september 2017

Updates

Advanced Decontamination Guidance Now Available in Alluviam’s New HazMasterG3 Release

Advanced decontamination and neutralization guidance for over 10,000 materials and tradenames, an expanded ordnance database and additional home made explosives precursors (HME) are just some of the new capabilities found in version 21 of Alluviam’s HazMasterG3 CBRNE/HME decision support system.

Updates

Information for Disaster Evacuation Centers

Natural disasters and severe weather – like the recent Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria – can result in the need for disaster evacuation centers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has assembled pertinent resources in one place.

Reports

Hurricane Season Public Health Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Guidance for Health Care Providers, Response and Recovery Workers, and Affected Communities-CDC, 2017

To help protect the health and safety of the public, responders, and cleanup workers during response and recovery operations from hurricanes and floods, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry have developed public health guidance and other resources.

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Commentary

National Preparedness Month: A Year-Round Endeavor

by Catherine L. Feinman -

Throughout National Preparedness Month many communities’ preparedness plans have been tested. Hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, floods, and drought are just some of the threats faced this month. Although preparedness is highlighted during the month of September, recent events reinforce the need for preparedness to be a year-round effort – especially during months when daily operations are not being overshadowed by catastrophe, and agencies and organizations are not being tested in full public view.

Commentary

Exercise Because of Want, Not Because of Need

by Nitin Natarajan -

For decades, governments have conducted emergency preparedness exercises as a method to evaluate the ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from natural and manmade disasters. There is no doubt the tens of thousands of exercises conducted across the nation have improved the nation’s preparedness but, in order to tackle new and emerging threats, more must be done.

Updates

Volunteers Play Integral Role in Disaster Relief and Recovery Efforts

Volunteers representing dozens of local, state, and national organizations are working alongside federal, state, tribal, territorial, and local responders to address the immediate needs of survivors affected by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is advising people who want to help to do so through affiliation with the voluntary organizations that are active in the ongoing disaster operations.

Healthcare

Active Shooter Incidents: The Rescue Task Force Concept

by Robert Mueck -

The concept of the Rescue Task Force (RTF) came from the Arlington County (Virginia) Fire Department. Looking at active shooter events around the country, these fire department leaders created a model that enables emergency medical services (EMS) to provide emergency medical intervention faster and within the Incident Command System (ICS) construct.

Resilience

Enhancing Infrastructure Protection Through Special Events

by Erin Mohres -

In an atmosphere of limited resources, critical infrastructure (CI) protection can be difficult to prioritize with crime-fighting and disaster response. Understanding real-world lessons learned from local agencies is one way to make progress. Leveraging the urgency demanded by special events can be a particularly productive path forward. This article offers suggestions from practitioners to develop CI protection programs through special events management, at varying levels of capability and scale.

Updates

HHS Partners to Develop First Intranasal Treatment for Cyanide Poisoning

The first intranasal (nose spray) treatment for the life-threatening effects of cyanide poisoning will be developed under an agreement between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) and Emergent BioSolutions of Gaithersburg, Maryland. Cyanide could be used as a chemical weapon against the United States.

Commentary

So Much More Than Having a Kit & Making a Plan

by Catherine L. Feinman -

For years, emergency preparedness professionals have been preaching the message, “Have a Kit, Make a Plan.” As a result, everyone is now ready for the next disaster … of course not. In its latest survey, DomPrep explored levels of preparedness, reasons why people do not plan, as well as possible solutions to reach those who have not yet bought in to the traditional messaging efforts.

Updates

Prepping for Rapid Drug Development

When an outbreak as virulent and fast moving as Ebola strikes, having resources to respond immediately can be the difference between life and death for both warfighters and civilians. To rapidly develop new treatments and medical countermeasures needed, the ability to conduct clinical research in a disease outbreak setting has significant advantages.

Updates

HHS Spurs New Antibiotic Development for Biodefense and Common Infections

To combat potentially deadly Clostridium difficile infections that can occur in patients being treated for bacterial infections including anthrax, tularemia and other biothreats, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response is partnering with Summit Therapeutics on late-stage development of a new antibiotic.

Reports

Disaster Debris Management: Requirements, Challenges, and Federal Agency Roles

This report focuses on the requirements applicable to disaster debris management and the challenges that communities face when attempting to manage debris both quickly and safely. This report also provides an overview of the types of support provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Environmental Protection Agency with respect to disaster debris removal. 

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Updates

USDA Recovery Efforts for Hurricane Irma

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds rural communities, farmers and ranchers, families and small businesses affected by Hurricane Irma that USDA has programs that provide assistance in the wake of disasters. USDA staff in the regional, state and county offices stand ready and eager to help.

