may 2020

Reports

COVID-19 and the State of K–12 Schools

This report provides information about the sample, survey instrument, and resultant data for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) surveys that were administered to principals and teachers via RAND's American Educator Panels (AEP) in spring 2020. The AEP COVID-19 surveys focused on how teachers and school leaders navigated the challenging circumstances brought about by COVID-19, including managing school closures and implementing distance learning.

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Updates

FEMA Center for Domestic Preparedness Takes Resident Evening Lecture Series Virtual

The Center for Domestic Preparedness is making more of its course material for responders available at a distance. They are providing a virtual instructor-led option for their well-known resident Evening Lecture Series. Responders can participate in these events from work, home, or any other location using a computer or compatible mobile device.

Reports

Dual Disaster Handbook

The American Flood Coalition created the Dual Disaster Handbook to help community leaders coordinate a proactive response to flooding during COVID-19. Drawing on case studies and best practices from emergency management professionals, the handbook presents six actionable recommendations for local leaders responding to a flood during COVID-19.

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Commentary

Disasters & Their Acceptable Losses

by Catherine L. Feinman -

One of the biggest challenges that emergency preparedness professionals face is how to balance the choices they make. Mitigating every risk is not realistic, but ignoring threats is reprehensible. Lessons learned from any disaster exposes the successes and failures of those tasked with keeping their communities safe. Some decisions have immediate impact, whereas the consequences of other decisions may not be seen until sometime in the future. In both cases, people are watching and decision makers will be held accountable.

Resilience

The Epitome of Failure – Part 2

by William H. Austin -

The aeolian winds took control of the surrounding environment. A death-defying vortex formed and, along with it, a perturbation as inconceivable as the Camp Fire was overwhelming. This article continues to chronicle the story of a mega-disaster. Part 1 described how the Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) spent the last decade causing major life and property losses due to seemingly incompetent organizational leadership. In the next segment of the story, PG&E may not be the villain its public image would suggest. Other influences and factors that may have played a role in its public image will be revealed.

Resilience

Management of the Strategic National Stockpile, A Path Forward

by Carl Brewer -

Because of COVID-19, it is time to reevaluate preparedness and reconsider threats to the homeland. Good intentions and grand theories do not make good programs. Programs work best when they’re based on a detailed understanding of the problem begin solved and how they are implemented on the ground with solid funding commitments and realistic expectations.

Reports

How States Pay for Natural Disasters in an Era of Rising Costs

This report outlines the role states play in paying for disasters and key findings about the approaches they take to budgeting for natural catastrophes. The intent is to help all levels of government be ready to meet immediate needs, cover the costs of long-term recovery efforts, and invest in preparedness and mitigation activities.

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Updates

CDP Coronavirus Training Material Now Available Online

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) posted four new coronavirus (COVID-19) training videos. The first video provides an overview of COVID-19, to include information about its symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and prevention. The second video includes information about about barrier precautions and controls for the virus. The third provides information about the movement and transport of suspected and confirmed COVID-19 patients. The final video is about treating patients in non-healthcare settings. All four COVID-19 training videos are available on YouTube.

Updates

The Growing Impact of the Team Awareness Kit

The Team Awareness Kit (TAK) is a digital tool that greatly enhances coordination and collaboration among response teams. This innovative solution enables tactical data to be generated, visualized, and securely shared. The tool facilitates daily operations for public safety organizations and allows different organizations that do not regularly communicate to seamlessly come together and maintain shared tactical awareness during a disaster or special event.

Updates

Federal Support to Expand National Testing Capabilities

Testing is critical to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and mitigate its threat to public health. Under President Trump’s Guidelines for Opening America Up Again, states should meet at least five metrics before proceeding to a phased reopening. The Administration’s Opening Up America Again Testing Overview and Testing Blueprint are designed to facilitate state development and implementation of the robust testing plans and rapid response programs described in the guidelines.

