Meet A Delegate Monday: Conne Burnham

Michelle Bufkin, AU Agriculture Communications Student/EDEN Community of Practice Social Media Assistant, recently interviewed EDEN delegate Conne Burnham.

1. How did you first get involved with EDEN?

I came to work for the University of Missouri disasters education recovery preparednessExtension in January 2004 and because I’m in an emergency management program in extension I was asked to join EDEN as a delegate. But I really did not get involved with EDEN for several years, about five years ago I became much more engaged. Currently I am a member of the Exercise Group and Agrosecurity Committee. I have also been working on a COAD Guidance Manual update that involves University of Illinois and Purdue University, and has been shared with the EDEN membership.

2. What is your role of disaster preparedness in your state?

I work for two different programs in extension, one of them is a continuing education program. With that I manage training exercises that are specifically emergency management focused. On the other side I manage the community emergency management program, where regional teams throughout the state focus on assisting their communities in phases of the emergency management system. I coordinate that program and provide them with training and resources. On the state level I am a representative for the University of Missouri extension to the state emergency management agency. I am on three of their state committees. I am also on call in case they need additional assistance at the state emergency management agency.

3. Can you tell us a little about the work you are doing with the COAD manual?

I received a grant to work on the COAD Guidance Manual several years ago. Currently I am working to add an agriculture annex to the manual. I hope this will be helpful to people across the nation because when we have disasters in rural areas it seems that they seem to have the least amount of ability to recover. This is because they are living in a sparse area, and sometimes it is difficult to get them assistance. So this manual will cover how a community can help our rural areas more easily recover from some kind of disaster. I’m hoping the agriculture annex we are putting into the COAD manual will benefit a lot of people.

4. What has been your favorite disaster preparedness exercise and why?

My favorite exercises are the 12 exercises associated with Part 2 of the COAD Guidance Manual Project. Twelve local COADs signed up for the exercise and devoted several hours discussing their capabilities to assist their communities during a disaster. It was very fascinating to see the difference in organizational structures, what they had to offer, and how they would use the COADs. I think it gave me a much better idea about how COADs can really fit into a community. Before this I did not see how communities had engaged COADs as much as possible. I think this project really started getting more of them engaged.

5. What is your biggest piece of advice to other EDEN delegates?

Become engaged with the organization! If you just sit on the sidelines you get emails with all kinds of opportunities. Once you get more known in the organization you gain some credibility and validity. They are always looking for someone that has expertise in certain areas. I believe that if we are going to be a part of an organization we need to be able to offer the expertise and experiences we have, so we can help the organization as a whole. It helps educate all of our members, get engaged!


Meet a Delegate Monday: Scott Cotton

Michelle Bufkin, AU Agriculture Communications Student/EDEN Community of Practice Social Media Assistant, recently interviewed EDEN delegate Scott Cotton, who has two upcoming webinars.

Scott Cotton1. How did you first get involved with EDEN?
In 1997 Colorado had a large blizzard that swept across 22 counties and killed 35,800 head of cattle. The response to the blizzard was not ideal; it took about eight weeks to identify the livestock owners and dispose of the mass mortalities. The Animal Emergency Task Force was formed in response to the blizzard; it includes state and federal veterinarians, extension personnel, and brand inspectors. One of the university officials came to us and mentioned that we should get involved with EDEN. Since I had a background in emergency services, they sent me to find out more information. It was the third EDEN meeting, 11 people attended, but it was a helpful experience. When I returned to Colorado we decided to join EDEN, and that I should be the point of contact.

2. You have been with Extension in a few states (Colorado, Nebraska, and now Wyoming)? Have there been variations in the kinds of disasters and the preparedness needs of the people in the areas you have served? What are they?
The areas I work in are predominantly cow-calf, and dry-land farming areas, and it’s been that way in all three states I worked in. I experienced a lot of similarities, the differences are in each state’s structure and how they dovetail together with efforts to educate and develop resilience is dramatically different. In each state, each agency might have completely different roles.

Each state system is different, and yet similar. The reality of extension is continuity across the United States. Each area within the state is also different; my emphasis has always been the rural areas, where there is less readiness but more resilience. This is because ranchers and farmers are very self-sufficient; they are strong on neighboring, and helping each other recover. The drawback is when rural areas experience large disasters their resources are so small they get overwhelmed almost instantly. That’s where my big push has been over the last 20 years; to help livestock producers and farmers become more prepared and resilient.

In 1964, there was a national disaster guideline book sent out to extension offices that mentioned, especially in the western states, after a disaster the sheriff and extension will manage the disaster. A lot of our employees do not realize they may be called upon to respond to a disaster, but the community depends on it. Everything we do has a bearing on our community’s ability to recover.

3. You’ll be co-presenting two webinars this month. Tell us about them.
This month we are doing two webinars, both related to horses and disasters. Over my past 40 years I have had experience as a rural firefighter, EMT, and deputy sheriff. I then moved into extension where our role with responses is actually bigger than some people realize. We often end up assisting or coordinating shelters, evacuation patterns, and finding resources for disasters. I am using some of that experience to present with HorseQuest, an equine specialist group across the United States, two seminars: one targeting horse owners and the second targeting extension personnel. The first webinar will be focused on what owners can do to help their horses survive a disaster. We’ll talk about practice loading horses, having a predetermined evacuation route, having the right information in your horse trailer, having a horse trailer, knowing how to get out under different types of disasters, and more.

The second webinar will be using some of my experiences to help extension professionals. We will talk about experiences in Incident Command System and Strengthening Community Agrosecurity Preparedness Project. We will also talk about when extension professionals might be called upon to help plan disaster evacuation routes, providing educational materials about disasters with horses, including how to assess the impact area of a disaster, how to find where extension best fits into the emergency services role in their community, how to use our resources to help mitigate some disaster to horse owners.

