Kids Spot / READYSUNDAY /
Active Shooter Safety / Vial of life / CyberSecurity

 

Kids Spot

Wally

Wally Wise Guy is a turtle who knows it is wise to go inside his shell whenever there’s danger. Wally is targeted to reach children from kindergarten to 4th grade.

Severe weather can be a scary thing for children and adults alike. While we can’t always avoid these disasters, we can be prepared and learn about them. Do you know to do in case of a weather emergency? The videos on this page will help you learn about different kinds of severe weather and how to be prepared in case they happen.

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Imagine a scenario where you are listening to a sermon at your place of worship on a Sunday morning, and you hear an outdoor warning siren wail nearby. Or perhaps you see a person acting suspiciously in your place of worship and they draw a weapon. What about a fire alarm sounding or just a loss of electrical power? What will you do in these situations? Is your congregation ready?

We have seen what can happen as with the tornado impact on Palm Sunday of 1994 near Piedmont, AL, and the violence on June 17, 2015 in Charleston, SC. A disaster or an attack could happen anywhere at anytime. 

The State of Alabama has created ReadySunday, an initiative that encourages religious organizations to create a disaster plan and educate their congregations on what to do and how to respond if a disaster was to occur, or if attacked. Promoting disaster awareness can save time, money, and most importantly lives.

Houses of worship should take an all-hazards approach in preparing for an emergency. As for families and individuals, these basic steps provide a framework to get prepared:

1. Be informed. All hazards are unique, so faith-based organizations need to learn and be aware of what kind of hazards can happen, and what effects a certain hazard can have on the people and building. It is important to know what our risks are in Alabama and prepare your congregation and yourself. Sign up a few people from your church with TuscALERT putting the church address as the location this will ensure you get notifications or alerts for the church during severe weather or other events.

2. Make a plan. It is recommended that the leadership at the place of worship should form a disaster planning committee and create a written plan. A link to a thorough and modifiable template of an emergency operations plan can be found at the bottom of the page. Part of this process also involves communicating the plan to all participants.

3. Build a kit. A disaster kit should be assembled with supplies necessary to survive during and after an emergency. Some items a congregation may include in the kit, but are not limited to, flashlights with backup batteries, a first aid kit, an AED, and a weather radio.

Organizations like yours play an integral role in our community, especially during and after disasters.  Not only will congregation members turn to their faith in times of crisis, but community members will seek out your organization for comfort and support.  With the collaboration of faith-based groups and government agencies, we can work together to educate and empower our communities to prepare before disasters strike.

For more information about ReadySunday – CLICK HERE

Helpful Tools:

FEMA Guide for Developing High-Quality Emergency Operations Plans for Houses of Worship – CLICK HERE

Modifiable House of Worship Emergency Operations Plan Template (Source: Fairfield County, OH EMA)

 

Active Shooter Safety

As active shooting incidents continue to increase throughout our nation and abroad, it is important to know what to do if you or a loved one is caught in the middle of one. The programs, Run-Hide-Fight and ALICE, are taught and widely accepted. Both were designed for the workplace, but the valuable information taught in them can be used in churches, community meetings, and schools. It is important to make a plan for your work, church, or school and educate your loved ones. Please look over the steps listed to determine your best response at each location you frequent. 

Run-Hide-Fight

  • Run – Always try to escape and evacuate an area where an assailant is present. Having a planned escape route and being aware of exits is critical for survival.
  • Hide – If an escape route is not present, hide. Quickly and quietly, secure safety by hiding in an office/room. If unable to secure safety in a locked room, hide behind any large object that will provide protection and act as a shield from the assailant.
  • Fight – If facing imminent danger and unable to run or hide, the last alternative is to fight the assailant. Prepare to use any object to disarm or distract the assailant.

A.L.I.C.E. (Alert Lockdown Inform Counter Evacuate)

  • Alert – With this alert should come an immediate response and understanding you may be in imminent danger. Every second counts and swift action is required.
  • Lockdown – If evacuating is not an option, secure safety in a locked and/or barricaded room.
  • Inform – After safety is established, communicating with law enforcement in real time is essential to provide critical information.
  • Counter – Focus on causing a diversion to distract the assailant.
  • Evacuate – When able to do so, safely leave the area.

For ALICE Action Steps: Click Here

Tips:

  • Take care of yourself first, and then you may be able to help the wounded before first responders arrive.

  • While you wait for first responders to arrive, provide first aid- apply direct pressure to wounded and use tourniquets if you have been trained to do so.

  • Keep hands visible and empty.

  • Know that law enforcement’s first task is to end the incident, and they may have to pass injured along the way.

  • Follow law enforcement instructions and evacuate in the direction they come from.

  • Officers may be armed with rifles, shotguns, and/or handguns and may use pepper spray or tear gas to control the situation.

  • Officers will shout commands and may push individuals to the ground for their safety. Follow instructions!

  • Consider seeking professional help for you and your family to cope with the long-term effects of the trauma. 

 

 

Tuscaloosa Police Department, Northport Police Department and the  Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office provide training on what to do during an active shooter event for citizens. If you would like to reach out and schedule a training for your community group, please contact one of the agencies below. 

For other Active Shooter information and training, see the links below:

 

Vial of Life Project

 

The Vial of Life Program encourages individuals to fill out a form and put it on their refrigerator, along with putting a sticker on the front door indicating they have it placed on the refrigerator. This allows first responders (Firefighters, EMTs, and Paramedics) to quickly know to go the the refrigerator to get their current medical history and list of medications in case they are experiencing  a medical problem or emergency. 

