JFRD to encrypt radio frequencies: Disaster groups concerned

July 28th, 2011

Reported by: Amanda Warford

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It’s not just media groups that worry what will happen when emergency radios go silent. Some local disaster response groups believe their clients will suffer as well.

Asher Lohman, of Coastal Reconstruction Group, says his disaster reponse team can’t respond to emergencies if they don’t know about them.

“Getting there quickly is the name of the game. We come in and we address the situation, stop the bleeding, tarp roofs and put together a scope of work.”

Coastal Resconstruction serves more than 250 commercial and 7,000 residential clients in Duval County. When natural disasters occur, they’re on hand to help, but they only know about disasters because they monitor activity on the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department’s radios.

“Whout the radios we would be waiting for a call, or have to find out later after the event’s happened which can add to the confusion and destruction of the property.”

But soon, the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department will encrypt frequencies, making activity nearly impossible to hear by media and recovery teams alike.

Tom Francis says JFRD is a rescue department, and information like addresses and patient vitals that are broadcast over those channels are subject to federal HIPPA laws. He says encryption is part of a Department of Homeland Security system upgrade that has been in the works since HIPPA passed in 1996.

Francis says it is not a decision associated with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office removal of police radios from newsrooms that was annouced last week. While Francis says he understands safety concerns that disaster teams and the public may have, he says a new JFRD plan for emergency communication is forming, although still in the early stages.

Encryption of JFRD radio activity is set to begin in four to six weeks.

(Original Source:

Home Safety Showcase

July 25th, 2011

Please join us this Thursday, July 28th, for the Home Safety Showcase!

WHEN: July 28 – 3pm
WHERE: One Senior Place / 8085 Spyglass Hill Rd. Viera, FL 32940

Suntree Pharmacy & Suntree Medical Equipment Present Home Safety Showcase at One Senior Place

Viera, FL — Suntree Pharmacy & Suntree Medical Equipment are partnering with One Senior Place to host a Home Safety Showcase on July 28th, 2011. Speaking at the event will be Scott and Lucas McCurdy from Coastal Reconstruction Group to present on Hurricane Preparedness, and Charlie Hoffhine from Family Home Health Services to discuss Fall Prevention and ways to keep you safe while in your home. With so many forces affecting our health and safety, it’s important to know who are your reliable resources. There will be door prize raffles and light refreshments will be provided courtesy of Southland Suites of Melbourne.

FEMA Encourages Americans to Participate in September’s National Preparedness Month

July 21st, 2011

Eighth Annual National Preparedness Month in September: “A Time to Remember. A Time to Prepare,” Encourages Americans to Take Simple Steps to Prepare for Emergencies

WASHINGTON – The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Ready Campaign, in partnership with Citizen Corps and the Ad Council, today announced the launch of new web tools that will make it easier for individuals and organizations throughout the nation to join the 2011 National Preparedness Month (NPM) coalition and pledge their support to help prepare their families, businesses and communities for emergencies of all kinds.

The eighth annual NPM will kickoff this September, using the slogan: “A Time to Remember. A Time to Prepare.” The campaign seeks to transform awareness into action by encouraging all Americans to take the necessary steps to ensure that their homes, workplaces and communities are prepared for disasters and emergencies of all kinds.

“As we move forward with planning for this year’s events and activities, we also recognize that this September marks the ten year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “By doing what we can to ensure that our communities, and our nation, are prepared to respond and recover from all types of disasters and hazards, we honor the memory of those who were lost that day.”

Individuals and groups can now register to become NPM coalition members by visiting Once registered, members have access to a toolkit that includes suggestions for activities and events, templates, articles, banners and customizable materials. Coalition members also have access to an events calendar allowing them to post and promote preparedness events, share success stories, and participate in national and regional discussion forums to engage with fellow coalition members and FEMA representatives.

