Control System Cybersecurity Concerns | Domestic Preparedness Photo: ©iStock.com/metamorworks
Preparedness

Control System Cybersecurity Concerns

by Joseph Weiss -

The U.S. electric grid, which was designed more than 100 years ago, consists of control systems and field equipment. The grid was originally designed with large central station generation – for example, coal, oil, nuclear, natural gas, hydro – with transmission and distribution substations to deliver electricity to the end customer. As central station power plants are being supplanted by renewable generation from sources such as solar and wind, control systems are becoming more complex and increasingly vulnerable to cyberthreats, especially as the control system networks are connected to the internet.

 
Resilience

Introducing the “ACT” Crisis Management Framework

by Terry Hastings -

There is no shortage of crisis management tools and concepts, yet individuals and organizations often still struggle to respond effectively when a crisis occurs. There are likely numerous reasons for this, but one challenge stems from an inability to operationalize the key concepts during a crisis. It can be helpful to establish frameworks that can serve as “mental cues” to organize, guide, and prompt action. This article examines one such framework.

Commentary

Disasters – Seeing the Big Picture

by Catherine L. Feinman -

Stakeholders in each discipline are tasked with protecting their industries’ assets and resources from potential risks and threats. However, each industry is interdependent on numerous other industries and their preparedness practices. The “whole community” concept encompasses the “all for one and one for all” motto. Together, communities can build strength and resilience. Apart, they may miss the warning signs and opportunities to mitigate disaster.

Resilience

Combating the Single Point of Failure

by Dana Goward -

On 25-26 January 2016, many first responder radio systems across North America reported faults. The U.S. government received similar reports from cellular networks and digital broadcast companies around the world. A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight safety system called ADS-B was also out of service for several hours. Some systems failed, some services were degraded, others just alarmed. All required human intervention and caused concern for the better part of a day.

Commentary

CASE STUDY: Analysis of Unknown Samples in a Methamphetamine Lab

by Sponsored Case Study -

A clandestine drug lab is a health and safety nightmare for first responders. The chemicals are almost never labelled. The initial on-site team is normally followed by several hazardous materials technicians. These experts need to make sure the crime scene is safe and dangerous items are properly handled before evidence technicians can fully process the scene.

Updates

House of Representatives Votes to Authorize the DHS Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office

The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed by a voice vote the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Act of 2018 (H.R. 6198). Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen established the DHS Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD) Office in December 2017. If enacted into law, this legislation would permanently establish the office and grant it new authorities to protect the American people against evolving WMD threats.

OCR Issues Guidance to Help Ensure Equal Access to Emergency Services and the Appropriate Sharing of Medical Information During Hurricane Florence

As Hurricane Florence makes landfall, the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and its federal partners remain in close coordination to help ensure that emergency officials effectively address the needs of at-risk populations as part of disaster response. Emergency responders and officials should consider adopting, as circumstances and resources allow, practices to help make sure all segments of the community are served.

Datacasting for Instant Situational Awareness

In a crisis, a picture or video is worth a thousand words. The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) saw a requirement to provide responders with a secure, readily accessible way to allow both the picture and the words to help responders make better decisions in a crisis. Together, S&T and partners, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab and SpectraRep, developed the solution: S&T’s Datacasting Project.

National Fire Academy –  Emergency Medical Services: Incident Operations (R0147) Course Openings

Calling all chief officers, company-level officers, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) supervisors, and EMS personnel who operate within the Incident Command System (ICS) and want to study successfully employed incident command techniques for the management of medium to large incidents involving multiple sick or injured patients. Course openings available in October 2018 and January 2019. Register today!

Modernizing the National Disaster Medical System to Meet the Health Security Threats of the 21st Century

In 2017, the United States suffered three back-to-back hurricanes that caused catastrophic damage in Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. That experience highlighted the importance of the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) – a federally coordinated system that augments the nation’s medical response capability during times of disasters or public health emergencies.