4. As a veteran EDEN delegate, what advice do you have for new delegates?
Build your contact framework, because you will need it! The reality is that when a disaster occurs in your state it is not protocols and paper, it is relationships that help. It is everyone understanding their role, their resources and expertise available, and being ready to interact with each other. The most successful way to do that is to have a comfort level with the other agencies, organizations, and people in the community. Then when something happens there is a trust level, where they know you will help. The communities themselves will always recognize Extension stepping forward and taking an active role.

The people we work with are absolutely amazing. It does not matter if I have a flood and need to call Pat Skinner or Becky Koch, or a disease outbreak and need to call someone, or even after 9/11 when we bounced messages all across the nation. The group works together, they are very much a team even though we are scattered clean across the states, so use that to your advantage.



If you are interested in the webinar for horse owners (September 16 at 7pm ET) register here.

If you are interested in the webinar for Extension professionals (September 19 at 1 pm ET) register here.

Summer 2014 EDEN Newsletter

View the Table of Contents

From the EDEN Chair

Untitled-1As I write this on June 3 the monthly test of our tornado warning sirens is underway even as we are looking at a significant chance for severe weather during the overnight and early morning hours today and tomorrow. On top of that, the local paper has an article on Habitat for Humanity building three homes in Gifford, Illinois which was heavily damaged by a tornado on November 17 and I spent part of the weekend in Washington, Illinois, my home town, which was devastated by an EF-4 tornado on the same day.

With the harsh winter behind us, rebuilding is underway in earnest in both of those towns. 500 of an expected 1,000 or so building permits have been issued in Washington where the biggest current problem is keeping contractor trailers from blocking streets. Both towns await an announcement about state aid since federal public assistance funds were denied under the formula that penalizes small communities in states with large population centers.

All of this is prelude to a reflection on the remarkable strides made by the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) over the past decade or two. Back in November, we were alerted by the SPC four days out that there was likely to be an unprecedented, possibly tornadic, event for that late in November. This Spring the SPC has unveiled enhanced four to eight day outlooks. These tools assist local National Weather Service offices, commercial weather services, broadcast meteorologists, emergency managers, weather geeks like myself, and others as they prepare.

But, all of the tools in the world don’t make much difference if individuals do not ACT on the information. Recent research after the Joplin tornadoes indicates that it takes multiple –perhaps as many as 8 or 10 or more– messages and verification of messages before people take action. There’s a lot of “noise” as people receive multiple messages on many different topics each day. But now, as we enter hurricane season and brace for our summer thunderstorms, wildfires and other threats, is a good time to look through the clutter, pay attention to the vital messages and do what we can to protect ourselves, our families and our property.  — Rick Atterberry

 In this Issue

Summer Animal Diseases

Vesicular Stomatitis

Vesicular Stomatitis (VS) is a virus that affects horses, cattle, swine, sheep, goats and some wildlife species. Vesicular Stomatitis is easily recognized by blisters (vesicles) that may occur in the mouth, nose, lips, tongue, coronary bands of the hooves or around the teats and genitalia of animals. This disease tends to spread across the western United States with warm weather and if present is usually seen in the southern states first and may occur along rivers and streams. It is not known exactly how the virus overwinters but that flies appear to be common vector.

Vesicular Stomatitis on the tongue of a horse
Photo by Dr. Jeanne Rankin

The majority of animals infected with VS will not die, but its occurrence can be a highly economically devastating disease due to loss in milk production or loss of weight due to pain and discomfort when eating or drinking. Vesicular Stomatitis is a reportable disease to state and federal animal health officials and mimics the clinical signs of Foot and Mouth Disease and Swine Vesicular Disease. A specially trained veterinarian known as a Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostician will be called out to take samples and conduct an epidemiological investigation to complete the diagnosis. Infected animals should be housed a distance away from non-clinical animals and their movement restricted until signs of disease are gone and the chance of infecting other animals has passed, usually 21 days after the lesions have healed.

Closeup of  Vesicular Stomatitis on mouth of horse
Photo by Dr. Jeanne Rankin

Although VS is considered endemic in the United States it is an international reportable disease, resulting in movement restrictions of U.S. animals by other states and our international trading partners when a new diagnosis is made. At this writing only two counties in Texas have been diagnosed as having new cases of Vesicular Stomatitis.

For more information please visit the USDA:

United States Animal Health Association “The Gray Book” Vesicular Stomatitis,  see pages 423-429

Written for EDEN by Jeanne M. Rankin, DVM, Agro-Emergency Projects Coordinator, Montana State University Extension. You can contact her via email ( or phone (406-465-5142)

Back to Table of Contents

Webinars & Events

Upcoming Webinars & Events
Webinar Archives

Back to Table of Contents

Featured Resources

  • EDEN’s Hurricane Resources
  • Ready Wrigley 
    Brought to you by Office of Public Preparedness and Response within the CDC, Ready Wrigley Prepares for Hurricanes is an activity book available in English and Spanish. It tells how Ready Wrigley helps her family get ready for a hurricane and then what they do during and after the storm.
    FLASH (Federal Alliance for Safe Homes) offers Pick-A_Peril series of videos. This set is about how to prepare your house for hurricanes. Be sure to also check out the other perils found on the site.
  • How can I reduce the risk of a tree falling on my house during a storm?
    eXtension provides resources such as this to help you learn what you can do to protect your property from storm damage.
  • LSU AgCenter has a series of disaster information fact sheets for agriculture producers.

Back to Table of Contents