january 2021

Updates

FEMA Releases Emergency Operations Center Toolkit

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released five emergency operations center toolkit documents, covering topics such as hazard vulnerability assessments, physical site selection, mitigation considerations, capabilities and requirements, information management systems, and training and exercises.

Updates

Prepare Now for Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Devices

The Joint Counter Terrorism Assessment Team developed the First Responder's Toolbox on Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED): Preparedness, Recognition and Response, which helps first responders prepare for, recognize, and respond to VBIEDs.

Resilience

An Analysis of Presidential Accretive Power – Part 3

by William H. Austin -

There is a point in a novel or play where the hero has a true anagnorisis because the moral fault is never himself, only in outside conspirators. Some would call it fate, others call it arrogance in a man.

Commentary

Transition – Separating Power From Preparedness

by Catherine L. Feinman -

At the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021, there was considerable discussion about the transition of presidential power. As leadership roles change in many federal, state, and local agencies across the United States, new policies and plans will be implemented that will affect how the nation as a whole and the numerous communities within it will plan for and respond to future disasters. The decisions that leaders make will have significant impacts on communities, but true change comes from groups within the community.

Reports

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Convergence Action Guide

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Convergence Action Guide describes the complex threat environment created by increasingly interconnected cyber-physical systems, and the impacts that this interconnectivity has on an organization’s cybersecurity and physical security functions. It also provides information that organizations can consider to adopt a holistic cyber-physical security approach through a flexible framework.

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Updates

FY 2020 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Application

The funding notice for the fiscal year 2020 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program is available. The program focuses on enhancing the safety of the public and firefighters with respect to fire and fire-related hazards. The program provides financial assistance to eligible fire departments, nonaffiliated emergency medical service organizations, and state fire training academies for critical training and equipment. The application period is open until 5:00pm EST on 12 February 2021.

Resilience

An Analysis of Presidential Accretive Power – Part 2

by William H. Austin -

The intersection between populism and progressivism is often contentious and reserved. At least, that is how it has been for the last century or so. To quote Robert Kennedy, “Democracy is messy, and it’s hard. It’s never easy.” Following the analysis on the founding and history of presidential power, this article covers the transition from the outgoing populist to the more progressive incoming president.

Updates

National Risk Index for Natural Hazards (NRI)

The NRI is a new, online mapping application from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that identifies communities most at risk to 18 natural hazards. This application visualizes natural hazard risk metrics and includes data about expected annual losses, social vulnerabilities, and community resilience.

Updates

Field Tests Demonstrate Precision of Groundbreaking Firefighter Tracking Technology

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) joined forces with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (NASA JPL) to develop critical technology that will allow first responders to more accurately locate their team members in burning buildings. Last month, S&T and NASA JPL successfully tested the Precision Outdoor and Indoor Navigation and Tracking for Emergency Responders (POINTER) technology.

Updates

CDC Expands Negative COVID-19 Test Requirement to All Air Passengers Entering the United States

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expanding the requirement for a negative COVID-19 test to all air passengers entering the United States. Testing before and after travel is a critical layer to slow the introduction and spread of COVID-19. This strategy is consistent with the current phase of the pandemic and more efficiently protects the health of Americans.

Commentary

Publisher’s Message: A New Approach Needed For A New Dynamic

by Martin (Marty) Masiuk -

DomesticPreparedness condemns the lawlessness that descended on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th.  The inciteful rhetoric and behavior resulting in the criminal breech of the U.S. Capitol and personal assaults, which lead to the death of U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick and others, are inexcusable.  These acts are an affront to our democratic process that is grounded in the U.S. Constitution, our commitment to the rule of law, and the belief in American exceptionalism.

Updates

Building a Vaccination Army

Over the next year, it will take an army of healthcare professionals to inoculate the over 328 million people who live in the United States against COVID-19. Now that a vaccine is available, we need to prepare as many members of the healthcare community as possible to administer the vaccine and respond to any emergencies should they arise during the process.

