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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Home guards to be part of disaster management

BS Reporter / New Delhi April 29, 2008

Home guards, a voluntary civil defence force available with state governments, would be involved in the disaster management throughout the country.

This was announced by Radhika V Selvi, minister of state, Home affairs, in a written reply in the Lok Sabha today.
Selvi said that the centre has already directed the state governments to incorporate the services of civic defence volunteers in tackling disaster.

The Centre, she said, had also drawn up a comprehensive plan for involvement of the home gaurds in the crisis management and a provision for its implementation is being incorporated in the 11th five year plan.

This move is based on the recommendation of a committee, headed by K M Singh, member, National disaster management Authority, that had examined the feasibility of involving the home guards in the disaster management.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Rescue operation in a high-rise. A new piece of equipment

For the first time, the Mumbai Fire Brigade demonstrated a rescue operation in a high-rise. A new piece of equipment was shown, a chute made of fire-resistant material through which people trapped at higher floors can slide down to escape. Firemen demonstrated various other life-saving techniques at the ITC Grand at Parel

Household THERAPY

Toothpaste on pimples, beer for hair! Cues to better health might just be at your home

1 TOOTHPASTE THE FIX: Dries out spots
HOW IT WORKS: Models have known for years that if a nasty, red pimple appears on their face the day before a shoot, the best cure is to zap it with a blob of toothpaste.
    Toothpaste contains an antibacterial agent to kill plaque, so the theory is it may kill the bacteria responsible for spots. But be
careful if you have sensitive skin. It can cause irritation. 2 SODA BI-CARB THE FIX: Whitens teeth
HOW IT WORKS: Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, a naturally occurring mineral that is a great cleaner.
    Simply sprinkle a teaspoon on your toothbrush and clean teeth as usual. The gentle abrasive action will polish your teeth, removing dirt and stains, and giving you fresh breath, too.


BEER THE FIX: Hair shiner and

HOW IT WORKS: The malt and hops in beer are packed with protein, which coats the hair, adds volume and smoothes damaged cuticles.
    Beer also contains vitamin B,
which helps condition hair, while the natural sugars create shine. Shampoo and rinse hair as usual, then pour a bottle over it. Work through and rinse with lukewarm water.

MAYONNAISE THE FIX: Emergency skin

HOW IT WORKS: Fans apply a layer as you would a normal cleanser, massage it in and then rinse thoroughly.
The vegetable oils and egg yolk are supposed to soften skin, while the lemon juice has astringent properties to clean and tighten pores.


from blonde dyed hair

HOW IT WORKS: It corrects highlights gone green from swimming pools.
    Apparently, hair turns green due to oxidation chemicals in the pool and the tomato sauce acts as an antioxidant restoring
    normal hair colour.
Advocates apply ketchup all over the hair and massage it in, leave it for 20 minutes and then wash it out thoroughly.
—Daily Mirror

Monday, April 14, 2008

Govt to set up disaster management institute soon

Panaji, April 14

The government is to set up a disaster management institute in the state soon and it will also procure latest technology to deal with fires, fire related searches and rescues.

Fire can cause major disasters and loss of lives in buildings and this can be avoided if proper fire safety practices are followed, said the Home Minister, Mr Ravi Naik while speaking as the chief guest at the National Fire Service Day function organised by the directorate of Fire and Emergency Service at Panaji today morning.

A citizens handbook on Fire Safety and Disaster Preparedness was also released on this occasion. This book would help in educating people in prevention as a way to eliminate fire hazards. It will help citizens know what fire hazards are and what one should do to maintain safety.

The Chief Secretary, Mr J P Singh also expressed his pride in the state fire forces for their highly motivated work.

Disaster management is one of the very important subject at the national level and therefore the government is thinking of setting up a disaster management institute in the state soon, said Mr Singh.

As the day commemorates firemen who laid down their lives fighting fires, a two minute silence was observed in the memory of those firemen martyrs who died while on duty.

The Home Minister and Chief Secretary presented awards and commendation certificates to some firemen.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

LG Offers Insurance On Lost GSM Handsets

Mobile handset maker LG Electronics has joined hands with United India LG GSM HandsetsInsurance Company to offer mobile theft insurance plan for its customers.

The company's plan will insure all LG GSM handsets purchased on or after April 1, 2008, for one year from the purchasing date.