By hosting events, promoting volunteer programs and sharing emergency preparedness information, coalition members can help ensure that their communities are prepared for emergencies. Becoming a coalition member is easy and free, so register now to get started. Nearly 2,000 coalition members have already joined this year’s campaign.
While NPM is held each September, FEMA’s Ready Campaign promotes individual emergency preparedness at home, in the workplace, and throughout America’s communities throughout the year. Ready is a national campaign, produced in partnership with The Ad Council, designed to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to all types of emergencies, including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks.

The Ready Campaign’s websites ( and and toll-free numbers (1-800-BE-READY and 1-888-SE-LISTO) provide free emergency preparedness information and resources available in English and Spanish. Additionally, through FEMA’s partnership with the Ad Council, public service announcements are available to increase the American public’s involvement in preparedness.

Revised Regulations for Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

July 15th, 2011

By William C. Bracken, PE, SECB CFM

On September 15, 2010, the United States Department of Justice published revised regulations for Titles II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the Federal Register. These newly adopted regulations replace the 1990 edition and are called the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design or more commonly, the “2010 Standards”.

On March 15, 2012, compliance with the 2010 Standards will be required for all new construction and alterations. In the period between September 15, 2010 and March 15, 2012, covered entities (such as States and municipalities) may choose between the 1991 Standards (without the elevator exemption for Title II facilities), the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (Title II facilities only), and the 2010 Standards.

Currently, a number of States and municipalities operate under locally developed and Federally approved “deemed to comply” versions of the ADA. The Florida Accessibility Code for example is a “deemed to comply” versions based on the requirements of the 1991 ADA standards. As such, the changes in the Federal standard will end the deemed to comply status of the current Florida Accessibility Code on March 15, 2012. For that reason the Florida Department of Community Affairs has been busy holding hearings and revising the Florida Accessibility Code so as to comply with the new requirements of the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design. The needed revisions were finalized and then added to S.B. 396 which was passed during the recent legislative session.

If you would like a copy of the 2010 ADA Standards for accessible Design you can download it at There is also an Analysis and Commentary which outlines and discusses all of the changes from the 1991 ADA Design Standards to the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design. You can access this document at

As for Florida, its new Accessibility Code is being finalized into a printable format with hopes that it will be available in July. The effective date of Florida’s new Accessibility Code has not yet been set, but will most likely coincide with the effective date of the 2010 Florida Building Code at the end of this year. Once Florida’s new Accessibility Code has been finalized into a printable format, we will pass along the information on availability. We will also provide a rundown on the significant changes in subsequent eNewsletter articles.

For more information, feel free to contact William C. Bracken, PE, SECB, CFM at: or via the web at

In Case of Emergency, Please Remove Your Bra

July 13th, 2011

Caught in a disaster? You’d better hope you’re wearing the Emergency Bra. Simply unsnap the bright red bra, separate the cups, and slip it over your head — one cup for you, and one for your friend.
Dr. Elena Bodnar won an Ignoble Award for the invention last year, an annual tribute to scientific research that on the surface seems goofy but is often surprisingly practical. And now Bodnar has brought the eBra to the public; purchase one online for just $29.95.

“The goal of any emergency respiratory device is to achieve tight fixation and full coverage. Luckily, the wonderful design of the bra is already in the shape of a face mask and so with the addition of a few design features, the Emergency Bra enhances the efficiency of minimizing contaminated bypass air flow,” explains the eBra website.

It sounds silly, but Bodnar, a Ukraine native who now lives in Chicago, started her medical career studying the effects of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster. If people had had cheap, readily available gas masks in the first hours after the disaster, she said, they may have avoided breathing in Iodine-131, which causes radiation sickness.

The bra-turned-gas masks could have also been useful during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and for women caught outside during the dust storms that recently enveloped Sydney, she said.
“You have to be prepared all the time, at any place, at any moment, and practically every woman wears a bra,” she said. Her patented devices also look pretty, no different from a conventional bra, she added.

According to a report on tech news site CNET, there are plans for a “counterpart device for men” in the works, though the precise shape it will take has yet to be revealed.’s SciTech section is on Twitter! Follow us @fxnscitech.

(Original Source:

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