Updates

Sheltering and Immediate Assistance Available After Hurricane Irma

In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, life, personal safety, and access to safe shelter remains a priority of local officials, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the entire federal family. Multiple immediate assistance and short-term housing options are available to support survivors in building a bridge to recovery.

Commentary

Helping School Districts Move Forward After Tragedy

by Guy Grace -

In fall 2013, the Littleton Public Schools District (Colorado), with great support from the community, passed an $80 million bond election for capital improvements within the school district. Immediately following the bond election, the Littleton Public Schools Security Department personnel began planning to implement their portion of the bond funds, which was about $7.5 million. Its security team’s journey toward security technology and infrastructure is a good example for other school systems

Updates

Global Open Consultation for Innovative Personal Protective Equipment

The World Health Organization has convened a series of expert consultations and workshops to address urgent requests for advice on appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) use. The members of the committee have drafted the preliminary Preferred Product Characteristics document for PPE for the healthcare workers at the frontline for consultation.

Updates

Radiation Analysis Software Makes Emergency Responders’ Jobs Quicker, Easier

When law enforcement officers and first responders arrive at an emergency involving radiation, they need a way to swiftly assess the situation to keep the public and environment safe. Decision-makers in these emergencies can now turn to a tool called InterSpec, which can rapidly and accurately analyze gamma radiation data collected at the scene.

Commentary

Rethinking Disaster Evacuation

by Daniel M. Gerstein & Andrew Lauland -

No two disasters are the same. Yet it is not unusual for officials to be confronted with a common critical public safety decision: whether to evacuate the public or advise them to shelter in place. This crucial decision, which is normally time sensitive, can set the tone for the remainder of the response and recovery phases.

Updates

Machine-Learning Earthquake Prediction in Lab Shows Promise

By listening to the acoustic signal emitted by a laboratory-created earthquake, a computer science approach using machine learning can predict the time remaining before the fault fails. The machine-learning technique used in this project also identifies new signals that provide forecasting information throughout the earthquake cycle.

Updates

Salmonella Vaccine Reduces Animal Disease and Foodborne Illness

Some types of salmonella cause disease in food animals, like pigs. Others cause foodborne illness in humans. A new vaccine developed by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in Ames, Iowa, protects against both human and animal disease-causing salmonella in food animals.

Updates

New Biosecurity Initiative Launched

A new biosecurity initiative at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) aims to identify and mitigate biological risks, both natural and manmade, and safeguard the future of the life sciences and associated technologies. The initiative advances the beneficial applications of the life sciences while reducing the risks of misuse by promoting research, education, and policy outreach in biological security.

Preparedness

Animals in Distress: A Community Preparedness Checklist

by Lacie Davis & Richard Green -

Recent studies have shown that pets have the ability to relieve stress, provide purpose, and give unconditional love and support to those who need them. This profound connection is referred to as the “human-animal bond.” During an emergency or disaster, this bond is exhibited with the great lengths people go to both remain with and save their pets, including putting themselves and others at risk. A new tool addresses this gap.

Updates

DHS Announces Grant Allocations for Fiscal Year 2017 Preparedness Grants

As part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) ongoing efforts to support state, local, tribal, and territorial partners, Acting Secretary Elaine Duke announced final allocations of $288 million for six Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 DHS competitive preparedness grant programs. Preparedness grants strengthen the nation’s ability to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies.

Updates

National Guard WMD Civil Support Teams Pursue Innovation

National Guard weapons of mass destruction (WMD) civil support teams respond to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear incidents throughout the homeland and advise and assist local and civil authorities on response measures. A team's success can often be measured by how quickly it can analyze and identify the threat and provide the incident commander with an assessment for containing the situation.

Updates

DNA Detectives Crack the Case on Biothreat Look-Alikes

Biological “detectives” are tracking biothreats, but they constantly face the challenge of avoiding false positives. Sounding the alarm over a bioattack, only to find it is a harmless relative in the same genus, reduces credibility and public trust. New work at Los Alamos National Laboratory is reducing confusion over Francisella bacteria, a few species of which include highly virulent pathogens.

Updates

CDC Emergency Operations Center Activates to Support Response to Hurricane Harvey

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was activated to address public health needs related to Hurricane Harvey and to deploy resources and personnel as requested. The EOC monitors and coordinates CDC-related activities in response to public health threats, including drowning and floodwater safety, carbon monoxide poisoning, downed power lines, unsafe food and water, mold, and other health risks.