september 2020

Preparedness

Earthquake Preparedness in Non-Earthquake Country

by Stephen Maloney -

On the afternoon of 23 August 2011, a rumbling in the ductwork was heard overhead in a chemistry classroom on the fourth floor of a brand-new building at Montgomery College in Maryland. As a laboratory safety class was getting ready to begin, the noise quickly transitioned to a swaying of the building – a motion that was soon recognized as an earthquake. The view from the window showed no ripples in the pond below, but dozens of students, faculty, and staff were evacuating multiple buildings. Although the consequences of an earthquake affecting the college would typically be low, the need to more formally address the risk than it had been in the past became apparent. By early in the Fall semester, the college developed a set of practical procedures and protocols to address the actual hazards that present themselves in a region of low earthquake risk, while considering the potential need to quickly assess damages and hazards that an earthquake might present.

Commentary

Disaster Support – Meeting Today’s Needs

by Catherine L. Feinman -

Despite emergency planners using worst-case scenarios and high-impact, low-frequency events when planning for disasters, experiencing an event in real time exposes gaps in those plans that were not foreseeable (or at least not included in the plan). Furthermore, as time goes on, resources and other needs naturally change. In order to meet today’s disaster support needs, continuous planning, reevaluating, and updating are necessary in order to minimize the impact of any disaster.

Podcast

Hospital Resilience, Operational Perspectives From COVID-19

The concept of hospital resilience has changed in light of COVID-19. Despite planning and training for unexpected worst cast scenarios, one key assumption was not consistent with this pandemic response – that not everyone would be affected worldwide. The traditional “essential employees” changed, which left some gaps in filling the new essential roles. Preplanned mutual aid and supply chains were not able to function as planned and exercised. Some agencies focused on the roles within the Incident Command System and lost site of the principles behind it.

Hospitals had a few advantages over other responders, but new challenges as well. For example, being well trained on personal protective equipment (PPE) reduced the amount of just in time training needed for this response. Developing new critical roles, enforcing stricter visitor policies, addressing growing mental health concerns, and ensuring enough (but not too much) information sharing are just a few of the challenges hospitals planned for but did not fully grasp before experiencing this scenario firsthand.

However, the widespread response effort has provided opportunities to learn and grow the industry. Previously siloed sectors have discovered shared priorities with hospitals and other new partners. Complicated supply chains are becoming better understood by those who depend on them. Overlooked and nontraditional stakeholders are organically becoming an integral part of future planning efforts. Telehealth and other online services are expanding exponentially.

To overcome the challenges and embrace the opportunities that COVID has introduced, hospitals and other response agencies need to be flexible and address critical needs internally as well as externally with more community engagement. Effective collaboration and communication would help provide a common operating picture, build situational awareness, and maximize resources in order to recover at a faster pace. This pandemic has and will continue to provide lessons learned. With solid leadership, creative thinking, and a strategic goal, hospitals will be able to face future unexpected disasters with greater confidence in their preparedness, response, and recovery plans.

These topics and more are discussed in this DomPrep webcast.

Reports

Why Law Enforcement Needs to Take a Science-Based Approach to Training and Education

The International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training and its Partner Advisory Committee have released a new science-based learning digital report to serve as a reference point for chiefs, sheriffs, mayors, risk managers, Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) directors, training academy directors, and all those who have an investment in police training and education. This digital report is designed to increase the quality and sustainability of training and education in law enforcement agencies.

View Full Report
Commentary

Leader “Buy In” Is Not Enough in Emergency Management

by James Rush -

Too many elected leaders are not taking the leadership role in developing, reviewing, and implementing their emergency management programs. Many plans have been published by jurisdictions, only to be discarded when it is time to put those plans into action. During disasters, jurisdiction leaders are implementing ad-hoc plans that are not coordinated with their respective jurisdictions’ agencies and, too often, have disastrous results. This is indicative of jurisdiction officials delegating all aspects of planning to their emergency management agencies, without even being briefed on the plan, let alone taking ownership.

Updates

IPAWS Program Planning Toolkit Provides New Resources for Emergency Alerts

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate, has released the “Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) Program Planning Toolkit.” It will assist new and existing state, local, tribal, and territorial alerting authorities to create and support an effective program for alerts, warnings, and notifications.

Reports

Governance Preparedness: Initial Lessons From COVID-19 Initial Lessons From COVID-19

In a new report commissioned by the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, Georgetown University global health experts say the success of any effort to redress pandemic preparedness failures demonstrated by COVID-19 requires a re-centering of governance that would include greater accountability, transparency, equity, participation, and the rule of law.

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Updates

DHS Public Action Plan to Implement Strategic Framework for Countering Terrorism and Targeted Violence (CTTV Framework)

In September 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued its Strategic Framework for Countering Terrorism and Targeted Violence and now offers this corresponding Public Action Plan demonstrating the Department’s efforts to combat emerging threats and improve information sharing. The Public Action Plan provides a high-level outline of the goals set by DHS, along with the ability to dynamically modify DHS resources as new threats emerge.

