ASK ANN

"So, is bird flu coming or not? Is there any information available to use for training our solid waste handlers if it does?"

The answer is: Your guess is as good as mine! However, there are several old adages that say "Better safe than sorry" or "Forewarned is forearmed," so you're wise to think about your staff. There is a new eight-page document prepared by the National Solid Wastes Management Association entitled "Avian Influenza: The Hunt and Peck for Answers." It was prepared to provide information about avian influenza for purposes of waste management, including some basic information about the disease, what scientists know about how it spreads, and currently available waste management options. The report also discusses managing infected carcasses, bird feces, bedding and feed. You can access the report at: http://www.nswma.org/AvianFlu06.pdf.

"Work zone safety continues to be a major problem for our agency. We have so much construction work underway all the time that our employees frequently feel they are under fire. Can you suggest a way we can get the message out to the public that abiding by speed limits and following directions in a work zone are key to saving lives?"

One very meaningful example of a Public Service Announcement prepared by the Missouri Department of Transportation was recently shown throughout the State of Missouri. It features a MoDOT employee discussing work zone safety on a St. Louis TV newscast following the death of a contract highway worker. One week later the MoDOT employee was killed in the line of duty when a driver drove through orange work zone cones and struck him. As you can imagine, it packs a punch. MoDOT has also adapted the ad for radio and will use the campaign throughout the next year. This concept might be something you can develop locally. For more information you can contact Jeff Briggs, MoDOT, (573) 751-5985 or read the news release at www.modot.gov/newsandinfo/District0News.shtml?action=displaySSI&newsId=6539.

"Dan Augustin, Director, Fleet Manager, Bloomington, IL writes asking, 'We have begun to receive new hybrid vehicles for our fleet. Does anyone have policies or SOPs in place for technician safety while upfitting and performing PMIs on these vehicles?'"

You win the prize this month! I'm wondering if other folks just haven't had the problem or no one wants to be the first to post the question. If your agency has developed SOPs for technician safety while working on hybrid vehicles, please share them with Dan at daugustin@cityblm.org. If you want to copy me on your e-mail, I'll be happy to have the response to share with others.

"Earth Day will be here before you know it and we're looking for something new to use with school children. It can be about recycling or protecting the earth or whatever. Any ideas would be appreciated."

I'm sure many of our readers can share ideas and, hopefully, they will do so on the Environment infoNOW Community at environment@infonow.apwa.net. Here in the KC Metro area, we enjoy the services of the Eco-Troubadour. Stan Slaughter, the Eco-Troubadour, brings the world of waste and recycling and composting to thousands of kids at 80 to 90 schools each year through guitar and song. "We move. We sing. It's been said I'm a cross between Peter Seeger and the San Diego Chicken." His act is aimed at elementary school children, with one version of the program geared toward the younger folks and one version for older kids. Stan has been performing full-time for about 15 years, since grant money started to become available for solid waste and recycling education. He is a major hit in our area. You might like to contact Stan at http://stanslaughter.com/ for his ideas and other resources.

"I'm sure there must be several new techniques and products developed to aid in evacuation in the event of major disasters like hurricanes since Katrina. Anything particularly interesting that might not cost an arm and a leg?"

The City of Houston is testing a new method of speeding vehicle exit from the city. They are using yellow plastic water-filled barriers to replace 1,000-foot sections of concrete median to make it easier to convert two-directional into one-way traffic. In the event of evacuation, the plastic barriers are emptied of water and moved off the road. Then the traffic can be redirected. You probably remember the long, long lines of traffic, some spending up to 10 hours waiting to leave the city, and many running low or out of gasoline. For more information, contact Raymond Chong, Deputy Director, at Raymond.chong@cityofhouston.net.

Ask Ann...

Questions are welcome.

Please address all inquiries to:

Ann Daniels
Director of Technical Services
APWA, 2345 Grand Blvd., Suite 500
Kansas City, MO 64108-2625

Fax questions to: (816) 472-1610
E-mail:
adaniels@apwa.net