april 2017

Reports

Liberty Eclipse Energy-Exercise Summary Report

The U.S. Department of Energy recently released the findings and recommendations from Liberty Eclipse, a multi-state cyber-energy preparedness exercise hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Association of State Energy Officials in December 2016. This report provides recommendations for the energy sector – both government and industry – to improve policies, plans, and procedures for energy emergencies.

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Updates

Move Over, Superman! NIST 'Spectral Fingerprinting' Sees Through Concrete to Detect Early Corrosion

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a noninvasive “spectral fingerprint” technique that reveals the corrosion of concrete-encased steel before it can cause any significant degradation of the structure it supports. This corrosion is the primary danger threatening the health of the steel framework within the nation’s bridges, roads and other aging physical infrastructure.

Updates

CAL FIRE Launches New Ready for Wildfire App

Being Ready for Wildfire has never been easier with CAL FIRE’s new Ready for Wildfire app. This new tool puts a whole library of step-by-step checklists in the palm of the user’s hand. In addition to being a great educational tool, the Ready for Wildfire app also provides critical wildfire alerts.

Updates

Great Water Tech Launches SwiftSource Water Generator

If and when floods, hurricanes, or any other event contaminates a water source, clean, reliable, and safe drinking water needs to be provided to affected populations. The Great Water Tech SwiftSource Water Generator, a pre-assembled, plug-and-play machine is now available to provide a solution to U.S. disaster relief and emergency management markets.

Commentary

“Emergency Management” – A Misnomer

by Chas Eby -

“Emergency management” is a term broadly defining a field that includes federal, state, and local government agencies, voluntary organizations active in disasters, and private-sector stakeholders that conduct a variety of activities to prepare for, mitigate against, respond to, and recover from incidents. However, “emergency management” does not accurately describe the discipline or represent the most valuable skillset of emergency managers and their agencies: complex problem solving.

Commentary

Leadership Lessons From a Navy SEAL

by Kevin Lacz -

Valuable leadership principles learned in military operations can be effectively applied to leaders in the civilian world. However, complacency and comfort zones are often the barriers to such success. Being moved to join the military after watching the towers fall on 9/11 was a turning point that broke these barriers for this Navy SEAL.

Podcast

Protecting Children in Disasters

On 18 April 2017, DomPrep hosted a podcast recording with a panel of subject matter experts to discuss the topic of children in disasters. The discussion was moderated by Andrew Roszak, senior director for emergency preparedness at Child Care Aware® of America. This 40-minute discussion addressed the following key topics:

  • Planning for children to help increase community resilience
  • The importance of addressing the needs of younger children (0-5) that are not yet in school in emergency planning and response
  • Unique approaches to involve child care providers in emergency planning
  • Child care to help parents, businesses and community-wide recovery after a disaster
  • Ways in which child care resource and referral agencies are poised to assist communities with preparedness, response, and recovery efforts
  • Reasons for public health agencies to prioritize children and child care
  • The benefits of bringing together child care providers and local emergency managers
  • The value of the federal Child Care Development Block Grant as it relates to families with young children
  • The importance of pending legislation that would put more of a focus on children at FEMA and at DHS
  • Ways healthcare coalitions and other existing groups can be leveraged to enhance preparation for children in disasters

Read: Legislation Protecting Children in Disasters

Resources for Additional Information

Updates

Maryland Emergency Management Agency Partners with Nextdoor to Provide Emergency Preparedness Information and Notifications to Maryland Residents

The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) announces a partnership with Nextdoor, the private social network for neighborhoods, to improve statewide and neighbor-to-neighbor communications before, during, and after emergencies. MEMA will use Nextdoor to connect with neighbors by sharing news and updates and providing preparedness and alert information directly to communities.

Updates

Secure Schools Alliance Research & Education Releases First Brief in ‘Securing Our Schools’ Toolkit

The Secure Schools Alliance Research and Education organization has released the first brief in its new toolkit for K-12 learning institutions and law enforcement – Securing Our Schools – entitled, “Starting the Conversation About School Safety.” This first brief discusses school preparedness, threats facing schools and the critical roles that all segments of the community have in securing our schools.

Resilience

Biometrics & Continuous Evaluation: A New Approach

by Ernest Baumann & Delilah Barton -

Increased focus on insider threats has resulted in greater attention to background screening and automated methods to assist the vetting process for initial and continued access to secure facilities and classified information. Recent technology applications can provide investigators with an ever-increasing variety of data for screening and continued vetting. Applying this model to homeland security and emergency management, however, presents broader cultural issues, including information privacy and interoperability.