 
This process can be done in 4 easy steps!
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1. Fill out the Vial of Life form

  • Make blank copies of this form to keep your information current or maintain and store your updated information online with us.
  • Fill out the backside of the Vial of Life form. Answer all or any pertinent questions.

2. Place the decal on front of a plastic baggie

  • Place the form you filled out in the plastic baggie.
  • You may also consider placing the following items in the baggie:
  • Copy of last EKG                 
  • Living Will or Equivalent
  • DNR (Do Not Resuscitate), if applicable
  • Recent Picture of Yourself

 

3. Place the baggie on refrigerator door

  • Securely tape plastic baggie on the front of your refrigerator door.
  • Place the decal on your refrigerator – this could be on the front or side of the refrigerator, whichever is easiest for EMS personnel to see and access.

 

 

4. Place the second decal on front door

  • Place the decal on the front door so it can easily be seen by anyone responding to an emergency.

 

To get a printable version of the form, Click Here.

To get a printable version of the Decal for your door, Click Here.

If you are unable to print one of the above, you may contact Northstar EMS at (205) 259-8367.

 

CYBERSECURITY

 

Cyber Attacks:

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Be Aware of Phone Scams

Example #1: A caller contacts an older adult claiming a grandchild has been arrested and needs bail money or has legal fees. The caller may claim to be an attorney and that the call is legitimate. They will then send a courier to the older adult's location to retrieve the money.

Example #2: Someone calls and says they are a deputy or police officer and you have a warrant or a warrant will be issued for your arrest because you owe the IRS money. 

Example #3: Caller states they are with Alabama Power and you need to submit a payment so your service won't be interrupted for failure to pay.

Example #4: Caller may say they are with a bond company and they need payment for one of your family members to be released.

Example #5: Caller contacting you about recovering funds for worthless checks. 

Beware of putting too much information on Social Media

Surveys and answering post where you give data (first job, favorite color, favorite food, city of birth) are used to guess passwords. 

Be aware of email and letter scams or attacks
  • Some scammers will send emails that look like they are coming form legitimate sources, including banks, governments agencies, and other services and businesses.
  • Some scammers will send emails stating you have won a prize, the lottery, or a sweepstakes, be instantly on your guard if you are asked to pay a fee or tax for the prize, or if there's a request for your credit card or bank account information.
  • You may get a letter requesting your Medicare or health insurance information, social security number, or financial information due to you going to the doctor's office or hospital.
Tips of thing you should do if you get a call or email like one above:
  • Resist the urge to act immediately – no matter how dramatic the story is.
  • Verify the caller’s identity. Ask questions that a stranger could not  possibly answer.
  • Stop the conversation by getting their name and number. Check the story out with someone else in your family or circle of friends, even if you have been instructed by the caller to keep it a secret. If the caller says they are with the bank or law enforcement, call that organization to confirm if it is true. 
  • Do not send cash, gift cards, Green Dot cards, money grams, iTunes cards or money transfers. Once the scammer gets the money, it’s gone!
  • Never open your door for anyone you do not know.
  • Do not click on a link or open an attachment in an email, especially when you are not quite sure who it is from.
To help with Cybersecurity, Ransomware, and Malware issues:

Use Multi-factor authentication.

  • Look for errors in emails or web addresses (spelling, different sender email address, slight change in the web address). If an email is asking for personal information, call the company (Do not call the number within the email. It could the scammer's number). Google the company and locate the number that way to confirm if it is a real request.
  • Avoid using open or free public Wi-Fi. If you do use public Wi-Fi,  avoid entering banking information.
  • Regularly change passwords to network systems and accounts. Avoid reusing passwords for different accounts. Also, create long passwords that contain a variety of characters (EX. "j23HBAffbm&fPq44m^9K") 
  • Set antivirus and anti-malware solutions to automatically update; conduct regular scans.
  • Only download apps from trusted vendors and sources. Check your app permissions and use the "rule of least privilege" to delete what you don't need or no longer use. Also just say "no" to privilege request that don't make sense. 
  • Audit user accounts with administrative privileges and configure access controls with least privilege in mind.
  • Regularly back up data, air gap, and password protect backup copies offline.
  • Focus on awareness and training making sure employees know who to contract when they see suspicious activity or when they believe they have been a victim of a cyber attack.
Signs that you may be a victim of identity theft: Don’t ignore any of these suspicious signals. The longer you wait, the more time-consuming, costly, and exhausting it can be to rectify the situation.
  • bills for products or services you never purchased;
  • unauthorized withdrawals from your bank;
  • unauthorized charges on your credit card statements;
  • unauthorized charges on your credit card or new accounts in your name—which you never opened;
  • noticing a decrease in the amount of mail or bills you receive; or
  • a decrease in the amount of mail or bills you receive, or being rejected, or denied, for a credit application.

If you do send them money or give them personal information:

Call the police (non-emergency number) immediately if you have reason to believe you’ve fallen victim to a scam. Local police can do a report. 

Other reporting options you can take:

Report to the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency

Report to the Federal Trade Commission: Click Here

Report to the FBI: Click Here

Other Information:

Steps for small businesses and local governments Click Here

For other information visit: The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency

FEMA's Be Prepared for a cyberattack: Click Here and Click Here