july 2017

Updates

DHS S&T Assesses Mitigation Tactics Against Jamming

The 2017 First Responder Electronic Jamming Exercise was hosted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) July 16-22. Nearly 100 federal, state, and local public safety and private organizations gathered to test tactics and technologies to identify, locate, and mitigate illegal jamming of communications systems. 

Updates

Making Flood Forecasting Easier, Faster

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate’s First Responders Group has partnered with the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) to develop a new Internet of Things (IoT) sensor technology and geo-targeting alerts that aim to help first responders to better respond to flood events, resulting in saving more lives and property faster.

Updates

DHS S&T Awards VTO Inc. $928K for Drone Forensics R&D

To increase law enforcement capabilities to identify, collect, and analyze evidentiary data from consumer and professional drones, the Department of Homeland Security  (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has awarded a research-and-development contract to VTO Inc. of Broomfield, Colorado. The award is part of the S&T Cyber Security Division’s Cyber Forensics project.

Updates

50-Year-Old Flu Virus Model Revamped, Revealing Pandemic Prediction Possibilities

A University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine team discovers that a model of the influenza genome architecture untouched since the 1970s is not so perfect after all. The discovery reveals loopholes in the way the virus packages its genetic material, which could give scientists the opportunity to better predict pandemics and find new ways to disrupt the flu virus.

Resilience

FEMA Corps: Bringing in the Next Generation

by Richard Serino & Jennifer Grimes -

When Hurricane Sandy struck the east coast in 2012, its effects were devastating. The storm left a trail of destruction that affected 24 states, killing 159 people, costing $70.2 billion in damage, and leaving millions without power. Yet, in the wake of this terrible disaster, there was a new source of hope: A group of young AmeriCorps members working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) newly launched FEMA Corps assisted the recovery effort.

Commentary

Help Wanted: Next Generation of Emergency Managers

by Catherine L. Feinman -

Veterans, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials compose the majority of the modern workforce, but the next generation (Generation Z) is now beginning to emerge from schools and colleges. Before this new generation transforms into a significant portion of the workforce, it is important to determine what makes these young people unique and what they can offer to the emergency management field.

Commentary

Emergency Management: Not Just for Emergency Managers

by Martin D. Masiuk -

This special edition of the DomPrep Journal focuses on the field of emergency management, which embodies the essence of DomPrep’s mission: to bridge the emergency preparedness gap between disciplines and jurisdictions. True leaders in the field demonstrate through continued action that emergency preparedness does not begin or end with a job title.

Commentary

Next Responder of the Future

by Kay C. Goss & Catherine L. Feinman -

Each year, experienced emergency management and first responder personnel are retiring from their careers, and retiring the vital skills that they spent their lifetimes learning. As the next generation of young adults moves into these fields, it is critical for the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the previous generations to be passed on through education, training, and mentorships. Some organizations are leading this effort with youth programs that strive to attract new interest in emergency preparedness and response.

Commentary

Advice from W. Craig Fugate: Learn, Do Not Just Observe

by W. Craig Fugate -

I was only 31 when I started in emergency management. There are a lot of young emergency mangers out there faced with some pretty hefty responsibilities. If I were to provide advice to the next generation of emergency managers, I would say this: …

Updates

Space Station Project Seeks to Crystalize the Means to Counteract Nerve Poisons

The microgravity conditions of the International Space Station (ISS) may hold the key to improving our understanding of how to combat toxic nerve agents such as sarin and VX. That is the hope of Countermeasures Against Chemical Threats (CounterACT) project that is part of an initiative at the National Institutes of Health aimed at developing improved antidotes for chemical agents.

Reports

Greater Impact: How Disasters Affect People of Low Socioeconomic Status

This report focuses on how people in poverty, with low incomes, and of low socioeconomic status (SES) experience disasters. The report helps to clarify the ways in which people of low SES may be at greater risk than other groups in disasters, as well as barriers to disaster preparedness and other adverse situations or experiences they may face during the phases of disaster impact, response, and recovery. 

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Updates

Biosecurity Stakeholders Offer Recommendations for National Biodefense Strategy

More than 50 public and private sector biosecurity stakeholders gathered at a meeting convened by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security on June 22 in Washington, DC, to engage in a discussion about US biodefense capabilities and offer recommendations for the forthcoming National Biodefense Strategy and Implementation Plan.

Reports

Safer, Stronger, Smarter: A Guide to Improving School Natural Hazard Safety

This Guide provides up-to-date, authoritative information and guidance that schools can use to develop a comprehensive strategy for addressing natural hazards, including earthquake, tsunami, flood, hurricane, tornado, and high wind. It is intended to be used by administrators, facilities managers, emergency managers, emergency planning committees, and teachers and staff at K through 12 schools.

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Preparedness

Today’s Emergency Manager: Versatile Enough for Any Industry

by Keith Grossman -

If someone were to walk into a high school classroom today and ask the students about their future professions, there may be one or possibly two students who wish to pursue emergency management. However, as much as the field has grown since 2001, emergency management is still not the dream career of the average high school student. It is much more likely that these students would consider more traditional fields in the business, health, or finance world.

Resilience

FEMA Corps: Youth Engagement in Emergency Management

by Sierra Griffieth -

The FEMA Corps Program is the result of a revolutionized partnership between the Corporation for National and Community Service and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Established in 2012, FEMA Corps falls under the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps umbrella. Its members travel across the country assisting FEMA and its partners with disaster preparedness, response, and recovery initiatives.

