Travel Preparedness Action List multi-state Hurricane Sandy

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Travel Report

At this time this disaster mission is being categorized as an austere disaster (according to the uncontrolled environmental conditions, which include but are not limited to no running water, electricity, or roads). This multi-state hurricane really showed its presents on the East Coast with massive flooding, strong winds, and heavy rains that have severely devastated the Eastern Coastline. The center of the storm made landfall just south of Atlantic City, N.J., Monday evening around 8:00p.m., shortly after it had been downgraded from a hurricane to a post-tropical storm. As a result, this storm has caused the loss of more than 50 lives and millions of people to be without power along the East Coast.

Travel Point

Region: Southeast-Northeast

  • Eastern coastline; from Virginia-Maine, and some additional states with snow: West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Vermont.
  • The area is urban, suburban, and resort towns. The most damage is anticipated to cover along the East Coast.

Travel Climate

Weather Fall

October/November

  • Cold/Wet
    • Temperatures ranging from the high 50s to the mid 40s along the eastern coast, with some northeastern states dropping into the 30s throughout the next 7-days. The potential for rains will continue along with gusting winds in some areas. Keep in mind this time of year is transitioning into the winter months.
      • Snow is also present with blizzard conditions for mountainous stretches of Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.
      • Be sure to bring the proper rain and winter weather gear to protect yourself from the weather expected during this disaster mission.  

Travel Health

Disaster Specific Information / News and Announcements:

Vaccinations

  • During hurricane and flood cleanup, the risk of wounds may be increased. For this reason, cleanup workers should be sure that they are up-to-date with tetanus vaccination, ideally before starting cleanup activities. Being up-to-date with the tetanus vaccine can greatly simplify the treatment for any wound that might occur. Adults need a tetanus booster shot every 10 years. Td or Tdap can be used; getting the Tdap instead of Td for one tetanus booster during adulthood is recommended to maintain protection against pertussis (whooping cough).
  • Vaccinations are available to all FEMA employees through the Agency Infectious Disease Prevention Program (IDPP), at no cost to the employee. There are 5 vaccines available through an inter-agency agreement with Federal Occupational Health (FOH).
    • Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Seasonal Influenza, Tetanus-diphtheria-adult pertussis (TdAP), and Pneumococcal (pneumonia).

Vaccinations should always be up-to-date. It is recommended that those needing vaccinations receive them as soon as possible; this will help increase your immunity to illness prior to exposure.

  • If you have not been vaccinated vaccines may be available at or near your disaster site through FOH. Check with your safety officer to determine the closest clinic to you.
  • When you go to get your vaccination at one of the FOH clinics, please take your FEMA badge for identification.  It is also useful to take along your yellow International Certificate of Vaccination booklet, if you have one, to have the vaccine annotated in it.
  • Remember to bring an adequate supply (approximately 2 months worth) of all medications necessary for any medical conditions that require medical treatment on a daily basis.
Disease Related to Travel Area
  • Workers should be aware, with this being a hurricane mission it is to be expected that there will be standing water present around your work areas and possibly around your living conditions. Prepare with this in mind. Bring with you any clothing to protect yourself from the weather conditions while you are deployed (e.g., coats, long sleeve shirts, pants, and boots).
  • Be aware of stray animals that are roaming the streets. PLEASE DO NOT PET THE ANIMALS. They may bite or scratch you because they are afraid. Thus, interaction with them may result in a defensive attack because of the recent activities. To prevent animal bites (possible rabies) stay away from the animals, make noise to scare them off, and do not pet them no matter how cute they look. If bitten or scratched, wash area with soap and water as soon as possible.  If animal is venomous (snake, spider) or appears diseased, promptly seek medical assistance.
  • Having a first aid kit with you can assist in patching small incidences acquired at work followed-up by a clinic visit if you haven’t had a tetanus shot.
Environmental Conditions
  • Down Power Lines. Those employees working in the field, there may be areas where you are working without power due to down power lines. Do not go near downed lines, even if they appear dead. They can become energized again without warning. Do not get out of your car if a downed wire is touching it. Your car will insolates you from harm. This caution includes entering water in which a downed power line is present.
  • Cleanup Hazards. Storm cleanup activities can be hazardous. There will be miles of debris and devastation left behind in the storm. Workers and volunteers involved with storm cleanup should be aware of the potential dangers involved, and the proper safety precautions. Work-related hazards that could be encountered include: electrical hazards, Carbon Monoxide (using generators indoors), musculoskeletal hazards, hazardous materials, fire, confined spaces and falls.
  • Mold in buildings. Be aware that buildings may have molded if flooded or had interior wetting. Do not enter where mold is suspected, visible and/or a heavy odor is present. Minimize dust disturbance to reduce the spread of fungal spores.
  • Contaminates in floodwaters. Working and walking through floodwaters create risks of various health exposures (e.g., bacterial, chemical, waste). Use disposable rubber boots, and if skin contact with floodwaters does occur, use soap and water to clean exposed areas. Waterless alcohol-based hand rubs can be used when soap and/or clean water is not available. Hands should be washed after removal of gloves.
  • Watch for and avoid hazardous walking conditions. Especially avoid fast moving water that can sweep a person off their feet. Also avoid walking in dry creek beds that can rapidly fill with water. Avoid getting close to deep water without ensuring that ground is stable and that you won’t slip, trip or fall into the water.
  • Debris. Power lines have a way of getting entangled in the branches and litter the storm wind left behind, and can become a serious hazard for the person trimming the branches with his chainsaw. Litter debris can also be a hidden danger. A lawn chain, piece of metal siding, or ladder could be leaning up against a fence or tree limb that is energized. Please, please, be careful and take a good look around your surroundings before attempting any cleanup.

