september 2021

Resilience

Influence of Aum Shinrikyo on the U.S. Emergency Response

by Bobby Baker Jr. -

Reflecting on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, it is essential to not only remember that fateful day, but to highlight the events that precipitated it, examine lessons learned and policies established, and consider programs and policies needed to sustain prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery capabilities in the U.S. and its territories. Although historical analysis and synthesis of past events often lead to relevant details about current incidents, communities often fail to implement or accept the recommended changes. The 9/11 Commission Report cited, “The most important failure was one of imagination.” The 1995 Aum Shinrikyo Tokyo subway sarin gas attack has unique characteristics in the history of acquiring, proliferation, and distributing weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in the chemical and biological domains, with significant influence in WMD policies and consequence management platforms.

Updates

Risk Communication: Plan With the Whole Community

FEMA’s whole community approach promotes community participation in emergency planning, response, recovery, and mitigation activities. Integrating community partners into the emergency planning process can help planners better understand and address the needs of the community. These stakeholders should be included in the development of risk communication messages to ensure they are accessible, understandable, and actionable.

Reports

Access and Functional Needs Toolkit: Integrating a Community Partner Network to Inform Risk Communication Strategies

CDC developed the Access and Functional Needs Toolkit: Integrating a Community Partner Network to Inform Risk Communication Strategiespdf  to help emergency planners achieve effective communications through the integration of a community outreach information network. The toolkit provides a framework to organize planning for broad groups of people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs, recommended action steps and noteworthy practices from the field.

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Commentary

Domestic Preparedness – Prepared for What?

by Rob Schnepp -

Publisher note: Rob Schnepp was one of DomPrep’s first writers and has provided council and guidance to me over the past two decades. I asked him to provide his personal account of the 9/11 attacks as well as the subsequent anthrax attacks. They serve as a reminder of how many felt following those attacks: uncertainty about when and where another threat would emerge, an urgent need to prepare for another terrorist attack, and unity of effort. Today, there is still uncertainty about what potential threats are looming. However, it is time to bring back the urgency to prepare and the unity required to move preparedness efforts forward.

Commentary

Never Forget: Focusing Events & Opportunity for Change

by Nim Kidd -

Devastating events can open windows of opportunity. In emergency management, focusing events like 9/11 create opportunities for change. Tragedies like 9/11 or devastating hurricanes create a flurry of activity in the short period that follows. This activity typically involves conversations about how to make things better or make change. However, windows for these conversations always close.

Reports

Developing and Maintaining Emergency Operations Plans, Version 3.0

This document provides guidelines on developing emergency operations plans and promotes a common understanding of the fundamentals of community-based, risk-informed planning and decision making. The guide will help planners examine a threat or hazard and produce integrated, coordinated, and synchronized plans.

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Updates

S&T Wildfire Sensor Initiative Heats Up

At the California field event in June 2021, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) successfully tested four prototype technologies for early detection of wildfires, closing out Phase 1 of the Smart Cities Internet of Things Innovation (SCITI) Labs wildland fire sensor effort. SCITI Labs brings together government and private sector partners to identify technologies that meet first responders’ operational needs and ensure the nation’s critical infrastructure remains secure and resilient.

Reports

CISA Can Improve Efforts to Ensure Dam Security and Resilience

Nationwide, there are more than 91,000 dams, levees, and other water retention structures protecting homes and businesses, delivering electricity, and providing recreation and transportation. In 2018, the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) became the newly formed Department of Homeland Security component responsible for Dams Sector security and resilience. This report makes five recommendations that, when implemented, will improve dam security and resilience.

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Updates

DHS S&T Calls for Technologies for 2022 First Responder Electronic Jamming Exercise (JAMX 22)

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) today released a Request for Information (RFI) for participation in the 2022 First Responder Electronic Jamming Exercise (JamX 22) at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, April 25-29, 2022.

Resilience

September 11 – Remembrance & Recovery

by Anthony S. Mangeri -

It is difficult to imagine that the attacks of 9/11 occurred 20 years ago. Emergency managers build systems to mitigate the potental impacts of disasters on communities. An emergency manager’s job is to plan for the worst and prepare communities for that one moment when it is time to lead. The memory of walking into the New Jersey Emergency Operation Center on September 11, 2001 and seeing the devastation as it unfolded is vivid in my mind. Patriot Day is a day that conjures memories of the lives lost as well as the nation’s subsequent recovery from that devastating event.

