Brainstorm - 25 Concepts From Subject Matter Experts

When planning for its annual forecast issue, DomPrep reached out to subject matter experts in all preparedness disciplines to share which solutions they believe have significant potential to improve preparedness (readiness and resilience) over the next five years. In 200 words or less, more than 50 readers answered the call.

As some noted, there is no single big thing. The next big thing is, “multiple technologies: social media; drone/UAV; smart clothing/wearables, all things communications. We are just scratching the surface of technology use in emergency management and our related disciplines,” replied Eric Holdeman, director of the Center for Regional Disaster Resilience.

From current solutions that will become more prevalent in the future to solutions that are still in the making, the following 25 categories offer innovativeeas in technology, process, and human behavior that will create more prepared and more resilient communities.

1. 3D printing “3D printing is becoming more common. It could reasonably enable a quicker disaster response and recovery by producing onsite and eliminating the need for much of the costly logistical provision of building materials, sheltering components, even food and medical supplies.” Charles Perino, Emergency Management Planner

2. Smartphone Apps “Automated communications (alerts) that involve multiple jurisdictions and multiple levels (CEO through neighboring businesses and residents). The alerts will be based on incident type and proximity. They will target people who signed up as well as cellphones in the vicinity. They will reveal multiple levels of information based on recipient.” Charles A. Bishop, Emergency Management, J. Sargeant Reynolds, Community College, Richmond, Virginia

“Smartphone-enabled instrumentation and new apps.” David Brown, President, Berkeley Nucleonics

3. Communications “Restricted cell phone frequencies, or the ability to lock out consumer cell traffic, to ensure emergency services have full communications capabilities during an emergency.”

“More interactive communications via the Internet. Social media is in the forefront now, but old fashioned e-mail and interactive TV may be excellent means of communicating with individuals and families as the newer technologies mature.” Mark D. Kaintz, MA, PCP, Co-Chairman, Board of Directors, PandemicPrep.Org

4. Information Sharing “DHS and the Information Sharing Executive Office’s Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN). This FOUO/SBU-level platform is in its third iteration, and it is connecting the dots among the entire enterprise – from emergency management to fusion centers, special events to steady-state operations. The HSIN platform is customizable, secure, and free. Recent improvements, such as the free use of Adobe Connect for any of HSIN’s 25,000 users and access using a DHS-issued PIV card make the system even more attractive and easy to use. HSIN is in short, the silo-buster for improving overall national awareness, preparedness, and readiness.”

“Wireless technology used to share critical information between first responder agencies in real time.” Thomas Richardson, Deputy Chief, New York City Fire Department

5. Social Media “The immediate nature of this communication has changed the way government has to react and communicate with the public. Ferguson riots are a stark reminder that the public is not waiting to be spoon fed information, they have it at their fingertips. If no information is shared, they will make up the story and decide the solution to the problem, real or perceived.” Chief Pat Walsh, Lompoc Police Department, Lompoc, California

“Social media will be the catalyst to direct the public to get informed and what tools there are out there to assist them.” William D. Perkins III, Capitol Region Council of Governments, Homeland Security Training & Project Coordinator, Emergency Management Duty Officer, CT-IMT3 Operations Section Chief

6. Data Collection/Analysis “Technologies that allow for the collection and analysis of data will continue to improve homeland security prevention, preparedness, and response activities. Emerging technology won’t be an issue going forward, however, governments willingness and the legal parameters to share data will slow the process.” Christian Schulz, Lieutenant Colonel, Homeland Security Branch, New Jersey State Police

“Stratified Informatics.” Dr. Amaal Tokars, Executive Director, Kendall County Health Department

7. GIS/GPS Technology “The use of automated, disaster-specific apps such as GPS tracking, ‘I am (not) OK’ messaging with GPS data, casualtyentification, and status tracking, etc.” Prof. Pinchas (Pinny) Halpern, MD, Chair of Emergency Medicine, Tel Aviv Medical Center, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Israel

“ This will revolutionize the way we refer to latitude/longitude.” Kevin Brenker, Executive Vice President, Vigilant Systems Group LLC, Newport, New Hampshire

“One next big thing will be locators, passive and active, to enhance SAR and Urban SAR capabilities, tracking of downed officers and firemen, and high-risk civilians such as students, the cognitively-impaired, and the handicapped in disaster or terrorist situations.”

