december 2012


Secretary Napolitano Announces Recipients of the 2012 Rick Rescorla National Award for Resilience

"The Rick Rescorla National Award for Resilience recognizes outstanding response to a catastrophic incident and leadership in fostering resilient and prepared communities," said Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.  "Jane Cage and the Joplin community demonstrate this spirit of resilience and strength, serving as models for communities across our nation."


HHS Health IT Safety Plan Open for Public Comment

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the Health IT Patient Safety Action and Surveillance Plan. The Plan, which builds on the Department's overall commitment to patient safety, is open for public comment through Feb. 4, 2013 and addresses recommendations made in the 2011 Institute of Medicine (IOM) Report, Health IT and Patient Safety: Building Safer Systems for Better Care.


Statement by the President on EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson's Announcement that She Will Leave the Administration Early Next Year

Statement by President Barack Obama on the announcement that Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson will be leaving the administration yearly next year.


An Interview With the Honorable Paul McHale

by Aaron Sean Poynton -

The former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas' Security Affairs provides his own nonpartisan insights on the current state of U.S. homeland defense, comments on progress made as well as gaps that still need to be filled, and recommendations for better protecting the U.S. homeland in the future.


Additional Uses for Chemical Warfare Agent Detectors

by Christopher Wrenn -

Identifying and locating the source of noxious odors can be a difficult and time-consuming task. However, first responders are finding that they can use the advanced "sniffing" capability of their chemical warfare agent detectors for more than just terrorist attacks.


EPA Updates Rule for Pathogens in Drinking Water, Sets Limit for E. Coli

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has updated the rule for pathogens in drinking water, including setting a limit for the bacteria E. coli to better protect public health. Under the revised rule, public drinking water systems are required to notify the public if a test exceeds the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for E. coli in drinking water.


WPI Honored for Developing Technology that Increases Firefighter Safety

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) recently received the 2012 State Fire Marshal's Award, which recognizes significant contributions to the fire service made by those outside of the service. WPI was recognized for their work on devices that precisely locate first responders inside buildings and can warn them of threats from toxic gases.


DHS Determines 13 States Meet REAL ID Standards

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) determined that thirteen states have met the standards of the REAL ID Act of 2005 ("Act") for driver's licenses and identification cards and has granted a temporary deferment for all other states and territories. DHS commends these states on the substantial progress in working toward these goals and the improvements in security for state-issued drivers licenses and identification cards since 9/11.


EPA & National Science Foundation Support Research for Safer Chemical Design

"Changes in our economy, society, technology, and the environment itself are presenting the EPA with new challenges and opportunities," said Lek Kadeli, principal deputy assistant administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Research and Development. "This joint effort with the National Science Foundation is an important step forward in realizing that vision and creating a more sustainable future."


New WMD Concerns: Many Questions, But Few Answers

by Glen Rudner -

It is understandable that the end of the Cold War led not only to a relaxation of global tensions but also, to an alarming degree, to a less vigilant attitude about the major, complex, and increasingly dangerous threat posed by Syria, Iran, Libya, and other nations in various areas of the world. Here are some relevant questions already being asked - but not yet answered.


From Risk to Resilience: A Social Enterprise Model

by Timothy L. Tinker -

Federal agencies are using lessons learned from past disasters to develop the holistic and dynamic communications needed to improve behavioral changes and develop meaningful public dialogue and engagement. Social motivation, social marketing, social media, social measures, and social models are essential building blocks in the construction of a stronger, more resilient social enterprise.


Resilience Principles: The Search for Optimum Combinations

by Scott Jackson -

Decision makers cannot use a one-size-fits-all solution to build their resilience plans. Before choosing a single solution, light must be shed on some of the more complex aspects of resilience analysis as well as several issues relevant to the implementation of resilience principles - and various combinations thereof.


DomPrep Action Plan Preview

by William H. Austin -

The DomPrep Action Plan report includes key talking points for building and sustaining a resilient nation. On 13 November 2012, Admiral Thad Allen, USCG (Ret.) - a former Coast Guard Commandant - and other practitioners from across the nation gathered to discuss ways of bolstering collaboration, sustaining collaborative networks, supporting sub-state regionalization efforts, and enabling frameworks to assist public-private initiatives. Discussions such as this DomPrep Executive Briefing are a necessary step in building and sustaining regional resilience.


Avon Protection Systems Announces the New PC50 Air Purifying Respirator (APR)

Avon Protection Systems has announced the introduction of the PC50 APR, a field-proven, military-pedigreed, NIOSH-approved non-CBRN respiratory device designed for use with the CTF12 Canister to provide protection against CS/CN agents. The PC50 was specifically developed and designed for use by Correctional Officers, Riot Control, Border Patrol, and Plant Security personnel and for other non-CBRN requirements.


FDA Approves Raxibacumab to Treat Inhalational Anthrax

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of raxibacumab injections to treat inhalational anthrax, a form of the infectious disease caused by breathing in the spores of the bacterium Bacillus anthracis. Raxibacumab is a monoclonal antibody that neutralizes toxins, produced by B. anthraces, that can cause massive and irreversible tissue injury and death.


