U.S. Department of Transportation Announces Safety Rule to Strengthen Oil Train Spill Response Preparedness

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, in coordination with the Federal Railroad Administration, issued a final rule that requires railroads to develop and submit Comprehensive Oil Spill Response Plans for route segments traveled by High Hazard Flammable Trains.

Juvare™ Acquires Australia/New Zealand WebEOC™ Distributorship From Critchlow Ltd.

Juvare, the leader in incident preparation and response technology and maker of WebEOC, announced it has acquired the WebEOC distribution business of its Australia/New Zealand partner, Critchlow Ltd. The strategic transaction connects regional users of WebEOC with a thriving global user network and grants access to the larger portfolio of Juvare solutions.

USDA Announces Investments to Improve Rural Electric Infrastructure and Finance Smart Grid Technologies

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $122 million to expand and upgrade rural electric systems in Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Oklahoma, and South Dakota. The funding includes more than $7 million to finance smart grid technologies to improve system operations and monitor grid security.

SAFECOM Encourages Comments on the Proposed National Emergency Communications Plan Updates

SAFECOM, in conjunction with its member associations, the Emergency Communications Preparedness Center, and many additional members of public safety, has worked over the past year with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency to update the National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP). The broader community has the opportunity to review and provide feedback on the NECP updates. Comments due by 22 March 2019.

Soligenix Receives US Patent Expanding Protection for Its Ricin Toxin Vaccine, RiVax

Soligenix Inc. announced the allowance of a new U.S. patent protecting its ricin toxin vaccine, RiVax®.  The patent, titled “Multivalent Stable Vaccine Composition and Methods of making same,” supports combination vaccines protecting against ricin intoxication as well as other toxins, such as those associated with anthrax.

FDA, CDC, and CMS Launch Task Force to Help Facilitate Rapid Availability of Diagnostic Tests During Public Health Emergencies

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the launch of the Tri-Agency Task Force for Emergency Diagnostics. This task force has been created to help leverage the expertise of each agency to advance rapid development and deployment of diagnostic tests in clinical and public health laboratories during public health emergencies.

New HHS-Sponsored Research Provides New Tool and Updated Guidance on Mass Chemical Decontamination

First responders and emergency managers in the United States now have a science-based chemical decontamination decision tool and updated guidance on how best to decontaminate a massive number of people after chemical exposure. This guidance, called Primary Response Incident Scene Management (PRISM), incorporates new scientific evidence on emergency self-decontamination, hair decontamination, interactions of chemicals with hair, and effects of a combined decontamination strategy referred to as the “triple protocol.”

A New Layer of Medical Preparedness to Combat Emerging Infectious Disease

DARPA has selected five teams of researchers to support PREventing EMerging Pathogenic Threats (PREEMPT), a 3.5-year program to reinforce traditional medical preparedness by containing viral infectious diseases in animal reservoirs and insect vectors before they can threaten humans.

National Disaster Medical System: Bringing More Than Teams of Professional Medical Providers

The National Disaster Medical System's (NDMS) mission is to save lives and protect Americans when disaster strikes. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services are constantly training and identifying gaps within the preparedness and response framework to better mobilize when the inevitable ultimately occurs. NDMS has identified three pillars to expand the service’s capabilities and provide a robust response anytime, anywhere.

RAND Releases Report Commissioned by DHS on Building an Effective and Practical National Approach to Terrorism Prevention

The Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center (HSOAC), operated for the Department of Homeland Security by the RAND Corporation, released a new report on how to build an effective and practical national approach to terrorism prevention. The report, commissioned by the Department of Homeland Security, examines past terrorism prevention efforts and makes recommendations for future programs.