8. Cloud “Cloud storage will be available no matter where we relocate. However, availability will only happen if the cloud provider is prepared and has multiple redundant storage facilities. Security is an issue with cloud and must be verified before use.”

“Cloud computing and mobility platform combined with improved data speeds and reduced cost. This will enable planners and field operations to meld. Presently the planning function is not fully integrated into operations and logistics. The meld of these functions will provide instant analytics and ability to modify plans under incident conditions. Logistics support can become proactive as operational plans are modified.” Micheal Whelan, Executive Vice President, Salamander Technologies.

“Being prepared for the process of reunification is important for a complete disaster preparedness program. StatusNet911, a cloud-based application that connects hospital emergency departments with emergency medical services dispatch systems providing hospital specific 911 incident and inbound unit information as well as coordination during multicasualty incidents. The preparedness extension for reunification allows seekers to find their injured family members through a single call into the EMS or hospital system. The seeker is called once the sought individual is located.” Swati D. Allen, Managing Partner, DataTech911

9. Integrated Technologies “Next Generation 911 is the next ‘big thing.’ This is where video, text/SMS, MMS, and voice all come together. Integrating this technology along with a concept of operation of its usage will shape public safety for years to come. As each PSAP refreshes its technology, this issue requires much focus. Will we allow what are now separate vendors to propose proprietary solutions? Or, will we require integrated solutions that provide a useful common operating picture for all public safety and aligned agencies? That will play out over the next 5-10 years.”

10. Drones/UAVs “Drones for situational awareness should be explored by emergency managers…they can be used for many situations (damage assessment, wildfire, etc.)” Marc Barbiere, Emergency Management Coordinator, Fairfax County Health Department

“Remotely-controlled vehicles (commonly called robots or drones). Machines that can roll, walk, or fly into and through hazardous environments to gather information or solve problems, might change the title of humans from first-responder to second-responder. Imagine a nuclear plant disaster where robots are sent in to do damage assessment with radiation sensors to map leaks. How soon before it’s standard procedure for firemen to fight a fire from inside the fire truck, remotely operating small vehicles that enter the building to fight the fire and search for victims? The only thing that surprises me is how slowly this emerging technology is taking off.”

“Public agency use of drones” Captain Michael Barvels, FDNY

11. Alternative Energy “Direct current microgrids. Given that we know how to deep energy retrofit existing buildings, the main remaining load category is ‘plug load.’ Increasingly, as appliances/computers/TVs/gadgets infused with electronics comprise that load, DC becomes paramount. Add PV, whose output is DC, and an all-DC house is a no brainer. Add DHS’s Fortified Star to the mix and link a cluster of like structures with an ‘islandable’ DC microgrid and we have a base for a resilient redesign of the grid.” Terry Hill, Senior Policy Advisor, PHIUS

“Cheaper, more efficient, alternative energy producers – better photovoltaic cells for solar power, wind turbines, etc.”

12. Infrastructure Protection “Protective devices added to the electrical grid to guard against CME or EMP and the loss of the grid.”

“Active health monitoring in the electrical grid. Sensors and algorithms that detect faults in the grid prior to event.” Kevin Brenker, Executive Vice President, Vigilant Systems Group LLC, Newport, New Hampshire

13. Alternative Food Supplies “Ancient grains such as finger millet will emerge to provide food in drought-ridden parts of the world. These grains are extremely resilient to the drought environment. They do not need to be reseeded and will sprout when the slightest precipitation occurs.” Scott Jackson, Burnham Systems Consulting, Greater Los Angeles Area

14. New Oxygen-Absorbing Compounds These compounds can be used to bind, store, transport, and release oxygen where needed. Uses may include enhancing food preserving time and regulating oxygen supplies for lung patients and fuel cells in cars. Shared by Dr. Lawrence Roberge

15. Chemical/Biological/Nuclear “GoPro and related visual links; technologies in detecting chemical and biologic agents; use of surveillance systems in sites like emergency departments to detect and manage disease outbreaks, natural or man-made; and clarification of roles in disease outbreaks.”

