Meet a Delegate Monday: Pete Barcinas

Michelle Bufkin, AU Agriculture Communications Student/EDEN Community of Practice Social Media Assistant, recently interviewed EDEN delegate Pete Barcinas from Guam. 

1. How did you first get involved with EDEN?

Our involvement with EDEN began March 2004 when we were welcomed by then EDEN Chair, Mark Hansen from Michigan State University and continue to participate since then.

2. What is your role in disaster preparedness?

At the University of Guam we collaborate with various agencies to help address both technical assistance requests related to programs and information around disaster education.  This includes periodic review and updates of our typhoon publications.  We work closely with our local first responders to provide information and support.

3. What are some unique challenges you have seen, pertaining to disaster preparedness, from living on an island?

The area of food security continues to be a concern for the community.  Recently, a delayed container shipment impacted the availability of food commodities and came at the same time with the West coast port labor disputes that handles our Guam-bound surface shipments.  While the industry and government folks work to address the pending food shortages, this came at some significant costs (for air freight) for perishable foods.  Also, Guam serves as break-bulk point to the other islands and you can imagine their food needs when we experience these situations.  For food, being prepared with a steady stock of important foodstuff can get the family by until the short term crisis is resolved.  As you can see, while food is important other non-food commodities add to quality of life and well-being issues.

 4. Can you share a lesson learned about working with communities on disaster preparedness?

Maintaining your disaster networks both locally and nationally is important.  They can provide updated information and resources that can be helpful.  The training opportunities is just amazing.

 5. What would be your biggest piece of advice to other EDEN Delegates?

I think the work that EDEN attempts to address across all disaster topic and issue areas is just awesome work, keeping the community interest first and providing timely and useful information is important.


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: Rick Atterberry

Michelle Bufkin, AU Agriculture Communications Student/EDEN Community of Practice Social Media Assistant, recently interviewed EDEN delegate Rick Atterberry

1. How did you first get involved with EDEN?

ratterbeI spent 30 years in commercial broadcasting; we were a full service station, so we were always heavily involved when severe weather or a disaster happened. When I left there I was asked to become the public information officer for the County Emergency Management Agency as a volunteer. I did this while I was working at the university. After a few years, extension administrators who had been the EDEN Point of Contact had taken on additional duties, so I was asked to become the new EDEN PoC about 12 years ago and I’ve been doing that ever since.

2. Can you explain a little about your role for disaster preparedness and recovery in your state?

I am currently wearing two hats in this aspect, the public information officer, and under Illinois state law, when the emergency management agency is activated state employees (such as university employees) are allowed basically “unlimited” leave time, as long as the activation continues to fulfill their volunteer roles. So I do that a lot with any disaster that occurs. On the extension side, it’s a multi-level thing, we work to support the local extension offices even in terms of their own safety. In fact we’re working with them to re-write the office disaster manuals for the state right now. I also teach, through extension, the ready business course, the continuity of operations course that we have available and do some other general education of overall preparedness, speak to scout groups, and other groups like that. Locally, I am the co-chair of a mutual aid group for public information officers.

3. What do you consider to be the most significant accomplishment during your tenure as EDEN chair?

I think really just staying out of the way and encouraging the delegates to continue their good work. Nothing happens without the delegates. I think the thing that is best about EDEN is that for almost everyone of the 300 and some delegates, this disaster education and recovery work is something they volunteered to do. It is something they are passionate about. In a lot of cases this is not even in their job description, they just enjoy EDEN. Working with those dedicated people, trying to make sure they have the resources to do everything necessary is something that I really made a focus. Each state does things differently, and recognizing that as one of the great things about EDEN is the flexibility that each state, the local extension offices can do what best serves their community.

4. What has been your favorite part about writing #WeatherWednesdays?

Writing those posts has been a lot of fun. It provides me with an outlet for writing, which I enjoy doing very much. I’m kind of a weather geek anyway, so it’s a way for me to spread the word. I have purposefully delayed writing some until we can see how the weather plays out, or how it does not play out. In a previous one, I focused on how difficult it is to precisely forecast winter storms. I also enjoy defining what certain terms are: such as a blizzard, people think you have to have a whole bunch of snow to have a blizzard, actually the amount of snow is not part of the definition at all. It comes down to wind speed and visibility issues. I enjoy educating people about all parts of disaster, including weather.