march 2019

Updates

5 Things You Probably Don’t Know About S&T’s EDGE Virtual Training

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate’s (S&T) Enhanced Dynamic Geo-Social Environment (EDGE) virtual training platform provides a safe, immersive environment where first responders, and now educators, can hone their skills and prepare for a multitude of incident responses. Built on the same video gaming platform as popular titles like Fortnite, EDGE was intentionally designed to be easily accessed, easily used, and easily integrated into agencies’ existing training protocols.

Resilience

Best Practices – From Cookies to Countermeasures

by Terry Sapp -

The anthrax attacks in October 2001 were a wakeup call nationwide of America’s weakness to respond to a widespread biological terrorist incident. Since that time, local, state, and federal agencies have worked together to improve public health readiness to mass dispense medical countermeasures (MCM) at points-of-dispensing (PODs). Providing bulk dispensing to non-public (or “closed”) PODs is one methodology employed to expedite the distribution of MCM to the private sector. However, exercising bulk dispensing in a realistic environment can present numerous challenges. Finding non-traditional partners, such as the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland, provides a cost-effective and simple solution to reducing the artificialities of a functional exercise.

Commentary

Vertical Collaboration for Widespread Health Threats

by Catherine L. Feinman -

From infectious diseases to terrorist attacks, state and federal agencies must collaborate to provide the most effective responses for large-scale public health events. New types of threats continually emerge, terrorist tactics evolve, and environmental conditions change. Each of these factors contributes to the complexities that emergency preparedness professionals must consider when preparing for, mitigating, or responding to any threat.

Updates

Statement From FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., and Deputy Commissioner Frank Yiannas on New Steps to Strengthen FDA’s Food Safety Program for 2020 and Beyond

As part of the President’s 2020 Budget, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed new funding across multiple aspects of our nation’s food safety system to ensure a more secure and modern food safety framework.

Updates

Emerging Infectious Diseases Videos for Prehospital Providers

This free video training series, created by the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), Department of Emergency Health Services, with assistance from the Maryland Department of Health, and funding from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is designed to meet the needs of first responders who are expected to deal with the health needs of people who find themselves in health emergencies they cannot manage on their own.

Updates

President’s Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Fortifies DHS Operations, Supports Frontline Personnel, Secures Our Borders & Confronts Emerging Threats

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen released the details of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Budget request to Congress for DHS and its component agencies and offices. The DHS request includes $51.7 billion in discretionary funding and an additional $19.4 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund. The Budget request provides critical resources to help frontline personnel do their jobs to secure the homeland against all threats and hazards, and it ensures DHS is able to defend Americans against emerging dangers.

Updates

Preparing for a Potential Domestic Ebola Outbreak

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is working with its partners to prepare healthcare systems and enhance response capabilities so we are ready to protect American communities. To prepare the nation to face rapidly evolving and complex health threats, the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response is enhancing regional preparedness, developing response plans, conducting exercises to ensure those plans can be implemented effectively, and training medical responders from the National Disaster Medical System.

Updates

Combating and Containing the Ebola Outbreak

As a critical part of the global response, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is developing and deploying medical countermeasures, which may help save lives by protecting individuals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo from infection and may reduce the severity of disease. Within HHS, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response plays a critical role in medical countermeasure development and use.

Updates

S&T Testing Smart Sensor to Enhance Emergency Communications

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), in conjunction with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is researching approaches to bring the possibilities of Internet of Things to emergency communications for first responders. S&T is testing the Wearable Alert and Monitoring System, a multicomponent communications system.

Healthcare

Strengthening & Streamlining Federal Response Efforts

by Greg Burel -

In a world of increasingly complex and dangerous threats facing the United States – threats such as emerging infectious diseases, terrorist organizations, state actors, and extreme weather events – the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) stands tall as a robust and reliable federal resource ready to respond. On 1 October 2018, in an effort to better align the stockpile with other federal medical countermeasure response efforts, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) shifted oversight and operational control of the SNS from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to the HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR).

Reports

Evacuating, Treating, and Tracking People on Dialysis: Lessons Learned From the 2017 Hurricane Season

The 2017 hurricane season devastated many areas of the nation, several repeatedly. After Hurricane Irma struck the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), many patients were evacuated to Puerto Rico (PR) to ensure continuity of care. Once Hurricane Maria ravaged PR, however, many USVI residents were evacuated a second time, including renal dialysis patients. This document discusses evacuation from a federal patient movement perspective.

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Updates

HHS’ BARDA Funds Its First Marburg Virus Vaccine Development

To increase national health security against biothreats and protect public health, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will partner with Public Health Vaccines LLC of Cambridge, Massachusetts, to develop a potential vaccine against Marburg virus. No licensed vaccine for this virus exists today. The Marburg virus is part of the family of hemorrhagic fever viruses that includes Ebola.

Reports

The Long Arm: How U.S. Law Enforcement Expanded Its Extraterritorial Reach to Counter WMD Proliferation Networks

This report considers the extraterritorial efforts of U.S. law enforcement in counterproliferation-related activities and their implications. The following topics are discussed: how the United States contends with violations of its trade controls of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in overseas jurisdictions; the implications for broader U.S. and international nonproliferation efforts; and wider international security and economic concerns.

