june 2018

Updates

DHS S&T is at the Cutting Edge of sUAS Capability

Attaching a camera to a Small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS)—or drone—is not a new concept. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is looking to equip drones with different sensors useful in search-and-rescue, reconnaissance, active shooter response, hostage rescue situations, and a myriad of border security scenarios.

Reports

Engaging Faith-based and Community Organizations: Planning Considerations for Emergency Managers

This guide explains a seven-step process for emergency managers to expand existing engagement practices with faith-based and community organizations as well as strategize how to further implement whole community principles into emergency management activities. 

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Commentary

Leveraging Learning & Teaching Opportunities

by Catherine Feinman -

Each day, there are opportunities to acquire new knowledge and skills as well as opportunities to share current knowledge and skills with others. This is especially true in the emergency preparedness realm, where changing circumstances and uncertainties are the norm.

Updates

Statement From FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., on New Guidance to Help Manufacturers Implement Protections Against Potential Attacks on the U.S. Food Supply

The U.S. Food and Drug Adminsistration (FDA) takes its responsibility to protect the U.S. food supply very seriously. While the FDA works diligently to prevent accidental contaminations, it also takes measures to protect the food from those who seek to deliberately do harm. The FDA is releasing the first of three installments of draft guidance designed to support compliance with the Intentional Adulteration rule.

Updates

New Online Toolbox Equips Parents, Communities With Tools to Keep Children Safe in Disaster

The Resilient Children/Resilient Communities (RCRC) Toolbox provides the resources that parents, community leaders, emergency management officials, schools and child care centers need to prepare for emergencies and improve their abilities to help children quickly return to a sense of normalcy. The toolbox is available online to the public free of charge.

Updates

S&T Supports FEMA's Recovery Plan in Puerto Rico

To supplement recovery the 2017 hurricanes, Congress has required the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to support the Governor of Puerto Rico in delivering a full report on the damage as well as a plan for building back more resiliency within 180 days. Supporting this effort, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is providing expertise in integrating possible solutions with assessing hurricane damage and recovery needs in Puerto Rico.

Updates

Sniffing Out Disease: Dogs Trained for Wildlife Disease Surveillance

Dogs, adopted from shelters and animal rescue centers, are housed and trained at the USDA-APHIS National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC) in Fort Collins, Colorado. They are part of a collaborative 12-month program to evaluate the effectiveness of training and using dogs to detect avian influenza.

Reports

Healthcare System Readiness for Highly Pathogenic Infectious Diseases

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response within the United States Department of Health and Human Services has released the slide deck from a recent Technical Resources, Assistance Center, and Information Exchange (TRACIE) presentation on the tiered Ebola healthcare response system and how to use resources developed to support highly infectious disease readiness and response efforts.

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Resilience

The Need for Community Public Safety UAS Programs

by Charles L. Werner -

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS/drones) offer great value for public safety, with support and guidance needed at the local, state, and national levels when considering such systems. UAS offer a profound new view and situational awareness of significant incidents, events, and disasters. This article describes the value of UAS and provides guidance for jurisdictions considering implementing UAS programs.

Podcast

Public Health Preparedness: Segment 1

In 2017, many natural and manmade disasters affected communities across the United States. Each of these disasters posed many public health challenges, including funding, interagency, and workforce issues. Two subject matter experts,  Director Cheryl Petersen-Kroeber from the Minnesota Department of Health’s Center for Emergency Preparedness and Response and Deputy Director Harry Bruce (Jeff) Jeffries Jr. from the Georgia Department of Public Health’s Division of Health Protection, share their lessons learned from these disasters and provide insight on public health concerns that need to be addressed. This is Segment 1 of a two-part interview.

Preparedness

Bringing Emergency Preparedness to City Schools

by Katelyn James -

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting a near-normal 2018 Atlantic hurricane season: the formation of 10-16 named storms, with 5-9 becoming hurricanes (1-4 of these potentially becoming major hurricanes). For the past 10 years, the New York City (NYC) Emergency Management Department has been educating children in NYC schools through the Ready New York Kids Program. Each presentation focuses on three key messages: make a plan, get supplies, and prepare a Go Bag.

