february 2014


Next Edition of EHR Technology Certification Criteria Issued

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has issued proposals for the 2015 edition of electronic health record (EHR) technology certification criteria. The proposals represent ONC's ongoing commitment to more frequently update certification criteria to reference raised standards and improve regulatory clarity.


Nations Commit to Accelerating Progress Against Infectious Disease Threats

The United States joined 26 countries, the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and the World Organization for Animal Health, to accelerate progress toward a world safe and secure from the threat of infectious disease, thus committing to the goals of the Global Health Security Agenda.


Exercise Evaluation and Improvement Planning (E0131)

No amount of exercising is constructive without a structured evaluation that enables the jurisdiction or organization to identify strengths, weaknesses, gaps, and disconnects. This course, offered by the Emergency Management Institute, focuses on a systematic exercise and improvement planning program for federal, state, local, tribal, territorial, and other organizations.


Exercise Extent-of-Play Agreements

by Ken Lerner & George Yantosik -

Large-scale disasters require response efforts from multiple organizations that must plan and exercise well in advance. For a successful joint exercise, there must be points of agreement, including: scope of exercise, degree of participation by each organization, coordination of exercise activities, and evaluation process for lessons learned from the exercise.


Preparing the Next Generation for War on the Virtual Battlefront

by Rodrigo (Roddy) Moscoso -

A "cyber Pearl Harbor" is imminent, according to government and industry experts. Recognizing the threat and implementing programs and training to better guard against such threats is critical to protect the various U.S. infrastructure systems and networks.


HHS Selects Winners in Idea Challenge for Emergency Response

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has selected three innovative solutions which were selected as the winners of an idea challenge to help communities support patients who depend on durable medical equipment (DME).


DHS to Implement Steps to Streamline the Export/Import Process for America

Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson joined President Barack Obama in Toluca, Mexico for the North American Leaders Summit where the President announced an Executive Order (EO) on Streamlining the Export/Import Process for Americas Businesses.


Infrared Thermal Imaging Could Help to Secure Sochis 'Ring of Steel' at the Olympic Games

With over 88 nations and 2,800 Olympians participating, security measures are still taken very seriously for one of the biggest and most televised events of the year. A unique panoramic 360-degree thermal imaging camera, the Spynel series from HGH Infrared Systems, was created to provide high definition imaging of very wide areas while automatically detecting and tracking all activity.


NAV Awarded WSCA Contract for Security and Protection Services

The Western States Contracting Alliance (WSCA) has awarded North American Video (NAV) a contract to provide new and improved electronic security products and technologies as well as to complement them with installation, integration, and repair services. The contract also will ensure that member states of the National Association of State Purchasing Officials have access to industry-leading electronic security technologies and full-system integration services.


Fusion Centers & the Public Health Advantage

by Raphael M. Barishansky & Seth J. Komansky -

Law enforcement as well as public health agencies could benefit from sharing interdisciplinary information through the state fusion centers. Four public health situations would particularly benefit from such partnerships: bioterrorism attacks; communicable disease outbreaks; suspicious activity reports; and the use of illicit drugs.


The Real NCIS: An Interview With Thomas Betro

by Aaron Sean Poynton -

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service's (NCIS) former Director Thomas Betro provides insights on how to keep the U.S. homeland safe from both physical threats and cyberthreats. He shares information specific to NCIS's responsibilities, technologies, and efforts to protect against cyber, piracy, and insider threats.


Cyber Grand Strategies: Technology vs. Human Interaction

by Bonnie Butlin -

One lesson learned from the National Security Agency leaks in 2013 is that disrupting terrorist activities in cyberspace requires more than just the latest technology. Human interaction plays a critical role in thwarting criminal activity while protecting personal information and privacy. Canada offers one example of leveraging human networks and professional information sharing.


$3 Million to Researchers Studying How Chemical Exposures May Impact Brain Development

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of more than $3 million in grants to research institutions seeking to better understand not only how chemicals interact with biological processes but also how these interactions may lead to altered brain development. The studies focus on improving the EPA's ability to predict the potential health effects of chemical exposures.


The Critical Infrastructure Cyber Community C3 Voluntary Program

As cyber-dependent systems expand, protecting the cybersecurity of the nation's critical infrastructure remains a high priority for decision makers. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is collaborating with the critical infrastructure community to establish a voluntary program to encourage use of a cybersecurity framework to strengthen the nations critical infrastructure cybersecurity.


AWWA Guidance Helps Water Utilities Guard Against Cyber Attacks

With cyberattacks being a growing threat to the nation's critical infrastructure systems, the American Water Works Association has announced the release of expert guidelines spelling out how water utilities can reduce their cyber vulnerabilities. The guidelines will help water utility managers prepare more effectively through use of a concise set of best practices and standards.


EPA and Its Federal Partners Advance Decontamination Techniques

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), along with federal partners, recently announced the results of a multiyear project - Bio-Response Operational Testing and Evaluation (BOTE) - created to test and to evaluate improved decontamination techniques following a biological incident.


Forty Years of Protecting the World's Most Important Facilities From Car Bombers

Over the past 40 years, Delta Scientific has become the world's leading manufacturer of vehicle access control equipment, specifically including high-security vehicle barricade systems, parking control equipment, and guard booths. Delta has supplied counterterrorist barricade systems to facilities around the world.


FTC Reiterates Its Support for Data Security Legislation

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently testified before the House of Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, emphasizing the agency's ongoing efforts to promote data security, and reiterating its unanimous support for enactment of a strong federal data security and breach notification law.


