BATON ROUGE, La. – Louisiana recovery continues with the energy and work of businesses, voluntary, faith-based, and community-based organizations along with government agencies and committed citizens.
Unfortunately, disasters also bring out criminals looking to prey on survivors who appear to be rich targets for their fraudulent services.
Being cautious is essential to preventing rip-offs. Don’t offer personal financial information over the phone. Know who you are dealing with. Never be shy about asking for identification. Government workers will never ask for a fee or payment. They always wear an official government photo ID.
Homeowners and registered FEMA applicants should watch out for housing inspectors claiming to represent FEMA or the U.S. Small Business Administration. Inspectors already have each applicant’s nine-digit registration number and a FEMA inspector will not ask for this number. FEMA inspectors never require banking or other personal information. The job of FEMA housing inspectors is to verify damage. Inspectors do not hire or endorse specific contractors to fix homes or recommend repairs. They do not determine eligibility for assistance.
Watch out for middlemen who promise you will receive disaster grants or money, especially if they ask for an upfront payment.
Many survivors have been living in damaged homes or in hotels and motels or other emergency accommodation while their primary residences are being repaired and rebuilt.
Keep these consumer safety tips in mind when working with contractors:
Verify the license or registration number with the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors at www.lacontractor.org or call 800-256-1392.
Get three written estimates for repair work. Then check credentials and contact your local Better Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce to learn about any complaints against the contractor or business.
Before work begins, make sure you get a written contract detailing all the work to be performed, the costs, a projected completion date, and how to negotiate changes and settle disputes.
Louisiana, Attorney General Jeff Landryencourages you to use the following tips:
- Take a picture of your contractor, his/her vehicle, and its license plate.
- Take a picture of the contractor’s business card and his/her driver’s license.
- Photograph or scan his/her contracting license and insurance.
- Photograph or scan the contract made with him/her.
- Photograph or scan all checks and money orders made as payments to the contractor.
- Preserve all these photographs by emailing them to yourself and a trusted companion and/or by saving them in a cloud-based application.
If you suspect anyone – an inspector, disaster survivor, or someone posing as one of these – of fraudulent activities, call the FEMA toll-free Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or your local law enforcement officials.
To report a scam or sign up for consumer alerts, call Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-351-4889 or visit www.AGJeffLandry.com.
Charity scams take many forms, including emails containing links or attachments that direct users to phishing or malware-infected websites. Donation requests from fraudulent charitable organizations commonly appear after major natural disasters.
US-CERT encourages users to take the following measures to protect themselves:
- Do not follow unsolicited web links or attachments in email messages.
- Keep antivirus and other computer software up-to-date.
- Check this Better Business Bureau (BBB) list for helping Louisiana flood victims before making any donations to this cause.
- Verify the legitimacy of any email solicitation by contacting the organization directly through a trusted contact number. You can find trusted contact information for many charities on the BBB National Charity Report Index.
There is no fee to apply for FEMA disaster assistance or to receive it. The only ways to register for FEMA help are to:
Call 800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585)
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. Follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/femaregion6 and the FEMA Blog at http://blog.fema.gov.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is the federal government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters fund repairs or rebuilding efforts and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.
Download the FEMA mobile app for disaster resources, weather alerts, and safety tips. The app provides a customizable checklist of emergency supplies, maps of open shelters and weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations across the Nation. The latest feature of the app allows you to send notifications to your device to remind you to take important steps to prepare your home and family for disasters. Go to Ready.gov for more details.
Posted on August 29, 2016 by
There’s a big difference between seeing something in a picture and experiencing it in 360-degree reality, saturated with sounds and smells. In the summer of 1987, I traveled to Senegal for three weeks. This was the first time I had really traveled and seen firsthand what the rest of the world was like.