Updates

New Free S&T App Tracks Locations, Vitals, Keeping First Responders Safe

When first responders are on a mission, being able to quickly and easily track the location of fellow responders can be challenging. Recognizing this limitation, the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) funded the development of the Watchtower mobile application, which is available, free of charge for all public safety users. The app allows users to track and report their locations using the global positioning systems already built into smartphones.

Updates

Statement From FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., on FDA’s Efforts to Foster Discovery and Development of New Tools to Fight Antimicrobial-Resistant Infections

The increase in serious antimicrobial drug-resistant infections is a critical public health concern and a growing threat to patients. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, and 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is working on the scientific challenges and economic impediments surrounding this issue.

Updates

DRIVe-ing Innovation

DRIVe is a transformative, business-friendly approach to identifying, capturing, nurturing and accelerating lifesaving innovation to solve tough health challenges that span health security and daily healthcare. The Division of Research, Innovation, and Ventures (DRIV) is part of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and will oversee this new accelerator program.

Updates

Building a Resilient Nation

As the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) moved from immediate response and recovery to long-term recovery, the agency reflected on the lessons from 2017 disasters. As a result of FEMA’s months-long after action review, FEMA recently released its 2018-2022 Strategic Plan. A newly announced organization, FEMA Resilience, will implement the plan, focusing on preparing for disasters and making the nation more resilient by leveraging FEMA's missions of mitigation, insurance, preparedness, grants, and continuity.

Updates

DHS Accelerates Data Solutions to Uncover Emerging Biothreats

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate collaborated with the Office of Health Affairs National Biosurveillance Integration Center to launch the Hidden Signals Challenge, which called for the design of an early warning system to uncover emerging biothreats. Winners have been announced and move on to deploying their systems.

Commentary

Aiding the Response to Fentanyl With Portable Equipment

by Philip Tackett -

Illegal manufacturing of fentanyl continues to rise and, with it, the dangers of clandestine drug laboratories to responders. Dangerous crime scenes like these are not limited to any one location. Responders everywhere need to prepare to encounter them at any point. Portable gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC/MS) equipment can help hazardous materials (hazmat) response teams quickly identify white powders, like fentanyl, and associated cutting agents on-scene.

Reports

Comprehensive Preparedness Guide (CPG) 201: Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA) and Stakeholder Preparedness Review (SPR) Guide

Comprehensive Preparedness Guide (CPG) 201, Third Edition, provides guidance for conducting the three-step process for a THIRA and the three-step process for an SPR. All types of communities can complete the THIRA/SPR as a way to better understand the risks they face and make important decisions on how to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the threats and hazards that pose the greatest risks.

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Updates

5 Communication Lessons Learned From Hurricane Maria

Hurricane Maria exposed residents to an increased risk for foodborne, waterborne, infectious and non-infectious diseases, and other public health risks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention assembled a team of experienced communicators to figure out how to communicate multiple health risks to the public, especially to rural and isolated communities, when basic resources and services are not available. These five key lessons learned will help other communication responders prepare for the 2018 hurricane season and any future emergency events.

Updates

As DHS Secretary Nielsen Maps New Cybersecurity Strategy, S&T Lends R&D Support

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Nielsen previewed the May unveiling of the department’s new cybersecurity strategy and issued a stern warning to cybercriminals. The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is working in tandem with DHS operational components by conducting research and development (R&D) in numerous areas that will help strengthen DHS’s ability to detect and defend against cyberattacks.

Updates

Dialing Up the Body’s Defenses Against Public Health and National Security Threats

Inspired by recent advances in the understanding of when and how genes express their traits, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) new PReemptive Expression of Protective Alleles and Response Elements (PREPARE) program explores ways to better protect against biological, chemical, or radiological threats by temporarily and reversibly tuning gene expression to bolster the body’s defenses against – or directly neutralize – a given threat.

Updates

Threat Detection at U.S. Ports

Technology used to track subatomic particles is at the heart of a rapid scanning system that identifies illegal or dangerous goods at U.S. ports and borders. This new approach, called the Multi-Mode Passive Detection System (MMPDS), provides rapid, in-line scanning of cargo for both security threats and illegal shipments. The system is completely automated and produces no radiation.

