march 2020

Updates

NIST Releases Online Economic Decision Tool to Help Communities Plan for Disaster

Preparing a community’s buildings and infrastructure for a hurricane or earthquake can be an incredibly complicated and costly endeavor. A new online tool from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) could streamline this process and help decision makers invest in cost-effective measures to improve their community’s ability to mitigate, adapt to, and recover from hazardous events.

Updates

COVID-19 Information for the First Responder Community

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recognizes that first responders at the federal, state, and local levels are on the front lines of providing support to their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. To assist first responders in conducting activities as safely and efficiently as possible, DHS is providing links to authoritative resources to help inform and guide first responders actions.

Updates

New Geoelectric Hazard Map Shows Potential Vulnerability to High-Voltage Power Grid for Two-Thirds of the U.S.

The U.S. Geological Survey released a new report on geoelectric hazards for two-thirds of the contiguous United States, spanning from the northeast to the west coast of the nation. The research includes a map of voltages that would be induced on the national electric power grid by a geomagnetic superstorm.

Commentary

A Family Tradition – Old School Florida Smuggling, Chapter 14

by Robert C. Hutchinson -

The evolution of drug smuggling and related crimes in south Florida can be viewed through one family and their many criminal associates. The Barker Family entered the smuggling business in the 1970s and transitioned from marijuana to cocaine and illegal aliens by the 1990s. Through drug and alien loads, broad conspiracies, and multiple deaths, the smuggling group was active, successful, and notorious. This is an account of old school Florida smuggling through the long thread of one small family. It is a bit of a history lesson and a fascinating journey back in time.

Commentary

A Family Tradition – Old School Florida Smuggling, Chapter 13

by Robert C. Hutchinson -

The evolution of drug smuggling and related crimes in south Florida can be viewed through one family and their many criminal associates. The Barker Family entered the smuggling business in the 1970s and transitioned from marijuana to cocaine and illegal aliens by the 1990s. Through drug and alien loads, broad conspiracies, and multiple deaths, the smuggling group was active, successful, and notorious. This is an account of old school Florida smuggling through the long thread of one small family. It is a bit of a history lesson and a fascinating journey back in time.

Commentary

Triggered Collapse, Part 4: Cascading Consequences Beyond the Event

by Drew Miller -

The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security is a credible source for dealing with pandemics and disaster response. In 2018, the Center created a realistic simulation of a moderately contagious and moderately lethal virus, similar to the lethality of the 2002 SARS outbreak, which killed about 10 percent of those infected. Designed by senior scholar Eric Toner, the “Clade X” simulation was based on a virus that was bioengineered and released by a group modelled after Aum Shinrikyo – the cult that released sarin in the Tokyo subway in 1995. According to Toner, researchers are convinced that this scenario is plausible – a virus like this could be created and spread to ultimately kill up to 900 million people if no vaccine were successful. Health care systems would collapse, panic would spread, and the U.S. stock market would crash. Toner warned that a pandemic could cause the collapse of hospital systems, “Most people don’t know how close we came to having that happen in the U.S. in 2009 ... due to a not particularly virulent flu strain.”

Updates

bioMérieux Receives Emergency Use Authorization for BIOFIRE® COVID-19 Test

bioMérieux announced that its subsidiary, BioFire Defense, has received Emergency Use Authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of its BIOFIRE® COVID-19 test for use in CLIA moderate and high complexity clinical laboratories to detect SARS-CoV-2. The BIOFIRE® COVID-19 test detects SARS-CoV-2 in approximately 45 minutes from a nasopharyngeal swab in transport media.

Commentary

Resilience When Help May Not Be on the Way

by Catherine L. Feinman -

Disasters like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina physically devastated the regions in which they occurred, affected people who were not directly impacted, and spurred nationwide action to assist in the response and recovery activities. As significant as those events were, though, they could not prepare the nation for the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike most disasters in recent history, every community is feeling the impact and there is no end in sight. Daily routines have been universally interrupted, and everyone is now living in the hot zone.

Reports

FDA Medical Countermeasures Initiative (MCMi) Program Update FY2019

The FDA ensures that medical countermeasures – including drugs, vaccines and diagnostic tests – to counter chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and emerging infectious disease threats are safe, effective, and secure. This is the FDA’s annual report detailing its medical countermeasure activities for the latest fiscal year available.

