november 2011


Mapping: An Increasingly Valuable Emergency Management Tool

by Kay C. Goss, CEM -

Since the mid-19th century, the method for mapping disasters has evolved from hard-copy maps with manually plotted cases of cholera outbreaks to advanced satellite-based global information systems. The development, introduction, and use of a broad spectrum of GIS systems that can pinpoint - quickly, precisely, and on a continuing basis - the exact locations of ships, aircraft, ground vehicles, and people now provide an almost unlimited number of applications for the emergency management profession.


ATN ThOR-320 Thermal Imaging Weapon Sight

American Technologies Network (ATN), makers of military, law enforcement, security and outdoor night vision, and thermal applications, is introducing the latest product in their ThOR series of thermal optical rifle scopes; the ATN ThOR-320. The new ATN ThOR-320 is the smallest, most compact, and lightweight thermal optical rifle scope of the ThOR series.


Program Global Shield Keeps Bomb-Making Chemicals Out of Terrorists' Hands

Program Global Shield is an international effort to eliminate the smuggling of chemicals used in attacks like these. Conceptualized by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in 2010, the program is being led by the World Customs Organization (WCO) in partnership with Interpol and the United Nations' Office on Drugs and Crime.


Newark Police Department Implements Nixle Community Information Service

Nixle Connect allows Newark Police to communicate with the public via text/SMS, e-mail, and Internet posts at no cost. Communications can range from emergency alerts to routine day-to-day information (traffic and missing persons reports, safety tips, crime information, community outreach programs, news about various agencies, etc.).


Readout of DHS Secretary Napolitano's Participation in the U.S.-EU Justice & Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting

"The United States is strongly committed to working with our European partners to combat threats to our mutual security and economic stability," said Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. "Together, we will continue joint efforts to enhance information sharing, strengthen cybersecurity and ensure the security and resilience of our global supply chain systems against terrorism and transnational crime."


Reasonable Search - Or Another 'Big Brother' Situation?

by Richard Schoeberl -

Which is more important - the preservation of civil rights, or a substantial (but unprovable) gain in homeland security? That is the question that the U.S. Supreme Court must answer as it ponders the numerous complexities in the controversial case known as United States v. Jones.


Joplin & Irene Force Changes in Hospital Evac Plans

by Theodore (Ted) Tully -

Two major weather events that occurred earlier this year will be long remembered not only by meteorologists and historians but by the general public as well. Tornadoes struck the city of Joplin without warning and destroyed everything in their paths. Hurricane Irene was even more destructive - but at least provided some advance warning. The legacies of both will be studied by emergency planners for many years to come.


FEMA Administrator Fugate Lauds Senate Confirmation of Ernest Mitchell as U.S. Fire Administrator

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate praised the Senate for confirming Ernest Mitchell Jr. as the Administrator of the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). USFA, a component of FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is the lead federal entity responsible for providing support to the nation's fire departments and fire services organizations.


Readout of DHS Secretary Napolitano's White House Meeting with Southwest Border Officials

"Protecting communities along our borders is vital to our homeland security, as well as our economic prosperity," said Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. "We are committed to working with our federal, state, and local partners to continue to strengthen our border security efforts while expanding legal trade and travel."


iWatchBridgeport: Mobile Crime Fighting App Changes Community Policing

City officials in Bridgeport, CT recently rolled out a new, free smart phone application, iWatchBridgeport, that allows users to send police pictures and video, as well as text information about suspected criminal activity. Users may also remain anonymous if they wish.


Over 100,000 Primary Care Providers Sign Up to Adopt EHRs Through Regional Extension Centers

The U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has announced that more than 100,000 primary care providers are adopting certified Electronic Health Records (EHRs) to help improve their quality of care and ultimately lower healthcare costs.


Emerging Technology Enables Mass Patient Evacuations

by Bruce Clements -

From time to time, hospitals themselves can be dangerous to a patient's health. That is particularly true when a patient is being transferred or evacuated, and even more so when a large number of patients are being evacuated at the same time. This is precisely why RFIDs, JPATS, and GPS devices are becoming more widely used.


CBP to Pilot Simplified Entry in Air Mode of Transportation

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has just announced plans to conduct a Simplified Entry Pilot as part of the Simplified Processes trade initiative. The air cargo pilot, scheduled to begin at the end of December, will be open to the trade community.


FEMA Deputy Administrator Announces New Online Initiative to Promote Innovation in Emergency Management 

Deputy Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Rich Serino has just announced a new online initiative to generate creative ideas for strengthening the emergency management field and improving the nations capacity to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters.


BAH Employees Recognized for Professional Achievements in Emergency Management

The emergency management community recognized three Booz Allen employees - Kay Goss, Kelly Discount, and Chris Bell - for their work in the field at the 59th International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) Conference in Las Vegas.


FDA Launches Website on Safe Disposal of Used Needles and Other 'Sharps'

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just launched a new website for patients and caregivers on the safe disposal of needles and other so-called "sharps" that are used at home, at work, and while traveling. The website will help people understand the public health risks created by improperly disposing of used sharps and how users should safely dispose of them.


Arecont Vision Megapixel Cameras Elevate Video Surveillance System Quality for NJ Healthcare Provider

"Due to the exceptional resolution provided by Arecont Vision's megapixel cameras, and the deployment of several AV8185 panoramic cameras, we have easily expanded our coverage capabilities using fewer cameras with outstanding results," said Paul M. Sarnese, System Safety Director, Virtua Health, located in Marlton, New Jersey.


