The Thomas Fire in December 2017 claimed two lives, burned 281,893 acres, and destroyed more than 1,000 structures before it was contained on 12 January 2018. The Montecito Fire Protection District (MFPD), a small coastal community in California, saw the loss of only seven structures, a remarkably low number given the extreme fire behavior it experienced. The low fire loss was due to the successful mitigation strategies the Montecito community pursued for over two decades beginning in 1994.
The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) National Urban Security Technology Laboratory (NUSTL) and partners have published guidance and videos for first responders and emergency managers on how to plan for the first minutes of a radiological dispersal device (RDD) detonation response.
Breakthroughs in the science of programmable gene expression inspired Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to establish the PReemptive Expression of Protective Alleles and Response Elements (PREPARE) program with the goal of delivering powerful new defenses against public health and national security threats. DARPA has selected teams to develop new tools for programmable modulation of gene expression, to yield enhanced resilience against influenza and ionizing radiation for service members and first responders.
There are many things to consider in the process of preparing your health and safety for a public health emergency. Memories of emergencies, like the summer 2018 wildfires and the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, are reminders of the threat they can pose to respiratory health. Of equal importance is an item that often gets left out of talks about emergency supplies – the respirator.
In the course of preparing for an emergency, a pack of respirators from the local hardware store may be purchased with the thought that they are ready to use out of the box. However, before relying on one of these devices for protection, there are some important selection and use criteria to consider. Choosing and using a respirator is a process that, if done the right way, can help prepare for and protect against health threats in an emergency.
FLIR Systems Inc. has announced the availability of multiple enhancements to its Griffin™ G510 portable GC-MS chemical detector to help responders analyze and identify drugs, chemical agents, and other toxic substances faster and more effectively during field operations. Major new features on the G510 give users access to an expanded onboard drug library, as well as a new quick-search capability for chemicals and hazardous substances.
The challenge of factoring in both the certain and the unknown to deliver electricity under all kinds of scenarios involves a series of incredibly complex math problems. With the assistance of artificial intelligence (AI), researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory are developing new ways to extract insights from mountains of data on the electric grid, with the goal of ensuring greater reliability, resilience and efficiency.
Studies report that most children with special health care needs (CSHCN) families are under prepared for disasters. These findings are concerning since these children often require special equipment, supplies, or medical care—access to which can be disrupted by environmental hazards or other emergencies.
First responders gathered at the Port of Houston’s Sam Houston Pavilion in Texas with response vehicles, vessels, and a mobile command center to engage in a simulated multi-effort emergency response to an accidental release of a volatile chemical on the Houston Ship Channel. As the scenario unfolded, responders continuously assessed the efficiency and interoperability of next generation response technology, ensuring collected data provided the situational awareness they needed to provide efficient and timely response to victims.
Disasters and emergency evacuations can pose feeding difficulties for the mothers of infants and young children, but these challenges can be mitigated. When public health practitioners and emergency managers work together to implement straightforward guidelines, they can meet infant feeding needs in shelters. Access to maternal and reproductive health care should be a foundation in mass care after hazards and in crises scenarios.