ASSE Members Volunteer to Help Hurricane Victims

This is a compilation of responses to a Sept. 6, 2005, call for information from ASSE members, chapters, leadership on ASSE members' volunteer efforts to help the victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita and in the recovery efforts. These are the initial responses organized by region as sent to ASSE Public Relations.

REGION I

From Sacramento

The Sacramento Chapter has donated $1,000 to American Red Cross for Hurricane Relief, and Dave Wolf (past president) and I both contributed privately. Have no feedback yet from the Chapter as a whole. Martin P. Jeppeson, Sacramento Chapter President

From Columbia-Willamette

At Santiam Section, part of the Columbia Willamette Chapter, we voted today at our meeting to give $1,000 to Portland Red Cross to aid in the temporary shelters they are making for the 1,000 victims of Katrina. We also voted to give $1,000 to Northwest Medical Teams to help cover their expenses as they aid those in need. Thank you for asking. Kimberly Hendricks, Chair

From Oregon/Washington

I am pleased to announce that the Columbia-Willamette chapter has donated $5,000 toward safety supplies for Northwest Medical Teams to be used for Hurricane Katrina Relief. Frank Upham

From Bakersfield , CA

The Bakersfield Chapter has made a donation of $5,000 to the Katrina recovery efforts. We split the donation equally between American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. The movement here in Bakersfield was spearheaded by our own Guy Waski (past president).
Joel Sherman, President, ASSE Bakersfield Chapter

From San Diego

The San Diego Chapter has donated $2,500 to the Salvation Army. Our chair for Government Affairs, Ms. Lee Klein (FEMA), is mobilized in the region. In an e-mail to our board, she mentioned that the Red Cross has not reached the many in need. But, that the Salvation Army has been there since "Day One." Our board recommended that we put our donation to good use--so we donated to the Salvation Army--due to her recommendation.

I commend all of the chapters that have donated so far, but if you have not, consider a donation to the Salvation Army.... they have "boots on the ground!"

From Orange County , CA

Attached is a running diary of information I have received from and about Chris Gaylord, past president of the Orange County Chapter of ASSE. Chris works for me as a Loss Control Specialist at Poms & Associates Insurance Brokers, Inc., but he is also a volunteer fire fighter with the Sierra Madre Fire Department, and is a Safety Officer the CA1 FEMA Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT). Last Monday, August 29, Chris and his FEMA DMAT were deployed in response to Hurricane Katrina. I believe that Chris is a fine example of the heart and soul of the safety professional. I'm very proud that he walks the talk, and that he does whatever he can wherever he can to promote the safety and health of people, property, and the environment whether those efforts are part of his job or his many volunteer efforts. Terrie S. Norris, CSP, ARM, CPSI, ASSE - Region I Vice President


Sunday, Aug. 28, 2005 - email from Chris

I had planned on writing this e-mail next week as simply a notification, but circumstances have arisen which require my writing it with more urgency.

I have recently joined a federal disaster response team through FEMA known as Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) CA-1. DMAT teams operate on a military reserve model--members have full-time jobs, but are activated and deployed as needed to the sites of major disasters to provide emergency medical care. One major difference is unlike military reserve units, which may be activated for long periods of time, DMATs only activate for one- to two-week maximum deployments. DMATs are also generally on-call three months per year, but occasionally, teams, which are not on-call, may be activated if needed.

  DMAT teams consist of medical professionals (EMTs, paramedics, nurses, physicians and pharmacists) as well as support personnel (safety officers, logistics specialists, security personnel, etc.). The team can either set-up a stand-alone field hospital (similar to a MASH unit) or can integrate into existing healthcare facilities. The team can also assist with the medical evacuation of injured persons via military transport.

  My role on the team is that of safety officer. While most team positions are filled three deep (to allow for redundancy in the event some members are unable to deploy), currently, I am the only safety officer for the team.

  DMAT personnel are covered under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) that is the same regulation that covers military reserve and National Guard personnel. Thus, when I am on deployment, I should be considered to be on military leave, though with a shorter duration than a military member would be on.

  I received an alert notification to prepare for possible deployment Sunday or Monday (or possibly after landfall) in response to Hurricane Katrina. 


Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2005 - update from Jennifer Gaylord

FEMA alerted and activated Chris on Sunday. He had about eight hours of prep time after receiving confirmation of his activation orders/travel plans--and that necessarily included getting a few hours of sleep. On Monday morning before dawn, he was on a plane. They spent Monday and Tuesday driving south from Tennessee .

