april 2019

Reports

NTHMP Tsunami Information Guide

The purpose of the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program (NTHMP) Tsunami Information Guide is to serve as a general resource for information about tsunamis in the United States. It is written for anyone who wants to know more about tsunamis, the U.S. Tsunami Warning System, and how to prepare for tsunamis. 

View Full Report
Updates

Acting Secretary McAleenan Announces Establishment of DHS Office for Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin K. McAleenan announced the establishment of the new Department of Homeland Security Office for Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention. The Office for Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention widens the scope of previous departmental efforts to ensure that all forms of violence, regardless of the ideological motivation, are being addressed.

Reports

Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security 2018 Annual Report

The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security works to protect people’s health from the consequences of epidemics and disasters and ensure that communities are resilient to major challenges. This annual report shares some of the center’s past milestones and highlights their current work.

View Full Report
Updates

Application Instructions for Nominees to the National Biodefense Science Board

The National Biodefense Science Board serves as a group of thought leaders who advise the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary and the HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) on issues related to biodefense, public health emergency preparedness, response and recovery, and other issues related to national health security. HHS ASPR is now soliciting applications for new board members. Applications will be accepted until 15 June 2019.

Updates

DHS Announces Funding Opportunity for Fiscal Year 2019 Preparedness Grants

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the release of Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Notices of Funding Opportunity for eight DHS preparedness grant programs totaling more than $1.7 billion. The grant programs provide funding to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, as well as transportation authorities, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector, to improve the nation’s readiness in preventing, protecting against, responding to, recovering from, and mitigating terrorist attacks, major disasters, and other emergencies.

Commentary

Hybrid Warfare – Merging Old & New Age Threats

by Catherine L. Feinman -

Since the end of the Second World War, nations around the globe have seen the evolution of computers and the internet. The subsequent informational “melting pot” known as the World Wide Web has created a fertile environment for sharing both critical intelligence and fictitious narratives. When state actors leverage their existing conventional military tactics and combine them with ever-evolving cyber technology, this new hybrid warfare tactic introduces numerous new and increasingly challenging political, psychological, and economic threats.

Updates

Biosecurity, Biological Weapons Nonproliferation, and Their Future

Part of the general mandate of the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, is to stem – and, if possible, to roll back – the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), delivery systems, and advanced conventional weapons. Dr. Christopher Ashley Ford, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, discusses the challenges of biosecurity.

Updates

Using Nanotechnology to Minimize Fire Damage

The U.S. Fire Administration reported over 1.3 million structure fires in 2017 causing an estimated 3,400 deaths, 14,670 injuries and $23 billion dollars in damages. The high cost of today's fire problem in lives and property is leading some researchers to look for innovative fire protection solutions. One such solution is nanotechnology. It is used to make building and product materials stronger, lighter and at the same time, more fire resistant.

Reports

MCMi Program Update – FY 2018

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plays a critical role in protecting the U.S. from chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear (CBRN), and emerging infectious disease threats such as pandemic influenza and Zika virus. FDA is responsible for reviewing the safety and effectiveness of medical countermeasures (MCMs)—including drugs, therapeutic biologics, vaccines, and devices, such as diagnostic tests—to counter these threats. This is the FDA’s fiscal year 2018 report detailing its MCM activities. 

View Full Report
Podcast

Approach the Bench – Preparing Judges for Disasters & Emergencies

Underpinning any public health emergency response is a complex legal and regulatory framework. Understanding the interplay between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government is key to ensure policies and actions are based on solid legal footing. This podcast examines the role of the judicial branch and explores how the Tribal Legal Preparedness Project at the University of Pittsburgh Center for Public Health Practice is working to enhance the legal preparedness of tribal nations. There are 573 federally recognized Indian tribes across 35 states in the United States. These tribal governments are sovereign entities and operate within their own authority to create and enforce their own laws, including those that would be used to respond to public health emergencies. 

Legal preparedness is a vital component of emergency preparedness for all jurisdictions, including sovereign tribal nations. For example, in an infectious disease outbreak, tribal nations may need to quarantine their members. If laws, policies, and procedures are not in place, that process can be complicated, particularly if jurisdictional issues arise due to the location of the tribal member. This can also lead to delays in protecting public health.

In this podcast, Domestic Preparedness Advisor and attorney Andrew Roszak discusses the importance of enhancing legal preparedness capacity before disasters. He is joined by Tina Batra Hershey, JD, MPH, who is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, an adjunct professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and the associate director of law and policy at the Center for Public Health Practice.

Read The Importance of Legal Preparedness for Tribal Nations

Preparedness

Uncharted Waters: Volunteers & Active Shooters

by Andrew Altizer & Barrett Cappetto -

Universities often use volunteers to provide assistance in helping keep campuses safe and prepared. Most facilities on campus rely on volunteer crisis managers, crisis coordinators, fire wardens, or similarly named individuals to help with various emergency preparedness and response efforts – especially with evacuations. Some larger, or specialized facilities, have full-time building managers or engineers, who have emergency preparedness and limited response responsibilities. Additional volunteers can also fill such gaps with expanding roles and responsibilities.

Reports

Emerging Health and Safety Issues Among Women in the Fire Service

The U.S. Fire Administration convened a symposium in 1994 to identify health and safety issues among women in the fire service and create recommendations for action. This report discusses recommendations from the 1994 symposium that continue to relate to health and safety issues among women fire fighters today. 