Anil Arora, Business Group Head, LG Electronics India Ltd. stated, "Loss of mobile due to theft is a major concern for handset buyers. Customers stretch their budget to purchase latest handsets and cannot afford to lose them. LG mobile theft insurance plan would provide a perfect solution to this. We not only guarantee providing best phones in the market but also guarantee to safeguard customer's interest in case of mobile theft."

In case of handset theft, the purchaser must file an FIR within 24 hours of the happening, block the SIM card and send the information to the insurance company within 7 days of the loss. In order to avail insurance, the buyers just have to follow 4 easy steps:

First, fill the insurance claim form; secondly, attach a copy of the bill provided (to the buyers) at the time of purchase, and the bill must have the handset's IMEI number; thirdly, register FIR under 'Section 379 IPC' for handset theft and must attach a copy with the claim form; and the last step is to mail the papers to the insurance company through registered post.

LG guarantees that the buyer will be paid back the cost of the mobile phone according to the market value after submission of all the required documents as explained in the claim form.

After receiving the claim, the insurance company will settle the claim directly within 15 days.

Meanwhile, LG claims that selected models of GSM handsets contain LG's unique Anti Theft Mobile Tracker (ATMT), which can help users to track their stolen mobile phones, as soon as another SIM card is inserted.

For more update  Log on to  Disaster Awareness

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Now, skin donation is just a call away

Mumbai: While several Mumbaikars have heard of kidney donation or pledged their eyes for the welfare of a blind person, few know that skin retrieved from a dead body can help save the life of a victim of burns. A little-known concept, skin donation is slowly gathering momentum in the city.
    Come Saturday and the National Burns Centre in Airoli will kickstart a massive public awareness campaign to encourage more Mumbaikars to donate their skin after death. So also, the state medical education department recently held a meeting on how to mobilise public hospitals to join the life-saving movement, spearheaded by the skin bank in civic-run Sion Hospital.

    Be it a fire accident or dowry burning, a patient dies of burns due to infection when the skin is broken. Such patients can be saved if a barrier is created by grafting new skin donated from others called homografts. Donated skin is processed and stored in a skin bank before transplantation onto a patient.
    Explaining the initiative they will launch on Saturday, burns specialist Dr Sunil Keswani says, "All that relatives have to do is call up our burns helpline number on 27643333 and a specialized burns ambulance with a doctor, nurse and trained paramedic will reach their residence and retrieve the skin from the person who has died.'' He reassures that there is no bleeding and the corpse is not disfigured as only the outermost layer of skin, that too, only from the thighs and back is removed.

    Initiatives such as these are important for a city where the demand for skin grafts far outstrips the supply. It is estimated that every major public hospital and the few private ones which offer specialised burns treatment such as Masina
Hospital in Byculla receive nearly 800 burn cases every year. Yet the number of skin donations is only in double-digits annually.
    Dr Madhuri Gore who heads Sion Hospital's skin bank says awareness about skin donation is slowly increasing thanks to voluntary organisations such as Sunday Friends Circle that

has been counselling grieving families in the eastern suburbs. "We got 47 donations in 2007 and have received 13 this year,'' she says. This is an encouraging shift from the mere 56 donations in the entire period from 2000-06. On Tuesday, she met with principal secretary (medical education) Amitabh
Chandra to discuss a proposal on how other public hospitals could have their own banks or serve as collection centres to boost the movement. Sion Hospital too sends out its doctors and has a 24-hour line which can be reached on 24014392.
    Doctors assure that the procedure is painless, quick and free of cost. "The skin will be

retrieved in the ambulance and the procedure takes a mere 45 minutes after which the back and thighs are bandaged and the body is returned to the family for cremation or burial,'' says Dr Keswani, adding that the Rotary Club has pledged its support to the cause.


    Skin can be donated anywhere up to 12 hours after death
Anyone who is HIV negative, HBSAg negative and HCV negative, has no skin infection or has not died from any infection such as pneumonia or gastrointestinal infection is eligible to donate skin 
The process of skin donation takes 45 minutes
Donated skin is a boon to patients with burns
Those willing to donate skin can contact the Burns Helpline on 27643333 or the Sion hospital skin bank on 24014392

ON BECK AND CALL: A specialised burns ambulance with a doctor, nurse and trained paramedic will travel anywhere in the city to retrieve the skin from a person who has died

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Govt extending disaster awareness campaign to TV

