What Happens in Vegas: Harvest Music Festival Mass Shooting | Domestic Preparedness Photo: ©iStock.com/Melissa Kopka
Commentary

What Happens in Vegas: Harvest Music Festival Mass Shooting

by Andrew Roszak -

While much of the news media has been focused on the coronavirus pandemic, violent incidents continue to occur throughout the United States. The shutdown of sporting events, schools, concerts, and other large events has led to an overall decrease in active shooter incidents. In fact, March 2020 was the first March without a school shooting since 2002.

 
Preparedness

Disaster Case Management: An Important Disaster Response Tool

by Senay Ozbay -

Effective disaster response and recovery involves identifying and establishing an organization that serves the needs of vulnerable populations utilizing pre-disaster risk assessments and crisis management communication, with planned and tested tools and robust resources. Disaster Case Management is one such tool.

Commentary

Do Not Stop Exercising – Go Remote!

by Andrew Altizer & James Westbrook -

An important aspect of emergency preparedness is a robust exercise program designed with the vital purpose of identifying gaps, updating plans, and strengthening emergency response. Exercises bring together key stakeholders to help build collaborative relationships that pay huge dividends when the real emergency arises. Simply understanding other agency protocols and operational capabilities are valuable lessons learned from most exercises. However, exercises go beyond the checklists, plans, and policies. They offer the opportunity to get to know other people and solidify teams.

Commentary

Staying Prepared in a Changing World

by Catherine L. Feinman -

Many professions are steeped in tradition, including those in emergency preparedness and response organizations. In these well-established environments, when asked to make a change to traditional practices, the response is sometimes simply, “No, this is how we’ve always done it.” Such thinking can leave communities underprepared for new, emerging, or evolving threats. What worked well 5, 10, or 20 years ago may have lost its effectiveness as times and conditions have changed or there may simply be more options available that have not been considered because of tradition.

Resilience

The Epitome of Failure – Part 3

by William H. Austin -

At the beginning of a 28 May 2020 court hearing, U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup made the following opening statement, “If there ever was a corporation that deserved to go to prison, it is PG&E for the number of people it has killed in California.” Pacific Gas and Electric’s (PG&E) survival for the last decade has been described in some detail in Parts 1 and 2 of this three-part article. The vox populi of the courts, regulators, fellow utilities, businesses, and customers has most of the time fallen on deaf ears with the leadership of PG&E. The facts that create this type of environment are extremely complicated.

Preparedness

A New Way of Looking at Earthquake Plans

by Frances Dunniway -

With the inevitability of earthquakes in California, disaster preparedness and evacuation focused on the safety of lives is of utmost importance. The health, welfare, and safety of children are of paramount importance, as children are left in the protection of school district officials. In 2005, California Legislature passed Assembly Bill 103 requiring that each school district have a safety disaster plan in place and charged the U.S. Department of Education to coordinate with Office of Emergency Preparedness to keep these materials current and updated (AB 103, Section 1).

Updates

FEMA Preparedness Grant Evaluation Request for Information

FEMA’s National Preparedness Assessment Division has issued a request for information in the Federal Register seeking input on measuring the impact that the Homeland Security Grant Program has on state, local, tribal, and territorial preparedness.

Preparing State and Local Leaders for an Explosive Attack

Explosives are a popular choice among terrorists for causing disruption, casualties, and destruction. Explosives are relatively easy to make, transport, and use. The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate wants to make sure that state and local leaders have choices, by arming them with technology to plan for worst-case scenarios and mitigate the fallout of terrorist attacks.

Investing in Advanced Manufacturing to Support Public Health Preparedness

Many 21st century medical products are still being manufactured using technologies commonly employed since the middle of the last century. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has sought to encourage and facilitate the adoption of “advanced manufacturing,” which refers to new and emerging approaches for the production of medical technologies. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for adaptive manufacturing systems to accelerate the production of medical countermeasures.

S&T, EPA Are Helping Coast Guard Prepare to Clean Up Following an Anthrax Attack

If terrorists use anthrax as a bioagent on a ship or in a harbor, the U.S. Coast Guard must decontaminate the impacted area as quickly as possible to reduce the threat to personnel and civilians, while remaining ready to do its mission. The project Analysis for Coastal Operational Resiliency (AnCOR) aims to find the best, safest methods to decontaminate Coast Guard bases, stations, and vessels. The project is a partnership of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Coast Guard.

NIST Launches Investigation of Face Masks’ Effect on Face Recognition Software

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) did a preliminary study to see how well face recognition algorithms identify people wearing masks. Even the best of the 89 commercial facial recognition algorithms tested had error rates between 5% and 50% in matching digitally applied face masks with photos of the same person without a mask.