Basic Needs

  • Standard operating conditions allow for normal living conditions for this deployment at this time. Better instructions will be given upon arrival to your specific deployment location.

Location

  • Southern New Jersey (Atlantic City) and New York have been impacted the most by Hurricane Sandy, which are urban, rural, and resort areas.

Safety & Security

BE WISE!!!

  • Wear your seatbelt!
  • Be aware of the state laws for driving.
  • Lock your car!  (no matter where you are)
  • Don’t carry large amounts of money around.
  • Don’t wear flashy clothing, jewelry, etc.
  • Walk in teams or use the buddy system at all times.
  • Health and Wellness
    • There will be those coming from western Regions whose sleeping patterns will be thrown off because of the change in time which is termed Jet Lag.
    • Signs of jet lag include the following:
      • Poor sleep, including delayed sleep onset (after eastward flight), early awakening (after westward flight), and fractionated sleep (after flights in either direction).
      • Poor performance in both physical and mental tasks during the new daytime.
      • Negative subjective changes, such as increased fatigue, frequency of headaches and irritability, and decreased ability to concentrate.
      • Gastrointestinal disturbances (indigestion, frequency of defecation, and the altered consistency of stools) and decreased interest in and enjoyment of meals.
    • Worker Fatigue. Worker fatigue management is an ideal tool to execute when working in an environment such as this, were stress and fatigue are natural reactions. You will be at risk of feeling uncomfortable levels of stress. This is due to the unexpected and sometimes troubling changes to the natural order of things and the interruption of your normal routines.
      • Pace yourself
      • Watch out for your co-worker
      • Be aware; stay focused
      • Take frequent  rest breaks
      • Eat and sleep as regular a schedule as possible
    • First aid. Even for minor cuts and burns first aid is very important during storm cleanup. Immediately clean all wounds and cuts with soap and clean water. Talk to a doctor or nurse on the scene to find out if you need more treatment.
    • Sanitation. In all instances, workers are advised to wash their hands with soap and clean water, and especially before eating or drinking.

Reminders

  • If you need a reasonable accommodation, you should notify your supervisor and/or cadre manager immediately. 
  • If you feel you need a break while working inform your supervisor, this will help to decrease worker fatigue, overexertion, and accidents.
  • Keeping your body hydrated by drinking plenty of water while working, this keeps the risk for infection down because you are keeping your body temperature cool. 
  • Using sanitation precautions while working at a disaster site will prevent the spread of disease and sickness (e.g., hand washing).

Travel Updates and Alerts

Please check periodically for updates on current conditions for your location of deployment; this will keep you accurately informed. If you have any further questions upon arrival you can reference your Safety Officer on-site.ty Officer on-site.

Last Updated: 
07/24/2014 - 16:00
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