march 2018

Updates

FirstNet Core Delivers on the Promise of a Dedicated Network for Public Safety

AT&T has met another monumental contractual milestone by launching and delivering the FirstNet core to the First Responder Network Authority. It is the first-ever nationwide LTE-enhanced packet core infrastructure built specifically for the nation’s first responder community. The FirstNet core serves as the brain and nervous system of the nationwide network, separating public safety traffic from commercial traffic.

Reports

Countering False Information on Social Media in Disasters and Emergencies

Rumors, misinformation and false information on social media proliferate before, during and after disasters and emergencies. Best practices for agencies to counter misinformation, rumors and false information are detailed and categorized in this white paper, and challenges and additional considerations are presented for review. 

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Podcast

Protecting Food, Air, and Water: Environmental Health

On 22 March 2018, DomPrep Advisor Andrew Roszak spoke with Dr. David Dyjack, director of the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), about the field of environmental health as it relates to disaster response and mitigation as well as overall community resilience. Unlike public health, which specializes in the social and policy realms, the field of environmental health is scientific and technically oriented to ensure that communities are safe from various environmental contaminants and allergens.

Incorporated in 1937, NEHA currently serves 5,000 “boots-on-the-ground” environmental health professionals located across the United States. At the intersection of environmental health and disaster response, these “second responders” minimize risks as people return to their homes and offices following disasters. For example, when flooded superfund sites contaminate drinking wells or hurricanes and floodwaters cause mold contamination, these professionals ensure safe practices for refuse disposal, temporary food kitchens, clean water, emergency shelters, and mass casualty management.

Perhaps the greatest challenge for the environmental health field going forward is the issue of clean water, which can be overlooked until it is not available. Too much or too little water pose problems too. Managing the water supply with an aging water infrastructure requires careful planning to ensure that water is being used effectively, conserved, and protected to combat risks associated with the extremes of flooding and drought. With these and other environmental challenges, a degree in environmental health provides innumerable opportunities in today’s society. “Environmental health is profoundly local,” said Dyjack, and their technical expertise is important at all phases of a disaster.

Learn more about NEHA at www.neha.org or connect directly with Dr. Dyjack on Twitter @dtdyjack.

Commentary

Emerging Threats to Rail Infrastructure: Part II, Passenger

by Catherine L. Feinman -

With millions of passengers travelling each day by rail and subway in the United States alone, the passenger rail industry and the communities they serve are faced with difficult safety and security challenges – from equipment failures to terrorist attacks. A whole community approach is needed to address these challenges, to understand the threats and consequences, and to promote a culture of resilience.

Commentary

Roles in Disaster – Completing the Chain

by Catherine L. Feinman -

A passenger train derails in an urban community. Whether caused by intentional or unintentional factors, this incident would have consequences that go well beyond the rail company and the passengers traveling in these fated rail cars. Surrounding companies and communities would be affected, hazardous materials may be a threat, critical infrastructure beyond transportation could be impacted, cyber and physical security could be at risk, and so on. Mitigating these risks, threats, and vulnerabilities requires education, tools, and a desire to play a key role in disaster preparedness and response.

Preparedness

The Key to Saving Lives in CBRNE Events

by Bobby Baker -

In January 2018, in New York City, a group of professionals – representing entities including the Department of Homeland Security, private contractors, hazardous materials/weapons of mass destruction (hazmat/WMD), law enforcement officers, and intelligence experts – gathered to discuss the emerging threats to U.S. passenger rail service. Not only are these threats pertinent to passenger rail service, but they also may potentially affect all mass gatherings and large venues across the country on any given day. Emergency planners and responders must determine the best way to mitigate such threats.

Updates

First Proof a Synthesized Antibiotic is Capable of Treating Superbugs

A "game changing" new antibiotic which is capable of killing superbugs has been successfully synthesized and used to treat an infection for the first time – and could lead to the first new class of antibiotic drug in 30 years. The University of Lincoln breakthrough is another major step forward on the journey to develop a commercially viable drug version based on teixobactin.

Updates

Monitoring Kentucky Dams – Protecting Waterfront Communities

Out of the approximately 90,000 dams in the United States, roughly 90 percent are state, municipal or privately-owned. That makes two-thirds of the dams in America subject to greater variation in safety standards and disaster preparedness than the rest. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has been researching ways to minimize risk from a dam failure and improve the response capability of stakeholders in affected areas.

