Neighbourly help, key to surviving an earthquake, city planner says

City of Vancouver holding a series of earthquake preparedness workshops

While Vancouver residents’ reaction to this year’s unusual winter weather may have the rest of Canada rolling its eyes, being prepared for a disaster is no laughing matter for a City of Vancouver’s earthquake-response coordinator.

Jackie Kloosterboer, emergency planner with the city, says people have to be better prepared when an earthquake strikes. “We saw people fighting over bags of salt [this winter],” she said. “When a big earthquake happens, people are going to be fighting over food. They’re going to be fighting over water and other supplies we don’t have coming in.”

The city is holding a series of earthquake-preparedness workshops over the next few weeks that will address issues like how to make an emergency response plan, how to help seniors, how to help your family pet, and how to protect your home and property during an earthquake.

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Consumer warranties to get standard treatment

When is a good deal really a lemon? Sometimes the biggest bargains come with the heaviest hidden costs, thanks to unclear warranties that cover little when things go wrong. Faulty goods and ambiguous warranties are one of the greatest bugbears for consumers and retailers. A new ISO standard in development aims to help.

Faulty goods and substandard services are a significant cost, both to the consumer and society as a whole. A UK study, for example, showed that problems with unsatisfactory goods and services set the country back more than 6 billion pounds per year, not to mention the time wasted and stress created.

In addition, problems with warranties and failure to rectify faulty goods are a significant generator of consumer complaints. In Malaysia, for example, the National Consumer Complaints Centre receives more than 40 000 complaints each year, many of which stem from unclear warranty terms. Issues include warranties not valid in different countries and disputes over responsibility, resulting in consumers being bounced from manufacturer to retailer, often leaving a bitter taste in their mouth.

A new standard being developed aims to remove confusion and frustration by providing guidelines for clear and effective consumer warranties, improving confidence for purchasers, retailers and manufacturers, and smoothing the way for better trade.


Facebook adds tools for finding or giving help after local disasters

Facebook is ramping up its efforts to become a disaster and crisis response tool.

Facebook’s users often connect on the social network to seek relief and provide support during times of crisis. Now, the company is updating its Safety Check feature to make it easier for people to find or give help such as food, shelter or transportation during local disasters.


Safety Check lets users in a certain geographic area mark themselves as safe after disasters, such as the earthquake in Nepal or terrorist attacks in Paris, giving friends and family members relief from worry about whether someone was affected.

The new Community Help tool will let users post requests for assistance or offers of help from within Safety Check, and can be filtered by category and location, according to Preethi Chethan, a product designer at Facebook.

Facebook first started Safety Check in response to the 2011 tsunami in Japan. Community Help will be initiated for natural disasters and accidents, like earthquakes or building fires, according to a blog post by Naomi Gleit, a Facebook vice president.

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ICAO’s flight plan takes off

Air transport has become essential to our global society. In fact, it would be difficult to envisage a world without aviation. Here, Fang Liu, Secretary-General of ICAO, looks at the industry’s recent developments and unveils the plans to tackle the future.

Air travel around the world has seen a marked change in the way the aviation industry functions. From its inception, when flying was considered a risky proposition, air travel has now emerged as the preferred means of transportation for long distances between major cities.

The number of passengers passing through the world’s airports has grown while the real cost of flying has fallen by 60 % over the last 40 years, making it more accessible to more people. During the same period, aircraft have become more energy-efficient and quieter.

In the midst of all this, technology and strict compliance with standards have helped the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to weather the storms and ensure continuous improvement in air transport safety and security. Can this be sustained given the growth in air traffic and environmental pressures?

ISOfocus caught up with ICAO’s Secretary-General, Fang Liu, to discuss how air travel has transformed over the years. Here, Fang Liu looks at how the industry has met the challenges of the recent past and unveils ICAO’s new measures to meet the challenges of the future. Above all, she explains why collaboration and partnership with ISO is of such vital importance in building a resilient global security framework.


ISOfocus flies high in the latest issue on aviation

Flying is more popular than it has ever been. Once seen as a luxury that only a privileged few could afford, air travel has become a genuine form of mass transport over the past few decades.

According to a report from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), passenger numbers are likely to surge in the next couple of decades. IATA expects 7.2 billion passengers to travel by air in 2035, a near doubling of today’s 3.8 billion level. Its projections are published in the Group’s 20-Year Air Passenger Forecast report. It is a remarkable statistic, the more so given the future standards that will need to be developed for the industry during that period.

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ISO has just released its January/February 2017 issue of ISOfocus. Aptly entitled “Our flightpath to the future”, it covers the most pervasive and ubiquitous trends and opinions. To bring some perspective to this term, we spoke to several leaders in the aviation arena for their thoughts on the industry – on its survival and the new and emerging trends that are fuelling its growth.

Dare to dream big: Empowering innovators with Standards

To create the innovations of today and tomorrow we have to work together, but first we need to understand each other. To exchange knowledge, to make things compatible, ISO Standards are the solid base, the common language that humanity can rely on.

ISO publishes powerful new tool to combat bribery

A new business tool designed to fight bribery is now published. ISO 37001 is the first international anti-bribery management system standard designed to help organizations combat bribery risk in their own operations and throughout their global value chains. It has the potential to reduce corporate risk and costs related to bribery by providing a manageable business framework for preventing, detecting and addressing bribery.

“Bribery is a significant business risk in many countries and sectors,” says Neill Stansbury, Chair of ISO project committee ISO/PC 278 responsible for the new standard. “In many cases, it has been tolerated as a ‘necessary’ part of doing business. However, increasing awareness of the damage caused by bribery to countries, organizations and individuals has resulted in calls for effective action to be taken to prevent bribery.”

Many organizations have already invested significant time and resources into developing internal systems and processes for preventing bribery. ISO 37001:2016, Anti-bribery management systems – Requirements with guidance for use, is designed to support and broaden those efforts, while providing transparency and clarity on the measures and controls that organizations should be putting in place and how to implement them most effectively and efficiently.

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Humanity Road is looking for volunteers

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Humanity Road Volunteer Opportunities

Humanity Road delivers disaster preparedness and response information to the global mobile public before, during, and after a disaster. Providing aid information helps individuals survive, sustain, and reunite with each other and with their pets. Humanity Road strives to close the disaster communications gap through process improvement, collaboration, partnerships, education and training.

Volunteers monitor emerging events; slow moving natural disasters and natural calamities, such as floods or typhoons and fast moving events such as an earthquakes or tornadoes. The team of global volunteers employ social media to monitor the online chatter associated with disaster events.

Current Volunteer Opportunities

This year has been an incredibly busy time for disasters and many of you have spread your wings to the challenge! There are many volunteer opportunities and some exciting project work coming up.

Please read through the volunteer opportunities and join to assist. Thanks in advance for the gift of your time and in volunteering your skills for disaster response.

How can I help?