In Dakar, fishermen brought their catches to beach on the edge of town. An open sewer drained directly into the ocean almost in the middle of where the fishermen landed their boats. In addition to the smells, that sewer pipe seemed guaranteed to make people sick. It also seemed that something simple, like moving the drain, could prevent illness. It might have been a naïve idea, but it struck me that there were many opportunities to make small changes that would improve people’s health.
Many of us came to public health because, at some point in our life, we had a similar realization. As a clinician, treating one patient at a time undoubtedly helps people and is rewarding, but working to protect and benefit the community as a whole can provide larger-scale benefits.
Preparedness at the forefront
This is why I’m passionate about being prepared. When an emergency hits, having trained people who know what to do, and having the resources in place to allow them to do their jobs, saves lives. And – as we have seen all too clearly – a lack of preparedness can turn an outbreak into an epidemic, or a natural disaster into a crucible for infectious disease.
Planning ahead and being ready are the most critical things we can do to keep people safe. The world recognizes this, which is why countries have signed international agreements like the International Health Regulations and the Global Health Security Agenda that commit them to being prepared for a public health emergency. We have a long way to go, but we have a clear roadmap for what needs to be done.
And, here in the U.S., we are doing our part to fulfill our obligation to the global community. Recently, we invited a team of international experts to evaluate the ability of the U.S. to prevent, detect, and respond to public health threats. Looking at 19 different areas, they gave us feedback on where we are succeeding, and where we can do better. We will use the results of their report as we continue to build on our expertise.
Knowledge benefits everyone
The benefits of improving our expertise are twofold: not only do we protect ourselves, but we gain knowledge that we can share across the globe as other countries build their capabilities to respond to health threats. We are doing this every day.
CDC’s efforts in developing our Emergency Operations Center provide a great example. What we’ve learned is that the most important investment a country can make is having highly trained people at the ready. When people know what to do, a conference room and a few computers is all it takes to coordinate a response that can mitigate disaster and save lives.
CDC is able to share this kind of information with partners in countries around the world who may not have the resources to do everything at once. From working with Kenya on how to regulate the labs that handle the world’s deadliest germs and poisons, to working with Cameroon and Ethiopia on how to manage an emergency stockpile of medicines, we are helping others learn from our experience, and also learning from them as we go.
We are all connected
Our connection to other countries is more important than ever. As we help build capacity across the globe, we also protect our health here at home. We have to think globally as we build the knowledge we need to prepare for, and respond to, emergencies.
We must keep in mind that, somewhere in the world, there is a draining sewer that might be ground zero for an outbreak. And, somewhere, there is a conference room we could fill with trained responders to help stop it.
(TNS) - Buffeted by hurricanes and tornadoes, inundated by floodwaters, Texas topped the list of states most affected by natural disasters in 2015.
A just-published study by InsuranceQuotes said the Lone Star State had 951 incidents of high winds, 783 incidents of hail and 228 reports of tornadoes last year. That put it first among the top five states experiencing natural disasters last year.
“Texas is getting a lot of weather: It’s big, there’s a lot of land and its size makes it a bigger target,” said Laura Adams, senior insurance analyst for InsuranceQuotes in a phone interview.
Top concerns in edge spaces are cooling capacity, service and maintenance and monitoring
COLUMBUS, Ohio [ August 30, 2016] – Emerson Network Power, a business of Emerson, and the world’s leading provider of critical infrastructure for information and communications technology systems, released results of a new survey that shows IT and data center managers in North America are becoming more focused on how they manage remote network closets and server rooms used in edge computing. Emerson’s “2016 Cooling the Edge Survey” shows that more than half of the managers responding to the survey say insufficient cooling capacity is their largest concern at these sites.
The survey, which included nearly 400 responses from IT, data center and facilities managers in North America, found that 39 percent of the managers have increased their investments in IT equipment in small spaces in the last two years, and 23 percent anticipate adding additional network closets to their IT infrastructure in the year ahead.
Managers underscored the growing importance of these small IT spaces to their businesses. Forty-two percent said that the strategic importance of their small IT spaces has risen in the last two years, and 47 percent said small IT spaces contribute to driving revenue for their companies.