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Commentary

A Family Tradition – Old School Florida Smuggling, Chapter 12

by Robert C. Hutchinson -

The evolution of drug smuggling and related crimes in south Florida can be viewed through one family and their many criminal associates. The Barker Family entered the smuggling business in the 1970s and transitioned from marijuana to cocaine and illegal aliens by the 1990s. Through drug and alien loads, broad conspiracies, and multiple deaths, the smuggling group was active, successful, and notorious. This is an account of old school Florida smuggling through the long thread of one small family. It is a bit of a history lesson and a fascinating journey back in time.

Updates

DOD Leveraging Diagnostic Platform for COVID-19 Rapid Response

The Department of Defense (DOD) leveraged an existing contract agreement with BioFire Defense LLC, to develop a rapid response diagnostic test capability to detect novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The test will be developed for use on the BioFire® FilmArray® instrument, which is used to diagnose infectious diseases in order to aid in treatment of service members.

Commentary

A Family Tradition – Old School Florida Smuggling, Chapter 11

by Robert C. Hutchinson -

The evolution of drug smuggling and related crimes in south Florida can be viewed through one family and their many criminal associates. The Barker Family entered the smuggling business in the 1970s and transitioned from marijuana to cocaine and illegal aliens by the 1990s. Through drug and alien loads, broad conspiracies, and multiple deaths, the smuggling group was active, successful, and notorious. This is an account of old school Florida smuggling through the long thread of one small family. It is a bit of a history lesson and a fascinating journey back in time.

Healthcare

PPE Shortages & Funding Gaps for Pandemics

by Greg Burel -

SARS, H1N1, Ebola, Zika, and now the COVID-19 pandemic blindsided U.S. public health officials and the world at large. Although this is a newsworthy headline, it is not entirely accurate. Hyperbole may sell newspapers, but has ignored the great progress that has been made in national public health emergency preparedness. This narrative downplays the lessons learned, many which resulted in improvements in preparedness. Preparedness for well understood threats and expert knowledge of how to respond to those threats – from a scientific, medical, and logistics perspective – is already established. Addressing the many lurking yet unknown threats is more challenging.

Reports

Earthquake Safety at Home

A new FEMA publication, “Earthquake Safety at Home,” identifies why and where earthquakes might occur and how readers can “prepare, protect, survive, respond, recover, and repair” from an earthquake. The guide discusses wide-ranging steps that readers can take to adequately prepare and protect themselves, their family, and their belongings.

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Updates

FLIR Launches Ranger HDC MR High-Definition Mid-Range Surveillance System

FLIR Systems Inc. announced the launch of the FLIR Ranger® HDC MR, a new high-definition midrange surveillance system. The Ranger HDC MR has the ability to detect illegal activities even in degraded weather conditions, utilizing embedded analytics and image processing to reduce the cognitive workload, enabling operators to distinguish quickly between true threats and false alarms.

Updates

Department of Homeland Security Outlines New Process for Americans Returning from Certain European Countries, China, and Iran

In order to help prevent the spread of travel-related cases of coronavirus in the United States, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf issued a Notice of Arrival Restrictions outlining the process for American citizens, legal permanent residents, and their immediate families who are returning home after recently visiting certain European countries, China, and Iran.

Updates

HHS Supports Development of First High-Throughput COVID-19 Diagnostic Test

A diagnostic test for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) – designed for use in a diagnostic system that can process up to 1,000 tests in 24 hours – will receive advanced development support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR).

Commentary

A Family Tradition – Old School Florida Smuggling, Chapter 10

by Robert C. Hutchinson -

The evolution of drug smuggling and related crimes in south Florida can be viewed through one family and their many criminal associates. The Barker Family entered the smuggling business in the 1970s and transitioned from marijuana to cocaine and illegal aliens by the 1990s. Through drug and alien loads, broad conspiracies, and multiple deaths, the smuggling group was active, successful, and notorious. This is an account of old school Florida smuggling through the long thread of one small family. It is a bit of a history lesson and a fascinating journey back in time.