Reports

2018-2022 Strategic Plan – Federal Emergency Management Agency

The FEMA 2018-2022 Strategic Plan provides a framework for supporting the US before, during, and after disasters. From 2018 to 2022, FEMA will focus on three main Strategic Goals, driving progress through 12 supporting Strategic Objectives. FEMA will develop individual strategies to help guide and shape each Strategic Objective and direct resources and funding to support these important areas.

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Commentary

Podcast: MPAs & Disasters

by Andrew Roszak -

With so many graduate degrees available, it can sometimes be confusing to know which to pursue when entering the world of emergency and disaster preparedness and response. DomPrep Advisor Andrew Roszak addressed one broad-based degree that covers many areas critical for managing disasters. In this podcast, Dr. Randolf Burnside of Southern Illinois University’s Political Science Department and Dr. Anirudh Ruhil of Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs share their insight about the Master’s of Public Administration (MPA) degree and how it can help prepare professionals for jobs in both the public and private sectors.

Podcast

MPAs & Disasters

With so many graduate degrees available, it can sometimes be confusing to know which to pursue when entering the world of emergency and disaster preparedness and response. DomPrep Advisor Andrew Roszak addressed one broad-based degree that covers many areas critical for managing disasters. In this podcast, Dr. Randolf Burnside of Southern Illinois University’s Political Science Department and Dr. Anirudh Ruhil of Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs share their insight about the Master’s of Public Administration (MPA) degree and how it can help prepare professionals for jobs in both the public and private sectors.

Reports

CERRA Framework: An Emergency Preparedness Access Implementation and Best Practice Guide

The Crisis Event Response and Recovery Access (CERRA) Framework focuses on supporting state, local, and regional efforts to enable the successful transit and access of critical response and recovery resources before, during, and after emergencies. 

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Reports

A Decision Makers Guide: Medical Planning and Response for a Nuclear Detonation

This manual assists preparedness efforts and decision making by providing readily accessible information that quickly describes critical scientific and medical aspects of a nuclear incident as well as the response organization and resources anticipated to be required or available during a response. 

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Updates

Free Software Can Help Spot New Forms of Fentanyl and Other Illegal Drugs

Illicit chemists are constantly cooking new forms of fentanyl, each with a slightly different chemical structure, stymieing law enforcement and putting users at greater risk. To control fentanyl, which mimics heroin but is far more potent, forensic chemists need to identify it. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released a free software tool to help.

Updates

USAID and FAO Working Together to Pre-Empt the Next Global Pandemic

A partnership between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has been working to strengthen the capacity of developing countries to manage outbreaks of diseases in farm animals. In the past 12 months, its members have trained over 4,700 veterinary health professionals in 25 countries. The FAO-provided technical training covered a gamut of key competencies, including disease surveillance and forecasting, laboratory operations, biosafety and biosecurity, prevention and control methods, and outbreak response strategies.

Updates

DHS Working to Enhance School Safety, Increase Preparedness

In the wake of the recent attack in Parkland, Florida, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is stepping up actions to better protect the nation’s schools against gun violence, as well as other potential threats. DHS conducts training, exercises, and preparedness activities year-round to increase the security of schools across the country and the communities in which they are located.

Preparedness

Historical Argument for Hardening Facilities

by Michael E. Gray -

People’s lives were changed forever on Tuesday, 11 September 2001. At the time of the 9/11 attacks, airport security was primarily focused on threats from guns and explosives. There was little worry about knives or sharp instruments. Even when detected at checkpoints, they were not often considered dangerous. Closing this security loophole came after these attacks, which spurred drastic security changes at all phases of the transportation system. However, this was not the first time such security has come into question. An historical review of terrorist tactics emphasizes the need to remain vigilant.

Updates

Slowing Biological Time to Extend the Golden Hour for Lifesaving Treatment

When a service member suffers a traumatic injury or acute infection, the time from event to first medical treatment is usually the single most significant factor in determining the outcome between saving a life or not. DARPA’s Biostasis program pursues various approaches to slowing down biochemical processes in living cells to extend the golden hour.