The Operational Imperative of Cybersecurity & Resilience

by Tom Ridge -

As technology advances, so do the interconnected relationships among various technologies, communities, and infrastructures. This interconnectedness creates greater efficiency, but also raises many concerns. The consequences of not making cybersecurity an integral part of risk management and strategic decision-making plans can be devastating.


Information Systems - Advancing Capabilities & Increasing Risks

by Craig DeAtley -

When hospitals transition from paper documents to an electronic healthcare information system, patient records become easier to track and to link between clinicians and hospitals. However, these advanced capabilities and benefits involve certain risks - higher costs, program failures, staffing needs, and security concerns. Protecting sensitive information from potential threats remains a high priority, regardless of what system is in place.


CHEMPACK 2.0: A Policy Roadmap

by Timothy Stephens -

Since 2003, the CHEMPACK program has been in place to help protect U.S. emergency responders and receivers, as well as civilians, in the event of a nerve-agent attack. By pre-positioning medical countermeasures, antidotes are readily available as needed. It is now time to reevaluate and update the program to include changes that have occurred over the past decade.


Buffalo Suburb Adopts First Responder Technology

"We started using CommandScope on a preliminary basis, digitizing our paper pre-plans," said Captain Adam Karl of the Main-Transit Fire Department. "All of our detailed information can now be easily updated and then accessed in the event of an incident. We also can share it with our local law enforcement and mutual aid fire departments."


HHS Funds Drug for Bioterrorism, Antimicrobial-Resistant Infections

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response has announced the availability of a new drug to help protect the public against two major bioterrorism threats. This drug, which offers a new option to treat antibiotic-resistant infections, will be further developed under a public-private partnership.


AristaTek, Inc. Releases Written Brief on the Toxic Consequences of Smoke Plumes From Burned Crude Oil

When crude oil burns, the smoke created contains numerous chemicals that are harmful to humans exposed to critical concentrations. In addition to the isolation and initial evacuation zones recommended by Guide 128 of the U.S. Department of Transportation's 2012 Emergency Response Guidebook, emergency planners and responders also should consider taking protective actions downwind from a crude oil fire.


Sochi 2014 Olympic Games

The Games have already started, of course, but those still planning to travel to Sochi, Russia, for the XXII Olympic Winter Games and/or to view the competition from abroad should be aware of certain cyber-related risks. To begin with, "hacktivists" may take advantage of the huge audience to spread their own messages; cyber criminals also may try to use the Games as a lure in spam, phishing, or drive-by-download campaigns to gain personally identifiable information and/or harvest attendee credentials for financial gain.


Mutualink Technology a Valuable Player in Super Bowl Security

Mutualink's technology, which served as Super Bowl XLVIII's interoperable communications and information-sharing platform, facilitated real-time collaboration and multimedia resource sharing across numerous agencies, jurisdictions, and state borders, not only during the big game itself but also in many associated events before and after.


Bridging the Medical Ladders

by Joseph Cahill -

Paramedics acquire a wealth of skills and knowledge, but their tasks are physically demanding and the risk of injury is high. Rather than discarding their training and starting over, these skilled professionals instead could transition to higher-level, less-strenuous job positions. With a few changes, hospitals and communities can continue to move these valuable resources up the ladder.


Virginia - Using Social Media the Right Way

by Tanya Ferraro -

A zombie apocalypse or sharknado attack may not be imminent, but the opportunities they present to emergency management professionals are compelling. In Virginia, emergency planners are showing the human side of emergency management, connecting with community members, and influencing personal and community preparedness.


E0176 Hazus-MH for Floodplain Managers

The Emergency Management Institute is offering a course that provides in-depth instruction and hands-on exercises for certified floodplain managers and other emergency planners. Participants will develop the skills needed to effectively use the Hazus tools for modeling the impacts of riverine and coastal flooding on communities. This course uses highly advanced modeling based on the E0172 Hazus-MH for Flood.


Hospital Emergency Response Training for Mass Casualty Incidents

The Center for Domestic Preparedness is offering a three-day training course for hospital responses to mass casualty incidents. This course provides medical operation guidance to hospitals, emergency medical services (EMS), healthcare facility personnel, and others who may be involved in a mass casualty incident.


FDA Proposes Rule to Prevent Food Safety Risks During Transportation

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed a new rule that would require certain shippers, receivers, and carriers who transport food by motor or rail vehicles to take the steps needed to prevent the contamination of human and animal food during transport.


Critical Infrastructure Protection: More Comprehensive Planning Would Enhance the CyberSecurity of Public Safety Entities' Emerging Technology

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) reviewed the federal government's level of coordination with state and local governments on cybersecurity concerns at emergency operations centers, public safety answering points, and first responder organizations involved in handling 911 emergency calls. This report provides insight to what the GAO found and recommends.

View Full Report

Applied Research Associates Inc. Wins Contract to Develop BioGears, Army's Human Physiology Engine

The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command in Fort Detrick, Md., has awarded Applied Research Associates Inc. (ARA) a multiyear $7 million contract. ARA's biomedical research team will develop BioGears, an open-source physiology engine to promote collaboration and consistent simulation across the medical training community.


FACT SHEET: Review of U.S. Signals Intelligence

This review examines how, in light of new and changing technologies, government agencies can use their intelligence capabilities in ways that optimally protect national security while supporting foreign policy, respecting privacy and civil liberties, maintaining public trust, and reducing the risk of unauthorized disclosures.