  Tonight he is at Camp Shelby , a National Guard base near Hattiesburg , MS . As everywhere else in southern Mississippi , the base is without electricity or any ventilation. He described the barracks where they were assigned to sleep as miserable and talked about sleeping in the SUV he's driving. Along with other recovery and relief workers, he expects to head further south toward the Gulf of Mexico early tomorrow.


Thursday, Sept. 1, 2005 - Update from Jennifer Gaylord

Chris got a text message through this evening. They were spending the day setting up and operating a field hospital with a National Guard unit at Biloxi High School . He thought that they might be moved to work in another community as more National Guardsmen arrived to staff the hospital.

It took three full days for their supplies and equipment to arrive from its starting point in Orange County , CA . The drivers must have driven like demons, and I've heard that they had broken down once or twice along the way; the mechanics who worked on them must have been frantically working too.

Several people have asked me about monetary donations to the relief effort. There are many, many good, well-operated charities and relief groups. I mention only two that Chris and I personally favor:

American Red Cross ( http://www.redcross.org or http://store.yahoo.com/redcross-donate2/ or call 1-800-HELP-NOW): Chris is active as a CPR, First Aid and First Responder trainer for the Red Cross... not to mention a frequent blood donor.

UMCOR - United Methodist Committee on Relief ( http://www.umcor.org or 1-800-554-8583 for Advance #982523): This is the agency of the United Methodist Church devoted to disaster relief. Chris and I like that 100 percent of donations are used for relief supplies and equipment. Administrative costs of the organization are covered by regular giving from churches and the budget of the UM General Board of Global Ministries.


Saturday, Sept. 3, 2005 - Update from Jennifer Gaylord

Chris discovered tonight that if he sits on his cot a certain way and tips his head at just the right angle... he gets just enough cell phone signal to get a call through. Up until now, he's been only able to get an occasional text message through.

Another member of his team discovered earlier today that if he went outside and clutched the flagpole, he could make a call, too.

Biloxi High School has been transformed into a triage, field hospital and shelter. Chris said that the building had a few leaks during the hurricane but the structure was sound. The team is being housed in the gymnasium. Generator power has provided power to the refrigeration units in the kitchen, lights and necessary equipment; they are working on the air conditioners so there will be some ventilation.

Refugees continue to come in and go out, both by transfer to larger, better equipped hospitals, and family members arriving to drive them off to Alabama , Tennessee , Florida , etc.

Chris also said there was plenty of security. Federal police officers and Mississippi National Guardsmen, who are also working in the hospital and shelter, have both made their presence at the site felt. He reassured me several times on that point; I took it to mean that they know what's going on in New Orleans .

There have been some difficult moments emotionally and the days and nights have been extremely long, but he is getting some sleep. The team does have a mental health professional who has been working both with the team and their patients; Chris mentioned that his presence had been very helpful. He will be there the entire two weeks, but that he'd be glad to come home when it was over.


Sunday, Sept. 4, 2005 - Update from Jennifer Gaylord

Chris e-mailed me a picture of himself today through his cell phone.

Most of the patients in the field hospital have been moved out now, and the medical operations are more like a clinic--still busy, but most people needing care can be treated or ambulanced out. The shelter side of the operation--mostly run by the Red Cross and a few Biloxi policemen--continues to operate quite efficiently.

Chris told me today that the superintendent of the Biloxi schools has been there almost constantly, and they are using nearly all of the supplies purchased for the school year to house and help the refugees. Every person checking into the shelter gets a Biloxi HS athletic outfit... clean, new and relatively modest. Even the military and DMAT teams are wearing them when they are off-duty. Today, the Navy commandant from the USS Iwo Jima group came to visit, with a number of support staff. They are sending in 20 medical personnel tomorrow to help with staffing, and came back later to help clean the 'hospital', as the staff there didn't have the time or materials to do it.

The team's pharmaceutical supplies are still AWOL, but random people from everywhere continue to arrive with supplies of all varieties. While we were talking, Chris had to go so he could help two truck drivers from Maryland who showed up with trucks of water and other boxes of materials. The two drivers were turning around and heading right back home--they had to work on Monday and this was late Sunday night. He said the random, truly unorganized generosity had been most amazing, and it's how they've been able to provide most pharmaceuticals when needed.

