First responders and emergency managers in the United States now have a science-based chemical decontamination decision tool and updated guidance on how best to decontaminate a massive number of people after chemical exposure. This guidance, called Primary Response Incident Scene Management (PRISM), incorporates new scientific evidence on emergency self-decontamination, hair decontamination, interactions of chemicals with hair, and effects of a combined decontamination strategy referred to as the “triple protocol.”
In each disaster, examples of community resilience emerge: neighbors helping neighbors; volunteers filling response gaps; businesses providing unexpected resources; and first responders going above and beyond their call of duty. Many people have an innate urge to respond to disasters by donating their time and money, giving blood, providing transportation, feeding and clothing survivors, and so on. Imagine a disaster response of the future where that natural instinct to help is harnessed and nurtured by emergency preparedness professionals.
DARPA has selected five teams of researchers to support PREventing EMerging Pathogenic Threats (PREEMPT), a 3.5-year program to reinforce traditional medical preparedness by containing viral infectious diseases in animal reservoirs and insect vectors before they can threaten humans.
As communities become more impacted by all types of disasters, society is constantly coming to new realizations. Solely relying on governmental agencies to perform emergency response and recovery tasks is insufficient. The frequency, scale, and impact of disasters make it more challenging to stage resources in the right place. Perhaps a more prepared citizenry would help the overall disaster response and recovery. Research of three leading institutions into how concerned the public is about preparedness and its effectiveness has begun to paint an informative picture for creating public outreach efforts.
In October 2018, the FEMA National Advisory Council Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Subcommittee provided the National Advisory Council (NAC) with a report for an integrated public alert and warning system. The NAC considered and voted on 17 recommendations in a session held during its public meeting on 7 November 2018. This report contains the 14 recommendations that the NAC approved.
The National Disaster Medical System's (NDMS) mission is to save lives and protect Americans when disaster strikes. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services are constantly training and identifying gaps within the preparedness and response framework to better mobilize when the inevitable ultimately occurs. NDMS has identified three pillars to expand the service’s capabilities and provide a robust response anytime, anywhere.
This report from Disability Rights North Carolina provides a snapshot of the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Florence and the status of people with disabilities. Although North Carolina has made significant strides in addressing issues affecting people with disabilities since Hurricane Matthew in 2016, it is clear that federal, state, and local emergency management officials must do more ensure the well-being of people with disabilities during natural disasters.
Perhaps one of the biggest myths in emergency management is that the public will panic during a crisis. Instead of panicking, the public often pulls together and even puts themselves in harm’s way to help each other. Furthermore, the public, not first responders, are often first on-site during an emergency. The emergency management community must embrace these realties and provide the public with the knowledge and training necessary to save lives and prevent human suffering.
The Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center (HSOAC), operated for the Department of Homeland Security by the RAND Corporation, released a new report on how to build an effective and practical national approach to terrorism prevention. The report, commissioned by the Department of Homeland Security, examines past terrorism prevention efforts and makes recommendations for future programs.
The Ready or Not: Protecting the Public’s Health From Diseases, Disasters and Bioterrorism series has tracked public health emergency preparedness in the United States since 2003. The series documents progress in the nation’s level of preparedness as well as those areas still in need of improvement.
When the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law in 2011, one of the most challenging parts of Congress’ mandate was to transform the nation’s food safety system as it related to produce safety and implement a system of preventive controls that aimed to avert problems.
The purpose of the whole-of-government approach is to establish a unified effort between government agencies to maximize all available resources in a collaborative effort. Issues that drive efforts to share resources include: the use of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) weapons; cyber warfare; emerging infectious diseases that could lead to a pandemic; and the growing occurrence of catastrophic natural disasters and human-caused incidents, such as wildfires.
More than 220 participants from 13 Houston-area public safety agencies and 20 industry partners tested first responder technology integration in a December exercise at the Port of Houston. Led by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), the experiment integrated next generation first responder technology and safety agencies’ existing technology to assess their interoperability using guidance from the Next Generation First Responder Integration Handbook.
In the early morning hours of Saturday, 1 December 2018, a California Highway Patrol (CHP) unit observed a Gray Tesla Model S traveling southbound on US-101 at about 70 mph. The CHP unit, a two-officer patrol, pulled alongside of the Tesla and noticed that the single driver/occupant appeared to be asleep. Activating the CHP unit emergency lights and siren failed to wake the driver. Apparently, the Tesla Autopilot, a semi-autonomous driving feature was “assisting” the vehicle from running off the roadway. According to the CHP report, the officers proceeded to pull the CHP unit in front of the Tesla and, using the autonomous crash avoidance safety system, the vehicle was slowed without colliding with the CHP unit. The Tesla driver was awakened by the officers at his door, whereupon the driver, displaying intoxicated behavior, was placed in custody and charged with driving under the influence (DUI). Autonomous vehicles pose this and other challenges for law enforcement agencies.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) State-Led Public Assistance Guide provides clear and streamlined guidance on the processes, resources, and capabilities required for recipients to lead public assistance operations. This guidance outlines the process for recipients and FEMA to determine if and under what conditions recipients may elect to perform certain public assistance disaster grant functions.
This issuance establishes policy and assigns responsibilities for the Department of Defense (DoD) Biological Select Agents and Toxins (BSAT) Security Program and designates the Secretary of the Army as the DoD Executive Agent for the program.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) recently completed the integration of more than 9,700 real-world software test cases from the Static Tools Analysis Modernization Project (STAMP) into the Software Assurance Marketplace (SWAMP). The test cases, known as BugInjector cases, improve software by enabling developers to evaluate their products against realistic test cases.
This report presents a culture-based approach to the preparedness goals laid out in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan. The plan describes four guiding principles for building cultures of preparedness, followed by practical strategies and examples that demonstrate successful outcomes in real-world settings.
Public health emergencies, including infectious disease and natural disasters, are issues that every community faces. To address these threats, it is critical for all jurisdictions to understand how law can be used to enhance public health preparedness, as well as improve coordination and collaboration across jurisdictions. As sovereign entities, tribal nations have the authority to create their own laws and take the necessary steps to prepare for and respond to public health emergencies. Thus, legal preparedness for tribal nations is crucial to public health response.
A new program out of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Biological Technologies Office could help the Department of Defense enhance and sustain military readiness both by revolutionizing how troops train, perform, and recover, and by mitigating shortages of highly qualified candidates for extremely specialized roles.
These guidelines were developed as part of ongoing preparedness for all hazards. They are intended to support fire, emergency medical services, and hospital staff in the medical management of patients if an incident occurs involving a fourth generation agent (FGA, also known as A-series or Novichok nerve agents), such as the one used in the United Kingdom in 2018.
Medical countermeasures include vaccines, treatments, and diagnostic equipment that are critical to a multilayered defense strategy to protect warfighters from chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats. The medical solutions Joint Project Management Office for Medical Countermeasure Systems and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Joint Science and Technology office develop prevent disease, accurately diagnose exposure to biological agents, and provide post-exposure treatments that save the lives of U.S. and allied service members.
The Global Risks Report 2019, drawing on the perspectives of experts and global decision-makers, provides an opportunity to place the global risk landscape into context at the beginning of the year and identify priority areas for action in 2019.
FLIR Systems Inc. announced that it has acquired Aeryon Labs Inc., a leading developer of high-performance unmanned aerial systems for the global military, public safety, and critical infrastructure markets for $200 million. Aeryon’s vertical takeoff and landing quad-copter airframes integrate multiple sensors, including FLIR thermal technology, to provide users with immediate high-resolution intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capability.