Puerto Rico Hurricane: Preparedness, Response, and Recovery

Earn 1.5 Contact Hours

Hurricane hazards present unique and complex challenges to all those who confront them. Preparing for, enduring, and recovering from hurricanes requires the partnership of a diverse array of business, government, volunteer, professional organizations, all working in concert towards the common goals of protecting people, pets, and property. One place where this is especially true is Puerto Rico, which in 2017 suffered one of the most catastrophic hurricane season on recent history. Struck by the powerful Hurricane Maria in 2017, Puerto Rico is still recovering during the present hurricane season. 

This webinar will examine Puerto Rico’s disaster preparedness, response and recovery efforts from an industrial hygiene and an environmental health perspective.

 

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

Upon completion, participants will be able to:

  • Identify key steps in hurricane preparedness, response, and recovery
  • Identify hazards associated with hurricanes
  • Discuss the partnerships that take place between businesses, governments, volunteers, and professional organizations
  • Understand the current status of hurricane recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and continuing needs.

PRESENTERS

Dr. Pablo Méndez-Lázaro was born and raised in Puerto Rico, USA. Pablo is currently an Associate Professor and the Coordinator for the Master’s Degree program at the Department of Environmental Health of the University of Puerto Rico, Graduate School of Public Health. During the last 10 years, he has been involved in multiple research studies regarding extreme weather events and their impact on public health and resilience in Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, and the continental US.  In his professional career, he has been an author on 25 publications in peer reviewed journals and has contributed six books chapters. He is an Executive Member of the Puerto Rico Climate Change Council, Researcher and member of the Executive Board in San Juan ULTRA (Urban Long Term Research Area); Researcher and City Co-Lead in UREx-SRN (Urban Resilience to Extreme weather events-Sustainability Research Network) and; Researcher and City Co-Lead in National Science Foundation Project: Empowering communities to build sustainable and equitable urban futures through smart visualizations and knowledge systems. He is also a Co-author of the US Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4) for the Caribbean Region (Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands).

During the 2017 hurricane season in the Caribbean, he quickly got involved in relief and recovery efforts impacting communities in US Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Following these efforts, he was invited to join Oxfam America’s first delegation of responders from Puerto Rico to travel to Washington D.C. to help educate key Members of Congress and their staff about the Puerto Rico emergency. More recently, he received recognition by the Premier of the British Virgin Islands for his contribution to relief and recovery efforts as a first responder in the British Virgin Islands. 

Sergio Caporali is an industrial engineer graduated from the University of Lima-Peru in 1994; he earned a Masters in Manfacturing Systems Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico in 1998, a Masters in Sciences in Occupational Hygiene in 2001 and Occupational Safety, and a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering-Ergonomics in 2002 from West Virginia University.  Sergio was a Plant Manager in an Industrial Equipment Manufacturer in Peru for 3 years prior to his graduate work.

Since 1996 he has been involved with Occupational Hygiene and Safety.  He is a CSP since 2005 and a CIH since 2011.  Sergio currently holds a professor and program coordinator position for the Industrial Hygiene Program at the University of Puerto Rico - Medical Sciences Campus, where he, among other duties, conducts applied research and teaches in industrial ventilation and noise control.  Finally, Sergio is also involved with worker training with OSHA Susan Harwood funding since 2001 and after Hurricane Maria participated in several disaster release initiatives and lead a worker training program on  Hazard Prevention during Hurricane Recovery that has reached over 1,100 workers so far across Puerto Rico. ​​​​​​