Afsana Rashid
Srinagar, April 8:The government has decided to extend its earthquake preparedness awareness campaign to television after its popularity on radio, a top disaster management official said.
"The audio-jingles (advertisements) on the earthquake preparedness are gaining popularity and wide appreciation among radio listeners," Aamir Ali, project coordinator UNDP/Disaster Management, office of the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir said.
These 40-second radio ads feature popular comedians Nazir Josh and Shakeel Ahmad, famous for his role as Shahi Peer.
The purpose of the advertisements is to educate masses about the preventive measures that can be taken during an earthquake.
Broadcast on Radio Kashmir Srinagar daily during the primetime since April 3, officials say that the response has been so encouraging that they are contemplating extending the ad campaign to visual medium like Door Darshan and other private television channels.
"These ads are broadcast just before the 7:30 pm news on Radio Kashmir, when highest number of listeners are tuned in and the message gets across to more people," Project coordinator Ali said.
On being asked why comedians have been used in the audio-jingles (advertisements) to educate people about the measures to be taken during natural calamities such as earthquakes, floods or storms, Ali said, "If such messages are presented in a serious tone, they can, sometimes, create scare."
When asked why radio was selected as a means of communication for the message, he said that radio has a vital role to play during disasters.
"Electricity becomes the first casualty during disasters and it is not possible to run televisions without electricity. Messages are mostly circulated through radio as it has a wide coverage in far-off places. Besides, radio being portable can be carried along while working. However, television has its own importance. We are coming up with the visual-jingles. We have not yet decided over the characters; probably we will use the same characters as in audio jingles. Hopefully, the visual jingles will be telecast this month on Doordarshan and other television channels," said Ali.

Local Gov’t Ministry trains Municipalities in disaster management

Wednesday, April 09 2008 @ 12:04 PM AST

The Ministry of Local Government recently hosted an in-house Disaster Management Training Symposium at the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation, for Disaster Management Coordinators within the Municipal Corporations.

A joint effort between the Ministry and PODs Marketing Mix and International Suppliers, the symposium provided the opportunity for Disaster Coordinators to enhance their knowledge and skills in the critical areas of hazards, emergencies and disasters. Through PODs, a company that specializes in emergency and disaster preparedness products, participants were exposed to a range of equipment that could be used to reduce the damaging effects of flooding, earthquakes, hurricanes and other crises.

"This training symposium will help us to increase the capacity of our Municipal Corporations to respond to the needs of our burgesses in a more timely and effective manner during an emergency," said Chief Executive Officer of the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation (CTTRC) Pamela Doon in her opening address. "Already we at CTTRC are taking steps to develop a much needed communication system and establish a functional Emergency Operating Centre," she added.

Assistant Coordinator at the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Tobago office, Allan Stewart, who also presented at the symposium, focused on the importance of developing community-based response mechanisms that operate jointly with centralized units. Stacey-Ann Pi Osoria, Marketing Manager at PODs Marketing Mix and International Suppliers shared best practices in designing resilient shelters and how to mitigate the effects of flooding.

The Ministry of Local Government, under the direction of Local Government Minister, Senator the Honourable Hazel Manning, is currently seeking Cabinet approval for the establishment of fully-equipped and adequately-staffed Disaster Management Units at its Head Office and within each Municipal Corporation.

Friday, April 4, 2008

the most hazardous area in Mumbai


A fire department survey of 528 industrial complexes across the city throws up a very scary surprise

Kamala Mills, one of the biggest office spaces in the city where over 10,000 people work every day, has been dubbed the most hazardous area in Mumbai by the fire brigade. In a survey of 528 industrial units in the city conducted in the wake of the Retiwala Industrial Estate fire in Byculla that claimed 10 lives, the Mumbai fire office found that almost all of them brazenly flouted fire safety norms. But the Kamala Mills compound, which houses offices like those of ICICI, Hathaway Cables and HDFC apart from restaurants and hangout joints, was the worst offender.
This is why you need to be afraid when you're in the compound:

