august 2018

Updates

NIST Details Steps to Keep Buildings Functioning After Natural Hazards

Keeping structures operational after an earthquake, hurricane, tornado, or other natural hazard could become more likely with improved standards and codes for the construction of residential and commercial buildings, according to a new report recently delivered to the U.S. Congress by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Updates

Preparedness Month 2018

Every September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with its partners supports emergency preparedness efforts and encourages Americans to take action before, during, and after an emergency. This year, the CDC is highlighting Prepare Your Health. Each week focuses on the roles individuals, state and local public health, and CDC play in creating resilient health communities.

Updates

USDA Forest Service Announces New Strategy for Improving Forest Conditions

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service announced a new strategy for managing catastrophic wildfires and the impacts of invasive species, drought, and insect and disease epidemics. A new report outlines the Forest Service’s plans to work more closely with states to identify landscape-scale priorities for targeted treatments in areas with the highest payoffs.

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.

Updates

New Behavioral Health Resources Available for First Responders

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has developed new resources and materials with significant input from first responders. Their new, online training course addresses occupational stressors; mental health and substance use issues including depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, suicidality, and alcohol use; resilience; and healthy coping mechanisms including demonstrations of stress management techniques.

Updates

Preparing for Chemical Attacks With Improved Computer Models

Kiran Bhaganagar, from The University of Texas at San Antonio, and her team from Laboratory of Turbulence Sensing and Intelligence Systems, used computer models to replicate the dispersal of chemical gas from the April 4, 2017 chemical weapons attack in northwest Syria. The accuracy of her simulations showed the ability to capture real world conditions despite a scarcity of information.

Updates

Biological Engineers Discover New Antibiotic Candidates

The human body produces many antimicrobial peptides that help the immune system fend off infection. Scientists hoping to harness these peptides as potential antibiotics have now discovered that other peptides in the human body can also have potent antimicrobial effects, expanding the pool of new antibiotic candidates.

Updates

New Drug Strikes Nerve Agent

Nerve agent assaults are becoming more common. Although medical countermeasures exist to sustain life after nerve agent exposure, the risk of brain damage, behavioral, and neurological disorders persist. The Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Chemical and Biological Technologies Department has handed over development of Tezampanel, a new drug to counteract the long-term impacts of nerve agent poisoning to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, enabling warfighters to recover.

Updates

NIH Begins Clinical Trial of Live, Attenuated Zika Vaccine

Vaccinations have begun in a first-in-human trial of an experimental live, attenuated Zika virus vaccine developed by scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Developing safe and effective Zika vaccines is important because Zika virus infection remains a significant threat to pregnant women and their developing fetuses.

Updates

Using Data Analytics to Target Human Smugglers

The secretive nature of the lucrative, yet illegal, underground market of human smuggling leaves special agents looking for a technological edge – and they may have found one in a data analytics software program called Igloo. Agents can use Igloo to scour multiple sources and then track, triangulate, and swiftly translate the telltale signs of this type of criminal activity into actionable intelligence.

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.

Reports

Biosimilars Action Plan: Balancing Innovation and Competition

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration released the Biosimilars Action Plan to provide information about the key actions the agency is taking to encourage innovation and competition among biologics and the development of biosimilars.

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Updates

FEMA Seeks Feedback on Planning Considerations: Evacuation and Shelter-in-Place

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is seeking feedback on the draft document Planning Considerations: Evacuation and Shelter-in-Place. Feedback and recommendations received help ensure the final version of the guide is an effective resource for emergency managers across the nation. This National Engagement Period will conclude at 5 p.m. EDT on 31 August 2018.

Updates

ASPR’s Vision for Building Readiness: Sustaining Robust and Reliable Public Health Security Capabilities

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Vision for Healthcare Preparedness is a multi-part series that describes Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response’s (ASPR) four pillars to achieving national health security: providing strong leadership, building a Regional Disaster Health Response System, sustaining public health security capabilities, and advancing an innovative medical countermeasures enterprise. This post focuses on sustaining public health security capabilities.

Reports

Wildfire Statistics

The Forest Service – within the U.S. Department of Agriculture – carries out wildfire management and response across the 193 million acres of the National Forest System. The Department of the Interior manages wildfire response for more than 400 million acres of national parks, wildlife refuges and preserves, other public lands, and Indian reservations. Wildfire statistics help to illustrate past U.S. wildfire activity. 

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Preparedness

Technology Behind the Next Heat Emergency

by Tashawn Brown -

According to the National Weather Service, there were 107 fatalities across the United States related to heat in 2017 – more than the deaths related to tornados, hurricanes, and cold weather combined. Local emergency management agencies must work closely with the National Weather Service – as well as other agencies and organizations – to monitor extreme heat and related threats that can affect local communities.

