Commentary

Emerging Threats to Rail Infrastructure: Part II, Passenger

by Catherine L. Feinman -

With millions of passengers travelling each day by rail and subway in the United States alone, the passenger rail industry and the communities they serve are faced with difficult safety and security challenges – from equipment failures to terrorist attacks. A whole community approach is needed to address these challenges, to understand the threats and consequences, and to promote a culture of resilience.

Roles in Disaster – Completing the Chain

by Catherine L. Feinman -

A passenger train derails in an urban community. Whether caused by intentional or unintentional factors, this incident would have consequences that go well beyond the rail company and the passengers traveling in these fated rail cars. Surrounding companies and communities would be affected, hazardous materials may be a threat, critical infrastructure beyond transportation could be impacted, cyber and physical security could be at risk, and so on. Mitigating these risks, threats, and vulnerabilities requires education, tools, and a desire to play a key role in disaster preparedness and response.

Podcast: MPAs & Disasters

by Andrew Roszak -

With so many graduate degrees available, it can sometimes be confusing to know which to pursue when entering the world of emergency and disaster preparedness and response. DomPrep Advisor Andrew Roszak addressed one broad-based degree that covers many areas critical for managing disasters. In this podcast, Dr. Randolf Burnside of Southern Illinois University’s Political Science Department and Dr. Anirudh Ruhil of Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs share their insight about the Master’s of Public Administration (MPA) degree and how it can help prepare professionals for jobs in both the public and private sectors.

Rail Threats & Interdependencies – Thoughts for Discussion

by Rick Mathews -

In the United States, there are ongoing efforts to protect the nation’s critical infrastructure. Presidential directives, coupled with national security strategies and several iterations of the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP), have spanned the terms of at least four presidents and included the rail system. The volume of activity on or near rail lines, potential threats, and interdependencies all raise concern for the protection of this critical infrastructure asset.

Emerging Homeland Security Issues – A 2017 Panel Review

by Joseph J. Leonard Jr. -

The 2017 Emerging Homeland Security Issues panel met in December to discuss the current challenges of today’s threats, review risk management practices, assess means of strengthening interagency relationships, and to consider future resource requirements.

Setting Examples for Disaster Preparedness

by Catherine L. Feinman -

From coast to coast, communities across the United States are implementing solutions to address gaps that could hinder response efforts should a disaster occur. From special events to widespread natural disasters, this edition of the DomPrep Journal shares experiences and lessons learned from those who have firsthand accounts of these events and incidents and want to ensure that any existing gaps are closed before similar situations arise again.

Explosives & Handheld Trace Detection

by Ryan Holland & Mark Fisher -

The threat of homemade explosives (HMEs) is not new. From the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, to the “shoe bomber,” London underground bombings, “underwear bomber,” and attacks in Paris and Brussels in the 2000s, the threat is ever changing. Not only do post-incident crime scenes present danger to responders until secondary devices have been ruled out, but also makeshift laboratories where the bombs are made. Handheld explosives trace detection (ETD) equipment can help responders quickly determine on-scene threats, like Triacetone Triperoxide (TATP) and react appropriately and expediently.

Making Schools Safe & Secure – A Local to National Effort

by Mary Filardo -

This article explores the meaning of safe and secure schools, shows where current schools are falling short, and offers policy prescriptions, pointing to the pending federal infrastructure package as a unique opportunity to make an important down payment to secure a safer and better future for the nation’s students.

Plan, Inform, Practice – Factoring in Resilience

by Catherine L. Feinman -

Modern communities are faced with myriad threats, risks, and hazards that require careful planning, significant information gathering, and actionable preparedness practices. Since incidents range in scale and scope, it is important to not only examine the factors related to the type of incident, but also examine the factors related to specific agencies and organizations.

Preparedness Can Be Easy

by Raynika Battle -

For more than a decade, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) statistics have shown that, although there has been some improvement, not enough people are prepared for emergencies and disasters. However, publicly available resources are educating community members and helping them prepare – one month at a time – for potential disasters that are likely to affect them.