Watching the video of crew members from the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Cutter Munro board and interdict a self-propelled, semi-submersible drug-smuggling vessel on 18 June 2019 is exciting. Their actions were heroic and highly productive. Because of that bravery, 39,000 pounds of cocaine and 933 pounds of marijuana worth a combined estimated $569 million was seized. For the average person, the video is thrilling. However, for the U.S. Coast Guard, it was just another day in the office. DomPrep salutes the men and women of the USCG who are "Always Ready" to prevent the next maritime disaster and respond to the call when needed.
As floods become more severe and more frequent, government authorities must invest in advanced technology platforms that take the guesswork out of crisis management. Since the consequences of flood events vary dramatically, the tools used to fight them – such as surveillance, connectivity, and situational awareness technologies – must be able to adapt to each unique situation.
Universities often use volunteers to provide assistance in helping keep campuses safe and prepared. Most facilities on campus rely on volunteer crisis managers, crisis coordinators, fire wardens, or similarly named individuals to help with various emergency preparedness and response efforts – especially with evacuations. Some larger, or specialized facilities, have full-time building managers or engineers, who have emergency preparedness and limited response responsibilities. Additional volunteers can also fill such gaps with expanding roles and responsibilities.
As communities become more impacted by all types of disasters, society is constantly coming to new realizations. Solely relying on governmental agencies to perform emergency response and recovery tasks is insufficient. The frequency, scale, and impact of disasters make it more challenging to stage resources in the right place. Perhaps a more prepared citizenry would help the overall disaster response and recovery. Research of three leading institutions into how concerned the public is about preparedness and its effectiveness has begun to paint an informative picture for creating public outreach efforts.
In the early morning hours of Saturday, 1 December 2018, a California Highway Patrol (CHP) unit observed a Gray Tesla Model S traveling southbound on US-101 at about 70 mph. The CHP unit, a two-officer patrol, pulled alongside of the Tesla and noticed that the single driver/occupant appeared to be asleep. Activating the CHP unit emergency lights and siren failed to wake the driver. Apparently, the Tesla Autopilot, a semi-autonomous driving feature was “assisting” the vehicle from running off the roadway. According to the CHP report, the officers proceeded to pull the CHP unit in front of the Tesla and, using the autonomous crash avoidance safety system, the vehicle was slowed without colliding with the CHP unit. The Tesla driver was awakened by the officers at his door, whereupon the driver, displaying intoxicated behavior, was placed in custody and charged with driving under the influence (DUI). Autonomous vehicles pose this and other challenges for law enforcement agencies.
Emergency management is a dynamic field filled with numerous personalities managing ever-changing environments. Some emergency managers handle disastrous events on a yearly basis compared with others who go their entire careers without facing a single disaster. They maneuver unique political landscapes, manage robust emergency management offices, or work in offices of one. In any setting, one of the critical tools found within the emergency manager’s toolbox is maintaining situational awareness.
During a crisis, leaders must be able to adapt and operate in an uncertain environment. In doing so, leaders are required to make more consequential and challenging decisions with less information and less time to decide. They also have fewer options to consider and likely garner more scrutiny for their actions. This examination of key case studies provides current leaders with lessons learned from effective and ineffective leadership decisions in the past.
Conventional acts of terrorism will likely never fade away, and advancements in technology will continually raise concerns for governments and global security practitioners. The increasing threat and possibility of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive (CBRNE) use is evolving. Terrorist groups are actively seeking materials and the expertise to manufacture and utilize those materials in future operations. One of the frontiers in terrorism today involves a developing technology known as “gene drives.”
Throughout history, animals and pets have held varying degrees of importance to the people who care for them. They have been worshipped, raised for food, served as co-workers on farms, or just loved as companions. Regardless of their “worth,” when something disrupts the ability to care for those animals, outside help is needed. The outside help currently needed is limited when it comes to rescuing, caring for, and sheltering pets because it has not been fully integrated into emergency management’s planning activities.
In 2017, the Secure Schools Alliance (the Alliance) began a unique relationship with the DomPrep Journal. The goal was to raise awareness of the need to improve K-12 school security within the emergency preparedness community. This special reprint edition is a compilation of this effort, beginning with the macro argument of why school security needs to be improved and concluding with a call to recognize that schools are a critical part of the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, which has been ignored for way too long.