may 2018

Updates

FLIR Launches Radar and Thermal Products for Border Patrol and the Dismounted Warfighter

FLIR Systems, Inc. announced the availability of three products for use by global militaries and government agencies including border patrol agents. These products include two FLIR Ranger® mid-range panel radars, one with airborne drone and ground target detection, and the Recon® V UltraLite thermal monocular.

Commentary

Averting Disaster – A Multi-Tier Approach

by Catherine Feinman -

Disasters can take many forms – naturally occurring like a volcanic eruption or solar flare, human-caused like a terrorist attack or radioactive material release, or technological like a cyberattack or data breech. Although a specific threat or hazard may be unavoidable, whether it eventually becomes a “disaster” is not a certainty. Averting disaster requires making the right decisions at the right time – from the crisis leaders to the boots on the ground.

Updates

DHS Announces Funding Opportunity for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Preparedness Grants

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen announced the release of Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Notices of Funding Opportunity for eight DHS preparedness grant programs totaling more than $1.6 billion. The grant programs provide funding to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, as well as transportation authorities, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector, to improve the nation’s readiness in preventing, protecting against, responding to, recovering from, and mitigating terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies.

Preparedness

A Race Against Time: Canine/Handler Teams Prep for Disaster

by Omar Bourne -

New York City has various disaster preparedness teams that are specially equipped to manage many types of threats. One such team involves canines trained to perform search and rescue tasks. Canines have helped save lives at critical times following disasters such as 9/11, when finding survivors among rubble and debris is especially challenging. A Dutch Shepherd named Diesel is one responder who currently works with New York City Police Department to prepare for the next disaster.

Updates

Department of Homeland Security Unveils Strategy to Guide Cybersecurity Efforts

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a strategy outlining the Department’s approach to identifying and managing national cybersecurity risk. The DHS strategy details a department-wide approach to address evolving threats to the nation’s cyber and critical infrastructure security.

Updates

2018 Predicted to Be Challenging Wildfire Year

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, and Forest Service Interim Chief Vicki Christiansen briefed members of Congress on what to expect in the coming fire season. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service is well prepared to respond to wildfires in what is currently forecast to be another challenging year.

Updates

Los Alamos and University of Nebraska Team for Biodefense Program

A partnership involving the University of Nebraska and Los Alamos National Laboratory boosts educational opportunities for students seeking careers in the biodefense field. The partnership is specifically looking into the diagnosis and detection of infectious disease agents through the use of biosensors.

Updates

What’s in Your State’s Disaster Management Plan? 4 Ways to Incorporate Mental and Behavioral Health Into Disaster Planning

A recent analysis by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that 64% of the state emergency response plans that are available online do not adequately plan for behavioral health needs, which is a critical component of disaster response. States are encouraged to use this information as a starting point to help integrate mental and behavioral health needs into preparedness, response, and recovery activities.

Updates

Study by Center for Health Security Identifies Characteristics of Microorganisms Most Likely to Cause a Global Pandemic

Infectious disease preparedness work focuses predominantly on an historical list of pathogens derived from biological warfare agents, political considerations, and recent outbreaks. However, this fails to account for the most serious agents not currently known or without historical precedent, according to scholars from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in a new report on the traits of microorganisms with high pandemic potential.

Updates

Countering Unmanned Aerial Systems in Urban Environments

There are global efforts focusing on using drone technology to improve and support everyday lives, and the commercial market is offering increasingly small, relatively inexpensive and capable drones. Given their rapid technology advancement and proliferation, the public safety and homeland security communities must address the fact that drones can be used nefariously or maliciously to hurt people, disrupt activities, and damage infrastructure.

Preparedness

Detecting & Preventing Nuclear/Radioactive Materials

by Ian Pleet -

This case study from a 2015 deployment to the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) Combined Arms Training Center (CATC) Camp in Fuji, Japan, demonstrates effective ways to detect and prevent unwanted nuclear and radioactive materials from being brought aboard an overseas USMC installation. The author was deployed as the emergency manager (EM) with the collateral duty of being the chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield explosive (CBRNE) protection officer (CPO). Upon arrival, the commanding officer also appointed him to serve as the alternate antiterrorism officer, with full support from his contracting company, Camber Corporation.

Updates

Powerful Hurricanes Strengthen Faster Now Than 30 Years Ago

Hurricanes that intensify rapidly – a characteristic of almost all powerful hurricanes – do so more strongly and quickly now than they did 30 years ago, according to a recently published study. The chief driver is a natural phenomenon that affects the temperature of the waters in the Atlantic where hurricanes are powering up.

Updates

NFPA Releases the World’s First Active Shooter/Hostile Event Standard With Guidance on Whole Community Planning, Response, and Recovery

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) released NFPA 3000™ (PS), Standard for an Active Shooter/Hostile Event Response (ASHER) Program to help communities holistically deal with the fast-growing number of mass casualty incidents that continue to occur throughout the world. Serving as the first of its kind, NFPA 3000 provides unified planning, response, and recovery guidance, as well as civilian and responder safety considerations.

Updates

Perdue Announces Additional Hurricane and Wildfire Recovery Details

Under the direction of President Donald J. Trump, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced new details on eligibility for a new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) disaster program, 2017 Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program (2017 WHIP). The 2017 WHIP is just one of many programs available through USDA to help with recovery from drought, wildfires, and other disasters.