Reports

Natural Hazard Retrofit Program Toolkit

Protecting communities from natural hazards is increasingly important in the United States. When flooding, seismic events, wildfires, hurricanes, typhoons, and other events strike, buildings and homes must be able to withstand these forces as much as possible. Retrofitting structures is one way to save lives and prevent widespread damage to property and the economy. Federal Emergency Management Agency Region 9 created this Natural Hazard Retrofit Program Toolkit to help state, local, tribal, and territorial jurisdictions shape a retrofit program that meets their specific needs.

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Updates

Quickly Detecting Cyanide Poisoning After Fires Can Save Lives

In the chaos of burning buildings, it is not just the flames that are dangerous and potentially lethal, but also toxic fumes like cyanide that are released when certain materials are incinerated. These fumes, mixed with smoke, are so toxic that even in very low quantities may pose more risk than the fire itself. Science and Technology Directorate's Chemical Security Analysis Center chemists have invented a test to indicate possible toxic cyanide exposure at the fire scene.

Reports

Preliminary Damage Assessment Guide

The Preliminary Damage Assessment Guide (PDA Guide) — a standard framework for how emergency management officials conduct preliminary damage assessments (PDAs) following a disaster—will be effective starting 1 October 2021.

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Updates

Using Technology to Solve Urban Response Challenges

The National Urban Security Technology Laboratory (NUSTL) serves first responders and emergency managers throughout metropolitan areas in the country, helping to solve the complex challenges faced by urban responders. The lab evaluates technologies and provides tools and guidance for all state and local first responders to safeguard their communities.

Commentary

Lest We Forget

by Martin Masiuk -

Lest We Forget! A reflection and observation on the anniversary of 9/11 from the publisher.

Preparedness

Security Lessons Learned – Part 2, Las Vegas Shootings

by Daniel Rector -

Many of the previous stories and after-action reviews conducted for the 2017 Las Vegas shootings have focused on organizers’ and public safety officials’ responses in the aftermath of the attack. In contrast, this article focuses on the events’ security strengths and weaknesses and then offers recommendations for other event planners and public safety officials to improve their plans for future events.

Updates

Taking Guess Work Out of Vaccine Development

Immune response to vaccines is unpredictable, transient, and ineffective, largely due to a lack of understanding of the complex mechanisms of action underlying immune memory. The Assessing Immune Memory (AIM) program seeks to develop a platform capability to predict immune memory informed by a systems-level view of the host response to vaccination and its mechanisms.

Updates

SAMHSA Awards $5.6 Million for Emergency Medical Services Training in America’s Rural Communities

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has awarded $5.6 million to strengthen the role of emergency medical services (EMS) personnel in rural America. SAMHSA’s Rural EMS Training Grant will fund the recruitment and training of EMS personnel in rural areas, with a particular focus on addressing mental health and substance use disorders in emergency settings.

Updates

HHS Establishes Office of Climate Change and Health Equity

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is establishing the Office of Climate Change and Health Equity (OCCHE). This is the first office of its kind at the national level to address climate change and health equity. The OCCHE's mission is to protect vulnerable communities who disproportionately bear the brunt of pollution and climate-driven disasters, such as drought and wildfires, at the expense of public health.

Updates

Delivering Next-Gen Biomanufacturing Capability

Slow production methods and reliance on a global supply chain currently limit Department of Defense (DoD) access to critical proteins such as medical countermeasures (MCMs; i.e., antibodies, vaccines, and clotting factors), diagnostic components, and key enzymes for producing nucleic acids. To address these challenges, the Reimagining Protein Manufacturing (RPM) program aims to establish the foundational technologies needed for fully distributed, on-demand manufacturing of biologics-based MCMs and their associated raw materials.

Preparedness

Security Lessons Learned – Part 1, Boston Marathon Bombings

by Daniel Rector -

Acts of terrorism continue to affect communities worldwide. As the public tries to retain a semblance of everyday life by attending outdoor events, emergency planners must adapt to new intelligence and learn from past attacks. A review of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings identifies the event security plans’ strengths and shortcomings. Other event planners and public safety officials can use this review and recommendations to plan for large public gatherings within their jurisdictions.