Resilience

Public Safety Drones: Disasters & Drones for Good

by Charles L. Werner -

Drones are having a dramatic impact on public safety and emergency management operations. While some form of public safety drone has been in place for a while, drones did not begin to see wider adoption until 2016 when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) implemented 14 CFR Part 107 (Part 107) commercial flight authorization and later with Certificate of Authorizations (COA). These FAA regulatory changes made it easier for public safety and emergency management agencies to meet regulatory requirements.

Updates

DHS S&T Provides Critical Chemical Hazard Support as Gulf Coast Braces for Major Storm

With Hurricane Sally expected to make landfall on Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Chemical Security Analysis Center (CSAC) is providing critical chemical hazard support. CSAC is researching and identifying chemical facilities in the storm’s predicted path. CSAC is proactively analyzing any chemical plants that conduct processes particularly susceptible to chemical release resulting from building damage, loss of power, or process monitoring.

Reports

COVID-19 Supplement for Planning Considerations: Evacuation and Shelter-in-Place

This supplement to the 2019 Planning Considerations: Evacuation and Shelter-in-Place provides COVID-19 related questions to key principles and critical considerations. The questions can assist emergency management planners as they assess the impacts and constraints resulting from COVID-19 and review, revise, and implement evacuation or shelter-in-place plans.

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Updates

DARPA’s SIGMA Program Transitions to Protect Major U.S. Metropolitan Region

A December exercise at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s major transportation hubs marked the capstone for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) SIGMA program. The exercise culminated a five-year effort to develop and deploy an automated, high-performance, networked radiation detection capability for counterterrorism and continuous city-to-region scale radiological and nuclear threat monitoring.

Updates

DHS Combats Potential Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) continues to prepare against ever evolving threats against the American homeland, most recently highlighting efforts to combat an electromagnetic pulse attack which could disrupt the electrical grid and potentially damage electronics. The department is releasing the Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Program Status Report in support of establishing resilience and security standards for U.S. critical infrastructure.

Podcast

Acceptable Loss: Presentations From Experts

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised many discussions on the topic of acceptable losses. For community decision makers, this is a difficult yet necessary issue to consider before making decisions that may have life-threatening consequences. Spurred by two articles and followed up with a nationwide survey and report, this podcast was presented at the National Homeland Security Association's virtual conference in July and is now available as a rebroadcast of commentary by leading healthcare experts.

 

 

Commentary

Acceptable Loss: Presentations From Experts

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised many discussions on the topic of acceptable losses. For community decision makers, this is a difficult yet necessary issue to consider before making decisions that may have life-threatening consequences. Spurred by two articles and followed up with a nationwide survey and report, this podcast was presented at the National Homeland Security Association's virtual conference in July and is now available as a rebroadcast of commentary by leading healthcare experts.

Updates

DHS Funds Research to Model Compound Flood Events

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate has awarded $950,000 to Deltares USA and Deltares to develop a community-oriented, flood hazard modeling process using open source data, models and software. This effort supports the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s goal to build a culture of preparedness, and to reduce fatalities and property losses from flood disasters.

Updates

NIAID Establishes Centers for Research in Emerging Infectious Diseases

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), one of the National Institutes of Health, announced that it has awarded 11 grants with a total first-year value of approximately $17 million to establish the Centers for Research in Emerging Infectious Diseases (CREID). The global network will involve multidisciplinary investigations into how and where viruses and other pathogens emerge from wildlife and spillover to cause disease in people.

Updates

Promoting Better Shelter Safety During Peak Fire Season

From 2009 to 2019, there have been an average of 64,100 wildfires annually, burning an average of 6.8 million acres each year. This year, wildfires present a tougher challenge to emergency managers and shelter operators, because shelters need to protect people from both wildfires and the spread of COVID-19.

Updates

CISA Launches Emergency Communications Tribal Webpage

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) recently launched a webpage to promote the rebranded Tribal Emergency Communications Program, which supports direct consultation to tribes and Alaska Native communities to strengthen public safety communications.

Updates

Dräger Increases N95 Respiratory Mask Production With New U.S. Facility

Dräger announced the opening of a new production facility in Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania that will manufacture and distribute N95 respiratory protection masks. The 45,660-square-foot facility will have three employee shifts throughout the day, operating 24/7 to ensure the mass production and supply of National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) approved N95 respiratory protection masks to frontline workers.

Resilience

In an Era of Coronavirus, Do Not Forget Security

by Andrew Roszak -

The United States is currently facing historic challenges. Against the backdrop of a global pandemic, the United States is experiencing an historic rise in gun violence and civil unrest. Social issues, such as a dramatic increase in unemployment, a rise in domestic violence, an increase in substance abuse, social isolation, mental health issues, and uncertainty surrounding when the pandemic will end are leading to increased anxiety and frustration. In an era of coronavirus, do not forget that reopening plans need to focus on security, as well as health and safety.

Updates

Medical Device Shortages During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

On 27 March 2020, the CARES Act was signed into law. One provision of this new statutory authority requires the the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to maintain a publicly available, up-to-date list of the devices the FDA has determined to be in shortage. In addition, the FDA is providing a list of medical devices for which the FDA has been notified that manufacturing has been permanently discontinued.