As a hurricane approaches, a leader must decide whether to issue an order to evacuate or to shelter in place. When creating active shooter plans, school officials must determine what information can and should be shared to mitigate the threat. To mitigate disaster, each community must consider the unique risks and threats that it faces. As emergency preparedness professionals age, they must engage youths to ensure future resilience. This edition of the DomPrep Journal highlights four key force multipliers for promoting public safety: information sharing, crisis leadership, situational awareness, and youth engagement.
New York City Emergency Management (NYCEM) has designed an internship program specifically tailored for high school students. The agency shares its lessons learned to help other agencies understand why such efforts are important, how the program works, and what steps agencies can take to start their own intern programs. Engaging at the high school level helps recruit a valuable yet underutilized resource and promotes overall community resilience.
After the incidents in the United Kingdom in 2018 involving a fourth generation agent, the White House National Security Council convened a federal interagency working group to identify and develop resources to help the emergency response community prepare for and respond to a fourth generation agent incident if one ever occurs in the U.S., as well as support the development of specific guidance and training to enhance overall preparedness efforts.
Smiths Detection has been awarded an indefinite-delivery-indefinite-quantity contract with the Department of Homeland Security Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction office to provide radiation portal monitors (RPM). The RPM is a passive checkpoint which can detect potentially dangerous radiation emitting material which passes through its detection zone. The portal is capable of scanning trucks, vehicles, containers, packages and people.
Our nation faces diverse and evolving health security threats that have the potential to disrupt our public health and health care systems and inflict injury and loss of life on our people. The National Health Security Strategy (NHSS) provides a vision for strengthening our nation’s ability to prevent, detect, assess, prepare for, mitigate, respond to, and recover from 21st century health security threats.
On 2 January 2019, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission (MSDHSPSC) released its initial report. The commission report addressed many critical issues and lesson learned within its 15 chapters. The chapter on information sharing discussed the actual or perceived restrictions from privacy laws such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The discussion addressed several areas where there is significant confusion and dispute that continues until today, and directly impacts safety and security planning, preparedness, and collaboration.
Unlike most medical diagnostic devices, which can perform only one type of test – either protein or nucleic acid tests – Sandia’s SpinDx can now perform both. This allows it to identify nearly any cause of illness, including viruses, bacteria, toxins, or immune system markers of chemical agent exposure.
The Institute for Disaster Management at the University of Georgia College of Public Health has received $1.6 million in civil money penalty funds from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to better prepare certified long-term care facilities’ staff to respond to natural disasters and other emergencies.
The world is facing multiple health challenges. To address these and other threats, 2019 is the start of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) new 5-year strategic plan – the 13th General Programme of Work. Here are 10 of the many issues that will demand attention from WHO and other health partners in 2019.
A group of five graduate students from the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) – across the physics, electrical engineering, and defense analysis departments – came up with a new way to acoustically detect small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) when they participated in, and won, the Army Futures Command’s “A-Hack-of-the-Drones” hackathon.
Emergency management is a dynamic field filled with numerous personalities managing ever-changing environments. Some emergency managers handle disastrous events on a yearly basis compared with others who go their entire careers without facing a single disaster. They maneuver unique political landscapes, manage robust emergency management offices, or work in offices of one. In any setting, one of the critical tools found within the emergency manager’s toolbox is maintaining situational awareness.
When people are in the early stages of an undiagnosed disease, immediate tests that lead to treatment are the best first steps. A technique using microneedles able to draw relatively large amounts of interstitial fluid – a liquid that lurks just under the skin – opens new possibilities. The new method’s larger draws could be more effective in rapidly measuring exposure to chemical and biological warfare agents, as well as diagnosing cancer and other diseases.
The City of Los Angeles, under the oversight of Mayor Eric Garcetti and built on the ShakeAlert system developed by the U.S. Geological Survey, has released ShakeAlertLA, a mobile application that sends alerts to users within Los Angeles County that an earthquake of greater than magnitude 5.0 or Level IV intensity has been detected and that they may soon feel shaking.
ERADA Technology Alliance have announced the imminent launch of a world first diagnostic saliva test for malaria. The saliva-based diagnostic tool, to be marketed by ERADA as a Saliva-based Malaria Asymptomatic and Asexual Rapid Test (SMAART) for subclinical infection, is set to transform malaria detection worldwide in the fight against one of the globe’s most deadly diseases.
The Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) Preparedness Course is a five-day course designed to give federal, state, and local officials information on how to best plan and prepare for a public health emergency and how to use and manage the Strategic National Stockpile in response to a terrorist attack, natural disaster, or technological accident.
During a crisis, leaders must be able to adapt and operate in an uncertain environment. In doing so, leaders are required to make more consequential and challenging decisions with less information and less time to decide. They also have fewer options to consider and likely garner more scrutiny for their actions. This examination of key case studies provides current leaders with lessons learned from effective and ineffective leadership decisions in the past.
The Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense welcomed former White House Homeland Security Advisor, Lisa Monaco, as a panel member. Monaco served as Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism between 2013 and 2017. She replaces outgoing panel member, former Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala, who was recently elected to serve as a U.S. Representative for the 27th District in Florida.
On Friday, December 28, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the “Health Industry Cybersecurity Practices (HICP): Managing Threats and Protecting Patients” publication. The four-volume publication aims to provide voluntary cybersecurity practices to healthcare organizations of all types and sizes, ranging from local clinics to large hospital systems.
As 2018 ends, Puerto Rico’s transformation from hurricanes Irma and Maria has pivoted toward making the island stronger and more resilient. The island’s long-term recovery envisions enhanced infrastructure and communities more capable of withstanding events like the 2017 hurricanes. The government of Puerto Rico and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have collaborated on several recovery projects that meet these objectives.
The Federal Commission on School Safety was established to review safety practices and make meaningful and actionable recommendations of best practices to keep students safe. The Commission conducted field visits, listening sessions, and meetings with state and local policymakers, administrators, principals and teachers, law enforcement and healthcare professionals, students and their families to identify best practices and make the recommendations contained in this report.
Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen released the following statement after the U.S. Senate passed the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Act of 2018 (H.R. 7213). This legislation permanently establishes the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD) Office within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), granting it needed authorities to protect the American people against evolving WMD threats.