2013 Navy Yard Shooting: Lessons Learned, Actions Taken | Domestic Preparedness Photo: ©Flickr/Tim Evanson – This section is an excerpt of the original.

2013 Navy Yard Shooting: Lessons Learned, Actions Taken

by Catherine L. Feinman -

There is no way to list or train for the innumerable mass casualty scenarios that a responder could face on any day, at any time, in any place. This means that no emergency response can be perfect and no plan flawless. However, rather than focusing on the “what ifs” after an incident, responders need to decide on the “what nows.” The military and civilian responders to the 16 September 2013 Washington Navy Yard shooting have done that. Not only have the involved agencies created their own lessons learned, they have also coordinated with each other to bridge the response gaps that were exposed. Key takeaways from the shooting as well as actions that have been taken since the incident were shared on 17 September 2019, when public safety agencies throughout the National Capital Region convened to reinforce communications efforts and address any remaining interoperability concerns.


Domestic Terrorism – Defining a Real Threat

by Richard Schoeberl & Anthony (Tony) Mottola -

Over the past two decades, the United States has focused heavily on preventing attacks from Islamic terrorism movements – or those inspired by these movements. However, recent attacks in the United States over the past few years have prompted much debate on how to combat the threat of domestic terrorism. Particularly concerning is that the recent surge in white supremacy and right-wing/left-wing extremist movements could inspire others to commit further violent attacks. In response to the most recent attacks in Ohio and Texas, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) says it “remains concerned that U.S.-based domestic violent extremists could become inspired by these and previous high-profile attacks to engage in similar acts of violence.” Equally concerning for law enforcement agencies is that a domestic terrorist attack is just as likely as a threat from abroad.


Post-Disaster Death Figures Do Not Tell the Whole Story

by James M. Rush Sr. -

In any disaster, there is a cost beyond the immediate mortality figures following a disaster due to a lack of proper medical supplies and treatment in mass care shelters. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publishes a weekly “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report,” which serves as a clearinghouse for epidemiological reports submitted by state health departments. However, a public health method must go beyond the death tolls and rates and estimate the years of life lost for people who were without medications and treatments (like dialysis) for extended periods of time during and following disasters.


Overcoming Healthcare Challenges & Finding Solutions

by Catherine L. Feinman -

The healthcare industry presents many challenges for emergency preparedness professionals. The planning process for a major crisis involves numerous stakeholders, each with their own plans and procedures. Emergency medical services and hospitals, in particular, are tasked with managing dynamic, ever-changing environments that are difficult to predict. A medical surge could easily lead to shortages in critical resources if mutual aid agreements, healthcare coalitions, and other collaborative efforts are not already in place before disaster strikes.


The Value of Crisis Communications

by Anthony S. Mangeri -

The role of the emergency management systems is to bring calm to chaos. The role of the public information officer (PIO) is to disseminate information that is credible, accurate, and reliable. It is a critical component of the initial response to meet the informational needs of residents – trusted, credible information aids in bringing calm.


Gene Editors Could Find New Use as Rapid Detectors of Pathogenic Threats

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) newest biotechnology funding opportunity aims to incorporate gene editors into detectors for distributed health biosurveillance and rapid, point-of-need diagnostics for endemic, emerging, and engineered pathogenic threats. The goal of the “Detect It with Gene Editing Technologies” (DIGET) program is to provide comprehensive, specific, and trusted information about health threats to medical decision-makers within minutes. This will prevent the spread of disease, enable timely deployment of countermeasures, and improve the standard of care after diagnosis.

HHS Advances Development of Tests to Distinguish Bacterial From Viral Infections Across Multiple Healthcare Settings

A novel diagnostics technology will receive advanced development support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This technology reads gene expression patterns in the immune system to distinguish bacterial infections from viral infections and determines the severity within minutes. Rapid information on whether an infection is viral versus bacterial will help doctors make earlier, better-informed decisions about whether to treat the infection with or without antibiotics.

WHO Prequalifies Ebola Vaccine, Paving the Way for Its Use in High-Risk Countries

The World Health Organization (WHO) prequalified an Ebola vaccine for the first time, a critical step that will help speed up its licensing, access, and roll-out in countries most at risk of Ebola outbreaks. United Nations agencies and the Vaccine Alliance can procure the vaccine for at-risk countries based on this WHO recommendation.

U.S. Border Patrol Agents Leverage Emerging S&T Tech to Ensure the Security of Our Nation’s Borders

To help address border security and ensure United States Border Patrol (USBP) agents can perform their job both safely and effectively, the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) recently collaborated with the USBP and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers to deliver a multi-part solution by implementing innovative tools and capabilities that enable USBP agents to leverage the knowledge, skills, and abilities of expert trackers and use emerging technologies to maximize their tracking performance.

HHS to Advance Development of Cytovale Rapid Sepsis Diagnostic

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will partner with Cytovale of San Francisco, to advance the development of a test that may be able to diagnose sepsis in less than 10 minutes. Sepsis could pose an even greater health security threat in a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear emergency, or as a complication of an influenza pandemic or other emerging infectious disease outbreak.