Preparedness Perspective – Active Shooters & Lone Wolves

by Thomas J. Lockwood & Peter LaPorte -

Various drills and exercises highlight efforts to protect communities against various types of attacks involving transportation, buildings, historic sites, sporting events, and so on. Attacks and hostage-taking incidents around the world expose vulnerabilities that need to be assessed in all communities to determine: what they need to drill, who they need to train, and how they will collaborate across jurisdictions.

The “Not If, But When” Fallacy: Active Shooter Preparedness

by Research Group at University of Maryland -

The phrase “It’s not if, but when” may distort how certain organizations perceive emergency preparedness, especially in cases such as active shooter threats. This common expression leads to inaccurate threat perceptions and can result in leaders becoming complacent. Emergency managers should be aware of this potential odd pairing of a sense of inevitability with complacency, and be prepared to counter it.

Hazard Detection: “Bring Your Own Protection”

by Kathryn Laskey -

Current approaches for ensuring public safety rely on expensive and obtrusive equipment and procedures having limited availability and inadequate performance. Newly emerging wearable sensors have the potential to spark a fundamental change in this equation. Researchers at George Mason University are investigating a new concept called “Bring Your Own Protection” (BYOP).

Major Themes From the 2016 Aspen Security Forum

by Erik S. Gaull -

The 2016 Aspen Security Forum was held from July 27 to July 30 in Aspen, Colorado. Over the past seven years, the forum, hosted by the Aspen Institute, has earned a well-deserved reputation as the most important venue for thought leadership in the homeland and national security arenas, attracting distinguished speakers and high-level attendees from around the world. This year's forum was no exception.

Challenges of Evolving Threats & Changing Expectations

by Robert Maloney -

The "things that keep me up at night" are much more numerous and remarkably different than emergency management 15 years ago. There is no time to rest. The nature of emergencies has changed, complicated by the fact that new threats of intentional incidents using chemical, biological, and other weapons must be considered in addition to accidental or natural incidents.

Social Impact Bonds & Sustainable Disaster Risk Reduction

by Justin Snair & Megan Reeve Snair -

National policy and practice tend to focus efforts and resources on disaster response and recovery, rather than on disaster risk reduction. Understanding disaster risks and incentivizing sustainable risk reduction efforts could help reduce overall disaster costs and even save lives.

Integration of Public Health Into the Whole Community

by Kathleen E. Goodwin & Leana S. Wen -

The Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD) is the oldest, continuously operating health department in the country - founded in 1793 to respond to a local yellow fever outbreak. BCHD is committed to the idea that health is critical to a community's ability to thrive and thus deserves to be incorporated in decision making in almost every sector.

Today's Decisions Drive Tomorrow's Power Grid

by J. Michael Barrett -

For more than a century, the U.S. electrical power grid has dramatically improved the health, safety, and economic productivity of hundreds of millions of people. Although this grid stands as an ingenious accomplishment, experts fear that, as the 21st century progresses, the grid's ability to meet evolving U.S. energy needs may falter without dramatic modernization.

Space Weather & Electrical Grid - GPS, the Weakest Link

by Dana Goward -

Among the many important, yet weak, satellite signals that can be disrupted by space weather, the Global Positioning System (GPS) is undoubtedly the most important and the weakest. Two recent public discussions have highlighted the challenges this poses for the national electrical grid, both today and going forward.

Florida - Doing More With Volunteers

by Freddy Zelaya & Romeo Lavarias -

Today's disasters are more frequent and more complex than ever before. Although governments at all levels have risen to the occasion by training personnel and securing equipment and resources, there will always be a lack of manpower. This gap has been addressed using volunteers, who - despite having the best of intentions to help those in need - often lack the requisite knowledge, skills, and abilities.