Thursday, August 13, 2009

FEMA Administrator Releases Preparedness Video Message

The Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate today released a Web video message highlighting the need for the public to be prepared for any emergency.

Personal Disaster Preparedness is Vital!

2-1-1's Important Role in Disaster

Publish Post

Thursday, August 6, 2009

August is National Immunization Awareness Month

August is recognized as National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). The goal of NIAM is to increase awareness about immunizations across the life span, from infants to the elderly.

August is the perfect time to remind family, friends, co-workers, and those in the community to catch up on their vaccinations. Parents are enrolling their children in school, students are entering college, and healthcare workers are preparing for the upcoming flu season.

Call 2-1-1 or visit our website at to find out where you can get free or low cost immunizations for your children before school starts.

For more information from the CDC on immunizations, click here.

Back-to-School 2009

Is your child ready for school?
Summer will soon be coming to a close and the first day of school is right around the corner! Our 2-1-1 information services provide easy access to a broad variety of resources that can help families plan for their child's back-to-school needs including:

School supplies, immunizations, school physicals, before/after school care, internet safety for children, mentoring & tutoring programs, school information/calendars,/menus, health insurance for children, voluntary Pre-K, dental exams, health and nutrition information.

For more information on Back-to-School resources in Pinellas County, visit our website at, and click on "Seasonal Activities"or dial 211. 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares also has pages on the Do Good Channel, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube. Anyone can subscribe, follow, or join our activity so they can stay connected. You will find links to our blogs and social networking sites on our website at the bottom of our homepage. Log on today and get connected!

Does Your Emergency Kit Contain Recalled Items?

Currently the United States is in the midst of one of the largest food recalls in American history. As Americans dig through their cabinets and refrigerators to remove potentially contaminated food associated with the recent peanut recall, we would like to also remind citizens to open and check their Emergency Preparedness Kits to remove any potentially harmful items from these also.

Because peanut products are often recommended as staples in Emergency Preparedness Kits due to their long shell life and because they are a good source of protein, we encourage all kit owners to look at their kits to ensure food products are not on the peanut recall list. Please keep in mind that the peanut product recall extends beyond peanut-flavored products. The following are some examples of foods also included in the recall that may contain peanuts:

  • Granola
  • Snack bars
  • Crackers
  • Cereal
  • Trail Mix
  • Cookies
  • Noodles
  • Dog treats

A full list of recalled peanut products and what individuals should do with recalled items can be found on the Food and Drug Administration’s Web site,

In addition to checking for peanut-related items, please be sure to check for other items in your kit that may have expired, including medications, food and pet food, water, and other recalled items. The U.S. government provides information on unsafe, hazardous, or defective products ranging from consumer products, food, medicine, and cosmetics at

Ensuring family and neighbors are prepared is an essential step in helping communities during and after an emergency. Families should have an Emergency Preparedness Kit in all locations that are frequented often, including homes, offices, schools, cars and day care facilities. These kits should hold a variety of essential items that are needed during a disaster, such as a flashlight, radio, cash, clothing, protective equipment, medicines, and of course food and water. For a complete list of Emergency Preparedness Kit recommended items, please visit

Source: The National Office of Citizen Corps, FEMA Community Preparedness Division

2-1-1 Your Disaster Connection


2-1-1’s primary mission during times of disaster is to maximize community access to critical resources. 2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares can respond to crises such as a hurricane, flood, or other local or national catastrophe at a moment's notice. 2-1-1 continues to be an essential resource weeks or years after the crisis event, providing access to information without forcing residents to resort to finding and trying multiple phone numbers.

Pre and post disaster, 2-1-1’s focus expands to referrals for emergency information, to operational service providers and to disaster-specific services provided by the community in Pinellas, Hernando and Citrus Counties. 2-1-1 will provide current and accurate information regarding:
  • Disaster information and assistance,
  • Website access to disaster related information and assistance,
  • Maintaining the connection with local service providers regarding services available.

  • Disaster Recovery Assistance;
  • Sand Bag Information;
  • Preparedness Resources;
  • Special Needs Registration Information;
  • Non-Profit Agency Openings/Closings;
  • Evacuation Zones Information;
  • Disaster Volunteering;
  • Local and State Resources.


SIMPLY DIAL 2-1-1. A qualified Call Center Representative will provide you with resources in your community. If you are calling from a 3-digit blocked landline or cell phone or hear a rapid busy signal, please call 727.210.4211. 2-1-1 is a free confidential phone number available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week in 150 languages and is TTY/TDD accessible. Visit our website for more information.

Ready Kids - Disaster Preparedness

Disasters are often in the news and they can be scary. Try not to get too scared by being better prepared! Read what you can do to be ready in case a disaster comes your way.

