december 2018

Reports

Surviving a Catastrophic Power Outage: How to Strengthen the Capabilities of the Nation

The President’s National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC) was tasked to examine the nation’s ability to respond to and recover from a catastrophic power outage of a magnitude beyond modern experience, exceeding prior events in severity, scale, duration, and consequence. This report contains recommended solutions that reduce risks and improve security and resilience. 

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Updates

Fighting Fire with Fuel Treatments: A Shared Stewardship Approach

Each year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service uses prescribed fire and mechanical treatments to limit the potential for extreme fire activity on national forests. National forest fire and fuels programs were designed to reduce and remove excess vegetation. Years of research confirms that these treatments result in better fire suppression outcomes and help firefighters in their response efforts.

Reports

Long-Range Emerging Threats Facing the United States As Identified by Federal Agencies

The United States faces a complex array of threats to our national security, including our political, economic, military, and social systems. A House committee report accompanying a bill for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 included a provision for the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to identify emerging threats of high national security consequence. This report is a public version of a classified report that GAO issued on September 28, 2018. 

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Commentary

Building a Healthy & Resilient Community

by Catherine L. Feinman -

A healthy community is a resilient community. From pandemic threats to school shootings, crisis events continue to affect the health and wellbeing of the surrounding human population long after the crisis ends. These health effects can then weaken a community’s ability to cope with future disasters. As such, physical, psychological, environmental, and technological factors all play key roles in determining how well a community prepares for, mitigates, responds to, and recovers from a disaster.

Resilience

Trauma Lessons Learned From a School Shooting

by Robert C. Hutchinson -

At the end of the school day on 14 February 2018, a former student entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSDHS) in Parkland, Florida, and committed a mass murder on the campus that forever changed numerous lives and an entire community. During the attack, 17 students and staff were killed and another 17 were injured. Approximately 3,500 students and staff were not physically injured, but most definitely affected by the active shooter attack.

Updates

Pandemic Influenza Vaccine: An Investment in Preparedness That Lasts More Than a Decade

As part of the nation’s overall pandemic preparedness strategy, HHS set a preparedness goal of establishing and maintaining a stockpile of bulk vaccine antigen and adjuvants for influenza viruses with pandemic potential to vaccinate 26 million people immediately after a pandemic is declared. The results of the “BARDA Ready In Times of Emergency” (BRITE) study has determined that the H5N1 influenza vaccine stored for more than a decade in the National Pre-Pandemic Influenza Vaccine Stockpile (NPIVS) is still safe and immunogenic.

Podcast

Hurricanes & Islands – One Year Later

During September 2017, two major Category 5 hurricanes impacted the U.S. Virgin Islands. More than one year later, the scope, scale, and magnitude of Hurricanes Irma and Maria are still being felt. The three islands that make up the U.S. Virgin Islands – St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John – suffered prolonged critical infrastructure shortages and failures in the aftermath of the storms. A lack of reliable access to electricity and water compounded challenges as the islands sought to recover from a hurricane season that caused an estimated $282.27 billion in damage and claimed over 3,300 lives.

In the U.S. Virgin Islands, many buildings were damaged, destroyed, or later condemned. This included the hospitals serving St. Thomas and St. Croix and several of the Department of Health’s buildings, clinics, and offices. After a year has passed, the residents are adjusting to the new normal and are working with the resources that have been provided.
 
DomPrep Advisor Andrew Roszak, who has been supporting recovery efforts in the Caribbean through the Institute for Childhood Preparedness, recently sat down to conduct a podcast with Chance Lindner of the U.S. Virgin Islands Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to learn more about the state of recovery and how EMS is seeking to deploy a community paramedicine model to better serve the needs of the Islands. Listen to the podcast today.

Preparedness

Gene Drives – An Emerging Terrorist Threat

by Richard Schoeberl -

Conventional acts of terrorism will likely never fade away, and advancements in technology will continually raise concerns for governments and global security practitioners. The increasing threat and possibility of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive (CBRNE) use is evolving. Terrorist groups are actively seeking materials and the expertise to manufacture and utilize those materials in future operations. One of the frontiers in terrorism today involves a developing technology known as “gene drives.”

Commentary

Podcast: Hurricanes & Islands – One Year Later

by Andrew Roszak -

During September 2017, two major Category 5 hurricanes impacted the U.S. Virgin Islands. More than one year later, the scope, scale, and magnitude of Hurricanes Irma and Maria are still being felt. DomPrep Advisor Andrew Roszak recently sat down to conduct a podcast with Chance Lindner of the U.S. Virgin Islands Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to learn more about the state of recovery and how EMS is seeking to deploy a community paramedicine model to better serve the needs of the islands.

Updates

VitalTag Delivers Faster Response Time for Paramedics

When mass casualty incidents occur, emergency medical technicians and paramedics need a way to easily monitor multiple patients on scene, receive notifications when vital signs change for the worse, and share that information with everyone who needs it. The first solution targeting medical responders – called VitalTag – began development about 18 months ago and is now past the prototype stage.

Updates

Partner Alliance for Safer Schools Releases New Safety and Security Guidelines for K-12 Schools

The Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS) released the fourth edition of its Safety and Security Guidelines for K-12 Schools, which provides school administrators, school boards, and public safety and security professionals with guidelines for implementing a layered and tiered approach to securing and enhancing the safety of school environments.