APCO Appeals to Super Committee to Consider D Block Allocation

APCO International's public safety officials have issued a formal letter to the co-chairs of the U.S. Congress's Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (the so-called "Super Committee") urging its members to include S.911 - i.e., the Public Safety Spectrum and Wireless Innovation Act of 2011 - in the deficit reduction legislation now under consideration.


Smiths Detection to Distribute NIDS Bio-Threat System Globally

Smiths Detection has announced a worldwide partnership with ANP Technologies Inc. for its novel immunoassay technology, which is used to verify the presence of biological threats in the field. ANP's Nano-Intelligent Detection System (NIDS) complements the Smiths Detection suite of biological detection technologies for defense and emergency response applications.


The Emergency Alert System Has Been Tested - What Next?

After years of hard work with all DHS partners, and months of providing updates on this blog, FEMA, the FCC, NOAA, and communications service providers, and many others finally administered and monitored their first-ever nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System. So, what happens next? That is the next big question that also must be answered.


Public Safety Communications Evolution

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is helping, through the Office of Emergency Communications (OEC), to set the broad policy framework for the nationwide public safety broadband network to ensure it meets the needs of its users and aligns with existing emergency communications policy. This guidance document is designed to help educate the public safety community, describe the evolution of emergency communications, and discuss some of the important requirements that must be met to achieve the long-term state of convergence.

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Tracking and Locating Fire and Emergency Personnel

by Christina Spoons -

As firefighters and other emergency responders well know, disaster may be lurking just around the next corner. Or maybe in the burning room one floor below. Which is why breadcrumbs and a working PASS or any other reliable type of tracking-and-location system are so important in fighting fires. "The life you save may be your own" is not a joke; it is, rather, the first rule in survival.


Nationwide Test of the Emergency Alert System

The first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS), will take place today, November 9, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The purpose of the test is to assess the reliability and effectiveness of the system in alerting the public.


FEMA Administrator: Business Community Is a Critical Partner in Disaster Response & Recovery

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate recently addressed a group of business leaders and federal, state, and local emergency managers to talk about the critical role that the private sector can play in helping communities rebuild their economies and recover more quickly after disasters.


Yale New Haven Center for Emergency Preparedness & Disaster Response Now Offering Online Courses

The Yale New Haven Center for Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response is now offering a series of online courses on emergency preparedness topics for hospital, healthcare, and public health workers.


Raytheon Partners With LASD to Raise Public Safety in Nation's Most Populous County

Raytheon Company has announced that the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD) vehicles are now equipped with new mobile data computer systems (MDCSs) that are already rolling out on the streets to protect residents. The computer systems will enhance the access to new public-safety technologies of more than 2,400 field units.


Statement by TSA Administrator Pistole Before Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator John Pistole, in his testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, discussed ongoing efforts to develop and implement a more risk-based approach to secure the nation's transportation systems.


Single ID Card Provides Joint Accountability/Access Control

Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies and Salamander Technologies have announced that those who use a smart card to gain access into a building can now use the same ID card for accountability purposes outside the building. The dual-purpose aptiQ smart card can incorporate Salamander's interTRAX® suite of accountability solutions, the result being a multi-function ID that fulfills daily access control and other smart card-based tasks within the building, as well as personnel tracking outside the building during planned events, natural disasters, and/or other emergencies.


FEMA & FCC Call on All Stakeholders to Help Educate the Public About Nationwide Test of Emergency Alert System

With the first-ever nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System less than one week away, the leaders of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sent an open letter to all stakeholders asking for their help in educating their respective communities about the test. The test will occur simultaneously across the U.S. and its territories and will last approximately 30 seconds, after which regular programming will resume.


Boston University School of Medicine Now Offers Master of Science in Healthcare Emergency Management

The Master of Science in Healthcare Emergency Management (HEM) at Boston University's School of Medicine focuses on educating professionals in the fields of healthcare, public health, and public safety to prepare for, respond to, recover from, and mitigate disasters. The program is dedicated to training the next generation of healthcare emergency managers who will later assume hospital and public health leadership positions.


The Impact of Tracking on Response Efforts

by Omar Alkhalaf -

From Post-It notes to high-tech wireless systems, the evidence - verified by a horrendous mass-casualty incident (MCI) in California and close calls in several other states - is clear: Rapid, comprehensive, and well-controlled communications are key to the mounting and management of an effective response. Adherence to the National Incident Management System (NIMS) guidelines also helps, as does the promulgation of lessons learned from previous MCIs.


Identifying Biological Hazards as They Happen

by Joseph Cahill -

Start at the beginning ... or even earlier. The process for handling potential mass-casualty incidents - particularly when biological hazards are involved - is critical when lowering exposure risk and abating the spread of a toxic agent: Develop comprehensive response plans as far in advance as possible, gather the supplies likely to be needed, and keep a constant track, in real time, of what has happened and is happening every step of the way.


Statement by FEMA Region V Administrator Velasquez on: 'The State of Northern Border Preparedness: A Review of Federal, State, and Local Coordination'

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region V Administrator Andrew Velasquez III has presented a written statement to a subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security in which he describes and reviews the federal, state, and local coordination of responding emergency personnel taking place along the nation's northern border.