Most fire escape balconies in the 'B' and 'C' wings (the compound has three wings, A, B, C) have been covered either with glass sheets or ACs, according to chief fire officer Anil Sawant. Some offices have also locked the way to the staircase from the galleries, thus blocking the legitimate route of escape during fire.
Basements of buildings have been used for storing inflammable material. This is not only risky but illegal, Sawant said. Hazardous substances have also ben stored in lofts built beyond permissible limits. 3 Fire installations in buildings like fire alarms and other equipment are not in working condition. In fact, water sprinklers are not to be seen anywhere. 4) The corridors not only have wires hanging dangerously but are partly blocked by batteries and other stuff that has been stored. “This is very dangerous. If there’s fire, these batteries will explode and block the only escape route,” said an officer who inspected the compound on April 2.
5) Office garbage has been dumped along staircases, posing obstacles in the escape path, and mandatory ventilators on staircases have been blocked with bricks, so there is no way smoke can get out. “Staircase is the only route of escape in case of fire. If that gets filled with smoke, people will die of suffocation,” an officer said.
6) Certain offices have broken walls between two compartments to expand office space. “You can’t have single open space sprawling across more than 750 sqm. Beyond this there should be walls compartmentalising the space. This prevents fire from spreading. But we found some offices sprawling across 5,000 sqm,” an officer pointed out.
7) The mandatory open space around buildings, used by the fire brigade to place fire engines and tankers, is being used for parking of vehicles. “Open spaces are important to enable us to fight fire. If we don’t reach the building properly, how are we going to douse the fire and save people?” asked Sawant. In the middle of a building’s lobby, which is supposed to be open for free public movement, there stands a restaurant, fire officers said.
Sawant said his office will send a notice to the management of the compound soon and ensure punitive action is taken if they do not follow directions.
The other big industrial units found violating rules are Municipal Industrial Estate on Bapti Road in South Mumbai, Dhobi Wadi Industrial Estate in Thakurdwar, Bhuleshwar, Kheera Nagar Industrial Estate in Santacruz (west) and Ratnajyoti Industrial Estate on Irla Cross Road in Andheri.
Sawant said, “We found none of the industrial units have any regard for fire safety norms, and Kamala Mills is the worst. Flouting all rules they have converted their buildings into fire traps. We will send notices to all of them and cancel their licences if they do not carry out corrections.”

Batteries stored in corridors could explode if there is a fire

Fire escape balconies have been covered with ACs or glass sheets

Inflammable material has been stored in basements

‘Global warming may wreak havoc with monsoons, bring droughts’

INDIA'S 140-years old Monsoon Magic seems to be fading, or that's what the leading meteorologists believe. Within next 60-70 years there will be persistent droughts. Changes in weather pattern due to global warming could end India's 140-year honeymoon with the rains, cautioned Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology director BN Goswami while talking to newspersons here. This will force the government to lay more emphasis on arid farming and development of flood- and drought-resistant crops so as to retain the growth of the farm sector, he said.
    "There is a real potential for monsoon to enter a megadrought state with high frequency of severe droughts. Add to it the melting of glaciers in Arctic that would affect the Indian monsoon," Mr Goswami
noted. He pointed out that the melting of Arctic and Greenland ice due to global warming would lead to rise in water level in North Atlantic ocean.
    "This will weaken a phenomenon called 'thermohaline' that circulates heat of Atlantic Ocean to help lower atmospheric temperature over Indian longitudes. This all weakens monsoon in the Indian sub-continent," he ex
plained. Mr Goswami pointed out that the amount of rainfall in 10-15 cm range per day has increased in the last 50 years whereas the 5-10 cm range rainfall has decreased even though the average downpour has more or less remained the same. "Although the overall rainfall remained the same, erratic big downpours are happening more frequently. This leaves minimum scope for recharging of the ground water," he said.
    Less ground water means less water for agriculture. The changes in weather pattern makes food production more vulnerable. So he urged agricultural scientists to work on solutions to face the mega drought in the coming few decades and improve per capita availability of foodgrains which has already fallen drastically.
    The meteorologist also highlighted rising levels of green house gases like carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere. "This rise is unprecedented," the director said. He appealed to the policy makers to champion the cause to reduce the green house gas emissions and stop the mounting global warming in order to have stable monsoon. Country's 65% of farming depends on monsoon while only 35% depends on irrigation. "Global warming would lead to monsoon drought," Mr Goswami noted.