Updates

Deep Inequities Exist in States' Preparedness for Public Health Emergencies, 2017 Index Shows

An annual assessment of the nation’s day-to-day preparedness for managing community health emergencies improved slightly over the last year—though deep regional inequities remain. The Preparedness Index analyzes more than 130 measures to calculate a composite score that provides the most comprehensive picture of health security and preparedness available.

Updates

System to Turn Deadly Chemicals into Harmless Dirt Makes Advances

A DARPA program that is developing a field-deployable system for onsite neutralization of bulk stores of chemical warfare agents has successfully demonstrated a novel waterless soil-scrubbing technology that safely neutralized toxic chemicals simulating sarin, soman, and mustard agents. Created under the Agency’s Agnostic Compact Demilitarization of Chemical Agents program, the technology demonstrated greater than 99.9999% removal of the simulants, without creating any hazardous waste by-products.

Updates

Piedmont Virginia Community College and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management Partner to Hold First National Unmanned Aerial Systems Conference for Public Safety Personnel

Piedmont Virginia Community College and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management recently partnered to hold the nation’s first unmanned aerial systems (UAS) conference for public safety personnel. The conference featured expert panel discussions on a variety of topics including UAS usage by fire and emergency medical services, by law enforcement, in search and rescue situations and in emergency and disaster management.

Updates

New "Water On-the-Go" App Helps Keep Texans Safe With Current Stream Conditions

The new “Water On-the-Go” mobile app, developed by the U.S. Geological Survey, gives the public easy access to current conditions in streams across Texas. The new, mobile-friendly website/app will allow users to quickly locate USGS gages in Texas that measure streamflow, stream height, rainfall or lake levels so that users can get up-to-date information on water conditions near where they are located.

Updates

City of Pittsburgh Prepares for a Severe Air Quality Incident Using Predictive Analytics Technology

The City of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, and Intermedix put on a workshop aimed at exploring how emergency response technology would work with predictive simulations to prepare the region for an air quality combined with a heat wave disaster. This emergency preparedness resilience workshop is part of the ONEPGH initiative, which is a partnership with100 Resilient Cities- Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation.

Updates

Stopping Attacks That Disrupt Voice Communications

In the past few years, 911 emergency call centers, financial services companies, and a host of other critical service providers and essential organizations have been victims of telephony denial of service (TDoS) attacks. The DHS Science and Technology Directorate is making sure TDoS attacks cannot disrupt critical phone systems.

Healthcare

Legislation Protecting Children in Disasters

by Andrew Roszak -

Emergencies and disasters can have a profound impact on children. However, in 2004-2012, less than $0.01 of every $10 invested by federal emergency preparedness grants went to activities geared toward improving children’s safety. As the federal government plays a major role in funding and directing emergency preparedness, it is encouraging to see recent legislative and policy developments designed to increase planning and preparation for children of all ages.

Commentary

Educating Leaders on Hardening Schools

by Robert Boyd -

The recent release of the 2017 Infrastructure Report Card is notable – not simply because it gave U.S. public schools a D+ grade on their overall condition, but due to its failure to address upgrades needed to the security infrastructure, security technology, and life safety systems of schools. As the new administration and Congress consider a major national infrastructure bill, it is time to invest in upgrading the security infrastructure of K-12 public schools.

Reports

Findings From the 2016 Symposium on Export Control of Emerging Biotechnologies

The Symposium on Export Control of Emerging Biotechnologies was held in Monterey, California, 18-20 October 2016. Sixty experts representing the scientific, policy, industry, legal, and enforcement fields participated. Along with identifying potential technologies and services for control and associated control mechanisms, the symposium participants generated recommendations to help improve global biosecurity.

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Updates

Mutual Aid Resource Planning Tool Improves Community Preparedness

Reaching out to nearby towns for mutual aid to support resource needs is essential to quickly respond to and recover from disasters. Building on what was learned from previous mutual aid work, the Department of Homeland Security’s First Responders Group developed a prototype application designed to help jurisdictions develop and resource their own capability-based plans.

Updates

Fire Prevention & Safety Grant Application Period Opening

The Fire Prevention & Safety (FP&S) grant application period opened Monday, 17 April 2017. The notice of funding opportunity contains important program updates and application requirements. The application period ends Friday, 19 May 2017.

Reports

CNA Executive Session on Policing: Officer Safety and Wellness

This report is an overview of a CNA hosted event on “Keeping Police Officers Safe and Well: Meeting New Challenges.” At the event, researchers, practitioners, and policymakers discussed how approaches to officer safety and wellness have evolved over time and the law enforcement community’s current understanding of these issues.