The survey also asked managers to rate their top three concerns in managing small IT spaces. Fifty-two percent ranked cooling capacity as their top concern, followed by service and maintenance, cited by 44 percent. Insufficient monitoring of equipment and cooling systems downtime were tied for third at 35 percent.
“As more companies of all sizes realize the value and importance of edge computing in network closets and servers rooms, it is becoming more important than ever that their cooling and monitoring infrastructures be reliable, efficient and cost-effective,” said John Peter Valiulis, vice president, North America thermal management marketing, Emerson Network Power.
Managers said that 45 percent of spaces under 500 square feet were currently being cooled by building air conditioning or not at all, and 54 percent said they were likely to install dedicated cooling systems in small IT spaces over the next 12 months.
When it comes to operating concerns, 78 percent of managers said reducing risk is their top goal. At the same time, 43 percent want to reduce operational costs and 57 percent said they want to improve energy efficiency.
“It is very important for managers to cut costs without introducing potential points of failure in their small spaces, either through the technologies they use or how they deploy them. The opportunity to implement cooling systems with remote monitoring, which significantly cut energy consumption, is a way forward for these managers to balance risk mitigation and cost control,” Valiulis said. “These remote locations often lack dedicated technical personnel, so IT managers are challenged in managing these spaces for high performance.”
The managers’ responses pointed out potential challenges in the monitoring of these remote sites for environmental conditions and equipment performance. One of every six managers said they do not monitor their edge computing locations at all. Forty-seven percent said they rely on localized monitoring devices or a building maintenance system to ensure the systems’ continued operation. Fewer than five percent said they are currently able to observe the performance of multiple sites via a mobile application on their smartphones.
More information about the survey and how Emerson Network Power can address Edge IT is available at www.EmersonNetworkPower.com/Cool-SmallSpaces.
About Emerson Network Power
Emerson Network Power, a business of Emerson, is the world’s leading provider of critical infrastructure technologies and life cycle services for information and communications technology systems. With an expansive portfolio of intelligent, rapidly deployable hardware and software solutions for power, thermal and infrastructure management, Emerson Network Power enables efficient, highly-available networks. Learn more at www.EmersonNetworkPower.com.
Emerson, based in St. Louis, Missouri (USA), is a global leader in bringing technology and engineering together to provide innovative solutions for customers in industrial, commercial, and consumer markets around the world. The company is comprised of five business segments: Process Management, Industrial Automation, Network Power, Climate Technologies, and Commercial & Residential Solutions. Sales in fiscal 2015 were $22.3 billion. For more information, visit Emerson.com.
New for Hurricane & Flood Season, One-of-a-Kind Filter Can Speed Clean Up and Reconstruction
New to market this fall and the only filter of its kind, Iovis Global's CPD Filter – short for Containment Pressure Differential HEPA Activated Carbon Filter – is designed for use during renovation or remediation projects that require containment walls. This innovative and affordable filter can trap up to 99.97% of microbial particulates, all while mitigating the negative air strain on a containment wall. The simple to use "peel-and-stick" CPD Filter keeps more containment walls up which means more jobs get done faster. It was designed by Ryan Ball, CIE veteran indoor environmentalist to be simple and effective.
Lydia Lopez, Iovis Global, Inc. co-Founder and Manufacturer, knows firsthand just how important it is to keep home remediation projects free from containment wall failure delays. "I partnered with an Indoor Environmental Engineer to design the Iovis CPD Filter after sustaining horrible water damage in my own family's home, which forced us to live in a hotel for six months while our house underwent delay-laden remediation and repairs." Ball and Lopez built their first prototype by hand, determined that no other family should experience extended displacement for the reasons her family had. "The CPD Filter allowed our remediation and renovation project to finally start moving faster and let us safely back into our home earlier than anticipated," said Lopez.