january 2007

Commentary

Pandemic Preparedness: The Driver for Most Suppliers

by John Morton -

Question: Is the United States prepared to deal with a biological-warfare attack? Answer: Not yet - but the nation's private-sector biotech labs are working closely with state, local, and federal governments to detect, prevent, and/or deal with an attack.

Updates

OSI Systems Receives Funding for Development of Next Generation Cargo Inspection System

This next generation cargo inspection system automatically detects nuclear weapons and radiological disposal devices.

Updates

Berkeley Nucleonics Announces Radiation Source Identification Packaged for One Hand Operation

The SAM Defender and SAM Revealer are portable radiation identification systems developed to provide simple operation for the first responder who needs to react quickly, as well as detailed analyses for the sophisticated technical user.

Reports

Passenger Rail Security: Enhanced Federal Leadership Needed to Prioritize and Guide Security Efforts

This testimony, is based primarily on GAO's September 2005 report on passenger rail security (GAO-05-851) and selected program updates obtained in January 2007.

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Updates

RAE Systems Introduces DoseRAE, an International Personal Electronic Gamma Radiation Dosimeter

The DoseRAE is a rugged, cellphone-sized, direct-reading electronic personal dosimeter that provides an easy way to monitor personal radiation dosages and to ensure that workers do not exceed the annual U.S. federal or international exposure limits.

Updates

President Bush's Plan For Comprehensive Immigration Reform

President Bush called on Congress in his State of the Union address to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

Updates

Bruker Daltonics Announces Selection of its RAID(TM)-XP Chemical Agent and Radiation Detector for Wheeled Armored Vehicles of the Czech Army

The primary mission of the instruments, which will be delivered over a period of several years, is the protection of crew members against chemical agents and gamma radiation.

Updates

Retired Sandia National Labs President & Director, Robinson to Chair ICx Technologies Science & Technology Council

Other distinguished scientists and industry leaders will join Dr. Robinson in offering strategic insight to drive ICx's leadership in the development and application of the latest in science and security technology.

Healthcare

Wicked Problems, Virtuous Solutions: How to Design a Risk-Based Medical Facility

by Michael Allswede -

The setting of national standards for the personal protective equipment worn and training received by first responders working in a hazardous-materials environment is a positive step forward.

Commentary

Realities of the Conflict Between Islam and Unbelief, by Shaykh Ayman al-Zawahiri

A manfesto. Reprinted as a reminder of the seriousness of the threat. Well worth the time to read.

Preparedness

Command Profile: Strengthening the U.S. Army's Helping-Hand Agency

by Brent Bankus -

The U.S. Army's warfighting record speaks for itself - numerous victories and too many heroes to count. The service's peacetime contributions are just as glorious and have contributed significantly to the common good.

Podcast

Rear Admiral W. Craig Vanderwagen, M.D., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and Chief Preparedness Officer, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

DomesticPreparedness met with Rear Admiral W. Craig Vanderwagen, M.D., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and Chief Preparedness Officer, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The HHS Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response and Chief Preparedness Officer, HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt's principal advisor on bioterrorism and other public health emergencies, addresses the guiding principle “one team, one fight.” In his remarks, he discusses the team-orientation approach used by the Public Health Service (PHS), the transfer of the National Disaster Management System (NDMS) to HHS, and the emphasis on building local capacity buttressed by regional support.

An Overview of Public Health Preparedness 

How HHS disaster-management activities and exercises focus attention on improving the nation’s overall medical support infrastructure and on further professionalizing individual behaviors to strengthen the culture of preparedness.

The Public Health Service and Team-Oriented Deployment 

The collective effort to articulate functions for the department’s three principal team categories: rapid response, mental health, and the incident-response coordination teams (IRCTs). Training, rostering, and equipping the teams. The fulltime HHS deployable force.

Lessons Learned From the Response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita 

The need to ensure that state and local medical-response capacities are strong and that command-and-coordination capabilities are resilient. Improving data collection on local assets through use of the DHS Target Capabilities List (TCL). Strengthening the regional pre-positioning of federal assets.

The Transfer of NDMS to HHS

Achieving incremental transfer by 1 March with the goal of increasing state controls of NDMA assets. The DMAT focus on pre-hospital care, and the PHS focus on longer-term care.

Health Information Technology 

The American Health Information Consortium (AHIC) draft standard for emergency services. This year’s pilot test of a deployable, interoperable first-responder electronic health record. The importance of an electronic health record to syndromic surveillance and improvements to BioSense.

Closing Thoughts Taken From the Tsunami Relief and Iraq Operations 

How effectively the Indonesians demonstrated the importance of resiliency in their efforts to regain control during the tsunami recovery phase. How Iraq’s forty-year neglect of its hospital system is hampering restoration of the nation’s public health. In light of these two examples, how HHS must keep educating Americans on the need for institutional and individual preparedness.

