Wednesday, July 20, 2016

FEMA Urges the Midwest Region to Be Prepared for Extreme Heat

Urging Residents to Download FEMA Smartphone App Designed to Help Families Before, During, and After Disasters

Kansas City, MO – The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region VII office is urging residents across the region to take steps now to prepare their families and communities for extreme heat, by reviewing important safety information and downloading the FEMA smartphone app.
The National Weather Service The National Weather Service announced that “dangerously hot and humid conditions are expected this week across a large portion of the nation.” Additionally, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center’s latest outlook notes that most of the continental United States is facing elevated chances of well-above-average summer temperatures. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, heat kills more people than hurricanes, lightning, tornadoes, earthquakes and floods.
To help all residents stay safe during extreme heat, FEMA urges residents to consider taking the following actions in affected areas:  
Postpone outdoor games and activities and limit exposure to the sun.
Drink plenty of water and avoid caffeine; limit alcoholic beverage intake.
Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing.
Spend the warmest part of the day in temperature-controlled buildings such as libraries, schools, movie theaters, shopping malls, or community facilities.
Check on family, friends, and neighbors who do not have air conditioning and who spend much of their time alone.
FEMA also urges residents across the region to download and use the free FEMA app, which provides valuable safety tips to help families prepare for and recover from more than 20 natural and man-made hazards. The FEMA app enables users to receive weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations across the nation, making it easy to follow severe weather that may be threatening family and friends.  The app also provides family communication plans, customizable checklist of emergency supplies, and maps of open shelters and disaster recovery centers. The app is available on the Apple App Store and on Google Play.

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack to Visit Missouri, Host Opioid Addiction Town Hall Featuring Senator McCaskill

ST. LOUIS, Mo., July 20, 2016 – This week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, chair of the White House Rural Council and leader of the Obama Administration’s national initiative on rural opioid addiction, will visit Missouri to discuss the urgent need for resources to address the epidemic. Vilsack is calling on Congress to quickly pass funds to provide resources to help turn the tide of the epidemic. This week, Congress passed legislation aimed at the crisis; however it did not provide any funding. The President’s budget proposes $1.1 billion in new funding to support states in expanding treatment options. Missouri would be eligible for up to $17 million dollars over two years to expand access to treatment for opioid use disorders.

On Friday, July 22, Vilsack will host a White House Rural Council Town Hall in Columbia where he will be joined by Senator Claire McCaskill and local leaders fighting the epidemic. The town hall is open to the media and invited guests. While in Missouri, Vilsack will also host a roundtable discussion in St. Louis on Thursday, July 21 with McCaskill to learn about the efforts of the St. Louis County Prescription Drug Monitoring Program and discuss the need for the Missouri legislature to pass a state PDMP. Missouri is the only state in the country without a monitoring program.

Addressing the opioid epidemic is a priority for the Administration and in January, President Obama appointed Vilsack to lead an interagency initiative focused on this specific challenge in rural America. This is the second in a series of town halls that Vilsack announced earlier this year to bring together local and state government partners, the health community, law enforcement, and other stakeholders to raise awareness of opioid addiction and discuss possible solutions. Prescription drug misuse and heroin have taken a heartbreaking toll on too many American families, while straining public resources. New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows opioids were involved in 28,648 deaths in 2014, which means more Americans are dying from drug overdoses than in motor vehicle accidents each year.