During the second week of October 2017, the DomPrep Journal hosted and Draeger sponsored a series of presexxntations and discussions, which included most of the major federal agencies engaged in freight rail safety and security, as well as the American Association of Railroads. To add to that discussion, several states have made significant contributions to freight rail safety. Three major state and local emergency management agencies that have made these major strides in rail safety and security are described here.
A key early step for critical infrastructure protection (CIP) programs is to identify and prioritize the most important facilities and assets for maintaining community safety, normalcy, and quality of life. Within single jurisdictions, CIP program managers typically choose prioritization criteria to determine the most critical assets. However, developing customized prioritization criteria for multiple, closely interconnected jurisdictions in the National Capital Region (NCR) – where public safety authority is decentralized – recently proved much more challenging. Here is how they overcame this challenge.
When runners compete in their first marathon or triathlon, they often set goals such as, “I hope to break four hours,” or “I want to beat my brother’s time.” However, a different mindset should be taken for a first attempt at an endurance event. Rather than placing benchmarks or targets, the goal should be to simply finish the first event. This same advice applies to a first-time disaster deployment.
The Department of Homeland Security has acknowledged that the threat of “lone wolf” attacks continues to represent the greatest threat to national security. This acknowledgment is supported by the fact that the United States is experiencing an unprecedented number of active shooter events – whether ideologically or non-ideologically inspired. Two weeks following the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, details are no closer to being solidified and law enforcement continues to search for a motive.
Long before the invention of drones, emergency managers determined the overall scope of a crisis using information from emergency personnel on the ground, and from the chain of command created through the Incident Command System. Today, drones have many capabilities that could enhance response activities and change the way disasters are managed. Hurricane Harvey demonstrated how this technology is rapidly changing.
Studies show that children’s learning improves when they feel both physically and emotionally safe. As “National Safe Schools Week” (16-20 October 2017) approaches, it is an appropriate time to discuss how to create these environments through safe schools programs in local communities across the United States.
Throughout National Preparedness Month many communities’ preparedness plans have been tested. Hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, floods, and drought are just some of the threats faced this month. Although preparedness is highlighted during the month of September, recent events reinforce the need for preparedness to be a year-round effort – especially during months when daily operations are not being overshadowed by catastrophe, and agencies and organizations are not being tested in full public view.
In an atmosphere of limited resources, critical infrastructure (CI) protection can be difficult to prioritize with crime-fighting and disaster response. Understanding real-world lessons learned from local agencies is one way to make progress. Leveraging the urgency demanded by special events can be a particularly productive path forward. This article offers suggestions from practitioners to develop CI protection programs through special events management, at varying levels of capability and scale.
Today in the United States, some in society are hesitant to acknowledge or plan for “failure options” – in other words, admit that the worst of the worst can happen. The military requires planning for just about every situation including when operations do not go as planned. However, those in emergency management and domestic preparedness operations need to consider tragedy and events unimaginable to most people
In emergency planning efforts, there is much debate about whether to plan for the worst and scale down, or plan for current threats and scale up. Of course, in complex systems, small changes in initial conditions can have profound effects. By considering larger, low-frequency events, communities can overcome this challenge and be better prepared for disasters of all sizes.