Keep all receipts and damaged property for the adjuster to inspect. If possible, take photos or videos of the damage before making repairs. Don’t make permanent repairs. An insurance company may deny a claim if you make permanent repairs before an adjuster inspects the damage.
• Most homeowners policies do not cover loss caused by freezing pipes while your house is unoccupied unless you used reasonable care to maintain heat in the building; shut off the water supply; and drain water from plumbing, heating, and air conditioning systems.

If you have questions about insurance, call TDI’s Consumer Help Line toll-free: 1-800-252-3439
or visit the TDI website: http://www.tdi.state.tx.us. Assistance is available in both English and Spanish.

Public Information Office~333 Guadalupe P.O. Box 149109 Austin, TX 78714~ph. (512) 463-6425~fax (512) 463-6141~www.tdi.state.tx.us