York County (Va.) Launches Text-to-9-1-1 Service First-Office Application for Verizon Wireless Customers

The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO), in association with the York-Poquoson-Williamsburg Emergency Communications Center in Virginia, has launched a first-office application of text-to-9-1-1 service with Verizon Wireless and Telecommunications Systems Inc. (TCS). This deployment - the first in the nation to use the Verizon Wireless solution - will serve as model for other pubic safety answering points (PSAPs) across the country.


FEMA Uses WebEOC Crisis Management System in Responses to Hurricanes Isaac & Sandy

"WebEOC has made a world of difference in how FEMA personnel communicate information and make requests for support or resources," said Brad Pond, ESi Vice President, Corporate and Customer Performance. "Running in the AWS Cloud further ensures that they can use the system wherever they are - disaster site, office, or home - as long as they have Internet access on any computer or tablet device."


New Tools to Help Providers Protect Patient Data in Mobile Devices

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has launched a new education initiative and set of online tools to provide healthcare providers and organizations practical tips on ways to protect their patients' protected health information when using mobile devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones.


Emergency Management in 2013

by James Lee Witt -

As the "fiscal cliff" approaches, emergency managers must plan for future preparedness efforts - with or without adequate funding. The solution may well be found through collaborative efforts within and between states, resource sharing, and the leadership needed to effectively identify and fill staffing gaps and resource needs.


Integrating Support for Real-Time Response Success

by Craig Crume -

High-stress situations can lead to errors in judgment. For emergency responders, such errors can mean the difference between life and death. By using government and private-sector support systems already available, responders can gain renewed confidence in their own abilities and perform their operations with greater proficiency and efficiency.


The Future of Data Clouds

by Marko Bourne -

In the current economy, there is a continuing need to find cost-effective solutions for responding to and dealing with future threats. Cloud computing provides an innovative and effective way to meet the information needs of decision makers by storing and analyzing vast amounts of real-time data when coping with major disasters and other emergencies.


EPA Appoints 11 New Members to the National Environmental Education Advisory Council

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson has appointed 11 environmental education professionals to serve on the agency's National Environmental Education Advisory Council (NEEAC). The Council is composed of representatives from organizations outside the federal government who provide EPA with advice and recommendations on environmental education.


FDA Announces Public-Private Partnership to Develop Regulatory Science That Will Speed Patient Access to New Medical Device Technologies

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that it is part of the first public-private partnership to promote medical device regulatory science with a special focus on speeding the development, assessment, and review of new medical devices.


Witt O'Brien's, The Nation's Top Crisis and Disaster Services Firm

Witt Associates and O'Brien's Response Management have announced their intent to combine the two companies to form Witt O'Brien's by 31 December 2012. Witt O'Brien's will bring a new approach to the crisis and disaster industry by combining each company's unparalleled crisis and disaster experience with innovative planning, training, exercise, and software solutions.


Partnering to Create Reliable Medical Countermeasures Capabilities

by Daniel J. Abdun-Nabi -

Medical countermeasures save lives, but only if they are ready and available. By combining the capabilities of pharmaceutical companies, the innovative technologies of smaller firms, and the scientific expertise of academic institutions, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will be in a better position to combat a future public health crisis.


Extraordinary Care: A Case Study for the Future

by Joseph Cahill -

Managing change and risk is an ongoing challenge for emergency medical services managers. One growing concern is whether, before transporting patients to the hospital, paramedics should be providing more care than is now required.


Superstorm Amplifies Need for Power Grid Modernization

by J. Michael Barrett -

The cost of updating the U.S. electrical grid structure is high, but the cost of not updating it is even higher. When assessing risks and setting goals, leaders must make tough decisions in order to develop an efficient, cost-effective system with standardized and interchangeable parts that can be shared among and between jurisdictions.


Medical Preparedness Bill - One Step Closer

With the threat of a biological attack just over the horizon, initiatives such as the Medical Preparedness Allowable Use Act (H.R. 5997) will ensure that medical countermeasures and medical preparedness activities will continue under current grant programs. With the support of the House, H.R. 5997 moves one step closer to becoming law.


Environics CBRN Event Module Provides CBRN Continuous Fixed Monitoring in a Compact Portable Package

The Environics CBRN Event Module provides continuous monitoring and alarms for chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) threats in a compact package designed for easy deployment for high-profile events in venues that would not normally warrant installation of a 24/7 CBRN detection system. One or several CBRN Event Modules can be networked via Ethernet cabling or wireless modems so that their readings can be seen in a remote incident command site.


CBP Announces Six New Centers of Excellence and Expertise

"Centers of Excellence and Expertise are not only the centerpiece of our trade process transformation, they already are increasing our capacity," said U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Deputy Commissioner David V. Aguilar. "This expansion will empower CBP to more effectively partner with industry to facilitate international trade through U.S. ports of entry."