Updates

Friendly Electromagnetic Pulse Improves Survival for Electronics

An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) emitted by a nuclear weapon exploded high above the United States could disable the electronic circuits of many devices vital to military defense and modern living. Military equipment designs – and some civilian designs as well – have been tested and improved by a “friendly” EMP generator installed at Sandia National Laboratories.

Updates

Four Ways to Enhance Language Access During Disaster Response and Recovery

A checklist, which was developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response in partnership with the HHS Office for Civil Rights, includes recommendations, specific action steps, and effective practices to assist emergency responders in communicating with various populations who have communication needs. The checklist also includes additional federal resources and tools for first responders.

Reports

Tribal Mitigation Plan Review Guide

The Tribal Mitigation Plan Review Guide is the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s updated policy on tribal mitigation planning requirements. The intended use of the guide is to facilitate consistent evaluation and approval of tribal mitigation plans as well as to facilitate compliance with the mitigation planning requirements when developing or updating plans. The Tribal Mitigation Plan Review Guide went into effect on 5 December 2018.

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Healthcare

Environmental Health – Profoundly Local & Profoundly Useful

by David Dyjack -

Nutrition, community resilience, and poverty are just a few factors that are of great importance to public health professionals, which include representatives for maternal and child health, preparedness, nutrition, epidemiology, and land use planning, among others. However, the second largest segment of the public health workforce – the environmental health (EH) profession – bridges the gaps within the public health discipline as well as between public health and other disciplinary sectors.

Updates

TSA Releases Cybersecurity Roadmap

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) released its Cybersecurity Roadmap, which will guide efforts to prioritize cybersecurity measures within TSA and across the transportation systems sector. The roadmap is the agency’s first, and closely aligns with the DHS Cybersecurity Strategy published earlier in 2018. It stresses the inextricable risks to critical cyber and physical transportation infrastructure, and provides a way forward to improve and protect the systems from threats.

Updates

Coast Guard, DHS S&T Venture Into Space With Polar Scout Launch

Coast Guard Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation Program – in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) – launched two 6U CubeSats from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The launch is part of the Polar Scout project to evaluate the effectiveness of space-based sensors in support of Arctic search and rescue missions. Knowledge gained from this demonstration will be used to inform satellite technology recommendations for many potential applications within the Coast Guard and across DHS.

Updates

Operation Shortbread Is Not Your ‘Cookie Cutter’ MCM Exercise

In an emergency, health departments might activate a point-of-dispensing location (POD) to dispense medical countermeasures (MCMs) in the form of medicines – including antibiotics, vaccines, medical supplies, and personal protective equipment. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates MCMs, which are used to diagnose, prevent, protect against, or treat people in a public health emergency. CDC’s Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) program supports state and local jurisdictions in their work to strengthen their ability to receive, distribute, and dispense MCMs during emergencies.

Updates

Reinventing Drug Discovery and Development for Military Needs

Military service members face conditions that place unique burdens on their individual physiology. The potential exists to develop pharmacological interventions to help service members complete their toughest missions more safely and efficiently, and then recover more quickly and without adverse effects. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) created the Panacea program to pursue the means of rapidly discovering, designing, and validating new, multi-target drugs that work with the body’s complexity to better support the physiological resilience and recovery of military service members.

Updates

Clinical Trial of Investigational Ebola Treatments Begins in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

An international research team has begun patient enrollment in a clinical trial testing multiple investigational Ebola therapies in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The randomized, controlled trial is enrolling patients of any age with confirmed Ebola virus disease at a treatment unit in the city of Beni operated by ALIMA (The Alliance for International Medical Action), a medical humanitarian organization.

Healthcare

Combating Pandemic Threats – Global Health Security Agenda

by Gary A. Flory -

On 6-8 November 2018, global health leaders from around the globe met in Bali, Indonesia, for the 5th Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) Ministerial Meeting. At the meeting, the GHSA launched a five-year plan to address health security issues called GHSA 2024 and U.S. Health and Human Services Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan reaffirmed U.S. support for the GHSA with a pledge of $150 million. This global efforts and this commitment of resources to strengthen the capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious diseases are clearly needed.

Updates

Squad X Improves Situational Awareness, Coordination for Dismounted Units

The first test of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Squad X Experimentation program successfully demonstrated the ability to extend and enhance the situational awareness of small, dismounted units. Squad X provides Army and Marine dismounted units with autonomous systems equipped with off-the-shelf technologies and novel sensing tools developed via DARPA’s Squad X Core Technologies program.

Updates

Congress Passes Legislation Standing Up Cybersecurity Agency in DHS

On 13 November 2018, the United States House of Representatives voted unanimously to pass legislation creating the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The CISA Act (H.R. 3359), which passed the Senate in October and now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law, would reorganize DHS’ National Protection and Programs Directorate into a new agency and prioritize its mission as the Federal leader for cyber and physical infrastructure security.

Updates

Factsheet: Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency

On 16 November 2018, President Trump signed into law the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Act of 2018. This landmark legislation elevates the mission of the former National Protection and Programs Directorate (NPPD) within DHS and establishes the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). This is the Factsheet released for the new Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

Updates

S&T Dam-Breach Simulation Software Helping Communities Plan for Emergencies

A computer simulation system called Simulation-Based Decision Support System for Water Infrastructural Safety (DSS-WISE™) Lite can generate maps of inundation scenarios caused by dam or levee failures by calculating the speed at which the water would advance, the depths, and the extent of land and infrastructure it would impact. This system is jointly sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Armed with such information, emergency managers can plan for dam/levee breach incidents.