View Full Report
Updates

A Rapid Deployment Team for Victims


The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Victim Services Response Team (VSRT) is a specially trained cadre of FBI personnel whose primary function is to address the needs of victims in mass casualty events. The FBI’s VSRT, which includes victim specialists, agents, and analysts from around the country, was established in 2005 to provide support for victims in large-scale events.

Updates

Johnson & Johnson Innovation and Children’s National Health System to Launch JLABS @ Washington, DC at the New Children’s National Research and Innovation Campus in 2020

Johnson & Johnson Innovation LLC and Children’s National Health System announced a collaboration to launch JLABS @ Washington, DC, a 32,000-square foot facility to be located at the new Children’s National Research and Innovation Campus in Washington, D.C. As part of the JLABS @ Washington, DC launch, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority will collaborate with Johnson & Johnson Innovation–JLABS to develop and maintain a specialized innovation zone dedicated to the advancement of medical countermeasures aimed at securing the nation from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats, as well as from pandemic influenza and emerging infectious diseases.

Updates

FDA and CBP Bolster Collaboration to Protect Public Health and Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) leaders signed an agreement to maximize inspection and detection capabilities in order to prevent illegal and harmful products that pose threats to public health from entering the United States through the nation’s international mail facilities and ports of entry.

Updates

DoD Leaders Brief Congress on WMD Threats and Department’s Response

Department of Defense (DoD) leaders briefed the House Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on intelligence and emerging threats and capabilities. The leaders outlined a number of steps the DoD is taking to strengthen its anti-weapons of mass destruction (WMD) efforts.

Updates

National Fire Academy – Emergency Medical Services: Safety Program Operations (R0154) Course Openings

Calling all company-level officers, chief officers, and supervisors who have department-level health and safety responsibilities (such as program planning and implementation) and who may serve as an incident safety officer or department health and safety officer. This six-day course provides knowledge and practice in the context of current issues to develop strategies of risk management associated with the provision of firefighting and emergency medical services to reduce firefighter fatalities and injuries. Course openings are available for July 2019. Register today!

Reports

Harnessing Multilateral Financing for Health Security Preparedness

The economic consequences of large-scale disease outbreaks can be enormous. Upgrading countries’ preparedness is relatively inexpensive and affordable. The financing gap for preparedness is one of the starkest problems in health security, especially among low-income and lower-middle-income countries. The World Bank Group’s International Development Association 2019 replenishment presents a choice opportunity to make adjustments that reflect important emerging priorities. 

View Full Report
Reports

Fire as a Weapon: Security Awareness for Soft Targets and Crowded Places

The use of fire as a weapon is consistently reflected in terrorist propaganda. The use of fire does not require sophisticated planning or capability by an attacker, which makes this an attractive method to cause harm to people and property. The use of fire as a weapon is unpredictable and may have few observable indicators. However, careful attention to warning signs could aid in mitigating a potential incident.

View Full Report
Resilience

Core Principles of Threat Management Units

by Michael Breslin -

Homeland security is a complex and ever-evolving challenge whose mitigation necessitates the actions and collaboration of personnel across all branches of government and the private sector. This enhanced complexity presents law enforcement, homeland safety, and security professionals with a myriad of challenges due to an environment overflowing with existential and hybrid threats, technological innovation, interconnectivity, and limited resources.

Updates

FDA Finalizes Requirements to Help Foster Access to Safe and Effective Tests to Detect Anthrax-Causing Bacteria

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a final rule classifying in vitro diagnostic devices for the detection of Bacillus bacteria into class II (moderate-risk) with special controls. Bacillus bacteria detection devices are prescription devices that provide a preliminary identification of Bacillus anthracis and other Bacillus species to help diagnose cases of anthrax and other diseases caused by Bacillus bacteria.

Updates

TSA Awards Computed Tomography Contract to Smiths Detection Inc.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) awarded Smiths Detection Inc. a contract for 300 Computed Tomography systems and associated ancillary equipment and services. This technology will vastly enhance threat detection capabilities for carry-on baggage and overall effectiveness at airport security checkpoints across the United States.

Updates

DHS S&T Seeks Partners for First Responder Technology R&D

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) invites industry, academia, laboratories, and the innovation community to submit white papers related to 12 first responder technology funding opportunities. The new Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) solicitation (BAA 18-02 Call 0001) will remain open until 1 May 2019.

Commentary

Preparing for & Responding to Disaster – A 2018 Review

by Christopher Reynolds & Allison G. S. Knox -

Fire, wind, and water – a lot of water. The year 2018 delivered all in a series of natural disasters that seemed almost continual. Throughout the year, there was a significant risk to lives and property caused by wildfires in the West, hurricanes in the Southeast, and flooding in numerous locales nationwide.

Updates

Secretary Nielsen Statement on Executive Order to Protect the U.S. From Electromagnetic Pulse Attacks

On 26 March 2019, President Donald J. Trump signed the Executive Order on Coordinating National Resilience to Electromagnetic Pulses, the first-ever comprehensive whole-of-government policy to build resilience and protect against electromagnetic pulses (EMPs). Without protection, these temporary electromagnetic signals can disrupt, degrade, and damage technology and critical infrastructure systems across large areas.

Reports

Building and Measuring Community Resilience: Actions for Communities and the Gulf Research Program

“Building and Measuring Community Resilience: Actions for Communities and the Gulf Research Program” summarizes the existing portfolio of relevant or related resilience measurement efforts and notes gaps and challenges associated with them. It describes how some communities build and measure resilience and offers four key actions that communities could take to build and measure their resilience in order to address gaps identified in current community resilience measurement efforts. 

View Full Report