The power was restored today to the school. There's still no air conditioning, but the units operate enough to ventilate a little. It took crews most of the day to fix the wiring on the campus. (Biloxi HS is just off the I-10 and on the north side, away from the coast.)

In other news, he witnessed a wedding. A couple who had planned to marry in New Orleans next week came to the clinic today for treatment. They had a Louisiana marriage license already, so a policeman went out and found a Baptist church whose minister was working on repairing his parsonage roof. They asked the minister to come with them--and told him what they wanted him to do on the way.

The witnesses to the wedding were mostly from out of state--FEMA DMAT workers and guardsmen. Someone decorated the school's golf cart with empty cans and string while the minister performed an extremely brief ceremony.

The couple was Catholic. Chris reported they were grateful to find any kind of clergy, as they weren't sure how or when they could be legally married otherwise, even if the ceremony may be repeated when they find a priest. Afterwards, they went for a ride around campus in the golf cart. The Baptist minister said he'd never been put in the back of a police car to perform a wedding before, but the tone was joking, so one must assume he was pleased to be of assistance.

Chris said life was settling into a surreal sort of normalcy. Wal-Mart opens at 2 am for emergency personnel to do emergency shopping and find needed supplies. Chris plans to go tonight with his federal security person as an escort. He hasn't been off the campus since they got there on Wednesday.

Tonight, Chris told me that they are no longer swimming against what must have seemed like an insurmountable list of problems when they first got there, and with the situation stabilizing, they can start to think about the next steps.

REGION II

 

REGION III

Many of the members in Region III were negatively affected by Katrina either personally or through work and continue to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina even as Hurricane Rita gained strength. Many of them found themselves having to evacuate due to Hurricane Rita and many of their employers had to close down and work to prepare for the hurricane's wrath.

From Houston

Gulf Coast Chapter member Lonnie Pena noted:

1) A friend and I are volunteering at the Astrodome this weekend and other days as needed.
2) Major donation drive at our church and at the local Boys & Girls.
3) The company that I work is relocating New Orleans personnel throughout the South Region (Houston; Beaumont; Broussard , LA ; Corpus Christi , San Antonio and Pharr , TX branches). There are about 150 displaced employees--16 remain unaccounted for to date. Visit www.ssss.com for details.

From Pena's company -- Hurricane Katrina Notifications:
This page is presented for our Louisiana employees to receive updates and provide phone numbers to call with any questions you may have. Updates will be posted here, as they are available.

Key Information

Wage Continuation
Pay Checks
Housing and Food Assistance
Employee Assistance Program
GECO Credit Union
Food and Clothing Donations
Emergency Loans
Transportation
P-Card Users
Medical & Pharmacy
H ome Owners and Auto Policy Assistance
School Information
Temporary Address Changes

Hurricane Relief Information: Volunteers and/or Donations

Current Status (updated 08-30-05 12:08 pm CST):

Harvey Branch Update :
Preliminary reports indicate that the branch received minor wind damage. Water damage is unknown at this time. Currently there is no flooding. Further details will be posted later.

Work Status:
Jefferson Parish is under Martial Law. No one being allowed into New Orleans area. However, work is available at other branches (i.e. Broussard, Pharr , Corpus Christi and Houston ). Call Houston Branch contact information below for further details. If you are Louisiana employee, you may contact the following individuals (left out of this ASSE report - dth) with any questions you may have:

Important Sites and Phone Numbers:
National American Red Cross (ARC) http://www.redcross.org/
ARC New Orleans Chapter http://www.arcno.org/

American Red Cross
New Orleans............504-587-1500
Covington................504-892-4317
Gretna....................504-366-4178
LaPlace..................504-652-9963
Luling.....................504-785-0647
Metairie..................504-833-8565
Slidell.....................504-642-5608
St. Bernard.............504-277-8163

 

FEMA http://www.fema.gov/
Phone 1-800-621-FEMA (3362)
© Stewart & Stevenson Services, Inc.

REGION VI

Many of our members in Region VI were negatively affected by Katrina and some had to live in shelters, etc., however many continue to help others affected and in the recovery efforts. Their employers have also suffered. What ASSE has seen is that many ASSE members and their employers have gone above and beyond in helping the Hurricane victims such as paying employees (as one construction company did) to travel to the areas hardest hit to help.

As of 9/22/05:

From Baton Rouge

Thanks for your e-mail communication regarding the Katrina relief effort. On behalf of our Greater Baton Rouge and New Orleans Chapter I have made initial contact with FEMA via fax which was the only line of communication given to us via a recent email from ASSE national regarding emergency command center expertise needs.

