july 2019

Preparedness

Seven Universities Upping Cybersecurity Educational Programs

by Joseph Scherrer & David Reddick -

Seven universities in the St. Louis, Missouri, area have banded together to improve the quality of cybersecurity education they offer their students. By increasing the number of graduates, together they strive to meet the demand for skilled cybersecurity workers in the region.

Commentary

Combating Threats – Both Domestic & Global

by Catherine L. Feinman -

Disaster planners recognize the need to build interagency, interdisciplinary support to combat widespread disasters with far-reaching consequences. However, gaining such buy-in can be challenging – especially when stakeholders do not recognize the threat to their communities or do not understand the roles they can and should play in mitigating such threats. This is important considering that an international threat can quickly become a local problem and a local threat can transform into an international concern.

Updates

Project BioShield Evolution: Fifteen Years of Bridging the ‘Valley of Death’ in the Medical Countermeasures Pipeline

Saving lives in a public health emergency requires cutting-edge medical countermeasures: medications, vaccines, diagnostics, and more. In some types of emergencies, like an act of bioterrorism, some of those medical products have no commercial market. In 2004, Congress passed the Project BioShield Act to create a market for products necessary for disaster response but with limited or no commercial market.

Preparedness

Local Law Enforcement for International Threats

by Richard Schoeberl & Anthony (Tony) Mottola -

According to a recent United Nations Security Council report, the number of Islamic State (IS) attacks is down over the past year. However, there is still no doubt that the IS remains a threat – both globally and domestically – particularly as it transforms into a more covert terrorist organization. Domestically, the IS remains a concern for law enforcement agencies. However, the threats have evolved from groups to individuals – radicalized from the array of propaganda and plethora of ideologies found on the internet.

Updates

DHS S&T Announces $35M Funding Opportunity for New Center of Excellence in Terrorism Prevention and Counterterrorism Research

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announced $35 million in funding opportunities for a new DHS Center of Excellence for Terrorism Prevention and Counterterrorism Research. Accredited U.S. colleges and universities are invited to submit proposals as the center lead or as an individual partner to work with the lead institution in support of the center’s activities.

Updates

Dirty Bomb Simulator Prepares Responders

If a radiological dispersal device (RDD), or “dirty bomb,” ever explodes in the United States, emergency crews may be better prepared because of a simulator developed by a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory visualization technologist. Called the RDD Studio, the model was developed by the Lab’s Ryan Chen to provide a detailed simulation of what an optimal response to an RDD would look like.

Updates

Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Threat Detectors Put Through Paces at Indy 500

As some 300,000 cheering race fans packed the stands at this year’s Indianapolis 500, behind the scenes an advanced network of sensors kept constant vigilance, providing security officials real-time awareness of any potential weapon-of-mass-destruction/terror threat. The deployment marked the first time that DARPA’s SIGMA+ network seamlessly integrated radiological and chemical sensors with biological threat sensors from the Department of Homeland Security’s Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office.

Updates

Portable Gas Detection Shrinks to New Dimensions

A sensor for detecting toxic gases is now smaller, faster, and more reliable. Its performance sets it up for integration in a highly sensitive portable system for detecting chemical weapons. Better miniature sensors can also rapidly detect airborne toxins where they occur, providing key information to help emergency personnel respond safely and effectively to an incident.

Updates

ASPR Next Innovation Day

When disaster strikes, providing lifesaving medical care becomes more challenging and complex. To promote the best possible care in disasters, next-generation solutions that harness the power of cutting-edge technology to improve health outcomes are needed. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) is proud to launch ASPR Next, a new program to spur innovation in the development of new technologies and products that can be used to provide lifesaving care in austere circumstances.

Updates

Mitigating Wildfire Vulnerability: One Community's Success Story

The Thomas Fire in December 2017 claimed two lives, burned 281,893 acres, and destroyed more than 1,000 structures before it was contained on 12 January 2018. The Montecito Fire Protection District (MFPD), a small coastal community in California, saw the loss of only seven structures, a remarkably low number given the extreme fire behavior it experienced. The low fire loss was due to the successful mitigation strategies the Montecito community pursued for over two decades beginning in 1994.

Reports

Mass Casualty Trauma Triage – Paradigms and Pitfalls

This document contains planning considerations that emergency medical services (EMS) medical directors, EMS systems planners, and hospital emergency planners should review when developing mass casualty incident plans and training programs. The focus of this paper is specifically designed to educate emergency planners on the key distinctions of no-notice, dynamic incident scenes with exceedingly large numbers of patients. 

View Full Report
Preparedness

Just Another Day in the Office for the United States Coast Guard

by Martin D. Masiuk -

Watching the video of crew members from the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Cutter Munro board and interdict a self-propelled, semi-submersible drug-smuggling vessel on 18 June 2019 is exciting.  Their actions were heroic and highly productive.  Because of that bravery, 39,000 pounds of cocaine and 933 pounds of marijuana worth a combined estimated $569 million was seized. For the average person, the video is thrilling. However, for the U.S. Coast Guard, it was just another day in the office. DomPrep salutes the men and women of the USCG who are "Always Ready" to prevent the next maritime disaster and respond to the call when needed.