Updates

Passport Requirement for Air Travel Started 23 January

Beginning on 23 January 2007, citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Bermuda have been required to present a passport to enter the United States when arriving by air from any other part of the Western Hemisphere.

Updates

Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) Mandate Expanded to Ports of Entry in California, Texas, and New Mexico

Truck carriers entering the U.S. at any land-border ports of entry in the states of California, Texas, & New Mexico will be required to present advance electronic cargo information through the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) Truck Manifest.

Updates

Response Biomedical Announces First Commercial Sales of RAMP NT-proBNP Test for Diagnosis of Congestive Heart Failure

More than 25 RAMP systems, as well as NT-proBNP and Troponin I tests, have been sold to hospitals, clinics, and medical labs in France, through ALL DIAG S.A. the company's distributor in France.

Updates

Bioscrypt Inc. to Acquire 3D Facial Recognition Technology Company

"The acquisition of A4Vision further strengthens and underscores our commitment to deliver the market-leading solution for identity-based access control."

Updates

HHS (Department of Health and Human Services) Funds Advanced Development of H5N1 Influenza Vaccines

"In the event of an influenza pandemic, a vaccine that uses adjuvant could provide a way to extend a limited vaccine supply to more people," Secretary Michael Leavitt said.

Updates

HazMat Science Applications Holds Decontamination Training Seminar at the Albuquerque Fire Academy

HSA provides this training, based on years of research at LANL and years of response experience. The result is increased decontamination effectiveness and greater confidence by response professionals in their equipment and procedures.

Updates

Textron Names Richard Millman President & CEO of Bell Helicopter

"With the tremendous growth trajectory anticipated for Bell Helicopter, we are putting a strong operations executive in place to ensure we meet the current and future needs of our customers."

Updates

ADASHI First Response Assists Security Efforts for Maryland's Gubernatorial Inauguration

ADASHI First Response software was used to preplan security for the event, providing detailed maps of the region and emergency management guidance in case of terrorist activity.

Resilience

The Highway Watch Program: Homeland Security on the Open Road!

by Joseph DiRenzo III and Christopher Doane -

The innovative DHS/ATA "Highway Watch" program enlists tens of thousands of professional drivers as "Irregulars" in the homeland-security volunteer community and, as a bonus, makes the nation's highways and byways safer for all Americans.

Preparedness

FIPS 201 Compliance for State and Local Agencies

by Joseph Watson -

NIMS has spoken, and must be obeyed: A new "common identification standard" for federal employees and contractors is now required. State and local agencies would be well advised to adopt the same standard.

Updates

Hazmat Science Applications Provides Decontamination Proficiency Testing

Hazmat Science performs Decontamination Proficiency Testing (DPT) for activities that use protective equipment in toxic & hazardous environments. DPT provides responders the opportunity to identify & correct vulnerabilities in decontamination procedures.

Updates

Raytheon to Demonstrate New Communications Capabilities for Emergency Response and Public Safety Applications

The six-month program will enhance collaboration and improve existing capabilities among community first responders and public safety organizations by providing seamless interoperability and remote broadband access.

Updates

Bird flu remains potent threat with possibility of human pandemic, UN agency warns

"Failure by any one country to contain the disease could lead to rapid re-infection in many more countries," UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Assistant Director-General Alexander Müller

Updates

RAE Systems Awarded Contract by PetroChina's Dushanzi Petrochemical Project

RAE Systems' China subsidiary, RAE-KLH, will supply a 1,600-point combustible and toxic-gas detection system along with field services and technical support in 2007-2008.

Updates

Smiths Detection Forms Joint Venture With General Electric Company

The JV will combine Smiths Detection with GE Homeland Protection to create a leading global business serving the fast-growing detection and homeland protection markets.

Updates

ICx Technologies Acquires GHC Technologies

This acquisition provides ICx with leading edge technologies to be integrated into its next generation biodetection products and solutions.

Updates

Mustang Survival Launches Rescue Stick' - Throwable Emergency Rescue Inflatable

The Rescue Stick's unique capability to provide more flotation at a longer distance quickly makes this device a powerful rescue tool in the hands of professionals and recreational users.

Healthcare

The EMS Community Looks to the Future

by Joseph Cahill -

The era of "us versus them" is over. In times of disasters affecting the entire local population, all private-sector as well as public agencies must pool their resources in a common effort.

Commentary

The Highest Priority on the National-Security Agenda

by James D. Hessman -

The early and well-publicized House approval of homeland-security "implementing" legislation is an encouraging sign that the new Democratic majority has its priorities right. Many political and financial obstacles must still be overcome, though.

