Health + Safety
Although fuel prices have gone back down after this year's peak, many working families will still have a challenge heating their homes due to recession-related financial difficulties. The money available to help heat the homes of low-income Maryland families has more than tripled from a winter ago, going from $35 million to $110 million. “Maryland’s working families are the cornerstone of our economy, but are also the most significantly impacted.”
Chemical emergency. Dam Failure. Earthquake. Fire. Flood. Hazardous Material emergency. Heat emergency. Hurricane. Landslide. Nuclear emergency. Terrorism. Thunderstorm. Tornado. Tsunami. Volcano. Wildfire. Winter Storm. A scary list, but it's too late for Halloween, so what is it?
The commissioners of McDowell County in North Carolina have voted to purchase a diesel storage tank, in order to save money on fuel costs and be prepared for future shortages. They already have a similar tank for gasoline, but emergency services and waste collection vehicles require diesel.
Burning more wood for heat could save homeowners money in oil-dependent Maine, but a task force in the nation's most forested state cautioned that care is needed to avoid health problems and damage to the wood products industry.
In Montpelier, Vermont, city leaders are enlisting the help of residents to keep their neighbors safe during the winter, when many are expected to be at risk due to the cost of heating fuel. The volunteers will be helping to share information and assembling a bit of a social safety net.
BYPAD (Bicycle policy audit) is an instrument for evaluating local and regional cycling policy and improvement of its quality. BYPAD has been developed, applied and continuously improved since 1999, with support from the European Commission. Meanwhile more than 100 cities and regions in 20 European countries are evaluating and improving their cycling policy, supervised by 34 certified auditors from these countries. BYPAD has become a European quality standard for cycling policy and a vital European network.
Climate change adaptation is included in the (perhaps not too catchy) motto of the International Disaster and Risk Conference that will be held in Davos, Switzerland in August: "Public-private partnership – Key for integral risk management and climate change adaptation." Both climate change and energy uncertainty are critical risks to society.
Some people, motivated by high fuel prices, are climbing into more fuel-efficient golf carts instead of cars. Police and other public agencies may follow suit. But will these non-standard vehicles be a hazard when they mix with traffic?
Some Idaho Falls city officials are proposing construction of a fuel storage facility that in case of emergency could sustain services, like police and fire, for a month. They estimate that they would require 50,000 gallons of fuel.
With gasoline climbing toward $4 a gallon, police officers around the country are losing the right to take their patrol cars home and are being forced to double up in cruisers and walk the beat more. Some police think it helps them do their job better.