Updates

RoboCup 2018 - S&T Test Methods Used to Evaluate Rescue Robots

Robocup is a conference that showcases different families of robots with applications for home, industry, and public safety. Robots in the public safety category are judged according to standards developed by the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. As a result, various law enforcement agencies are given unprecedented capabilities to help them in their missions.

Updates

Scientists Complete Mission to Map Fast-Moving Fault Off Alaska: Data Will Help Coastal Communities Prepare for Risks From Earthquakes and Tsunamis

Researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Geological Survey, and their partners have completed the first high-resolution, comprehensive mapping of one of the fastest moving underwater tectonic faults in the world, located in southeastern Alaska. This information will help communities in coastal Alaska and Canada better understand and prepare for the risks from earthquakes and tsunamis that can occur when faults suddenly move.

Updates

FirstNet Plans Emergency Drop Kits, Creating a ‘Connected Bubble’ for Public Safety

In an emergency, communication is critical to response efforts. For this reason, former public safety officials and first responders on the AT&T/FirstNet team, in collaboration with Sonim, are creating Emergency Drop Kits. These portable kits will envelop first responders in a 300-foot “connected bubble,” letting them maintain constant communication to better coordinate their responses.

Updates

Pipeline Emergency Response Training

The Pipeline Emergency Response Training Online Portal assists first responders to learn the techniques and skills to address a hazardous liquid or natural gas pipeline incident. This online training is provided free-of-charge to all first responders.

Updates

DHS Hosts Successful First-Ever National Cybersecurity Summit

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) hosted the first-of-its-kind National Cybersecurity Summit in New York City, bringing together industry partners and top federal officials with the goal of laying out a vision for a collective defense strategy to protect the nation’s critical infrastructure. Secretary Nielsen announced the creation of the National Risk Management Center, which will coordinate national efforts to protect the nation’s critical infrastructure.

Commentary

Managing Crisis & Disaster in a Connected Digital World

by Wayne P. Bergeron -

#SafetyBeforeSelfie – Please make sure to exit the burning building before texting, tweeting, posting, or live streaming about it. Surprisingly, the current security and emergency management (EM) environment that exists both in the public and increasingly in the private sector may necessitate such emergency warning statements as part of EM organizations’ risk communication planning.

Reports

Report of the Attorney General's Cyber Digital Task Force

In February 2018, the U.S. Attorney General directed the formation of a Cyber-Digital Task Force to undertake a comprehensive assessment of the Department of Justice’s work in the cyber area, and to identify how federal law enforcement could more effectively accomplish its mission in this area. This report is the task force’s initial assessment. 

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Reports

Durable Medical Equipment in Disasters

This fact sheet provides information on general durable medical equipment (DME) categories and focuses on electricity-dependent DME that may be affected by disasters and emergencies, including power failures. It also includes information to assist healthcare system preparedness stakeholders plan for medically vulnerable populations who rely on DME.

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Updates

Follow National Wildfire Information in the Palm of Your Hand: GeoMAC Goes Mobile

The public can now access information about active wildfires across the country using smartphones. The newly designed GeoMAC, a near real-time web mapping service hosted by the U.S. Geological Survey, is now available through any web browser compatible with mobile devices.

Reports

Planning Considerations: Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attacks

This guide supports planning for Complex Coordinated Terrorist Attacks (CCTAs) and provides a summary of their unique characteristics. The document builds on Comprehensive Preparedness Guide (CPG) 101: Developing and Maintaining Emergency Operations Plans, and CPG 201: Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA) Guide by providing planning considerations specific to CCTAs, which are relevant both to developing a plan and to completing a THIRA. 

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Updates

FLIR Systems Receives Delivery Order Totaling $4M for FLIR IBAC 2 Biological Agent Detectors to Support Joint United States Forces Korea

FLIR Systems Inc. announced it has received a delivery order for FLIR IBAC™ 2 biological agent detector systems to support the United States Forces Korea. The FLIR IBAC 2 is a real-time air monitor that alarms in less than 60 seconds when an airborne biothreat, such as spore, viral, cellular, and protein toxins, are present, then collects, preserves, and transmits data to command and control centers.

Resilience

Planning Needed – Climate Change Impact on Animals

by Johanna Rahkonen & Richard (Dick) Green -

Animal populations will be uniquely impacted by the increasing, changing, and compounding disasters attributed to the rapidly advancing effects of climate change. Companion animals will face displacement, livestock will suffer from physiological stressors, and wildlife may face localized extinctions. Animals from all sectors may experience increased instances of negative health outcomes such as infectious diseases. Emergency and disaster planners must take steps to proactively assess the impact of climate changes on animals within their communities as they work to improve their climate resilience.