october 2018

Preparedness

Planning for Animals in an Emergency Management Strategy

by Heather Kitchen -

Throughout history, animals and pets have held varying degrees of importance to the people who care for them. They have been worshipped, raised for food, served as co-workers on farms, or just loved as companions. Regardless of their “worth,” when something disrupts the ability to care for those animals, outside help is needed. The outside help currently needed is limited when it comes to rescuing, caring for, and sheltering pets because it has not been fully integrated into emergency management’s planning activities.

Commentary

Modern Responses to Today’s Disasters

by Catherine L. Feinman -

Disaster plans of previous generations do not adequately reflect the risks, threats, and needs of modern society. Changing demographics, aging populations, and increasing natural and human-caused disasters each reinforce the need for emergency and disaster preparedness professionals to gain the knowledge and training needed to make informed decisions to mitigate threats and execute effective responses when mitigation is not enough.

Reports

Opioid Crisis: Status of Public Health Emergency Authorities

The U.S. Government Accountability Office was asked to review the decision to declare a public health emergency for the opioid crisis and what actions have been taken under the declaration. This report describes: (1) the factors HHS indicated as affecting its decision to declare and renew the public health emergency for the opioid crisis, and (2) the public health emergency authorities the federal government has used to address the opioid crisis.

View Full Report
Healthcare

Helping the Chronically Ill During Natural Disasters

by Allegra Balmadier -

Although 2017 was a historic year for natural disasters, 2018 is turning out to be more of the same. Filled with wildfires, tornadoes, floods, tropical systems, and the devastating Hurricanes Florence and Michael, it appears the frequency of natural disasters is increasing. Preparedness professionals face challenges meeting the needs of everyone impacted by such events, especially those with chronic conditions. Fortunately, with pre-disaster planning and post-disaster recovery and evaluation, preparedness professionals can better help the most vulnerable access the resources they need.

Updates

Public Safety Agencies Pilot Artificial Intelligence to Aid in First Response

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate’s Next Generation First Responder Apex program partnered with the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory to address capability gaps and develop the Assistant for Understanding Data through Reasoning, Extraction, and Synthesis (AUDREY). AUDREY is a state-of-the-art human-like reasoning system designed to assist first responders in synthesizing high-level data while at the scene of an emergency.

Updates

Protecting our Future: Emergency Preparedness and Children’s Mental Health

Among the many lessons learned during the 2017 Hurricane season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognized that addressing children’s mental and behavioral health needs is a major concern in hurricane-affected areas. CDC’s At Risk Task Force was established in 2017 to ensure identification and prioritization of the mental and physical health needs of at-risk populations, including children.

Updates

Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018 Transforms Field of Emergency Management

President Donald J. Trump signed the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018 into law as part of the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2018. With the economic disruption and the cost of disasters on the rise nationwide, the Federal Emergency Management Agency worked closely with Congress over the past year as they considered, and ultimately passed, important reforms to federal disaster programs.

Updates

Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense Calls for Action to Support SLTT Response to Biological Events

A new report from the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense recommends eight key steps that will increase the capability of the state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) public and private sectors to share with the federal government the burden of preparing for, responding to, and recovering from large-scale biological events.

Updates

DHS Announces Strategy to Protect the Homeland from Electromagnetic Incidents

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the release of the Strategy for Protecting and Preparing the Homeland Against Threats from Electromagnetic Pulse and Geomagnetic Disturbance. The Strategy lays out a clear vision and an approach for DHS to take to protect critical infrastructure and prepare to respond and recover from potentially catastrophic electromagnetic incidents.

Commentary

The Opioid Crisis & Its Impact on Public Safety

by Catherine L. Feinman -

The United States is in the midst of an epidemic of addiction to opioids and fentanyl. On 18 September 2018, DomPrep hosted a roundtable discussion at MedStar NRH Rehabilitation Network in Washington, DC, to discuss this threat. The three-hour conversation led by Craig DeAtley, PA-C, emergency manager for MedStar System, examined the extent of the problem, including the harmful risks to operational responders – people who are in physical contact with people as part of their daily work – from fentanyl/opioid exposure. Key discussion points summarized in this article included: impacts on public safety, data collection, best practices, personnel protection, and whole community collaboration.

