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Boston's experience with social media is key during emergencies
Emergency Management
During the immediate aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings and subsequent search for the perpetrators, Boston Police Department tweets in effect became the official source of information for everyone, including the media, especially after numerous reports by the press turned out to be false. By the time suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was holed up in a boat, the media had turned to Boston police tweets as an official source of information.
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Georgia officials under fire for actions before, during and after snow
CNN
Two days after snow began to fall — and a day after many Georgians, including hundreds of schoolchildren, finally made it home — the state's governor apologized for what many saw as an insufficient and ineffective response. Speaking later with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Gov. Nathan Deal said "we all made errors in judgment" and that "the major lesson is we have to be more proactive." According to the governor, that means taking action like declaring a state of emergency earlier on — even if it ends up being a false alarm, relatively — and making sure the resources are available to deal with such a crisis.
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Coastal towns look to improve beach safety
Claims Journal
Just 60 miles south of Glynn County, the lively community of Fernandina Beach, Fla., relies heavily on tourists — just like the Golden Isles. But unlike the Golden Isles, Fernandina Beach spends more than $200,000 a year on safety measures at its beaches and has 35 seasonal lifeguards spread along 12 miles of shoreline. It also has all-terrain vehicles, powered personal watercrafts and a truck. Glynn County spends $60,000 a year for eight seasonal lifeguards along about a mile of beach and relies on kayaks and one all-terrain vehicle for rescues. For Fernandina Beach, it is more than an investment in safety. It is also a marketing pitch: Visit us, our beaches are safe.
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States lag in laws preventing drug overdose
Governing
Fewer than 20 states have laws that encourage people who have experienced a drug overdose to seek medical help or make medications that counteract the life-threatening effects of drug overdoses widely available, according a recent report from Trust for America’s Health. Public health experts recommend states take a number of steps to curb overdose mortalities, which have doubled in 29 states since 1999, according to the Trust.
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Texas officials share what they learned from West explosion with first responders
Longview News Journal
Ten months after the deadly explosion in West, Texas killed 15 people — a dozen of them firefighters — representatives from the state fire marshal’s office were in Longview to share some best practices and lessons learned from the tragedy. State Fire Marshal Chris Connealy and Assistant State Fire Marshal Kelly Kistner spent about two hours on Feb. 4 discussing how the explosion strained resources in the small town of less than 3,000 people, including destroying two schools, a nursing home, an apartment complex and the town’s infrastructure.
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Policy for sounding sirens to include more than tornadoes in Illinois cities
Emergency Management
Changes are coming in the way Twin City residents are warned about severe weather. The sirens in the Twin Cities will sound when a severe thunderstorm warning is issued by the National Weather Service and winds of 70 mph or greater are forecast or occurring in the area. The 70 mph wind speed is considered tornado strength, said McLean County Emergency Management Agency Director Curt Hawk.
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Despite safety emphasis, school shootings continue
KCNC-TV
There’s been no real reduction in the number of U.S. school shootings despite increased security put in place after the rampage at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012. In Pennsylvania and New Mexico, Colorado, Tennessee and elsewhere, gunfire has echoed through school hallways, and killed students or their teachers in some cases. “Lockdown” is now part of the school vocabulary.
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Paying for seat belts on school buses: How much will it cost?
WXIN-TV
It’s a question many parents simply can’t answer — why aren’t most school buses equipped with seat belts? It’s a question Natasha Watkins wants answered. Her son Michael broke his leg in a March 2012 bus crash that killed her daughter’s six-year old friend, Donasty Smith. “I got up that morning and put my kids on the bus just like any normal morning,” said Watkins. “My heart really goes out to her mother because I don’t know what it’s like to lose a child.” “It felt like a monster truck just ran over your toe,” said Michael. “It happened so fast, they found me in the back.”
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Chicago moves to regulate rideshare companies
WBEZ-FM
The days of Chicago’s Wild West of ridesharing services may be numbered, if the city has its way. The Mayor’s office plans to introduce new rules at a recent City Council meeting, aimed at bringing the technology companies into the regulatory fold. But the move is already angering some who say the city should use its existing regulations for taxicabs and livery vehicles, rather than create a new set of rules.
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Arizona company's weapon to battle drowsy driving is in high gear
WSFA-TV
Thousands of crashes, many of them deadly, happen every year. And drowsy driving is to blame. New technology is being developed in Arizona that could save lives. Drowsy driving has been a continual problem for Arizona Department of Public Safety officers, said DPS spokesman Bart Graves. Last year, there were 248 deadly fatigue-related crashes in Arizona. One Arizona company, Seeing Machines, is trying to prevent that. The company has developed a product that could help get sleepy drivers off the road.
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