Podcast

Podcast: Just Another Day in the Office for the United States Coast Guard

Watching the video of crew members from the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Cutter Munro board and interdict a self-propelled, semi-submersible drug-smuggling vessel on 18 June 2019 is exciting. Their actions were heroic and highly productive. Because of that bravery, 39,000 pounds of cocaine and 933 pounds of marijuana worth a combined estimated $569 million was seized. For the average person, the video is thrilling. However, for the U.S. Coast Guard, it was just another day in the office. DomPrep salutes the men and women of the USCG who are “Always Ready” to prevent the next maritime disaster and respond to the call when needed.

DomPrep’s Publisher, Martin (Marty) Masiuk recently conducted a podcast interview with DomPrep Advisor CDR Joseph J. Leonard Jr. (USCG, ret.) to hear his reaction on this extraordinary drug seizure. Joe then elaborates on the many missions that the Coast Guard conduct every day. 

 
Reports

Mass Attacks in Public Spaces – 2018

In response to the acts of targeted violence occurring in the United States, the U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) has published this research report. The study was conducted for the specific purpose of identifying key information that will enhance efforts to prevent these types of attacks, building on the findings identified in its 2017 report.

View Full Report
Reports

Radiological Dispersal Device (RDD) Response Guidance – Planning for the First 100 Minutes

This document and accompanying video provides actionable guidance, sample text for a radiological dispersal device (RDD) response protocol, and annexed tools that can be used for local planning of an effective response to an RDD to protect first responders and the general public, and establish interagency coordination and integration of state and federal assets.

View Full Report
Updates

S&T NUSTL Supports First Responder Radiological Preparedness

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) National Urban Security Technology Laboratory (NUSTL) and partners have published guidance and videos for first responders and emergency managers on how to plan for the first minutes of a radiological dispersal device (RDD) detonation response.

Updates

A Dose of Inner Strength to Survive and Recover From Potentially Lethal Health Threats

Breakthroughs in the science of programmable gene expression inspired Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to establish the PReemptive Expression of Protective Alleles and Response Elements (PREPARE) program with the goal of delivering powerful new defenses against public health and national security threats. DARPA has selected teams to develop new tools for programmable modulation of gene expression, to yield enhanced resilience against influenza and ionizing radiation for service members and first responders.

Reports

The U.S. Department of Defense’s Role in Health Security

The Department of Defense contributes to overall U.S. health security through programs specifically aimed at countering biological threats from all sources. Public health activities are coordinated with civilian counterparts at home and abroad and through research and development of medical countermeasures aimed at protecting U.S. forces against health risks throughout the world. This report covers current capabilities and recommendations for the future.

View Full Report
Updates

Breathe Easy, Part 1: How to Pick the Right Respirator for Your Emergency Kit

There are many things to consider in the process of preparing your health and safety for a public health emergency. Memories of emergencies, like the summer 2018 wildfires and the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, are reminders of the threat they can pose to respiratory health. Of equal importance is an item that often gets left out of talks about emergency supplies – the respirator.

Updates

Breathe Easy, Part 2: How to Properly Use a Respirator in an Emergency

In the course of preparing for an emergency, a pack of respirators from the local hardware store may be purchased with the thought that they are ready to use out of the box. However, before relying on one of these devices for protection, there are some important selection and use criteria to consider. Choosing and using a respirator is a process that, if done the right way, can help prepare for and protect against health threats in an emergency.

Resilience

Reducing Weather Anxiety Among Emergency Managers

by Andrew Altizer & Steve Harris -

Imagine this scenario. A tornado watch has been in effect for the past six hours. The severe thunderstorm warning expires as the squall line passes over the area, which escaped significant severe weather. Although the Storm Prediction Center shows the area has been downgraded from enhanced to marginal, the Day 4-8 prediction indicates a 15% chance of severe weather in the area on Wednesday – today is Friday. Here comes another one.

Reports

Mass Casualty Incident Response Toolkit

Mass casualty incident (MCI) response is a critical focus area for the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA) and its member hospitals. Over the past several years, GNYHA has led collaborative planning efforts related to MCI response in coordination with government response agencies and the health care community, resulting in the development of new communication protocols and structures, and targeted training and programming.

View Full Report
Updates

FLIR Unveils Key Additions to Griffin G510 Portable Chemical Detection System

FLIR Systems Inc. has announced the availability of multiple enhancements to its Griffin™ G510 portable GC-MS chemical detector to help responders analyze and identify drugs, chemical agents, and other toxic substances faster and more effectively during field operations. Major new features on the G510 give users access to an expanded onboard drug library, as well as a new quick-search capability for chemicals and hazardous substances.

Updates

Artificial Intelligence Can Make the U.S. Electric Grid Smarter

The challenge of factoring in both the certain and the unknown to deliver electricity under all kinds of scenarios involves a series of incredibly complex math problems. With the assistance of artificial intelligence (AI), researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory are developing new ways to extract insights from mountains of data on the electric grid, with the goal of ensuring greater reliability, resilience and efficiency.

Updates

Evacuating Under Fire: Children with Special Healthcare Needs in Disaster

Studies report that most children with special health care needs (CSHCN) families are under prepared for disasters. These findings are concerning since these children often require special equipment, supplies, or medical care—access to which can be disrupted by environmental hazards or other emergencies.