Commentary

Schooling the Next Generation of Professionals

by Robert Magliaro -

On 27 June 2017, the Urban Assembly School for Emergency Management (UASEM), the first high school in the United States dedicated to the field, graduated its first cohort of students. Over the past four years, UASEM has engaged students in exploring careers in first response through trips to the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) training headquarters, logistics at the New York City Emergency Management Emergency Operations Center, and internships in emergency management organizations across the region.

Commentary

A Generation Z Perspective on Intergenerational Learning

by Gisselle A. Aguirre -

As the next generation enters the emergency management field, it is time to think about the impact experienced generations can have on their younger counterparts. In emergency management, experienced professionals have knowledge that younger generations cannot gain until they are in the field, but they can share that field experience in the classroom and bring textbooks to life.

Updates

FEMA Announces Funding Awards to Prepare Communities for Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attacks

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials announced funding awards for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Program to Prepare Communities for Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attacks (CCTA Program). The CCTA Program will provide $35.94 million to selected recipients to improve their ability to prepare for, prevent, and respond to complex coordinated terrorist attacks in collaboration with the whole community.

Updates

Virginia Will Become the First State to Opt-In to FirstNet’s National Public Safety Broadband Network

Governor Terry McAuliffe signed a letter of intent declaring that the Commonwealth of Virginia will allow the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) and AT&T to proceed with the deployment of the Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network in Virginia. FirstNet is a dedicated public safety interoperable, nationwide mobile broadband network created to enable continued communication during a disaster or other large-scale event.

Updates

USGS Publishes a New Blueprint That Can Help Make Subduction Zone Areas More Resilient

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has developed a blueprint for advancing science and resilience from subduction zone hazards. The plan leverages scientific and technologic developments, improves hazard assessments, addresses stakeholder needs, and maximizes capabilities through partnerships to reduce risks. The resulting products will inform decisions and policies to make communities and critical infrastructure less vulnerable.

Updates

DHS S&T Licenses New Cybersecurity Tech to Atlanta Small Business

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announced that a network flow analysis technology that will help strengthen cybersecurity has transitioned to the marketplace through its participation in S&T’s Transition to Practice program. The Network FLOW AnalyzER has been licensed by zSofTech Solutions, an Atlanta business providing cybersecurity and information technology services.

Preparedness

Mentorship – A Four-Step Example

by Sarah Geydarov -

They meet in the local diner across the street, in a small coffee shop meters away from headquarters, or in the office behind closed doors. But, these get-togethers between emergency management colleagues are not to discuss upgrades to the latest heat emergency plan, or to flesh out details for an upcoming tabletop or functional exercise. These meetings instead promote professional development by providing a roadmap to help emergency management neophytes navigate pages of plans and protocols to learn from their colleagues’ experiences in the field.

Commentary

School Safety and Security: The Power of Students

by Robert Boyd -

On 22 May 2017, DomPrep held a panel discussion on “Responders of the Future” at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. In concert with that event, Secure Schools Alliance Research and Education (the Alliance) released its brief, “Securing Our Schools: Partner Roles and Responsibilities.” Together, these offerings provide significant insight on the power that students can play in the safety and security of their schools.

Preparedness

Next Generation Emergency Management

by Terry Hastings -

The discipline of emergency management is poised to benefit from three converging factors: an increasing number of millennials joining the workforce; the proliferation of emergency management related degree programs; and greater visibility and relevance of the discipline itself due to the increasing frequency, scope, and magnitude of disasters and evolving threats. Together, these factors will shape emergency management for the next generation.

Updates

Large-Scale Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device Testing

The Explosives Division (EXD) of the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate has taken measures to address the threat of vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED, also known as car bombs) attacks directly. EXD’s Homemade Explosives program conducts large-scale VBIED testing to mitigate the threat posed by massive car bombs and to ensure such attacks do not occur in the United States.

Reports

Combined Arms Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction

The United States Army released a new doctrine on how to conduct the countering weapons of mass destruction (CWMD) mission as combined arms teams. It is primarily oriented on the brigade combat team and below. This manual provides tactical-level commanders, staff, and key agencies with a primary reference for planning, synchronizing, integrating, and executing combined arms CWMD.

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Updates

Smart Quadcopters Find Their Way Without Human Help or GPS

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Fast Lightweight Autonomy (FLA) program is advancing technology to enable small unmanned quadcopters to fly autonomously through cluttered buildings and obstacle-strewn environments at fast speeds (up to 20 meters per second, or 45 mph) using onboard cameras and sensors as “eyes” and smart algorithms to self-navigate.

Updates

Researchers Develop Microneedle Patch for Flu Vaccination

A National Institutes of Health-funded study led by a team at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University has shown that an influenza vaccine can produce robust immune responses and be administered safely with an experimental patch of dissolving microneedles.

Reports

EMS Infectious Disease Playbook

This document unifies multiple sources of information in a single planning document addressing the full spectrum of infectious agents to create a concise reference resource for emergency medical services (EMS) agencies developing their service policies.

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Reports

WHO Guidelines on Ethical Issues in Public Health Surveillance

The goal of this guideline development project was to help policymakers and practitioners navigate the ethical issues presented by public health surveillance. This document outlines 17 ethical guidelines that can assist everyone involved in public health surveillance, including officials in government agencies, health workers, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector.

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Updates

Virtual Training for Active Shooter Incidents Now Available to First Responders

First responders of all disciplines now are able to train together for active shooter and other critical incidents thanks to a new virtual training platform made available by the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. The Enhanced Dynamic Geo-Social Environment (EDGE) training platform is now available to first responders nationwide at no cost.