Commentary

Admiral John O. Agwunobi, MD, MBA, MPH, Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

by John Morton -

Pandemic preparedness activities, the department's Katrina/Rita response efforts, the need for an "all-hazards" planning and operational mindset, and the planning assistance now available to local health planners are among the numerous topics covered.

Updates

DHS Issues Credentialing Rule to Secure Access to U.S. Ports

The rule is expected to affect more than 750,000 port employees, longshoremen, mariners, truckers, and others who require unescorted access to secure areas of ports and vessels.

Reports

Homeland Security First Responder Grants: Cash Management Improvement Act Exemption and Cash Advance Funding Require Additional DHS Oversight (GAO) Government Accountability Office

In this report, GAO makes 7 recommendations to improve DHS's oversight of cash advance funding for first responder grants and associated interest liabilities.

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Updates

RAE Systems Partners With Implant Sciences to Integrate Advanced Explosives Detection With Wireless AreaRAE Sensor Networks

The partnership with Implant Sciences expands RAE Systems' open wireless network strategy for meeting the CBRNE (chemical, biological, radiation, nuclear, and explosives) detection needs of first responders for the protection of public venues.

Updates

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Releases Nationwide Interoperable Communications Assessment

The scorecards provided illustrate the current capability in each area of interest and provide recommendations for improvement.

Updates

Remarks by DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff at a Press Conference on the Nationwide Interoperable Communications Assessment

"Interoperability is a challenge not only within a particular city or even a single urban area or region, but often across multiple counties and even multiple states that are part of a single region for emergency purposes." Secretary Chertoff

Updates

Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies Announces New Schlage King Cobra Series 2 Locks and SNAP Programmer Simplifies Offline Access-Control Management

This next generation in the Schlage lock family is smarter, more durable, and very affordable, providing an easy-to-manage and intuitive offline lock solution.

Updates

Bruker Daltonics Awarded $1.7 Million Subcontract for Its RAID(TM)-M Handheld From the US Army

The systems are intended for the National Guard WMD (weapons of mass destruction) Civil Support Teams' (CST) Analytical Laboratory System (ALS). The RAID-M will provide real-time chemical screening on-site for the CST response mission.

Preparedness

Interview with Dr. Stephen Flynn: The Current State of U.S. Port Security

by Joseph DiRenzo III and Christopher Doane -

Terrorism/counterterrorism expert Dr. Stephen Flynn provides a chilling pre-publication preview of some of the continuing preparedness deficiencies highlighted in his new book, Edge of Disaster.

Preparedness

The Whys and Wherefores of NIMS-Compliant Training

by Stephen Grainer -

The National Incident Management System training guidelines provide an unprecedented opportunity to improve and expand first-responder and emergency-responder capabilities - but some confusion continues about exactly what is required.

Updates

Fact Sheet: Select Homeland Security Accomplishments For 2006

The Department of Homeland Security outlines its principal 2006 security accomplishments.

Updates

Public Technology Institute Releases the Second Edition of Using GIS to Support Emergency Management and Homeland Security

This new edition will help local officials explore ways to build proactive and collaborative approaches between the agencies responsible for emergency management and those that collect and maintain geospatial data.

Updates

U.S. Department of Homeland Security to Deploy Telkonet iWire System in U.S. Airports

The Telkonet iWire System, which has been approved by the Transportation Security Administration, will be used to enhance security at numerous U.S. airports starting in January 2007.

Reports

Help for First Responders to Nuclear or Radiological Emergencies - The International Atomic Energy Agency Issues Key Guidance to Local Emergency Response Teams

The IAEA - through its Department of Nuclear Safety and Security - is issuing guidance to emergency response teams that might be called to the front lines of a nuclear or radiological incident or accident.

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Reports

Enhancing Rail Transportation Safety and Security for Hazardous Materials Shipments - Proposed Rule by The Transportation Security Administration

This rule proposes to codify the scope of the TSA's existing inspection program and to require regulated parties to allow TSA & DHS officials to enter, inspect, and test property, facilities, and records relevant to rail transportation.

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Reports

Trust for America's Health Releases - Ready or Not? - Protecting the Public's Health from Disease, Disasters, and Bioterrorism, 2006

The "Ready or Not?" report includes state-by-state health preparedness scores based on 10 key indicators that assess the nation's health emergency-preparedness capabilities. All 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia were evaluated.

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Updates

DHS Introduces New Regulations to Secure High-Risk Chemical Facilities

The Department of Homeland Security has made available for public review an aggressive and comprehensive set of proposed regulations designed to improve security at high-risk chemical facilities nationwide.