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.
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.
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.
The nation's critical infrastructure - loosely defined as the fundamental facilities, structures, and systems necessary for the basic functioning of daily life - is comprised of diverse components controlled and managed by a mixture of private sector and government organizations with varying levels of responsibility. Understanding the interconnectedness between sectors is key.
With a rich history of coordinated water supply planning, the National Capital Region has been conducting regional workshops and creating new study results to enhance its ability to address the region's water needs during a crisis. The resulting information will spur further discussion and assessment of drinking water system alternatives for the region.
When the decision was made to cancel classes on Monday, 16 November 2015, the week before the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday break, Public Safety Director Gerald (Jerry) Roderick drew upon his many years of experience and planning on how to deal with a possible threat to Washington College campus in Chestertown, Maryland.
Providing information to the public in times of crisis is so critical to disaster operations that it is included as one of the five major components of the National Incident Management System. Mass media is one of many tools available to help public information officers disseminate essential information and convey risks to the public before, during, and after a disaster.
The emergency services sector faces many daily challenges that are exacerbated when data breaches and cyber attacks occur. Addressing public concern for incidents with life and safety consequences is one of the greatest challenges that public information officers must be prepared to manage as the number and frequency of cyberthreats continue to rise.
In Missouri, researchers are helping adults learn how children and youths perceive disaster media coverage in order to better cope with the abundance of information and images that surround them following a significant incident. Coping strategies and resources addressing media coverage must be tailored to the individual needs and developmental level of each child or youth.
By 30 September 2016, all states will be required to create child care disaster plans under the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act, which include procedures for facilities to: evacuate; relocate; shelter-in-place; lock-down; communicate; reunify families; continue operations; and accommodate infants, toddlers, and children with additional physical, mental, or medical needs.