february 2018

Commentary

Setting Examples for Disaster Preparedness

by Catherine L. Feinman -

From coast to coast, communities across the United States are implementing solutions to address gaps that could hinder response efforts should a disaster occur. From special events to widespread natural disasters, this edition of the DomPrep Journal shares experiences and lessons learned from those who have firsthand accounts of these events and incidents and want to ensure that any existing gaps are closed before similar situations arise again.

Commentary

Emerging Homeland Security Issues – A 2017 Panel Review

by Joseph J. Leonard Jr. -

The 2017 Emerging Homeland Security Issues panel met in December to discuss the current challenges of today’s threats, review risk management practices, assess means of strengthening interagency relationships, and to consider future resource requirements.

Updates

NYC Emergency Management Empowering Faith Leaders to Assist Communities With Emergency Preparedness

The New York Emergency Management Department hosted an emergency preparedness workshop for dozens of New York City faith leaders. The idea was to train faith leaders who would in turn, train their worshippers in emergency preparedness.

Updates

Dräger and Findlay All Hazards Announce Safety Training Collaboration

Dräger announced that the All Hazards Training Center at The University of Findlay in Findlay, Ohio, known to industry as Findlay All Hazards, has chosen Dräger to provide safety equipment and training expertise to support Findlay’s professional and academic programs.

Updates

S&T Uses Artificial Intelligence to Predict Criminal Aircraft

The DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is currently developing a Predictive Threat Model to help U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations Center more quickly and efficiently identify and stop nefarious aircraft. The targets here are small, noncommercial flyers such as general aviation small aircraft, general aviation jets, ultralights, and unmanned aircraft systems.

Resilience

Evolving Needs: Interoperable Communications

by The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ Interoperable Communications Regional Programmatic Working Group -

During complex and large-scale incidents, first responders in the multi-jurisdictional National Capital Region (NCR) must be able to deploy and integrate with other public safety agencies in a timely and efficient manner. The NCR, for the purposes of this document, is defined as the District of Columbia and surrounding Virginia and Maryland metropolitan areas. Successful integration is contingent on first responders’ ability to communicate seamlessly outside the normal coverage area of their home radio systems.

Commentary

Explosives & Handheld Trace Detection

by Ryan Holland & Mark Fisher -

The threat of homemade explosives (HMEs) is not new. From the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, to the “shoe bomber,” London underground bombings, “underwear bomber,” and attacks in Paris and Brussels in the 2000s, the threat is ever changing. Not only do post-incident crime scenes present danger to responders until secondary devices have been ruled out, but also makeshift laboratories where the bombs are made. Handheld explosives trace detection (ETD) equipment can help responders quickly determine on-scene threats, like Triacetone Triperoxide (TATP) and react appropriately and expediently.

Resilience

Passenger Egress – A Priority for Metro Rail Lines

by Thomas Renner -

Underground rail transit systems in the United States can be dangerous places. Not only for their riders and employees, but also for emergency responders, who may be called to help evacuate people from the area safely or to stop a blaze. The confined spaces, tight stairwells, and potential for the emergency evacuation of hundreds – if not thousands – of riders means that a project must be well-designed, thought-out, and constructed of materials that do not burn.

Reports

2018 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community

In his statement to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Daniel R. Coats, director of national intelligence, offers his assessment of threats to U.S. national security. Some key threats discussed include cyberthreats, emerging and disruptive technologies, weapons of mass destruction, and regional threats.

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Updates

Center for Domestic Preparedness Program Receives American Biological Safety Association Accreditation

The Center for Domestic Preparedness’ Chemical, Ordnance, Biological and Radiological Training Facility (COBRATF) Biological program has been accredited by the American Biological Safety Association (ABSA) International. ABSA inspectors visited the COBRATF, a Biosafety Level 2 facility, in 2017, and evaluated its biological program management system, safety program, operating procedures, facilities, laboratory, and work practices.

Reports

Budgeting for Medical Countermeasures: An Ongoing Need for Preparedness

This white paper summarizes the progress to date in procuring medical countermeasures and prior congressional funding mechanisms for Project BioShield. It also discusses ways to optimize funding for medical countermeasures so the existing public-private partnership can continue to thrive – namely, by restoring the program’s original multiyear funding structure. 

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Podcast

Hurricane Recovery – The Price of Paradise

On the morning of 10 September 2017, Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys as a Category 4 hurricane. Mandatory evacuation pushed tens of thousands of people onto a two-lane road. Returning to the area following the storm introduced additional challenges, for example: fuel trucks having trouble entering, housing shortages, landlord issues, builder contract concerns, vulnerable populations, and other reasons for delayed entry. With surrounding areas also being affected by the storm, prioritization and allocation of essential services and shared assets, as well as warehousing of donations proved to be difficult. However, out-of-state workers and resources such as the Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMATs) have played critical roles during the ongoing recovery phase.

