Underground rail transit systems in the United States can be dangerous places. Not only for their riders and employees, but also for emergency responders, who may be called to help evacuate people from the area safely or to stop a blaze. The confined spaces, tight stairwells, and potential for the emergency evacuation of hundreds – if not thousands – of riders means that a project must be well-designed, thought-out, and constructed of materials that do not burn.
In September 2017, the National Tribal Amateur Radio Association (NTARA) – in conjunction with the Fresno Amateur Radio Emergency Services Group and Tulare County Amateur Radio Club – set up and operated Amateur Radio Special Event Station W7NTV during the National Tribal Emergency Management Council (NTEMC) annual conference. Held at the Tachi Palace Casino Resort in Lemoore, California, this was the second year that NTEMC and NTARA set up and operated the special event station.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) implemented a comprehensive emergency preparedness rule in 2016 that applies to nearly every healthcare provider in the nation, and outlines steps those providers must take to improve their preparedness and ensure sustainability in the face of a disaster. The rule compels healthcare providers to devote resources – human and fiscal – to emergency planning. This may be seen as burdensome by some but should effectively improve their levels of readiness and improve the quality of healthcare for all. This rule will make providers – from general hospitals to transplant centers and long-term care facilities – safer for patients and visitors.
Between late August and the end of 2017, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) deployed to six states and the U.S. Virgin Islands in response to four disasters: Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and the wildfires in Northern California. In all, the ASPCA assisted nearly 37,000 animals affected by these disasters. Although each response required a unique approach, one particular objective was consistent throughout, which likely saved thousands of animal lives – animal relocation.
Numerous incidents occur every day in the United States, from simple/frequent events like automobile accidents, train derailments, and severe weather, to catastrophic/infrequent events like the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Hurricanes Harvey and Maria, and the Keystone pipeline leak to name just a few. By examining factors related to the incident and factors related to a specific entity, information needs and resource requirements can be better aligned to create operational resilience during any incident.
In the civil defense era of emergency management, the federal, state, and local civil defense authorities were presented with the mission to protect the civilian population from an attack on the U.S. mainland. Shelter programs, coordinated public warning systems, emergency assistance provisions, and other protective measures were developed. Today, these measures need to be revisited and adapted in accord with current threats, timing, and resources.
Disaster preparedness and response professionals had a front-row seat for the turbulence in 2017. A historic hurricane season left first responders and the communities they serve struggling to keep up. Fires continue to ravage the west. Active shooter and terrorism incidents keep everyone on edge. Infectious disease outbreaks remain a constant worry. Cyberattacks open a new threat vector. Prolonged preparation, response, and recovery put stress on physical, emotional, financial, and infrastructure systems. Leaders must adapt to changing circumstances and needs.
Threats, whether natural or manmade, have the ability to negatively impact communities. Although government agencies serve communities before, during, and after disasters, emergency management officials understand the realities of gaps that exist in disaster management systems exclusively managed by government. There is a mounting cognizance of the need for effective communication and coordination from a broad range of stakeholders to reduce the negative effects of a given disaster.
Being resilient when faced with an emergency or catastrophic event requires preplanning to ensure that operations can continue with minimal interruption throughout the event or restart soon after the event. Business continuity software can help bridge the continuity gap during these times. Answering these 10 questions before purchasing will help ensure a good match between the software and the user.
During the second week of October 2017, the DomPrep Journal hosted and Draeger sponsored a series of presexxntations and discussions, which included most of the major federal agencies engaged in freight rail safety and security, as well as the American Association of Railroads. To add to that discussion, several states have made significant contributions to freight rail safety. Three major state and local emergency management agencies that have made these major strides in rail safety and security are described here.