I have not heard back from FEMA as yet regarding what else our organization might be able to assist with (e.g., volunteering, delivery of supplies, serving food/water etc.).

Many of our members including myself are presently helping with our local churches and making a favorable impact doing this through local relief shelters. I personally know that Florida Blvd. Baptist church with help from the Judson Baptist Assn. is providing more than 16,000 meals a day to victims and housing to emergency power and tree crews. Most of our membership works full time and cannot volunteer during the week. I have not received any communication from any of our New Orleans Chapter members, but if you receive anything from our members here in LA, MS areas please let me know what we may be able to help with. Thanks and your continued prayers are wanted and needed. Mike Parker, CSP, EHS Manager, Exide Technologies, Baton Rouge

From Pensacola , FL

We will make a donation to the Red Cross this week (an amount to be determined at our meeting tomorrow), but we, and probably others, are looking for something to rally around. Is there some future need we can plan and prepare for? Pamela B. Perrich, CIH, President Pensacola Chapter

From Jacksonville , FL

As a former New Orleans area resident, who calls New Orleans my adopted home, I send my thanks to those who have already sent donations, and for those who want to volunteer time, safety professionals are among the most urgently needed volunteers. You can volunteer, and obtain more information at the following website: volunteer.hhs.gov.

My family in the area is fine, although two have lost their businesses, and several have lost their homes. Please do what you can. Remember the good time we had at Safety 2005 (if you can!!). Stephen J. Brown, President, North Florida Chapter

From Georgia

Our chapter has an executive board meeting on Monday and this will be an agenda item. I was wondering if ASSE has suggestions for ways we can help. Is money still the best way? Pamela Fisher, President, Georgia Chapter

REGION V

From Illinois

FYI - ASSE member Jim Andrews from southern Illinois recently called to alert us of his involvement with the Hurricane relief efforts. An ASSE member for 36 years (age 74) volunteered with his local community/church Illinois State Baptists Association, Disaster Response working with chainsaw crews in Bocaloosa and working with the disaster relief truck in Louisiana and Houston .

From Northeastern Illinois

The Northeastern Illinois Chapter voted Sept. 6, 2005, to donate $5,000 to the Salvation Army to support disaster relief efforts in response to Hurricane Katrina. Andrew Tudor, Public Relations Chair, NEIL ASSE

REGION VI

From Virginia Beach , VA

Region VI is having a drive to collect money for a FEMA-approved charity (right now, we're looking at the Red Cross, but if donations get to where we can spread the wealth, we may do that). We're enlisting Chapters to contribute, and will cap it off at our Regional conference in Myrtle Beach from Sept. 20-23. Jim Morris

From Virginia

Our company is collecting employee donations across all NA operations, and will match employees' funds in a check to the American Red Cross. John Irvine, CSP, CHMM, EHS Manager, North American Operations, REHAU, Inc. / REHAU Industries, Inc

From North Carolina

Jim, Please add this to your next newsletter. I have volunteered to the Institute of Building Technology & Safety to help as best I can in the devastated area, no doubt some of your readers and fellow ASSE member would be willing to join me! By Copy I am advising our Tarheel ASSE Chapter President, ASSE HQ, of the need for Safety & IH pros to respond. Fred Freiberger

REGION VII

From ASSE Oakland University Student Section, Michigan

For now, I'll just attach a message from our GDC President, which has included a message from our Oakland University (OU) Chapter President, Caroline Davis. She has outlined a fantastic approach with some great ideas that I feel are worth sharing. Todd Dove, Automotive Operations, MI, Environmental, Health & Safety Coordinator
Jacobs Sverdrup

 

Hi All,

Following is a call to action of our OU ASSE Student Section by ASSE Student Section President Carolyn Davis. Carolyn and our OSH students would like to make a difference and help those in need as a result of hurricane Katrina. Carolyn's passion to help is obvious in the following e-mail message. ASSE and safety profession in general is about protecting people, property and the environment. Many of these precious assets of the Society have been severely damaged or destroyed by the recent hurricane.