Reports

Technologies to Address Global Catastrophic Biological Risks

This report highlights 15 technologies or categories of technologies that, with further scientific attention and investment, as well as attention to accompanying legal, regulatory, ethical, policy, and operational issues, could help make the world better prepared and equipped to prevent future infectious disease outbreaks from becoming catastrophic events.

View Full Report
Updates

HHS Seeks to Repurpose Burn Dressings for Radiation Emergencies

To prepare for radiological and nuclear emergencies, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will work with Argentum Medical, LLC of Geneva, Illinois, to repurpose its commercial product Silverlon for use for low-grade and severe skin radiation injuries after a radiation emergency.

Updates

Department of Energy Invests $28 Million to Advance Cybersecurity of the Nation’s Critical Energy Infrastructure

The U.S. Department of Energy announced awards of up to $28 million to support the research, development, and demonstration of next-generation tools and technologies to improve the cybersecurity and resilience of the nation's critical energy infrastructure, including the electric grid and oil and natural gas infrastructure.

Updates

French Authorities Choose Elistair’s Orion Tethered Drone as a Persistent Eye in the Sky for Security of the Ryder Cup 2018

A tethered drone built by Elistair was used by the French authorities to ensure continuous aerial surveillance of one of the biggest international sport competitions, The Ryder Cup 2018 held in Paris from 25-30 September.

Updates

Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen Statement on Passage of Legislation to Counter Dangerous Unmanned Aerial Systems

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen released a statement on the passage of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, which will provide the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice with authorities to counter unmanned aerial systems used for nefarious purposes.

Resilience

The Value of Knowledge & Training in Response Operations

by Anthony S. Mangeri -

In today’s emergency service professions, it is essential to master the core knowledge necessary to understand the research and emerging technology that guide incident response. To become truly prepared to respond, each emergency professional must take the time to develop the knowledge to manage the threat and initiate response operations. Training and education are critical in helping a responder master the competencies needed for response efforts.

Updates

ASPR and DARPA Forge New Partnership to Deliver Novel and Robust Health Security Capabilities

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have forged a new relationship to strengthen the capabilities needed to protect the nation from 21st century health security threats. The partnership agreement will focus on research, development, and deployment of medical countermeasures and technologies that advance U.S. readiness to respond to health security threats.

Updates

S&T Develops Terrorism Prevention Research Findings Dashboard

To counter the continually growing and changing threat of violent extremism, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has developed a free and publicly accessible research findings dashboard that hosts more than 1,500 catalogued terrorism prevention and countering violent extremism research documents.

Updates

HHS Selects Pilot Projects to Demonstrate Better Approach to Disaster Medical Care

In a disaster, thousands of Americans may require immediate medical specialty care, surpassing the care available in the community. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response awarded grants to demonstrate how a new Regional Disaster Health Response System could meet these needs.

Healthcare

Active Threat Response in Nashua, New Hampshire

by Mark A. Hastings -

Prior to 2013, the active threat plans in Nashua, New Hampshire (NH), consisted of separate responses by law enforcement, fire, and emergency medical services (EMS). There was no coordinated plan. Involvement with area hospitals was not considered other than receiving patients. The Nashua Police SWAT Team and the Nashua Office of Emergency Management recognized this gap. This case study shares this city’s solution for creating and testing an integrated active threat “one plan” (the integration of several previously existing plans).

Updates

Evacuation Decision-Making: How People Make Choices in Disasters

After hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the National Science Foundation funded research to investigate the broad impacts of these disasters. Roxane Cohen Silver, professor of psychological science, medicine, and public health at the University of California, Irvine, studied the details of why people chose to evacuate or stay put as Hurricane Irma approached.

Preparedness

Special Edition: School Security

In 2017, the Secure Schools Alliance (the Alliance) began a unique relationship with the DomPrep Journal. The goal was to raise awareness of the need to improve K-12 school security within the emergency preparedness community. This special reprint edition is a compilation of this effort, beginning with the macro argument of why school security needs to be improved and concluding with a call to recognize that schools are a critical part of the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, which has been ignored for way too long.

Updates

HHS Enlists MediWound to Develop Treatment for Sulfur Mustard Injury

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will work with MediWound Ltd. to develop a new treatment for skin injuries caused by sulfur mustard, a potential terrorism threat. Currently, there are no U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved treatments for skin injuries caused by exposure to sulfur mustard.