The devastating impacts of Hurricane Sandy and other natural disasters that have followed stress the importance of improving disaster-response planning. By gathering and sharing information, however, everyone can play a greater role in reducing risk and creating communities that are more resilient.
Life science research benefits society in many ways, but also creates certain risks - particularly when that research falls into the wrong hands, either deliberately or unintentionally. Clearly defined rules and regulations governing the results of such dual-use research could help keep scientific research focused on less dangerous and more beneficial results.
This exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the United States Park Police (USPP) highlights the special event planning process, from the application form to the after-action report. The men and women of the USPP protect First Amendment rights, ensure the safety and security of visitors, and provide daily law enforcement protection. From "Park Watchmen" to "Masters of Collaboration," the uniformed men and women of the USPP have a legacy worth modeling.
The federal government shutdown caused major disruptions throughout the nation. Federal employees are now back at work, but employees of U.S. public health laboratories still risk losing much more than their paychecks. Congressional budget conflicts and further public health funding reductions are likely in the near future, and those cuts may not be worth the adverse consequences that follow.
During emergencies, every minute within the "golden hour" is of lifesaving importance. One county fire department in Maryland has developed and implemented a new protocol that shaves valuable time off the dispatching process. Getting medical units en route in less time ensures fast delivery of medical care to those who need it most.
Automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) are available in many modern venues, but are still underutilized. By building awareness and training for AED use as well as understanding the plans and procedures in place for managing such emergencies, school staff can increase the survival rates of young athletes who suffer from cardiac arrest.
Defining "resilience" is one challenge; putting it into action is another one, more difficult and more complex. The Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory is addressing both challenges, and recently asked a broad spectrum of thought leaders to help strengthen the nation's ability "to adapt, withstand, and recover."
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has been gathering information from leaders across the nation to help update its National Infrastructure Protection Plan. One organization that has been playing an active role in the update process is The Infrastructure Security Partnership, which has facilitated working groups and discussions to help further resilience and protect the nation's critical infrastructure.
Emergency managers assess risks that are likely to exist within their communities. Planned special events, however, may introduce additional risks that can easily be overlooked during those assessments. The National Capital Region and the state of Maryland are addressing this concern to help prevent the overwhelming of existing resources.
The old cliché "I told you so" may apply when examining the effects of ongoing flood events. Statistics are available and warnings have been made, but not enough preventive measures are yet in place to save lives and protect property values in many U.S. communities.