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Newport Ready Announces Updates, Recent Accomplishments

Newport Ready issued an update for the community on what's going on, what residents can do and what they have accomplished over the past few months.

What's going on right now?

  • Understanding via city leadership how to best work through city's internal inhibitors that make it difficult to expand our ability to provide potential benefit to the city’s police, fire, and emergency management functions.  On the city side, we are expecting someone to serve as the city’s "Whole Community" liaison who will help with training issues and tell us how to best integrate our field-level information into city processes.  We’re ready to be engaged.
  • Continuing to test ways to efficiently send spreadsheets of data even when the Internet is down.
  • Developing the human resources requirements and capabilities that reflect our disaster communications architecture


What you can do:

  • Lower your anxiety when phone service disappears and sign up for the FCC amateur (ham) radio licensing class starting April 1 in Middletown. See details athttp://www.newportready.org/?p=128
  • Tell council members that you want the city to do more with volunteers well ahead of (and during) storm/disaster events.  Many cities have vibrant, neighborhood-level disaster volunteer programs. Newport deserves one, too.
  • Keep your contact information current via http://bit.ly/NptRdyAlert
  • Join an existing neighborhood level "NextDoor" group which is a free, private social network for a specific neighborhood.  (This system got heavy use during Storm Nemo). They now exist for the Point, Off Broadway. the North End, Historic Hill, and Top of a Hill. Over 8,000 Nextdoor groups now exist across the U.S.   To join your group, go tohttp://nextdoor.com/find-neighborhood/ri/newport/
  • Keep practicing your social media skills" on Twitter, Nextdoor, Facebook. Emergency managers continue to marvel how valuable these tools are during disasters. 


What's been accomplished since our last update?

  • Deployed several radios to city emergency management agency and NewportReady volunteers for use during Storm Nemo. Like our response to Storm Sandy, we validated the use of radio and social media tools. This time, we saw many questions related to getting to local shelters because of the cold temperatures in homes without electricity.
  • Briefed mayor and city manager early February on recent meetings with city and state officials.  Encouraged the city to make greater use of volunteers by busting through organizational “stovepipe” behaviors.   
  • Invited by the Lt Governor, health policy director, and senior policy analyst for emergency management issues to brief them in January on ideas on how to engage volunteers earlier during missing person searches and the value in accelerating the local adoption of FEMA's new "Whole Community" planning/response paradigm.
  • Met with Newport fire chief and deputy fire chief to understand concerns surrounding potential use of volunteers during a search and the transferability of such skills to future disaster events.
  • Provided several pages of input early Jan 2013 to the Lt Governor's health policy director concerning the use of trained volunteers to improve the outcomes when looking for an Alzheimer's wanderer.  The state is currently engaged in a multi-agency effort, at the direction of the General Assembly, to find new ways to help caregivers. 
  • Briefed RI Emergency Management Agency executive director and DHS HQ analyst mid-Dec 2012 on the concept of NewportReady
  • Held a two hour "mid-course correction" internal planning meeting and agreed to focus on addressing the Alzheimer's wanderer use case now being studied by state officials.
  • Presented the NewportReady concept to Middletown Rotary Club late Nov 2012.
  • Deployed and tested during Storm Sandy a low cost city-wide, radio-based system that can operated during power and Internet outages. Talked regularly to NPD’s public info officer, pushed simplified city messages on social media, deployed a "crowd sourcing" damage form on GoogleDocs. 
  • Prepared a radio equipment grant request to a national foundation.  Funding received in December.
  • Launched a survey to better understand your concerns, your level of readiness, and to what extent you are interested in training.  Thanks to all those who responded.
  • Conducted an online “tabletop” exercise called “Formidable Footprint” which allowed us to review lessons learned from Tropical Storm Irene.  This exercise included participation from Middletown and was well covered by the Newport Daily News.


That's all for now. Thanks for your continuing support in neighbor and neighborhood-centric readiness.

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