“If considering the ‘next big thing’ for issues, I think it will be nuclear power/preparedness/response and maybe nuclear attacks.”

16. Medical Treatment “I believe that aerosolizing of life-saving medications such as Narcan has significant potential to improve preparedness over the next five years. Aerosolized medications can treat truly life-threatening emergencies and are not invasive in nature. Coupled with national approval for multi-level first responder use (e.g., paramedics, EMTs, law enforcement officers, and firefighters) this solution can revolutionize community readiness and resilience, and reduce overall loss of life for all level of incidents and events- natural and manmade.” Vivienne Treharne, B.S.N., R.N., Registered Nurse Consultant, Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Preparedness and Response, Logistics Unit

“Hemostatic agents and tourniquets developed for the military AND finding a way to get them into active shooter scenarios and explosive device incidents immediately when multiple casualties exist. Staging EMS resources while the threat is confined and eliminated results in more victims bleeding out and not surviving. EMS and/or trained law enforcement officers need to take these adjuncts in with them and use them while other law enforcement assets are providing cover and protection. Every police officer, firefighter, and EMS provider need to have QuikClot/Combat Gauze and a tourniquet deployable with one hand. Every U.S. Marine carries it and is trained to use it; surely we can do the same with our first responders.” Ben Chlapek, Public Safety Training Coordinator, Mid-America Regional Council

17. Telemedicine “Telemedicine can allow both rural and remote access to specialized care. The problem with this however is how to ensure a robust and redundant system during an event that compromises the technology.” James Johnson, RN, MICN Paramedic Liaison Nurse, Chino Valley Medical Center

18. Public Training “Greater involvement within the citizen population is the biggest driving force for effective national preparedness. This includes not only the basic preparedness features pushed by FEMA and DHS on their websites, but a significant increase in Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) participation and a fundamental change in what technical information is released to the public. Training in CBRNE awareness and individual requirements in an incident should be proposed for wide distribution and easy access to the public. A trained public will benefit, as less time is then required to cover basics, explain standard actions, and reassure the masses in the early stages of an incident. The public would also be better prepared to assist through accurate and detailed information sharing.” Sudhir Oberoi, Health Physicist, State of Oregon

19. Security “Site-wide video security. Unlike surveillance, which is primarily used for forensic purposes, toentify intruders after the fact, video security actively alerts site security teams to intrusions, tracks intruders, shows them on-screen, and geolocates them for fast response. Recent technical developments promise to make wireless video security systems easier to install, more economical to operate, and more ready for integration into a larger security system.”

20. Public Relations “Not a technology and not new at all, police community relations are fundamental to homeland security. Slogans such as ‘If You See Something, Say Something’ have meaning only if those who see something are willing to say something to the police. The recent protests over the Ferguson Grand Jury demonstrate that a significant portion of the population mistrusts the police and are reluctant to get involved with them – there is a ‘synaptic disconnect’ between those with potential homeland security information and those that can do something about it. The police/homeland security needs the civilian population. There are more than 800,000 full-time sworn law enforcement officers in the United States, and more than 318 million people. Law enforcement/homeland security needs those 318 million additional observers. To do that, we must dramatically increase police-community rapport.” Martin J. Alperen, consultant, CHDS alumni

21. Situational Awareness “True situational awareness is critical. We’re still stuck in information hoarding & secrecy. Publicly available daily briefs, fusion center briefs, LE briefs are critical at every level of preparedness. Mostly this will need to be electronic media, but utilizing k

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