Commentary

Triggered Collapse, Part 3: Lessons in Lawlessness

by Drew Miller -

A pandemic, loss of the electric system, or other triggering disaster need not be that effective in directly killing people to generate a collapse that results in millions of deaths and a weakened nation. The “cascading effects” of an economic shut down – loss of law and order, looting and marauding, disruption of health, sanitation, water, and transportation systems triggered by the initial disaster – may deliver much worse, longer lasting damage. When electric grids, nuclear reactors, and local water stop functioning, or the police force experiences many casualties, increases in violent crime could be far worse than the virus or other threat that caused it.

Commentary

A Family Tradition – Old School Florida Smuggling, Chapter 9

by Robert C. Hutchinson -

The evolution of drug smuggling and related crimes in south Florida can be viewed through one family and their many criminal associates. The Barker Family entered the smuggling business in the 1970s and transitioned from marijuana to cocaine and illegal aliens by the 1990s. Through drug and alien loads, broad conspiracies, and multiple deaths, the smuggling group was active, successful, and notorious. This is an account of old school Florida smuggling through the long thread of one small family. It is a bit of a history lesson and a fascinating journey back in time.

Updates

Customs and Border Protection Officers Leverage S&T-Developed Imposter Detection Training Tech to Maximize Officer Performance

Every day, human and drug traffickers, smugglers, criminals, and terrorists attempt to enter the U.S. through one of 328 ports of entry. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has implemented face comparison and ID validation verification technologies to drastically reduce the number of people that require direct screening by CBP officers.

Updates

HHS to Procure N95 Respirators to Support Healthcare Workers in COVID-19 Outbreaks

As part of the government-wide efforts to respond to the global outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services intends to purchase 500 million N95 respirators over the next 18 months for the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS).

Commentary

A Family Tradition – Old School Florida Smuggling, Chapter 8

by Robert C. Hutchinson -

The evolution of drug smuggling and related crimes in south Florida can be viewed through one family and their many criminal associates. The Barker Family entered the smuggling business in the 1970s and transitioned from marijuana to cocaine and illegal aliens by the 1990s. Through drug and alien loads, broad conspiracies, and multiple deaths, the smuggling group was active, successful, and notorious. This is an account of old school Florida smuggling through the long thread of one small family. It is a bit of a history lesson and a fascinating journey back in time.

Updates

FLIR Receives $23 Million Order for Its Centaur Unmanned Ground Vehicles for U.S. Air Force

FLIR Systems Inc. announced that the United States Air Force has ordered more than 180 of the company’s Centaur™ unmanned ground vehicles (UGV), plus spares. Air Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal teams will use the FLIR Centaur to assist in disarming improvised explosive devices (IEDs), unexploded ordnance, and similar hazardous tasks.

Preparedness

From Hysteria to Complacency, Then Back Again

by James M. Rush Sr. -

With recent urgent stories about the coronavirus, it seemed to be just a matter of time for the nation to revert to hysteria. Instead of a calm, resolute culture of preparedness, there has been a “PowerGlide” of public sentiment. In the 1960s, many Chevrolet automobiles had a PowerGlide transmission with just two gears: low gear and high gear. Similarly, in the past eight years, society has had two collective mental gears: complacency and hysteria.

Commentary

A Family Tradition – Old School Florida Smuggling, Chapter 7

by Robert C. Hutchinson -

The evolution of drug smuggling and related crimes in south Florida can be viewed through one family and their many criminal associates. The Barker Family entered the smuggling business in the 1970s and transitioned from marijuana to cocaine and illegal aliens by the 1990s. Through drug and alien loads, broad conspiracies, and multiple deaths, the smuggling group was active, successful, and notorious. This is an account of old school Florida smuggling through the long thread of one small family. It is a bit of a history lesson and a fascinating journey back in time.

Updates

WUI Fire Evacuations: How National Address Point Data Helps

Longer fire seasons and expansion of communities into wildfire prone areas has led to an increased risk to life and property in the wildland urban interface (WUI). A national address point database could potentially be of value to incident commanders and emergency managers during wildfire evacuations by allowing for more precise mapping and evacuation modeling/zones, and improved information sharing.