COVID-19 Guidance

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Emotional Health and Wellbeing

We are wired to be social. Doing so safely requires diligence and creativity. Keeping a positive and informed perspective that we will get through the COVID-19 pandemic is critical to reducing the emotional impacts and continuing to create personal and societal resiliency.  Here are some tips that assist with that effort.

  

Emerging public health protocols and social adjustments due to COVID-19 challenges our collective emotional wellbeing. As human beings, we are wired to be socially connected with others. In fact, there are many positive physical and mental health benefits from being connected to others. Conversely, social isolation and a lack of physical contact can carry concerns for negative emotional impacts. 

Sources of stress for people who are isolated or distanced socially include decreased sensory stimulation, limited social support, and lack of access to standard coping strategies, such as spiritual or religious practices or exercising outdoors. These things, along with missing work and other obligations, can trigger a powerful sense of losing control. People who quarantined may experience feelings of stigmatization in addition to the feelings people who are socially isolated as a prevention strategy have. People who are socially isolated can experience:

  • Increased symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Fear, abandonment, and loneliness
  • The emotional and physical impact of lack of exercise

Coping strategies include keeping oneself connected to both accurate information as well as to other people, while adjusting this interaction to minimize risk. Whether through an old-school style of writing someone a letter or video chatting on a smartphone, our opportunities for social connectiveness are many. Maintenance of these connections can aid in empowerment and help to reduce risks association with social isolation and quarantine. Staying informed and connected are powerful tools for stress management. Other strategies for coping with social isolation include:

  • Practicing mindfulness and relaxation exercises
  • Stay connected by phone and electronically
  • Keep current connections strong
  • Stay informed through reliable sources
  • Limit your screen time 
  • Eat healthy and drink plenty of water
  • Call elderly and house-bound friends and neighbors to see how they are feeling. Bring them meals and special treats, being mindful of their vulnerability and susceptibility.
  • Play board games with your kids, or read to children and have them read to you 
  • Take on a home project, paint that wall that you have been thinking about
  • Work in the garden
  • Have push-up contests or do yoga together
  • Make special meals and involve the whole family, eat healthy!
  • Order in meals from favorite restaurants that you don’t think normally do takeout
  • Get outside - go for walks, runs, and hikes (maintain social distancing)
  • Assign someone at work as your Morale Officer to focus on your team’s wellness

Again, we are wired to be socially connected. Doing so safely requires diligence and creativity. Keeping a positive and informed perspective that we will get through this, together, is critical to reducing the emotional impacts and continuing to create resiliency. 

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Preparation is the key!

Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS), business to-do list

Speak to your insurance agent about coverage including coverage when alarm systems are down due to PSPS and product spoilage from PSPS.

Understand how PSPS will impact your workforce availability, particularly for employees with school-age children as schools may be closed.

Preparation for 5 to 7 days of no electricity  (see list to the left for at-home planning tips)

If your business relies on electrical power, contact a licensed electrician to discuss options.  


For more business preparedness tips, listen to the video below... and as always, Resolute Associates are available to help you with your business continuity planning!

Emergency Planning for business

Recently Resolute Associates facilitated dialogue regarding "Emergency Readiness for Businesses" at the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce's Insight Studio workshop. This video captures many of the best practices and exercises provided in the original presentation.

Articles and Presentations

Rolling Blackouts Could Protect You from Wildfires, But Are They Worth the Risk?

Railroads Can Teach Utilities How to Stop Causing Fires

Homeland Security Today -  November 15, 2019 , Robert Lewin

The wildfire menace of a century ago is forgotten by most. Even compared to the current wildfire situation, the scale of loss then was enormous. Deadly and destructive fires were regularly killing hundreds, even thousands, of people and destroying whole towns and forests. Part of the solution then was eliminating railroads as a major cause of wildfires. We are now faced by similar problem: How do we eliminate powerlines as a major cause of disastrous fires? 

Rolling Blackouts Could Protect You from Wildfires, But Are They Worth the Risk?

Homeland Security Today - July 5, 2019, Robert Lewin

The devastation of climate-change induced wildfires is real and will continue to get worse as we see new fires eclipse previous fires in size, destruction and deaths. Shutting off the power will prevent some of these fires, but are the impacts acceptable? 

Time for a New Blue Ribbon Fire Commission to Act on Escalating Wildland Crisis

Homeland Security Today - May 4, 2019, Robert Lewin

We only have so much time following a disaster to identify lessons learned and determine how we can improve our response to the next similar crisis. History has example after example of a paradigm shift following a crisis or disaster. People and organizations are motivated, funds are found, and resources are redirected. With the record-breaking, climate-change-induced deadly wildland fires over the past two years, we are now in one of those crisis moments when we are again offered the opportunity to comprehensively focus our efforts on reducing loss of life during a disaster. Indeed, it is our responsibility to do so. 

Guiding Force in Santa Barbara County Disaster Preparedness and Relief Set To Retire

KCLU Radio -  March 26. 2019, Lance Orozco

"Rob Lewin is looking forward to being able to get some real rest for the first time in four years. That was when he became Director of Santa Barbara County’s Office of Emergency Management. In four years, he faced six major fires, the Alamo, Ray, Sherpa, Whittier, Thomas, and Holiday brush fires. On top of that, there was the deadly 1/9 debris flow in Montecito. Lewin is planning to retire this spring."   

Wildfire Evacuation: Interagency Cooperation, Planning Are Critical

Homeland Security Today - August 18, 2016, Robert Lewin 

Emergency managers are looking at a new paradigm where multiple evacuations involving scores of people are prevalent. Many of the evacuees are elderly or have special needs. Despite challenging budgets,emergency managers must prepare their jurisdictions for the inevitable. 

In the Shadow of Fukushima: Facing the Fires of a Meltdown

Homeland Security Today - June 2012, Robert Lewin

Japan’s earthquake and tsunami forced a re-evaluation of nuclear power plant protection. Now, a veteran firefighter examines the state of American preparedness and looks at what needs to be done next.