Thursday, July 20, 2017

Lending a hand in Michigan after severe flooding

One of the houses we looked at in Bay County.
I was deployed with FEMA to Michigan  after severe storms on June 23 dumped 7 to 12 inches of rain in some parts of mid-Michigan. The floodwaters caused flooding that heavily damaged more than 500 businesses and farms and washed out roads and bridges. Local officials estimated damages in the tens of millions of dollars.
A state disaster declaration was issued June 24 for Midland and Isabella counties to allow state dollars to be used in cleanup efforts. U.S. Rep. John Moolenaar and several other officials asked Gov. Rick Snyder to seek federal emergency aid. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said federal assistance was needed to help families recover.
I was a member of a team sent into Bay County, July 5 to July 9, that visually inspected homes whose owners had called the county to be put on a list of damaged property. Our team, like the teams in other counties, used an unmarked black state-owned Suburban vehicle, driven by a state trooper. The trooper made initial contact with the owners we visited.
In addition to the state trooper, our team consisted of two FEMA analysts and two analysts from the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division. We also had a  county deputy sheriff with us to provide directions. 
Sitting alongside the state trooper driving our Suburban.
What we were doing is officially called a joint preliminary damage assessment. Homes we looked at were rated as being destroyed, having major or minor damage, or unaffected. None of the houses we inspected were rated destroyed. Several were listed as having major damage. Most were considered as having minor damage or being unaffected. From what I saw, the majority of houses had what I call "squishy basement carpet." If the reports that were compiled from the four counties meet the threshold set by the U.S. government, then the governor will officially request federal assistance. The request would be given to the administrator of FEMA, forwarded to the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security and then given to the president for consideration.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

FBIPCAAA - May 20, 2017 - "Street, Script and Synthetic - Addictive and Deadly"

The workshop was held at the BSA headquarters.  

So yesterday I attended a workshop, "Street, Script and Synthetic - Addictive and Deadly", presented by Stephanie Siete, director of Community Education at Community Bridges. She gave us a greater understanding of the harrowing and growing opiate addiction in our communities. I also got to sit with my friend Max Miguel, who I had dinner with (and our wives too) just last week at Sassi's Italian restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona. The presentation was so good that I suggested today at a meeting of the board of the Phoenix Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists that we ask Ms. Siete to speak at one of our meetings.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Community Leaders Fundraising Breakfast

Junior Air Force ROTC students at my table.
I was honored to be invited to the annual Community Leaders Fundraising Breakfast held by the Phoenix Chapter of the Red Cross at the Omni Scottsdale Resort in Paradise Valley, Arizona, I sat with an official from Grand Canyon University and four Junior Air Force ROTC students who presented the colors and their commander, an Air Force Reserve major.

Guest speaker was Dave Sanderson, an inspirational survivor, speaker and author who was the last passenger to depart US Airways Flight 1549, or “The Miracle on the Hudson,” when it ditched into the Hudson River in 2009. He talked about the important role the Red Cross played in the recovery of the passengers after they were rescued from the freezing water. He still carries the Red Cross blanket a volunteer gave him when he reached the shore ! 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Hands-Only CPR Workshop

So, I'm always certified for first aid and CPR. But I've been curious about the "new" hands-only CPR, so I went to a one-hour workshop given by the Scottsdale, Arizona Fire Department, to see what it's all about. 

As it was presented:

  • Hands-Only CPR is a new type of CPR to use on a person who is in sudden cardiac arrest.
  • Hands-Only CPR is performed on individuals who are 8 years of age or older and who suddenly have collapsed.
  • The speed of compressions is 100 times per minute. Instead of counting, sing the chorus of Staying Alive or the ABC song to keep time.
If someone collapses
  • Call 911
  • Do a sternal rub to see if they wake up. If there is no response, begin Hands-Only CPR.
  • If there is an AED available to shock the heart, do 2 minutes of Hands-Only CPR first and then use the AED
So that's all there is to it. Common sense mostly. Designed for when a stranger needs help and you might not want to provide rescue breathing. Makes sense.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

"Leading Through the Turn" PRSA program

Elise Mitchell applies her motorcycling experiences to leadership.
I'm a member of the Public Relations Society of America, and the Phoenix Chapter holds programs and workshops throughout the year, including yesterday's "Leading Through the Turn" at KTAR-FM in Phoenix. Featured speaker was Elise Mitchell, author of a book by the same name as the program.  An accomplished strategic communications professional and business leader, she founded Mitchell Communications and grew it into one of the top 10 fastest-growing firms globally, a two-time Agency of the Year winner and an Inc. 500/5000 Fastest Growing Company. Prior to founding her agency she worked on both the agency and corporate sides of the business. She discussed, rather passionately, how to lead at your best, how to make the journey matter as much as the destination and how to reach the destinations that matter most to you. Because I was among the first 30 people to register, I received a free, signed copy of her book!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

It's all about the dogs!

The three of us at a recent adoption event.
Mary and I volunteer with the Arizona Beagle Rescue organization,  which works in cooperation with animal shelters and humane agencies throughout the state to reduce the euthanasia of adoptable animals by providing foster homes, veterinary services and training for all of the beagles in our care.  

We attended the ABR's Pour for a Paw wine tasting the other night in Cave Creek, AZ to raise funds for our rescued beagles. It was a nice affair, with plenty of appetizers and desserts and several tables holding silent auction items and tickets. Mary bid on a basket from Trader Joe's and we won! But of course, it was the beagles who really won. 

Also, the other day I visited a home to see if it would be suitable for one of our dogs to be adopted there by the owners. They were a charming couple, and had a beagle for 13 years until it passed away last year. What I do is ensure that the rear yard has a suitable fence/wall and that gates are escape-proof, and we also talk about crating, using a leash, keeping food inaccessible to the dog, veterinary care, etc. I fill out a form and send it along to our adoption coordinator, who has the final say.

Also, weather permitting, ABR will set up a tabletop display at events throughout the county as well as have fostered beagles on hand for prospective adopters to meet. Mary and I go to many of these, taking along our beagle, to help with walking the fosters and talking to people who are interested in our fosters.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

2016 Volunteer Recognition Event

Three animals in one photo at the Phoenix Zoo!
The Greater Phoenix Chapter of the American Red Cross held its 2016 Volunteer Recognition Event today, as in the past at the Phoenix Zoo. After brunch we were greeted by the Regional CEO, Kurt Kroemer. He was formerly COO of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Many Red Crossers I haven't seen in awhile greeted me warmly, including the regional communications officer, Collins Williams, who I report to as a volunteer. He was master of ceremonies. The volunteer award winners were then announced, and I applaud all of them. My five years of service was honored with my name printed in the program.