Resilience

An Analysis of Presidential Accretive Power – Part 1

by William H. Austin -

The following analysis is a three-part article that will cover a brief history, known examples of the exercise of presidential power, and illustrative examples of actions that historians believed were controversial. This analysis helps unwind the evolution of power in what some believe to be the most powerful leader in the world: the president of the United States.

Updates

USF Volcanology Team Develops New Approach to Understanding Massive Volcanic Eruptions

A University of South Florida (USF) geosciences team has developed a new way to reconstruct the sizes of volcanic eruptions that occurred thousands of years ago, creating a first-of-its kind tool that can aid scientists in understanding past explosive eruptions that shaped the earth and improve the way of estimating hazards of future eruptions.

Reports

Geographic Information System Lifecycle Best Practices Guide for Next Generation 911

SAFECOM and the National Council of Statewide Interoperability Coordinators Next Generation 911 working group, with support from Cybersercurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), have released a new Geographic Information System (GIS) Lifecycle Best Practices Guide to provide public safety administrators, managers, and officials with best practices and resources for implementing geographic information systems.

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Updates

DHS S&T, MTA and MIT Test Virus Mitigation Measures to Protect Riders on Public Transit

In its ongoing effort to combat the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), in partnership with the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Lincoln Laboratory, will conduct tests in a real-world environment to determine the most effective measures to reduce the spread of viruses on public transit.

Reports

2020 National Preparedness Report

The 2020 National Preparedness Report provides an overview of the risks that communities face, how vulnerabilities present in those communities drive those risks, and how risk management principles can be employed to manage those risks. The report describes the capabilities needed to manage those risks and how close communities are to meeting target goals. Finally, the report highlights four critical considerations that underscore the complexity of managing the nation’s risks and that offer a path forward for emergency management across the nation.

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Reports

Crisis Services: Meeting Needs, Saving Lives

This report, released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, includes the “National Guidelines for Behavioral Health Crisis Care: Best Practice Toolkit” and related papers on crisis services. The toolkit offers relevant clinical and health services research, review of top national program practices, and replicable approaches that support best practice implementation. The related papers address key issues relevant to crisis services, homelessness, technology advances, substance use, legal issues impacting crisis services, financing crisis care, diverse populations, children and adolescents, rural and frontier areas, and the role of law enforcement.

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Healthcare

COVID-19 & Lack of Reconnaissance

by Christopher Tantlinger -

The word “reconnaissance” conjures the image of sizing up the enemy and making a plan. Behind medieval history and WWII films about military battles across seas and foreign lands, military forces and commands strategized the battle with efforts revolving around reconnaissance. For many of those who diligently formulate and coordinate emergency response, planning, preparedness, mitigation, and recovery, and those who came out of the Civil Defense Era to build and mold modern emergency management, this pandemic response has elicited feelings of anger and a struggle between opinions and facts.

Updates

NIH to Support Radical Approaches to Nationwide COVID-19 Testing and Surveillance

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded over $107 million to support new, non-traditional approaches and reimagined uses of existing tools to address gaps in COVID-19 testing and surveillance. The program also will develop platforms that can be deployed in future outbreaks of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

Reports

Science & Tech Spotlight: Tracing the Source of Chemical Weapons

The forensic chemical attribution process seeks to trace chemical agents used in attacks. Investigators take a sample of the agent from a victim or site, and then analyze its physical and chemical properties. The data can be used to identify a “chemical fingerprint,” which could provide information to investigators about how the agent was made.

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Updates

National Organizations Call for Action to Implement Crisis Standards of Care During COVID-19 Surge

National organizations have issued a statement calling for immediate action to implement crisis standards of care (CSC) during the current COVID-19 surge. The statement recommends key actions for governors, state health departments, and hospitals and health care systems to support, plan for, and equitably implement crisis standards of care.