Reports

Risk Management Practices in the Fire Service

This report contains recommended approaches to help fire service manage organizational, operational and community risk. Specific challenges involved in incorporating a “risk management approach” into the delivery of fire department services are addressed.

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Updates

Flu Forecasting System Tracks Geographic Spread of Disease

Scientists at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health developed a system to accurately predict the spatial transmission of influenza in the United States up to six weeks ahead of time. The system could be adapted and modified for use with other infectious diseases.

Updates

DARPA Names Researchers Working to Halt Outbreaks in 60 Days or Less

To address the growing threat from infectious diseases as well as to properly equip Department of Defense service members who regularly deploy worldwide to provide assistance in all manner of high-risk environments, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) launched the Pandemic Prevention Platform program (P3). All performer institutions are now on contract and moving forward with the program’s goals of developing technology to halt the spread of pandemic infectious diseases.

Reports

Emergency Management Performance Grants (EMPG): Providing Return on a Nation’s Investment

The International Association of Emergency Managers and the National Emergency Management Association’s joint report details the return on investment realized by the Emergency Management Performance Grants (EMPG) program, which is the only source of federal funding provided directly to state and local governments for all the functions that help to build a robust emergency management system.

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Updates

Emergency Department Data Show Rapid Increases in Opioid Overdoses

Data from emergency departments show that the U.S. opioid overdose epidemic continues to worsen, according to the latest Vital Signs report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overall, emergency department visits for suspected opioid overdoses increased 30 percent in the United States, from July 2016 through September 2017.

Preparedness

User Guide for Responder-Driven Technology Development

by Ann Lesperance & Richard Ozanich -

With new technology coming to market at a record pace, it can be difficult to know whether products are reliable, durable, and secure enough to make the nation’s emergency management professionals safer, better connected, and fully aware. The market is flooded with tools and capabilities that may be of benefit to first responders, but these tools need to be vetted for the rigorous technical, operational, and safety needs in the field.

Commentary

Rail Threats & Interdependencies – Thoughts for Discussion

by Rick Mathews -

In the United States, there are ongoing efforts to protect the nation’s critical infrastructure. Presidential directives, coupled with national security strategies and several iterations of the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP), have spanned the terms of at least four presidents and included the rail system. The volume of activity on or near rail lines, potential threats, and interdependencies all raise concern for the protection of this critical infrastructure asset.

Updates

DARPA Seeks to Expand Real-Time Radiological Threat Detection to Include Other Dangers

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced its SIGMA+ program, an expansion of the existing SIGMA program, which detects radiological and nuclear materials. With SIGMA+, DARPA seeks to develop new sensors and networks that alert authorities to chemical, biological, and explosive threats as well.

Updates

Researchers Advance CRISPR-Based Tool for Diagnosing Disease

The team that first unveiled the rapid, inexpensive, highly sensitive CRISPR-based diagnostic tool called SHERLOCK (Specific High-sensitivity Enzymatic Reporter unLOCKing) has greatly enhanced the tool’s power, and has developed a miniature paper test that allows results to be seen with the naked eye – without the need for expensive equipment. This study was released by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and supported in part by the National Institutes of Health and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

Updates

NGFR Integration Handbook

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) has created the Next Generation First Responder (NGFR) Integration Handbook, which outlines a “plug-and-play,” standards-based environment that enables commercially developed technologies to integrate with existing first responder infrastructure. DHS S&T invites industry to review the handbook and provide feedback to improve the level of detail of the technical specifications that will deliver interoperable technology to the first responder marketplace.

Reports

A Framework for Healthcare Disaster Resilience: A View to the Future

According to a new report by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, the health sector in the United States would be far better positioned to manage medical care needs during emergencies of any scale by empowering existing healthcare coalitions to connect community resilience efforts with a network of hospitals equipped to handle disasters.

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Updates

ASPR’s New Vision for a Regional Disaster Health Response System Will Help Prepare Nation for 21st Century Health Security Threats

Robert Kadlec, M.D., Assistant Secretary for Preparedness & Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, discussed the concept of a regional disaster health response system that is capable of responding more effectively and efficiently to the ever-increasing array of 21st century health security threats. Building readiness and response capacity for these threats is his main priority and the catalyst for creating a regional disaster health response system.