october 2021

Preparedness

Space Aliens – Emergency Management Roles & Responsibilities

by Michael Prasad -

Planning for the emergency management needs of space aliens on Earth, in terms of their well-being before, during, and after disasters could be the plot of a science fiction movie script. The movie District 9 has a similar premise: the aliens that arrived on Planet Earth were not warriors, but rather sentient beings totally reliant on help instead. The reality is there are beings like this in every community. They are called “children.”

Commentary

Building Resilience Into the Planning Process

by Catherine L. Feinman -

Whether constructing a home, creating community programs, or developing multijurisdictional plans and procedures, it is not enough to just construct, create, or develop. A home that collapses, a program that is not sustainable, and plans and procedures that lack continuity are examples that should motivate emergency preparedness professionals to build resilience into every planning process.

Reports

Infrastructure Resilience Planning Framework

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has developed the Infrastructure Resilience Planning Framework (IRPF) to enable the incorporation of security and resilience considerations in critical infrastructure planning and investment decisions.

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Updates

Protecting GPS Satellites, Signals, and America Webinar

The Domestic Preparedness Journal and the Resilient Navigation and Timing Foundation are pleased to announce the “Protecting GPS Satellites, Signals, and America” webinar. The discussion will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021 at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Updates

WHO and partners call for action to better protect health and care workers from COVID-19

The World Health Organization and partners[i] have issued an urgent call for concrete action to better protect health and care workers worldwide from COVID-19 and other health issues. The organizations are concerned that large numbers of health and care workers have died from COVID-19, but also that an increasing proportion of the workforce are suffering from burnout, stress, anxiety and fatigue.

Reports

Saving Sisyphus: Advanced Biodetection for the 21st Century

The Bipartisan Commission on BioDefense released a new report on the National BioWatch system which details specific actions that must be taken to make the system effective. 

BioWatch was established in 2003 as a national biodetection system but has never been able to consistently demonstrate its operational capability in the field. The system detects a small number of organisms with questionable accuracy and produces results up to 36 hours after a pathogen may have been present near a detector, long after responders would need to act. It is far more likely that sick people seeking treatment at hospitals will make public health and safety officials aware of a biological event well before BioWatch results are available.

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Commentary

It Is Time to Adopt & Implement Resilient Building Codes

by Craig Fugate, Pete Gaynor & Dominic Sims -

As a result of the changing climate, natural hazards like hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires are expected to continue to increase in both intensity and frequency. Therefore, it is critical that communities around the globe prioritize increasing their overall resiliency.

Preparedness

The Future of Emergency Management: Managing Scarcity

by Robert J. (Bob) Roller -

The increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters coupled with the reemergence of military threats from peer and near-peer adversaries overseas will greatly reduce the ability of emergency managers to meet the needs of disaster survivors. This will necessitate a paradigm shift in the primary role of emergency management from the delivery of resources to managing the scarcity of resources and making better use of them.

Reports

The 3rd National Risk Assessment: Infrastructure on the Brink

This report will provide the first ever nation-wide understanding of community vulnerability to flooding, taking into account the impact of a changing climate over the next 30 years. It will add the critical new dimension of proximity to flooding to personal evaluations of flood risk, providing an expanded understanding of risk based on the impact of flooding to the broader environment surrounding a home.

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Updates

S&T and New York City Partners Conduct Above/Below Ground Air Sampling Study

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announced that it will join several New York City agencies for an above- and below-ground air sampling study that will ultimately help urban areas prepare for and recover from incidents involving hazardous materials.

Updates

New Fentanyl Detection Standards Will Protect First Responders in the Field

ASTM International, one of the largest standards development organizations in the world, published three new standards for the field detection of fentanyl and fentanyl-related compounds. “This project is truly a win-win for first responders and manufacturers of field chemical detection equipment,” said Rich Ozanich, the lead researcher at PNNL who developed the standards and is leading the development of expanded instrument libraries and assessment of instrument performance. He added, “having these expanded libraries will improve responder capability to identify new drugs they encounter and respond in a more effective manner.”