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Updates

Making It Modern: PNNL Infuses Innovation Into Nation’s Electric Grid

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are helping to lead a transformation of the nation’s century-old electric grid by developing and deploying new technologies to enhance its reliability, resiliency, and security.

Updates

FDA Takes New Steps to Protect Food Products From Deliberate Attacks

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a revised draft guidance to support compliance with the intentional adulteration (IA) rule set forth under the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. The IA rule is designed to address hazards that may be intentionally introduced to foods, including by acts of terrorism, with the intent to cause widespread harm to public health.

Commentary

The Seven and a Half Traits of the Ultimate Emergency Manager

by Chas Eby -

Emergency management is an evolving discipline that requires a progressive emergency manager to fulfill new and expanding requirements for success. Successful leaders in this field follow a systematic problem-solving process and excel at coordinating multiple agencies and information sources rather than simply being experts in one subject matter. The seven and a half traits discussed here describe the ultimate emergency manager.

Updates

Emergent BioSolutions Awarded U.S. Department of State Contract to Supply Medical Countermeasures for Chemical Warfare Agents

Emergent BioSolutions Inc. announced that it has signed an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract with the U.S. Department of State to establish a long-term, reliable, and stable supply chain for medical countermeasures that address chemical warfare agents. Emergent will be supplying two of its current medical countermeasures addressing chemical threats: the Trobigard® atropine sulfate/obidoxime chloride auto-injector and RSDL® (Reactive Skin Decontamination Lotion Kit).

Reports

Critical Infrastructure Protection: Progress and Challenges in DHS’s Management of Its Chemical Facility Security Program

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has made progress addressing challenges that the U.S. Government Accountability Office previously identified to managing the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards program. This report summarizes progress made and challenges remaining in key aspects of the program. 

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Updates

FEMA Releases PrepTalk: “Saving Lives After a Nuclear Detonation”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its emergency management partner organizations today posted online Brooke Buddemeier’s PrepTalk “Saving Lives After a Nuclear Detonation.” In his PrepTalk, Buddemeier shares the importance of sheltering after a nuclear detonation and provides emergency managers with tools to help citizens, responders, and city officials get ready.

Updates

Center for Health Security Makes Recommendations for Heightening Awareness and Motivating Action Around Global Catastrophic Biological Risks

A new report by a team of researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security reframes the discussion of the most severe biological threats to provide policy advocates with an additional tool to help them catalyze expansive international support for work on pandemic prevention and response.

Updates

U.S. Department of Transportation Announces Safety Rule to Strengthen Oil Train Spill Response Preparedness

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, in coordination with the Federal Railroad Administration, issued a final rule that requires railroads to develop and submit Comprehensive Oil Spill Response Plans for route segments traveled by High Hazard Flammable Trains.

Updates

Juvare™ Acquires Australia/New Zealand WebEOC™ Distributorship From Critchlow Ltd.

Juvare, the leader in incident preparation and response technology and maker of WebEOC, announced it has acquired the WebEOC distribution business of its Australia/New Zealand partner, Critchlow Ltd. The strategic transaction connects regional users of WebEOC with a thriving global user network and grants access to the larger portfolio of Juvare solutions.

Resilience

Animal Disease Response Tools for Disaster Recovery Efforts

by Gary Flory & Joe Hudyncia -

Florence, the first major hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane early on the morning of 14 September 2018 at Wrightsville Beach in the vicinity of Wilmington, North Carolina, with wind gusts of up to 105 mph. As the forecasted path of Florence indicated direct impacts to North Carolina – and a declaration of emergency was issued 7 days before landfall – the animal agriculture industry and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) began implementing emergency plans before the rain began. The NCDA&CS hurricane response structure was based on lessons learned during response to foreign animal disease outbreaks in the United States over the past several years, and was fine-tuned from experiences with Hurricane Matthew just two years prior.

Updates

USDA Announces Investments to Improve Rural Electric Infrastructure and Finance Smart Grid Technologies

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $122 million to expand and upgrade rural electric systems in Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Oklahoma, and South Dakota. The funding includes more than $7 million to finance smart grid technologies to improve system operations and monitor grid security.

Updates

SAFECOM Encourages Comments on the Proposed National Emergency Communications Plan Updates

SAFECOM, in conjunction with its member associations, the Emergency Communications Preparedness Center, and many additional members of public safety, has worked over the past year with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to update the National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP). The broader community has the opportunity to review and provide feedback on the NECP updates. Comments due by 22 March 2019.

Updates

Soligenix Receives US Patent Expanding Protection for Its Ricin Toxin Vaccine, RiVax

Soligenix Inc. announced the allowance of a new U.S. patent protecting its ricin toxin vaccine, RiVax®.  The patent, titled “Multivalent Stable Vaccine Composition and Methods of making same,” supports combination vaccines protecting against ricin intoxication as well as other toxins, such as those associated with anthrax.

Updates

FDA, CDC, and CMS Launch Task Force to Help Facilitate Rapid Availability of Diagnostic Tests During Public Health Emergencies

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the launch of the Tri-Agency Task Force for Emergency Diagnostics. This task force has been created to help leverage the expertise of each agency to advance rapid development and deployment of diagnostic tests in clinical and public health laboratories during public health emergencies.