Updates

SAVER: A Responder Resource for Technology Info

The U.S Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) established the System Assessment and Validation for Emergency Responders (SAVER) Program to assist emergency responders making procurement decisions. Managed by S&T’s National Urban Security Technology Laboratory, the SAVER Program conducts operationally oriented assessments and validations on commercial equipment and systems, and provides those results along with other relevant information to the emergency response community.

Reports

MCMi Program Update Fiscal Year 2017

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plays a critical role in protecting the United States from chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and emerging infectious disease threats. The FDA ensures that medical countermeasures for these threats are safe, effective, and secure. This annual report details the FDA’s medical countermeasure activities for fiscal year (FY) 2017 (1 October 2016–30 September 2017).

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Updates

Juvare CEO Unveils Vision to Build Enterprise Resiliency

Juvare, previously the Emergency Preparedness and Response Division of Intermedix, formally unveiled its new brand at their 2018 Summit in Atlanta, Georgia. Juvare will continue to strengthen its emergency management solutions, such as WebEOC®, EMResource, eICS, and others, while also developing a framework for enterprise resilience.

Reports

SAMHSA Disaster Technical Assistance Center Supplemental Research Bulletin - First Responders: Behavioral Health Concerns, Emergency Response, and Trauma

This publication discusses the challenges encountered by first responders during regular duty as well as following disasters, sheds more light on the risks and behavioral health consequences (such as post-traumatic stress disorder, stress, and depression) of serving as a first responder, and presents steps that can be taken to reduce these risks either on the individual or institutional level.

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Resilience

Counterinsurgency & Emergency Management

by Roger Parrino & Terry Hastings -

Counterinsurgency and emergency management are two seemingly unrelated concepts, yet they have a lot in common in terms of the strategies necessary to succeed. In each case, empowerment is the ultimate key to success. For counterinsurgency, it is about empowering the host country and, for emergency management, it is about empowering local jurisdictions. Although empowerment is the central theme, the strategies to achieve empowerment include diplomacy, relationship building, and trust.

Reports

Anthrax: Developing Drugs for Prophylaxis of Inhalational Anthrax Guidance for Industry

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued final guidance, “Anthrax: Developing Drugs for Prophylaxis of Inhalational Anthrax,” which assists in the development of drugs for prophylaxis (prevention) of inhalational anthrax for individuals who may be potentially exposed to or have inhaled aerosolized Bacillus anthracis (B. anthracis) spores, but who have not yet displayed related signs and symptoms.

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Updates

Statement From FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., on Federal Preparedness and FDA’s Response Efforts to the Ebola Virus Outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo

During the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took new steps to advance the availability of investigational medical countermeasures, including drugs, vaccines, and diagnostic tests. The FDA is building on these lessons learned to assist in the global response to the current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo and help mitigate the threat by making medical products available as part of critical response efforts.

Updates

FLIR Systems Awarded $2.6 Million Contract for Black Hornet Personal Reconnaissance Systems for United States Army Soldier Borne Sensor Program

FLIR Systems Inc. has been awarded a $2.6 million order from the United States Army to deliver FLIR Black Hornet® Personal Reconnaissance Systems. The units delivered under this contract support squad-level surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities in the Army’s first batch order for the Soldier Borne Sensor program.

Reports

2015-2016 National Report of Medical Countermeasure Readiness

The 2015-2016 National Report of Medical Countermeasure Readiness provides insights into the ability of the United States to plan and successfully execute a public health response requiring life-saving medical countermeasures. This report identifies key findings and recommended steps to advance the nation’s health security.

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Updates

EMS: A Critical Partner in Successful Community Disaster Planning and Response

Although emergency medical services (EMS), hospitals, emergency management, and public health all are fundamental components of disaster health response, none responds alone. EMS can contribute to planning and response for medical surge; assess risks and resources; bring their unique experience to evacuation planning, communications systems integration, and emergency operations plan; and participate in coalition exercises.