Are you ready to put your planning skills to good use? Are you ready to help your family get prepared for the unexpected? Your family can use this Web site to create a plan that will help you be ready for many different kinds of unexpected situations!

You're already a great planner! Every day you get your homework done, get to music or sports practice on time, and plan where and when you'll meet up with friends. But how do you get prepared for emergencies?

It's simple! It just takes planning and practice, and these fun activities from Ready Kids can help! Click here to start your disaster planning adventure Ready Kids - Disaster Preparedness.

Business Civic Leadership Center Announces Important Disaster Resources

BCLC Announces Important Disaster Management Resources
Current Economy Makes Disaster Management Even More Critical

WASHINGTON, D.C. -The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Business Civic Leadership Center (BCLC) together with the Safe America Foundation today announced new resources, including a disaster recovery report, to strengthen community disaster management nationwide. The announcement comes after BCLC's two-day disaster workshop during which more than seventy officials from businesses, chambers of commerce, humanitarian organizations, and emergency management agencies practiced a coordinated response to a back-to-back disaster scenario.

The Chamber's report, A Critical Role: Top Ten Policies That States Need to Recover from Disasters, offers best practices for states to reduce the potential effects of disasters and expedite recovery. The report, sponsored by Allstate, is based on twenty-five years of research on various disaster recovery efforts across the United States and is available online.

"Disaster recovery is a complicated process, and, in these trying economic times, a disaster could be absolutely catastrophic to a community," said BCLC Executive Director Stephen Jordan. "But by building community resiliency, implementing effective response systems, and then helping communities build back better than before, the process can be successful."

Also announced at the press conference was the Safe America Foundation's 9/11 Drill Down for Safety. Around the country on September 11, 2009, in conjunction with businesses, community leaders, and government agencies, Safe America will host local preparedness drills. This day, sponsored by businesses including UPS, Motorola Foundation, and Office Depot Foundation, gives every American the opportunity to participate in and strengthen community resiliency.

"Companies are interested in maximizing resiliency and minimizing loss in the communities where they do business," said Jordan. "The resources announced today are examples of business helping local communities establish faster and smarter disaster management tools."

BCLC is a 501(c) 3 affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and manages the U.S. Chamber's Disaster Assistance and Recovery program. BCLC is a resource and voice for businesses and their social and philanthropic interests.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce | 1615 H Street, NW | Washington, DC 20062-2000 |

Monday, August 3, 2009

Hand Sanitizer Recall

We know that a number of you are using hand sanitizers to help combat the spread of H1N1 influenza and other diseases, therefore we are sharing the following FDA warning:

FDA Warns Consumers Not to Use Skin Products Made by Clarcon Due to Bacterial Contamination Risk

Products marketed under various names

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today that Clarcon Biological Chemistry Laboratory Inc. of Roy, Utah, is voluntarily recalling some skin sanitizers and skin protectants marketed under several different brand names because of high levels of disease-causing bacteria found in the product during a recent inspection. The FDA is warning consumers to not use any Clarcon products.

Consumers should not use any Clarcon products and should throw these products away in household refuse. Analyses of several samples of over-the-counter topical antimicrobial skin sanitizer and skin protectant products revealed high levels of various bacteria, including some associated with unsanitary conditions. Some of these bacteria can cause opportunistic infections of the skin and underlying tissues. Such infections may need medical or surgical attention, and may result in permanent damage. Examples of products that should be discarded include:

  • Citrushield Lotion
  • Dermasentials DermaBarrier
  • Dermassentials by Clarcon Antimicrobial Hand Sanitizer
  • Iron Fist Barrier Hand Treatment
  • Skin Shield Restaurant
  • Skin Shield Industrial
  • Skin Shield Beauty Salon Lotion
  • Total Skin Care Beauty
  • Total Skin Care Work

Findings from the FDA’s recent inspection of the Clarcon facility are particularly concerning because the products are promoted as antimicrobial agents that claim to treat open wounds, damaged skin, and protect against various infectious diseases. The inspection uncovered serious deviations from FDA’s current Good Manufacturing Practice requirements.

Federal Trade Commission - Debt Collection FAQs:

A Guide for Consumers

If you’re behind in paying your bills, or a creditor’s records mistakenly make it appear that you are, a debt collector may be contacting you.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, enforces the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which prohibits debt collectors from using abusive, unfair, or deceptive practices to collect from you.

Under the FDCPA, a debt collector is someone who regularly collects debts owed to others. This includes collection agencies, lawyers who collect debts on a regular basis, and companies that buy delinquent debts and then try to collect them.

Here are some questions and answers about your rights under the Act.

Debt Collection FAQs: A Guide for Consumers / English

Debt Collection FAQs: A Guide for Consumers / Spanish