Resilience

The Wicked Problem of Lifting Social Distancing & Isolation

by Galen Adams & Jeremy L. Kim -

The issue of when or how to lift social distancing and isolation is a wicked problem. A “Wicked Problem” in policymaking defeats standard solutions because of the interaction between the wicked problem and its potential solutions. The application of the correct solution to one aspect of the wicked problem often complicates another aspect of the problem. Solving wicked problems is best done through the iterative process in which a partial solution is applied, the problem is re-defined, the next partial solution is applied, and the process is repeated. This process is termed “Muddling Through”, and it is dependent upon the ability to test a partial solution and react to it.

Commentary

The Acceptable Loss – The Trolley Dilemma of Managing COVID-19 Pandemic

by Isaac Ashkenazi & Carmit Rapaport -

The COVID-19 pandemic takes its toll in terms of human lives and global economic consequences. Social distancing has proven to be the most promising strategy against emerging viruses without borders, but the heavy economic damage that follows puts in question the possibility of its continuation. In fact, weighing the two elements raises an important debate: What is the acceptable loss in order to win this battle?

Updates

Operational Toolkit for Businesses Considering Reopening or Expanding Operations in COVID-19

This operational toolkit has been developed to help business owners who are considering reopening or expanding their operations to determine their establishments’ risk of transmission of COVID-19 and how to reduce it. The Operational Toolkit consists of 3 parts: an instruction manual; a business risk worksheet; and an assessment calculator.

Updates

Second Skin Protects Against Chem, Bio Agents

A multi-institutional team of researchers led by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientist Francesco Fornasiero has developed a smart, breathable fabric designed to protect the wearer against biological and chemical warfare agents. Material of this type could be used in clinical and medical settings as well.

Updates

Coronavirus Guidance for First Responders

Sheldon Greenberg, Johns Hopkins School of Education professor and a former patrol officer for the Howard County Police Department, has developed COVID-19 guidelines for police patrol officers, security officers, and campus police. These guidelines include personal protection measures; incorporating information about COVID-19 contacts in incident reports; preparing patrol vehicles with protection and sanitation equipment; developing quarantine protocols; and considerations when protecting medical facilities and hospitals.

Updates

FLIR Wins $20.6 Million Contract to Provide Black Hornet Nano-UAV Systems for U.S. Army’s Soldier Borne Sensor Program

FLIR Systems Inc. announced it has won an additional $20.6 million contract from the U.S. Army to deliver its FLIR Black Hornet® 3 Personal Reconnaissance Systems (PRS). The advanced nano-unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will support platoon- and small unit-level surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities as part of the Army’s Soldier Borne Sensor program.

Preparedness

Avoiding the Three As: Apathy, Atrophy & Attrition

by Christopher Tantlinger -

Emergency management is everything to everybody, but it often lacks the glue that is so desperately needed to manage catastrophic events. This is likely the result of two common pitfalls that the profession has long suffered from, pitfalls that can begin as soon as one walks out of the meeting or training room door: apathy and atrophy. Apathy can be defined as a lack of interest, passion, excitement, or concern. When not effectively addressed, apathy can then lead to atrophy, a long gradual decline in effectiveness. Such weakening is caused by underuse of key knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Updates

Radiation-Detecting Plastic Gets Ingredient to Stay in the Clear

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have identified a straightforward change to the formula for radiation-detecting plastic. The change prevents “fogging,” which reduces the lifetime of the plastics used to detect nuclear material transiting through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s radiation detectors.

Updates

Fighting COVID With Computing

The Open Science Grid is a network of organizations that provides computing services for science research. The Department of Energy’s Fermilab partnered with the Open Science Grid to be part of a larger COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium. This consortium is designed to provide access to the world’s most powerful high-performance computing resources in support of COVID-19 research.

Updates

Self-Powered X-Ray Detector to Revolutionize Imaging for Medicine, Security and Research

A new X-ray detector prototype is on the brink of revolutionizing medical imaging with dramatic reduction in radiation exposure and the associated health risks. The detector also boosts resolution in security scanners and research applications, thanks to a collaboration between Los Alamos National Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory researchers.