CDC Emergency Partners Newsletter - May 27, 2016

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CDC Emergency Partners

                                                             May 27, 2016

CDC Emergency
Partners Newsletter

Below, please find resources and guidance that we hope will be useful to you and your organization. Please share with your colleagues and networks.

In this email:


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To address the communication concerns and needs of state, local, and territorial health communicators, as well as partner organizations, CDC is hosting a series of Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication (CERC) teleconferences related to Zika issues.

These teleconferences will be held on a weekly basis from 1-2 pm (Eastern Time). Each week, a new CERC topic will be presented as it relates to Zika.

May 31 – CERC, Zika, and Clear Communication Techniques

Audio Conference Access Information:

1-800-369-1662 (U.S. Callers)

1-203-827-7082 (International Callers)

Passcode: 3266392

Presentation slides for this teleconference will be available on our website:  

Please feel free to forward this announcement to your partners.

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Preparing for Severe Spring Weather

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The majority of tornadoes occur between the months of April and June. To stay safe during a tornado, prepare a plan and emergency kit, stay aware of weather conditions during thunderstorms, know the best places to shelter both indoors and outdoors, and always protect your head.

During April 27-30, 2014, a series of deadly tornadoes destroyed parts of central and southern United States, killing 35 people and injuring over 300. From May 5-10, 2015, 127 tornadoes caused injuries to 69 people and killed 7. As of May 24, 2016, there have been 60 total tornadoes during this month. 

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) , there is no guaranteed safety during a tornado. Indeed, we must take seriously even the possibility of a tornado. Although the most violent tornadoes can level and blow away almost any house and those within it, extremely violent EF5 tornadoes are very rare. Most tornadoes are much weaker. You can survive a tornado if you follow safety precautions. Here are three important tips to help keep you safe.

TIP ❶: Be prepared.

The best way to stay safe during a tornado is to be prepared with:

  • fresh batteries and a battery-operated TV, radio, or internet-enabled device to listen to the latest emergency weather information;
  • a tornado emergency plan including access to a "safe shelter" for yourself and for people with special needs;
  • an emergency kit (including water, non-perishable food, and medication); and
  • a list of important information, including telephone numbers.

Make sure your children know what a tornado is, what tornado watches and warnings are, what county or parish they live in (warnings are issued by county or parish), and what constitutes a location as a "safe shelter," whether at home or at school.

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TIP ❷: Stay aware of weather conditions.

To protect yourself and your family from harm during a tornado, pay close attention to changing weather conditions in your area. If you know thunderstorms are expected, stay tuned to local radio and TV stations or a NOAA weather radio for further weather information. Some tornadoes strike rapidly without time for a tornado warning. The following weather signs may mean that a tornado is approaching:

  • a dark or green-colored sky;
  • a large, dark, low-lying cloud;
  • large hail; or
  • a loud roar that sounds like a freight train.

If you notice any of these conditions, take cover immediately, and keep tuned to local radio and TV stations or to a NOAA weather radio or check the internet.

TIP ❸: Know where to shelter.

Falling and flying debris causes most deaths and injuries during a tornado. Although there is no completely safe place during a tornado, some locations are much safer than others.

  • Go to the basement or an inside room without windows on the lowest floor (bathroom, closet, center hallway).
  • Avoid windows.
  • For added protection get under something sturdy (a heavy table or workbench). Cover your body with a blanket, sleeping bag or mattress. Protect your head with anything available.
  • Do not stay in a mobile home.

If you are outside or in a mobile home, find a nearby building preferably with a basement. If you are in a car, do not try to outrun a tornado but find the nearest sturdy building. NOTE: You may need to change your plans and change locations when the tornado watch is issued.

No one can know a tornado's strength before it touches down, so keep up with local weather information, especially when thunderstorms are forecast. Prepare your home and family for the possibility of a tornado. Moving to shelter quickly is easier when everyone knows where to go, whether in your home or outdoors. Following these tips will give you the best chance for staying safe in a tornado.

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CDC Spring Weather Resources

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Spring Weather Checklists

  • A 3-day supply of water (1 gallon per person per day; more if you live in a warm climate)
  • A 3-day supply of ready-to-eat foods, such as canned meat and canned fruits and vegetables
  • A sleeping bag and warm blanket
  • First aid kit
  • And more...