As returning to a new normal continues, donor fatigue has set in, but long-term recovery groups have formed and the true recovery is beginning. The misconception that everyone in this service industry town is wealthy can hinder recovery for those in need. On 2 February 2018, DomPrep Advisor Andrew Roszak held an exclusive interview with one Key West resident who reflected on lessons learned as he continues to balance life and work. Living in an RV after losing his home to Irma, J. Matthew Massoud, case manager for Monroe County Social Services, faces these challenges head on and helps prepare his community for a time in the near future when Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance will end. In this podcast, he shares his experience, offers tips for others who may someday find themselves in a similar situation, and provides possible approaches for filling the gaps when federal assistance is no longer available.

 

Resilience

Tribal Ham Radio Operators Cut Through the Storm

by National Tribal Amateur Radio Association -

In September 2017, the National Tribal Amateur Radio Association (NTARA) – in conjunction with the Fresno Amateur Radio Emergency Services Group and Tulare County Amateur Radio Club – set up and operated Amateur Radio Special Event Station W7NTV during the National Tribal Emergency Management Council (NTEMC) annual conference. Held at the Tachi Palace Casino Resort in Lemoore, California, this was the second year that NTEMC and NTARA set up and operated the special event station.

Preparedness

2017 Inauguration & Women’s March – Planning & Outcomes

by Natalie Jones-Best -

Washington, D.C., hosts thousands of special events each year, ranging in size and complexity. For such events, the District of Columbia’s Department of Transportation (DDOT) serves as the lead agency for transportation management and support. Although many of these events are planned activities for which the district and its local, regional, and federal stakeholder partners have advance notice for planning purposes, the nation’s capital is also home to many unplanned First Amendment events, which provide less notice and are less defined with respect to the planning and support required. The 2017 presidential inauguration and subsequent Women’s March highlight the differences in planning efforts and outcomes for these two types of events.

Updates

Hayward Fault Earthquake Simulations Increase Fidelity of Ground Motions

According to the U.S. Geologic Survey, there is a one-in-three future chance that the Hayward fault will rupture with a 6.7+ magnitude earthquake. Such an earthquake would cause widespread damage to structures, transportation and utilities. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientists used supercomputers to model ground shaking, showing more realistic motions than ever before, enabling improved infrastructure design.

Updates

S&T-Funded Tools Help Get Ahead of Storms

With Hurricane Harvey barreling toward the Texas coast, emergency managers wanted, needed, and used every tool at their disposal to make critical decisions on evacuations, preparedness, and response. One of those tools was the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Hurricane Evacuation (HURREVAC) extended (HV-X) platform.

Updates

CDP Adds Fentanyl Awareness to Training

The Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) has incorporated fentanyl awareness into select training courses to address the threat of accidental exposure to the drug by first responders. The CDP’s fentanyl lecture focuses on preventative measures responders need to take to protect themselves from exposure and contamination, and includes a fact sheet for future reference.

Resilience

New Emergency Rule: Challenge for Some, Good for All

by David Reddick & Justin Snair -

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) implemented a comprehensive emergency preparedness rule in 2016 that applies to nearly every healthcare provider in the nation, and outlines steps those providers must take to improve their preparedness and ensure sustainability in the face of a disaster. The rule compels healthcare providers to devote resources – human and fiscal – to emergency planning. This may be seen as burdensome by some but should effectively improve their levels of readiness and improve the quality of healthcare for all. This rule will make providers – from general hospitals to transplant centers and long-term care facilities – safer for patients and visitors.

Updates

New Radiation Detectors Developed at Sandia Used for New START Inspections

Sandia National Laboratories designed, tested, and delivered new radiation detection equipment for monitoring under the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START). The latest version of the radiation detection equipment is lighter, more rugged, and designed to be more sustainable into the future than the original generation of equipment.

Updates

How Coast Guard Response Is Benefitting From S&T’s University Partnerships

Developed by the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Center of Excellence (COE), the Coast Guard Search and Rescue Visual Analytics (cgSARVA) system helps the U.S. Coast Guard decision makers spot the stations most capable of responding to a disaster and helps prioritize the restoration of stations in need of repair.

Updates

Reading the Body’s History of Threat Exposure

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) new Epigenetic Characterization and Observation (ECHO) program aims to build a field-deployable platform technology that quickly reads someone’s epigenome and identifies signatures that indicate whether that person has ever been exposed to materials that could be associated with weapons of mass destruction. This allows intelligence officers to immediately piece together a chain of evidence.

Updates

FDA, USDA Announce Formal Agreement to Bolster Coordination and Collaboration

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announce a formal agreement aimed at making the oversight of food more efficient and effective by bolstering coordination between the two agencies. The formal agreement outlines efforts to increase interagency collaboration, efficiency and effectiveness on produce safety and biotechnology activities, while providing clarity to manufacturers.