We can't undo what has happened, but we can help victims of America 's worst natural disaster through our donations to the Salvation Army and American Red Cross. I realize you have already been asked, and probably already donated, to help provide relief for the victims of this disaster. However, I'm asking that you consider helping even more and contribute to this OU student initiative. Please send your checks payable to the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army to our ASSE Student Section for processing to: ASSE Student Section, Occupational Safety & Health Program, School of Health Sciences , Oakland University , Rochester , Michigan 48309-4482 . Thanks for all you already do to help others, and thank you for considering this additional request to help our fellow American's affected by hurricane Katrina. Please feel free to forward this to others that might support this fundraising effort. Charlie McGlothlin


Saturday, Sept. 3, 2005
Subject: ASSE CALL TO ACTION!
Welcome Back All!

I hope that everyone enjoyed their summer. It was a hoot for those whom took Ergo and Construction Safety. Good Times! Originally this e-mail was supposed to be an invitation to all Health Science Majors and current Occupational Health and Safety Majors and minors to come join the American Society of Safety Engineers for a "Welcome Back", 2005 kick off party for the upcoming semester. The invitation was to be mailed out to all current members in a nice newsletter format loaded with tons of information and cool pictures that I had learned how to do over the summer. However, In light of recent events transpiring in the southern region of the U.S. my attention has shifted from the frills of clip art, to the tragedy that our fellow Americans are facing. I understand that many people would love to pick up and physically help the people in need. I am one of those people. I was minutes away from hopping on a bus and heading down south to help with relief efforts until my moms talked some sense into me. She said that as a student and as a "soon to be safety professional", I had a responsibility to my community and to my University to uphold the goals that I set out to do in the first place; graduate and keep people safe through education. The short of it all is that WE as safety professionals can help the relief efforts indirectly right here in our own community. That is why instead of kicking off this year with a big bash, I and the rest of your peers call on each and every one of you to help raise money for Katrina's victims. I have coordinated a kettle drive through the Salvation Army to be placed in the Student Center from Tuesday through Thursday. I am looking for VOLUNTEERS to help collect monetary donations during the times of 10 am to PM on those days. Through coordination with the CSA office and with Cortney Youngbloods Sorority, we will have a table and a kettle set up. I also thing that posting a message boards for students and the community to write messages to the victims who need our words of encouragement and prayers would be a good Idea. This is also in conjunction with the PHONE -A - THON that will be happening at Oakland University on Friday, Sept 9th. There is a write up about this event on Oakland Home page. The CSA has asked our organization for Volunteers for this event as well. We are glad to help. We all know the importance of the safety concerns that our Fellow Americans will be facing during this very moment and for years too come. So I am rounding up troops who are willing to put aside themselves for a

moment in time for a mission that will affect us forever. We need dedication and leadership. Anything goes. Please send me a reply to this email as soon as you get this. Lets go ASSE. Lets kick this year off the right way. Send a memo to everyone you know. And let other students and friends know that Oakland ASSE is not messing around! Again, Please check out the home page for information about Sept 9th. If you, your family or your company want to write a check make it out to Salvation Army Hurricane Relief Fund. The number for the Phone-a- thon is listed on the home page link. Thanks for your time. This year has a lot in store for ASSE members and the Safety community. Lets just take care of our humanitarian responsibility first. Sincerely yours, Carolyn C. Davis, president ASSE's OU student chapter. 


From Kentucky

I talked to our mayor this morning ( Lexington , KY ). She said that we were receiving hospital patients and should be receiving other disaster victims but had expected some to be here for two days now. This is an overwhelming disaster and it is going to take a great deal of assistance from everyone! So, we plan to help. Jo M. Kane

From Louisville

To our membership: This is the original e-mail drafted to you during the first days of this disaster. Due to electronic malfunction, it did not make it. Please also scroll down for an update. Thanks for your continuing support. Tanis

As we struggle to find our own peace with the horror Katrina has left behind, our friends, families, and fellow Americans, many of us are asking what can we do for those touched by the tragedy. The devastation has affected all aspects of humanity as we know it. In the coming days, weeks, and months the people in affected areas are going to be in need of any assistance our great nation can muster. With the incredible damage to the necessary infrastructure, it will be some time before we are able to get items such as food, clothes, toys, blankets and other basic supplies to the scene.

If there is a member with adequate storage space to warehouse donations until transportation systems are functioning again, I know there are a number of us that have items to donate to the cause.

For those of us not able to donate tangibles or volunteer time (as per the previous FEMA email), we can donate money or blood through the American Red Cross.

I will be donating $103.50 in the names of my children to the Red Cross, in addition to toys and clothes when the time arrives. I want to thank every member in advance for your donations - there will be no donation or item too small. To donate via the American Red Cross: 800-hel-pnow or go to www.redcross.com.

