On-site medical care at George R. Brown Convention Center shelter in Houston

According to a recent press release, those sheltering at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston “will have medical care on-site through a 250-bed Federal Medical Station established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) at the request of the State Department of Health.”

“The Federal Medical Station is scheduled to be operational Wednesday.”

“HHS has additional Federal Medical Stations available for patient care in Texas, and has positioned two 250-bed Federal Medical Stations in Baton Rouge ready to be deployed in Louisiana should state officials determine they are needed.”

HHS has also “activated its Disaster Distress Helpline, a toll-free call center, that is available at 1-800-985-5990 to aid people in coping with the behavioral health effects of the storm and help people in impacted areas connect with local behavioral health professionals.”

HHS National Disaster Distress Helpline for #HurricaneHarvey 800-985-5990

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has set up a National DIsaster Distress Helpline for Hurricane Harvey.

This toll-free, multilingual, crisis support service is available 24/7 via telephone (1-800-985-5990) and SMS (text ‘TalkWithUs’ to 66746).

On the helpline website, the HHS states “When disaster strikes, often people react with increased anxiety, worry and anger. With support from community and family, most of us bounce back. However, some may need extra assistance to cope with unfolding events and uncertainties. If you are experiencing emotional distress due to the storm, call the National Disaster Distress Helpline. The Disaster Distress Helpline puts people in need of counseling on the path to recovery. Our staff members provide counseling and support before, during, and after disasters and refer people to local disaster-related resources for follow-up care and support.”

According to another press release, HHS is also working on local efforts for Texas and Louisiana in response to Hurricane Harvey by calling in “460 National Disaster Medical System staff, including community doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel from around the country, to be in place ahead of the storm and ready to respond when and where needed.”

THe HHS site dedicated to Hurricane Harvey is here.

Oxford study shows prolonged standing at work leads to greater risk of heart disease

So much for all that “stand at work” idea. A new study by the American Journal of Epidemiology finds that “workers who stand on the job most of the time are at greater risk of heart disease than workers who predominantly sit.”

The article on EHS Today shows the Oxford study was very thorough, taking into account age and existing health conditions.

“Even after adjusting for a wide range of factors – personal (e.g. age, gender, education levels, ethnicity, immigrant status, marital status); health conditions (e.g. diabetes, arthritis, hypertension, mood and anxiety disorders); health behavior (e.g. smoking, drinking, body mass index, exercise); and work (e.g. physical demands, shift schedule) – the risk of heart disease still was twice as high among people who primarily stood on the job compared to those who primarily sat. In fact, the unadjusted risk of heart disease among people who stood on the job even was slightly higher than among daily smokers (5.8 percent).”

That’s really scary. Prolonged standing at work is more dangerous than smoking.

The summary article is here on EHS Today, and the Oxford / American Journal of Epidemiology core study, methodology, and results are here.

The Texas valley got lucky – Harvey just glanced by

The Texas valley got lucky. Stupid lucky. Hurricane Harvey shifted North as it drew closer and just glanced the area with a few intense storms.

Right now the sun is out, you can see blue sky, and the ground is bone-dry.

Clouds over McAllen 082517 1830CST

Hurricane Harvey looks like a “Day After Tomorrow” kind of monster, and if it keeps its’ core in the Gulf, things are going to get real ugly in the next few days for upper Texas.

Stay safe everyone.

The Good, The Bad, and the tropical storm Harvey

To quote Kurt Russel’s character Gabriel Cash in the 1989 movie “Tango and Cash”…. this is FUBAR. Big time.

Tropical storm Harvey is bearing down on the Texas valley, and it’s gaining strength every minute it spends traveling the gulf.

Right now, the storm is expected to dump 24 – 48 inches of rain over 3 days inland and winds are expected to hit 75 mph. Parts of the Texas coast are anticipating four feet of rain as the storm makes landfall.

You know things are bad when Dailymail puts a story on the front page about it and meteorologists like @EricHolthaus are freaking out.

 

I’ll be out tomorrow hitting the local stores to get photos of the shopping carnage that’s going to ensue.

FUBAR. Big time.

The Texas Valley might get a hurricane in the next five days

According to NOAA, it looks like the Texas Valley might get a hurricane in the next five days.

Five Days 2017-08-21
Even though the storm is just a remnant of “Harvey” right now, NOAA expects it to gain strength once it passes the Peninsula. How long it stays in the gulf will make all the difference on how hard it hits.

If you are stuck live in the Texas valley, stock up at HEB or Costco or WalMart ASAP. Flashlights, batteries, tarps, groceries and water are going to vanish once the news outlets pick this up tomorrow night.

In semi-related news, I’m curious if this hurricane will get any press north of San Antonio once it manifests.

Federal contractors begin early shutdown preparations

This one kicked my spider-sense into overdrive. An article on Government Executive (and mirrored on Federal Soup) says “The president of the Professional Services Council (PSC), which represents 400 services and information technology organizations that provide services to federal agencies, said contractors should now begin planning for a government shutdown.”

Um… what?

There have been six government shutdowns in the past 36 years. 1981 (one day), 1984 (one afternoon), 1986 (one afternoon), 1990 (two days over the Columbus day weekend), 1995-1996 (twenty seven days) and in 2013 (fifteen days). The majority of them were based on “concerns” between a divided executive and legislative branch (Republicans and Democrats on alternate sides of the coin) that were eventually resolved.

So why the early red flag over a government that currently has a majority party in control of the House, Senate and Executive office?

David Berteau, “who served for 14 years at the Defense Department before becoming president of the Professional Services Council… speculated Congress would likely pass some sort of spending bill to avoid a shutdown in October, but did not guess as to whether President Trump would sign it.”

Ah hah. In other words, all bets are off.

The PSC is already putting plans in motion for an October 2nd shutdown and urging that contractors “should also begin to think through questions such as how they will notify their employees of a stop work order, their ability to pay employees while not receiving government reimbursements, whether they will be able to enter a federal facility even if their work is slated to continue and what tasks will not continue once federal employees are furloughed.”

October second would be the day the doors close if the shutdown takes place this year. If you know someone that would be affected by another government shutdown, you might want to tell them the PSC is already sounding the alarm.

A 70 year old video is more important than ever

A tweet by @OmanReagan lead me to an amazing video from 1947. The movie is only 17 minutes long, but this 70 year old video needs to be re-broadcast right now.

Take a moment and watch. Jump ahead to the 2 minute 2 second mark to get the main story.

 

Sound familiar?

White supremacy is evil. Racism is evil. Nazis are evil. End of discussion.

 

“Moscow Mules” from a copper cup are probably poisoning you

In the grand tradition of Russia, the trendy "Moscow Mule" drink that's served in a copper cup has a pretty good chance of poisoning you.

In a recent article on both The Washington Post and The Hill, a "Moscow Mule" is actually a fairly acidic drink, with a pH "well below 6.0". The "better call 911" part is that "copper should not come into contact with acidic foods with a pH below 6" because copper will leech into the drink (or food) it comes in contact with.

That mule kick? Copper poisoning! Hee-haw!

"Symptoms of copper poisoning include abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting and jaundice. Severe poisoning can cause liver failure and death.”

The solution is pretty simple – drink "Moscow Mules" from "copper mugs lined on the inside with another metal, like nickel or stainless steel."

Better yet, have a Guinness.