december 2020


New Tool Projects High-Tide Flooding in U.S. Coastal Locations

A new tool to help decision makers and others assess how sea-level rise and other factors will affect the frequency of high-tide flooding in U.S. coastal locations in the next 50–100 years has been developed by University of Hawaiʻi Sea Level Center Director Phil Thompson with funding from NASA’s Earth Science Division.


A Year of Crisis, Progress & Hope

by Catherine L. Feinman -

In 2020, literally everyone was affected in some way by crisis. In certain areas, communities endured other disasters in addition to the worldwide pandemic. Some people fared well, some are struggling, and some will not see 2021. However, amid the illnesses, economic uncertainties, and social and political unrest, there are signs of progress. For more than two decades, DomPrep has published many articles written by practitioners on the preparedness gaps that exist in leadership, supply chains, interoperability, incident management, and so on. For more than two decades, those same practitioners have provided possible solutions and roadmaps for closing those gaps. However, sometimes it takes experiencing the disaster in order to invest the time and resources necessary to actually close the gaps.


Law Enforcement's Tsunami of Change 2021

Throughout 2020, many public institutions have been tested. Many did not rise to the occasion and embrace the challenges. Many did not exhibit the domestic preparedness stance that they spent years portraying – law enforcement was no exception.

This podcast is the conclusion to a four-part article series on “The New Age of Police Reform.” Learn how law enforcement is seeking to find new ways to overcome modern challenges in an ever-evolving socioeconomic environment. During this 30-minute discussion, the following topics will be discussed:

  • Does law enforcement reform mean imminent change?
  • How will policing reform affect small and midsized cities?
  • Where have Sir Robert Peel’s 9 principals broken down?
  • Has the policing role moved from guardian to warrior and back again?
  • With a cellphone camera recording many use-of-force incidents, what role does training play in rebuilding public trust?
  • Open discussion on civil unrest, terrorism, mental illness, and other domestic preparedness concerns.

Click here for link to the New Age of Police Reform Special Issue.


Crisis Leadership: Leading Through Turmoil

by Ronald Rowe -

The year 2020 has certainly had an abundance of turmoil and uncertainty: a global pandemic, a roller coaster economy, a national awakening to racial injustice, and a contested presidential election. All leaders have the required skills to manage in times of calmness. However, in times of turmoil and uncertainty, the leader that can act decisively and communicate a vision forward will be the best performer in successfully leading their team through a crisis, a transition, and uncertainty.


BARDA Is Partnering With Chrysalis BioTherapeutics to Continue Development of TP508 as a Nuclear Countermeasure

BARDA and Chrysalis Biotherapeutics Inc. have exercised options under their current contract to expand their partnership and continue the development of TP508 (Chrysalin) as a countermeasure to address injuries resulting from a nuclear event. Chrysalis will conduct safety studies and additional activities required to request emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.


K9 Chemistry: A Safer Way to Train Detection Dogs

Trained dogs are incredible chemical sensors, far better at detecting explosives, narcotics, and other substances than even the most advanced technological device. But one challenge is that dogs have to be trained, and training them with real hazardous substances can be inconvenient and dangerous. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) scientists have been working to solve this problem.


CDC Introduces CRC SimPLER

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released the CRC SimPLER, a free, publicly available, online tool to help state and local emergency and public health planners prepare for setting up community reception centers (CRCs) to monitor people following a large-scale radiation emergency.


Tribal Health Programs and Urban Indian Organizations Choose How They Will Access the COVID-19 Vaccine

The Department of Health and Human Services is laying the necessary groundwork for the distribution of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine by ensuring that all tribal health programs and urban Indian organizations (UIOs) have the choice on how they receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Tribal health programs and UIOs had the option of receiving the vaccine either through the Indian Health Service or their respective state.


The Next Black Swan – Bioterrorism

by Robert C. Hutchinson -

The world continues to wrestle with the enormous consequences of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the novel virus that caused the COVID-19 pandemic. The drastic and long-term effects and impacts of the novel virus have continued to affect the world on numerous fronts for a duration significantly longer than expected by almost anyone in February 2020. With additional waves, there appears to be no clear end in sight.


Identity Verification During the Age of COVID-19

Face masks have become a way of life due to the COVID-19 pandemic: wearing them nearly everywhere – at grocery stores, on public transportation, in schools, at work. One of the challenges the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate is now working to address is how to verify someone’s identity while maintaining overall safety. 


SAMHSA Disaster Technical Assistance Center Supplemental Research Bulletin: Women and Disasters

While research suggests that women may have greater awareness of hazards in their area, it also puts forward that women are less likely than men to be prepared for disasters. Additionally, studies have found women to be more likely to experience distress after a disaster, including an increased likelihood of developing posttraumatic stress disorder. This bulletin reviews research on how women experience disasters.

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FLIR Systems Acquires Altavian, Inc.

FLIR Systems Inc. announced that it has acquired Altavian, Inc., a privately held manufacturer of small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) for defense and public safety customers. Altavian’s airframes integrate multiple sensors, including FLIR thermal technology, to provide users with decision support and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capability.


NIST “Playbook” Helps Communities With Resilience Planning

The National Institute of Standard and Technology (NIST) Playbook identifies key actions that communities of any size can take to better position themselves to deal with potential hazards, natural and otherwise. It complements the two-volume NIST Community Resilience Planning Guide for Buildings and Physical Infrastructure Systems.


Think Recovery, Not Just Re-Entry, for Post-Pandemic Future

by Ann Lesperance & Grant Tietje -

Ten years ago, a team of representatives from King and Pierce counties, cities of Seattle and Bellevue, Joint Base Lewis McChord, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory set forth on developing the Regional Recovery Framework for a Biological Attack in the Seattle Urban Area. A collaboration of the Seattle Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) partners and military and federal agencies, the framework was specific to a hypothetical catastrophic, wide‐area biological attack using weaponized anthrax in the Seattle urban area but was designed to be flexible and scalable to serve as the recovery framework for other chemical or biological incidents. The team revisited the framework again in 2012 to create the Denver UASI All-Hazards Regional Recovery Framework. Such frameworks have been revisited again for use during the COVID pandemic.


FEMA Releases National Risk Index: New Online Data Shows Natural Hazards Risks for Communities

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced the Phase 1 rollout of the National Risk Index, a new online resource that helps illustrate communities most at risk from natural hazards. This online mapping application analyzes risk factors from 18 natural hazards. Additionally, to provide a holistic view of community risk, the application includes expected annual losses, social vulnerability, and community resilience layers.