Since that initial letter was written to you, a number of organizations have e-mailed me and I am sure most of you. There are a number of ways to contribute to this effort. I would like to hear about what you and your family are or have done. I would like to hear about what you and your family or company has done.

To start, in addition to monetary donations, my daughters and son have donated their old baby blankets and items to a evacuated family from Louisiana that arrived this weekend after having to stop along the way to birth their first child and I have registered with the Florida Dept. of Health and the Dept. of Homeland Security to assist as requested. Below are some recent contact information that may be of interest to the membership, in addition to the FEMA and DHS websites.

OSHA and NIEHS have created a disaster site worker orientation briefing in PowerPoint format, for use in orienting disaster site workers as they are being deployed to the Katrina disaster recovery area. It is available on line at the NIEHS Clearinghouse for Worker Health and Safety Training at: www.niehs.nih.gov/wetp/clear.htm.

https://volunteer.ccrf.hhs.gov/

Tanis Marquette, CSP, CHMM, ROHT, President Louisville Chapter

From Indiana University 's ASSE Student Section

An IUASSE a post-graduate student member, Ryan Todd is in Louisiana with the Red Cross, He has been there for the last three days and is in charge of a 1,200-person shelter with 53 staff. He says that all the safety knowledge he has ever acquired in his time on the Safety Management course at IU, Bloomington is coming into play. Prof. Dominic Cooper

REGION VIII

From Philadelphia

The Philadelphia Chapter has donated $1,000 to the Red Cross Disaster fund. We will also be reminding our members to donate, as they see fit, through our newsletter. A (not very scientific!) survey at our meeting yesterday indicated that everyone (35+ attendees) donated personally and/or through work to many different organizations both monetarily and with goods and services. John Connolly

From Western Pennsylvania

Below is an e-mail from our Western PA Chapter Chair, Carl Heinlein, and what he's doing to support the effort. If/when I get more responses I will pass them on. Elizabeth Craig

I am currently working with some of my friends, neighbors and work associates to gather food and clothing for the Hurricane families (most of them broken families missing relatives) that have been relocated to Ft. Dawson, WV (halfway between Morgantown, WV and Deep Creek, MD). I will keep you posted on the results. So far so good, everyone has been more than generous with their giving. I know because my house is the drop off point and the trailer in sitting in my driveway. Carl Heinlein

From Western Pennsylvania

The volunteer fire department that I volunteer at has collected $2,500 to be donated to either the Red Cross or the Salvation Army. In addition, the safety products distributor that I work for has employees in the Alabama area that were impacted by Katrina and we have made a companywide collection from coworkers matched by the company to help those individuals. Bruce Beckert

I donated money to the American Red Cross and my company matched that donation three to one. Ray Adams

From Connecticut

For the consideration of ASSE HQ as additional guidance and support for businesses and people involved with the recovery operations expected to start in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, this is a link to my company's website that is a four page document on loss mitigation related to the loss of essential services. On pages three and four are passages addressing post-flood actions. Please go to: www.hsb.com/cmsfiles/435.PDF.

Kindly note that an enhanced version of this guide specifically addressing flood recovery is being prepared for release as I write this. I will send that along as soon as it becomes available to me. Timothy C. Healey

From Northwestern Pennsylvania

Our newsletter editor for the NEPA Chapter is in Mississippi with his employer helping to restore the electric grid. They left Thursday morning for the trip down, he was notified on Tuesday to be prepared to leave. At this point, this is all I can confirm that members of the chapter are doing - I know others, including me, have made donations to Red Cross or other similar orgs. Ken Walker, President NEPA Chapter

From Practice Specialty Hospitality Branch

At this time I am assisting with coordinating relief efforts for the beleaguered guests and associates that are housed in our hotels. Needless to say the situation is growing more volatile and precarious with each passing hour. I have not had contact with any of the hotels directly but do know that our Crisis Team is in communication with them and working diligently to get resources to them. There will definitely be some key learning's from this event that will be incumbent upon us too share. Lester Washington

From member of media, one who covered Safety 2005, Nola resident

I'm evacuated to Birmingham until the power is back on at home. My area was badly damaged by wind and trees and the power poles and lines are being rebuilt. Probably another couple of weeks before I can get back home. I made it out safely and my house suffered some minor roof damage from the storm. A lot of my friends, though, have lost everything. We're all just glad to be healthy. Thanks very much for asking. Michael Bradford