Reports

First Responder Network (FirstNet) and Next-Generation Communications for Public Safety: Issues for Congress

The First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) is a federal agency created by Congress to oversee the building, deployment, and operation of a new nationwide public safety broadband network. Congress may continue its oversight of FirstNet to ensure the network is meeting public safety needs, requirements in the law are met, and the network is deployed as intended. In providing oversight, Congress may consider the issues reported. 

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Updates

DHS Reissues the NTAS Bulletin

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen reissued the National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin pertaining to the terror threat to the U.S. homeland. After carefully considering the current threat environment, as well as input from the Department’s intelligence and law enforcement partners, Nielsen determined it is necessary to extend the NTAS Bulletin at this time.

Updates

Vog Dashboard Offers Comprehensive Information and Advice on Volcanic Health Hazards

As the lava flow from Kilauea volcano on Hawaii Island continues and southerly winds occasionally prevail, vog conditions and the presence of sulfur dioxide (SO²) in the air may increase and fluctuate in various areas of the state. The Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) is encouraging residents and visitors to access the Hawaii Interagency Vog Information Dashboard for the most comprehensive and up-to-date online information on vog and SO² from volcanic activity in Hawaii.

Commentary

White Paper: Orthogonal Detection Can Help Save Firefighters Lives in the Overhaul Stage of Operations

Building materials, furnishings, paints, plastics, and electronics found in today’s buildings have the potential to burn or decompose into acutely and chronically acting toxic gases and vapors. Studies have validated that toxic gases and vapors are not just present during suppression activities but also during the overhaul and investigation stages. The impact can be life threatening.

Resilience

Cascading Consequences: Electrical Grid Critical Infrastructure Vulnerability

by George H. Baker & Stephen Volandt -

If there were a prolonged nationwide, multi-week or multi-month power failure, neither the federal government nor any state, local, tribal, or territorial government – acting alone or in concert – would be able to execute an effective response. This bleak outlook results from understanding that so many critical infrastructures depend on electricity. As such, effective recovery cannot be expected through top-down assistance alone. Without electric power, the goods and services essential to protect life and property would be at risk by day three or perhaps longer depending on preparedness levels. Consequently, it is vital that citizens, households, communities, businesses, and governments be as informed and prepared as possible.

Updates

NIAID-Sponsored Trial of a Universal Influenza Vaccine Begins

A Phase 2 clinical trial of an investigational universal influenza vaccine intended to protect against multiple strains of the virus has begun in the United States. The study is sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and is being conducted at four U.S. sites. The trial is testing an experimental vaccine for safety and its ability to produce potentially broad protective immune responses.

Reports

The Tribal Legal Preparedness Project

Public health emergencies, including infectious disease and natural disasters, are issues that every community faces. To address these threats, it is critical for all jurisdictions to understand how law can be used to enhance public health preparedness, as well as improve coordination and collaboration across jurisdictions. The Tribal Legal Preparedness Project has been established to assist Tribal Nations interested in expanding their legal preparedness capacity.

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Updates

A Heavyweight Solution for Lighter-Weight Combat Vehicles

Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have developed and successfully tested a novel process, called Friction Stir Dovetailing, that joins thick plates of aluminum to steel. The new process will be used to make lighter-weight military vehicles that are more agile and fuel efficient.

Reports

Pandemic Preparedness for Faith-Based Organizations

Public health officials say the nation is overdue and underprepared for a pandemic. While everyone in a community can serve a role in pandemic preparedness, faith-based organizations provide unique characteristics to pandemic preparedness. These include community outreach efforts (i.e., counseling, ministry, aid) and available facilities and resources useful in a response. 

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Updates

DHS S&T Awards First Phase 4 Award for IoT Security

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announced Ionic Security Inc. is the first company to successfully complete prototype testing and move to the pilot deployment phase as part of the Silicon Valley Innovation Program. Ionic successfully tested a secure, data transfer plug-in specifically designed for video surveillance systems.

Updates

HHS Partners to Develop New Treatment for Seizures Caused by Nerve Agents

A new treatment for seizures that cannot be stopped with current medicines will be developed under an agreement between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and Proniras Corporation. Uncontrollable seizures are a devastating result of exposure to nerve agents and can be deadly or lead to permanent brain damage.

Updates

Engineers Create Social Media Infrastructure for Emergency Management

Purdue researchers have developed an online platform that enables first responders to monitor emergency situations using tweets and Instagram posts. Called the Social Media Analytics and Reporting Toolkit (SMART), the browser-based platform filters social media content according to key words and geographic regions defined by the user.

Commentary

Turning Five Crisis Leader Pitfalls Into Opportunities

by Eric J. McNulty -

Crises are among the most daunting challenges for leaders. The very nature of true crises – complex, high-consequence events that threaten physical, emotional, economic, and/or reputational health – test a leader’s ability to discern what is happening and what is to be done. The word “crisis” derives from the Greek “krisis” or decision. The contemporary understanding of the word stems from Middle English usage of the medical Latin variant that means “the turning point in a disease,” when the patient either lives or dies. These are the types of decisions today’s crisis leaders are asked to make in situations ranging from forest fires to active shooter incidents.

Updates

HHS Purchases Anthrax Antitoxin for Strategic National Stockpile

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response will purchase an anthrax treatment as part of the department’s ongoing national preparedness efforts. The product will be delivered to the Strategic National Stockpile, the nation’s largest supply of potentially life-saving medical countermeasures, for use in a public health emergency.