    An Activity Book for Kids: "Ready Wrigley Prepares for a Tornado"

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    CDC Zika Resources

    CDC released the latest Key Messages for Zika on May 25, 2016.  To access these Key Messages, click here for English and here for Spanish. Please note that the Spanish version is delayed by one week.

    General Outbreak Information

    New or Updated Guidance Documents

    New CDC Health Advisory: Diagnostic Testing of Urine Specimens for Suspected Zika Virus Infection

    New Vector Surveillance and Control Link: Technical Statement on the Role of Disinsection in the Context of Zika Outbreaks, 2016

    Multimedia Resources

    Content Syndication

    Put CDC content on Zika on your website that will update automatically! This microsite offers an easy way to share information and stay up to date with developments in the current Zika virus outbreak, including prevention, symptoms, treatment, and information for pregnant women and travelers. This microsite is also available in Spanish.

    Please contact for technical support.

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    CERC @ Work: Know Your Audience

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    Be first, be right, and be credible.

    CERC @ Work: Know Your Audience

    Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication (CERC) principles should be considered in all crisis communication plans…but what do they look like in a real emergency? CERC @ Work offers a glimpse of how these principles are put into practice.

    This edition of CERC @ Work features the experiences of Lisa Briseño, a CDC health communicator, as she traveled to Puerto Rico to respond to the local spread of Zika virus disease (Zika).

    I’m headed to Puerto Rico. I have CERC training and experience. I speak Spanish. I’m Latina. I should be ready to communicate anything. And, yet, I know that the best thing for me to do when I arrive is to LISTEN.

    Taking the time to listen, to watch, and to learn can be quite challenging when people look to you to have the answers--when they expect you to know what they should do. This is especially true during a public health emergency. So, how do we determine how much time to spend listening and who to listen to? What do we, as crisis and emergency risk communicators, do?

    Unfortunately, the answer to how much time we should spend listening is complicated. During every phase of a response, gathering audience feedback is essential to know whether the right messages are reaching the people who need them. We have to balance that reality with the reality of limited resources. One way is to maximize the use of the tools we can access. Publicly available analysis tools for search engines, social media, and government data can provide insight to guide our decision-making. Partners often gather information and establish connections in fulfilling their missions. When we connect with them, we can share what we know to help information flow more freely.

    We also need to carefully consider where to listen—and to whom. Of course, we want to get public health messages to as many people as we can, but there are those people who are just more difficult to reach. Seek out those who are less prone to asking for help or information. Find out who they trust for information. And listen to those trusted sources to find out whether the questions you’re answering are the same ones people are asking. Find out whether the public health recommendations are feasible for the many and the few.

    But what do we do in the meantime, when people need us to communicate? What do we do while we’re building relationships, asking questions, and searching for data? If we are in the midst of a crisis, we have to use the best information we have on hand—we have to use what we do know. While we may not know which media Puerto Rican women prefer, we do have data on which media Latinas prefer. We also know how to reach pregnant women. And we know that reaching out only to the pregnant women will not be nearly as effective as reaching them AND those who care about them.

    So, as we continue to listen to and work with the people living in or visiting Puerto Rico and  other areas affected by Zika, we learn more about how to protect those most vulnerable to Zika’s effects. We listen so we can do our part to save lives.

    For more resources and information on CERC, please see Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication, 2014 Edition or Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication Pandemic Influenza, 2007.

    Have you used CERC in your work? To share your CERC stories, e-mail Your stories may appear in future CERC Corners.

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    Social Media Partner Resources

    These social media messages are available so that you can share on your organization's social media accounts.

    Infection with #Zika during pregnancy is linked to birth defects in babies. Learn more:

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    Severe storms predicted in parts of the Plains, Midwest & South. Tune in to local stations & know your local warning system:

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    In the path of severe weather? WATCH = conditions could produce #tornado, WARNING = take cover now

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    #ZapZika now —> Find out how Zika spreads & what you can do to stop it.

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    Hombres que viven en áreas con #zika o viajaron a ellas: prevengan el zika.

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    Stay Connected

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    Contact Us


    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    1600 Clifton Rd
    Atlanta, GA 30333


    Contact CDC-INFO

    800-CDC-INFO    (800-232-4636)    TTY: 888-232-6348


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