december 2019

Commentary

Creating the Problem, Then Solving It

by Catherine L. Feinman -

It is interesting to stop for a moment and think, “How did we get here?” The emergency preparedness and response profession has come a long way, offering emergency preparers, responders, and receivers many more invaluable tools at their disposal than their counterparts had in previous years. Over time, plans and procedures have adapted to ever-evolving needs and environments. And technology has advanced beyond the imagination of their predecessors 50 years ago. However, for every advancement, a new challenge(s) emerges.

Healthcare

Looking Ahead – Future of the Strategic National Stockpile

by Greg Burel -

This year marks 20 years since Congress established the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), originally named the National Pharmaceutical Stockpile, in preparation for the year 2000. The intent was to arm the country against possible terrorist threats that could disrupt the U.S. medical supply chain. With a $51 million appropriation and a handful of public health staff based at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the stockpile began in 1999 with a sole focus to protect the American people from biological and chemical attacks.

Preparedness

Data-Driven Emergency Management

by Terry Hastings -

As the discipline has evolved, data and quantitative analytics are becoming a bigger part of emergency management. This trend is likely to continue as technology and data become more available. Current and future emergency managers need to understand data and how it can be used to support all phases of emergency management.

Updates

S&T Studies How K9 First Responders Can Join the Team in Active Shooter Scenarios

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is studying how canines might be used in active shooter scenarios, to detect potential explosive threats – clearing the way for responders to quickly engage hostile adversaries or administer aid to those who need it.

Updates

HHS Invests in Modernizing U.S. Manufacturing Capacity for Pandemic Influenza Vaccine

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a six-year, $226 million contract to increase capacity to produce recombinant influenza vaccine in the United States. The contract is in accordance with the 19 September 2019 presidential executive order to enhance national security and the public health by modernizing influenza vaccines and technologies.

Updates

FDA Launches App for Health Care Professionals to Report Novel Uses of Existing Medicines for Patients With Difficult-to-Treat Infectious Diseases

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the global launch of CURE ID, an internet-based repository that will allow the clinical community to report their experiences treating difficult-to-treat infectious diseases with novel uses of existing FDA-approved drugs through a website, a smartphone, or other mobile device.

Updates

New Self-Assessment Tool Helps Identify Next Generation 911 Readiness

A new self-assessment tool is available to help emergency communication centers (ECC) and public safety answering points (PSAP) administrators and oversight personnel evaluate a system’s Next Generation 911 (NG911) maturity state and understand the next steps necessary to continue deployment. The NG911 Self-Assessment Tool is now available online at 911.gov.

Updates

Core Capability Development Sheets Updated

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released a new set of 48 Core Capability Development sheets updated with standardized targets for the prevention, protection, and mitigation mission areas. FEMA’s Core Capability Development Sheets provide tools that organizations can use to build or sustain their capabilities and close identified gaps.

Healthcare

Drugs, Homelessness & a Growing Public Health Disaster

by Paula D. Gordon -

Conditions of squalor, which may be found in a refugee settlement or on the streets of a third world country, appear to be rapidly increasing in certain places in the United States over the past several years. This phenomenon is evident not only in a growing number of cities in California – including San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Los Angeles, and San Diego – but in cities in Oregon, Washington State, Colorado, and elsewhere. During the past several years, similar signs of deteriorating conditions have also become increasingly evident in New York City and Washington, D.C.

Updates

Stopping Fentanyl at the Border: Can Chemical Detectors Help?

Large quantities of the synthetic drug fentanyl flow into the country at ports of entry along the Southwest border, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency. As this drug drives a nationwide overdose epidemic, law enforcement agencies are considering technologies that might help stem the flow. Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology have tested whether a chemical detection technology called ion mobility spectrometry can be used to screen vehicles for fentanyl.

Reports

2019 National Preparedness Report

The National Preparedness Report evaluates annual preparedness progress and challenges facing the whole community. The 2019 National Preparedness Report highlights the diverse range of preparedness challenges the Nation faces—from terrorism and active shooter incidents, to cyberattacks, to natural disasters, as well as how stakeholders across the nation are using preparedness grant funding to invest in preparedness improvements.

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Updates

Preparing Children With Special Healthcare Needs for an Emergency

Having children with special healthcare needs means that parents must think ahead, plan ahead, and prepare their children for an emergency where they may not be with them, or where they may not have access to the comforts of home and the routine they are used to. These are tips on preparing for an emergency, and how that emergency may impact transportation and reunification.

Reports

A Guide to Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience

The U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) developed this guide to serve as an overview of the U.S. all-hazards approach to critical infrastructure security and resilience. It is intended for both domestic and international partners.

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Resilience

The Electric Grid – Overcoming Vulnerability

by Michael Mabee -

In 1850 – nine years before the Carrington Event and 12 years before the Civil War – the population of the United States was 23 million people. At the end of 2018, the population of the U.S. had reached 328 million people. What enabled the population to increase by 305 million people is quite simple: technology. New technologies that promoted this growth include: advances in medicine, advances in agricultural methods, the ability to transport food across the country (and across the world), new sources and uses of energy, an industrial revolution, advances in many areas of technology, and so on. All of these technologies are tied to one significant event: the advent of the electric grid.

Reports

Community Lifelines Implementation Toolkit 2.0

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced the release of the Community Lifelines Implementation Toolkit 2.0, which provides updated information and resources to better understand and implement Community Lifelines throughout the emergency management community. This updated toolkit supports last month’s release of the revised National Response Framework, Fourth Edition, and incorporates lessons learned from recent disasters and stakeholder feedback.

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Updates

More People in the United States Dying From Antibiotic-Resistant Infections Than Previously Estimated

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its updated Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States Report (AR Threats Report), which shows that there were nearly twice as many annual deaths from antibiotic-resistant infections as CDC originally reported in 2013. CDC’s 2019 report establishes a new national baseline of infections and deaths from antibiotic-resistant germs. The new report categorizes the top antibiotic-resistant threats based on level of concern to human health: urgent, serious, or concerning.