Villages to get climate managers

New Delhi: The battle against climate change is all set to go down to every village in the country. In a bid to create awareness about global warming, the government has decided to train and appoint "climate managers'' in villages whose main task will be to create awareness and take steps for sustainable development at the grassroots level. Besides, they will be trained to handle natural disasters and prepare their areas to face such crises. Three agencies have been tasked with implementing the project—the ministries of panchayati raj and science and technology and the chair for sustainable development at the Indira Gandhi National Open University (Ignou).
    Speaking to TOI, eminent agriculture scientist and Rajya Sabha member M S Swaminathan said the programme was aimed at meeting the challenges of climate change and sustainable development. "People at the grassroots will be the first to bear the brunt of climate change. So, we have decided to train people in villages to be climate managers. With
active support from Ignou, the course modules will be finalized in April 2008,'' he said.
    He added that although the funding for the project was still to be quantified, the participatory ministries had agreed to help out with the modalities. "The 11th Plan has set aside allocations for capacity building and skill training under the ministries of HRD and panchayati raj, which will be tapped for this project,'' he said.
    A meeting has been called from April 17 to 19 at the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai, to finalize the modalities of the programme. It will be attended by the sec
retaries of science and technology, panchayati raj and agriculture ministries. "The task of managing climate change will be customized as per local needs. A man and a woman climate manager from each gram sabha will be trained in the science and art of managing climate change and enhance their capacity to cope with natural calamities,'' said Swaminathan, who will be coordinating the programme. 'A bid to conserve resources'
New Delhi: Taking another step in its battle against global warming, the government has decided to train villagers to become climate managers. Agriculture scientist and parliamentarian M S Swaminathan will coordinate the programme.
    The managers will create awareness on environmental issues in their areas and suggest steps to upgrade local ecosystems as well as measures to prevent natural disasters. For
example, a climate manager in Uttarakhand will suggest steps to prevent landslides. He will also take the lead in disaster management and rehabilitation. Similarly, climate managers in drought or flood prone areas will be trained to fortify their areas. "In this process, we will conserve and enhance our natural resources at the grassroots,'' Swaminathan said.
    The climate managers are expected to train and create more resources at the village level to boost sustainable de
velopment. The course module has been divided into five agroclimatic regions, and trainees will be awarded a certificate in climate management by Ignou.
    The programme, set to roll out in July 2008, will not be conducted in classrooms. According to Ignou vice chancellor V N Rajasekharan Pillai, it will be conducted by trainers at the gram sabha or gram panchayat level using the internet. Ignou is also looking at tapping the potential of DTH TV as well as the open university.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

World Conference on Disaster Management

The 18th World Conference on Disaster Management (WCDM) is the premier international event for training and networking among police, fire, EMS, public health, security, military, and government personnel, IT disaster recovery professionals, as well as professionals in business continuity planning, risk management, emergency communications and community emergency.

WCDM is the only conference that covers the full spectrum of disaster management issues, attracting experts and practitioners from more than 40 countries to share the latest findings, trends, products and services in disaster management.

WHEN: June 15-18, 2008

WHERE: Metro Toronto Convention Centre, South Building (222 Bremner Blvd., Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

For more information, or to register, please visit www.wcdm.org or call 905-948-0470 ext. 246 or call toll free 1-866-912-WCDM (9236) ext. 246.

There are limited exhibit and sponsorship opportunities available. For more information, call ext. 241.


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IBM fine-tunes model for disaster management

IBM's research laboratories in the U.S. and India have fine-tuned technology to help model and manage natural disasters such as wildfires, floods, and diseases.

The new enhancements are to a budgeting system being developed by IBM, starting from 2003, for managing natural disaster events, with a focus on better preparedness for future uncertain disaster scenarios. The optimization models and algorithms were initially prototyped on a large U.S. government program, to deploy a large number of critical resources to a range of disaster event scenarios, said Gyana Parija, lead researcher in the Analytics and Optimization Research team at IBM India Research Laboratory in Delhi, India.

That system however only generated a single solution for each disaster scenario. The current enhancements to the budgeting system include the development of a decision support system to allow decision makers to consider multiple solutions to each disaster scenario, so that a range of alternatives can be generated by the system, IBM said Tuesday. (Compare Data Backup and Replication products)

A model that supports multiple criteria can be used effectively in situations where there is a contention for resources, as for example when then are more than one disasters demanding resources, according to Parija. "Typically what happens in a particular disaster scenario is that you would have different budget alternatives, and at different budget alternatives, you would like to explore what kind of resource organization you can have," he added.

IBM's stochastic optimization model is designed to deal with uncertainties in data, and models with probability distributions based on historic trends, Parija said. The model can also be used to work in applications other than natural disaster management, such as asset liabilities management problems in the financial services and other business sectors, he added.

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