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Updates

FLIR Announces Educational Resource, “FLIR PRIMED” for CBRNE and Hazmat Responders    

FLIR announced the launch of its new educational resource, FLIR PRIMED – Prepare, Recognize, Input, Monitor, Experience, Decision – a free, online tool that provides first responders with best practices for hazardous materials (hazmat) accidents and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and/or explosives (CBRNE) attacks.

Updates

Fogarty Protects Americans by Building Pandemic Response Capacity in Ebola-Hit West Africa

A new Fogarty program is aimed at strengthening scientific expertise at institutions in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone so that when the next infectious disease outbreak comes, they will be prepared to rapidly respond. The goal is for scientists to plan research training programs that enable quick implementation of therapeutic or vaccine trials when the next infectious disease threatens.

Updates

Battelle and Nanotherapeutics Form Alliance to Speed Up Process of Industry Bringing Medical Countermeasures to Market

Battelle and Nanotherapeutics Inc. announced that the organizations have entered an alliance to bring together core research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E), as well as manufacturing capabilities needed to expedite the development of medical countermeasures. These resources are urgently required by the Department of Defense to protect deployed military forces from chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats.

Preparedness

Civil Unrest – Prediction & Preparedness

by Kenneth Comer -

Civil unrest, regardless of cause, creates unexpected risks to lives and property. Predicting the timing and scale of these events would allow for better tactical management and a more effective training process. However, theoretical work by complex systems scientists and real-world experiences of first responders make a strong case that such forecasting may be impossible. Still, recent advances in understanding complex systems can provide profound contributions to the preparedness community.

Updates

DHS S&T Opens New Explosives Detection Lab

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) officially opened a new Test & Evaluation Laboratory building at the Transportation Security Laboratory (TSL). Located at the William J. Hughes FAA Technical Center in Egg Harbor Township, N.J., the new building expands TSL’s reinforced laboratory space for conducting tests of explosives detection systems.

Reports

Public Health Preparedness and Response: National Snapshot 2017

An emergency can happen at any moment, and the United States must be ready to respond to pandemics, natural disasters, and other public health threats. The Public Health Preparedness and Response: National Snapshot 2017 demonstrates how federal investments enhance the United States ability to respond to public health threats and emergencies.

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Updates

Phase 2 Zika Vaccine Trial Begins in U.S., Central and South America

Vaccinations have begun in a multi-site Phase 2/2b clinical trial testing an experimental DNA vaccine designed to protect against disease caused by Zika infection. The vaccine was developed by government scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health.

Updates

Testing for Zika Virus: There's an App for That

Add rapid, mobile testing for Zika and other viruses to the list of things that smartphone technology is making possible. Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have developed a smartphone-controlled, battery-operated diagnostic device that weighs under a pound, costs as little as $100 and can detect Zika, dengue and chikungunya within 30 minutes.

Reports

Review of Domestic Sharing of Counterterrorism Information

The Inspectors General of the Intelligence Community, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Justice announce the release of a joint report on the domestic sharing of counterterrorism information. The report makes 23 recommendations to help improve the sharing of counterterrorism information and ultimately enhance the government’s ability to prevent terrorist attacks. 

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Healthcare

Building Community Resilience Through Health Equity

by Nicolette Louissaint -

Each person is affected by disasters in different ways. However, the reasons for these disparities stem from factors that can and should be addressed pre-disaster. The public health field is implementing measures to address at-risk communities and to help mitigate public health threats, which increase in magnitude during disasters. The equitable efforts of five cities are shared in this article.

Updates

S&T & New Orleans Team Up to Conduct Flood Relief Planning Exercise

To improve response to floods in the future, the New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, Greater New Orleans, Inc., and the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) staged a mutual aid experiment in January 2017 to demonstrate new information-sharing technology.

Updates

DHS S&T, CBP to Test New K9 Training Technology

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announced a $198K award to PetPace LLC to assess its product’s ability to provide real-time health monitoring of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) canines. The SVIP K9 Wearable Technologies Call aims to use personalized, real-time data gathered from canines via wearable devices.

Updates

FirstNet Partners With AT&T to Build $46.5 Billion Wireless Broadband Network for America’s First Responders

The Department of Commerce and First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) announced the selection of AT&T to build the first nationwide wireless broadband network dedicated to U.S. first responders. This partnership is a significant investment in the communications infrastructure that public safety desperately needs for day-to-day operations, disaster response and recovery, and security for large events.