Updates

IAEM-USA Children and Disaster Caucus seeks input via survey on 'Addressing Needs of Children During COVID'

The caucus is asking IAEM members to please share their organization and emergency management/work experiences in respect to how the needs of children were addressed during COVID to date. Demographic data will be collected for statistical analysis, but responses will be anonymous.

Resilience

“Moneyball” for the Wildland Fire System

by Matthew P. Thompson & Erin J. Belval -

The wildfire management community has made great strides incorporating new decision support tools into how it plans for and responds to wildfire incidents. Despite improvements in risk assessment and management at the incident scale, increasing fire activity and critical resource shortages reveal a system under strain in need of strategies that more efficiently allocate scarce resources across incidents while promoting the well-being of the firefighting workforce upon which the system relies. A scaled-up infusion of data-driven analysis and decision-making could enhance the performance of the entire wildfire management system.

Updates

DHS CWMD Awards Two Contracts for $60.8M to Equip DHS Partners with Radiological and Nuclear Detection Equipment

The Department of Homeland Security’s Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office awarded two contracts to supply U.S. Customs and Border Protection with 216 additional Radiation Portal Monitors (RPMs) to scan cargo as it passes through our Nation’s various ports of entry and to train their staff on the new systems.

Updates

Commission Warns Critical Infrastructure at Biological Risk

The Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense released a new report today entitled, Insidious Scourge: Critical Infrastructure at Biological Risk. The report details immediate actions to defend the nation’s critical infrastructure against biological threats.

Reports

National Strategic Computing Reserve: A Blueprint

This paper articulates a blueprint for a National Strategic Computing Reserve (NSCR) that could be accessed during any emergency. Such a strategic reserve, like other reserve capabilities, would deepen the Nation’s resilience and, as appropriate, allow research expertise to be quickly brought to bear at critical junctures.

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Updates

DHS Publishes Two Free Resources to Protect Critical Infrastructure from GPS Vulnerabilities

The Global Positioning System (GPS) Receiver Whitelist Development Guide and a new release of the Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) Integrity Library to protect against the spoofing, or deceiving, of GPS devices through false signals has been released. These resources advance the design of PNT systems and increase resilience of critical infrastructure to PNT disruptions.

Reports

Lessons Learned from FEMA's Initial Response to COVID-19

FEMA did not have reliable data to inform allocation decisions and ensure accurate adjudication of resource requests, it did not have a process to allocate the limited supply of PPE, and FEMA’s strategic documents did not clearly outline roles and responsibilities to lead the Federal response.  

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Resilience

Afghanistan – A Haven for Violent Extremism

by Richard Schoeberl, Anthony (Tony) Mottola & Anthony L. Clark -

The rapid collapse of Afghanistan creates uncertainty and fears around how swiftly the Islamic State (ISIS) and al-Qaida can rebuild, mobilize, and plan attacks on the West under a Taliban-led government. As conflict breeds instability, volatility will certainly follow the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. There will likely be a reconstitution of al-Qaida and growth of ISIS as two movements compete for influence in the country. It calls to question whether the recent attacks in New Zealand, inspired by ISIS, were motivated by what most would consider a victory for Jihad as the Taliban’s self-proclaimed victory seeks to inspire more terrorist movements. After 20 years of U.S. occupation, many are questioning whether Afghanistan will once again become a massive draw and haven for Islamic extremists.

Reports

FirstNet Emergency Management Resource Guide

With increasing numbers of emergency management agencies, law enforcement, fire, emergency medical services, emergency communications, and other partners in public safety response using FirstNet, this guide provides an overview of certain features and functions that Emergency Managers might use in their daily and emergency response roles. Many of the topics covered in this guide are applicable for coordinating response in the field or when an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has been activated.

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Updates

TDEM Becomes New Home for Domestic Preparedness Journal

The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) and The Texas A&M University System are proud to announce the Domestic Preparedness (DomPrep) Journal and its associated publications will now be hosted by TDEM.