december 2015

Reports

NIH-Wide Strategic Plan Fiscal Years 2016-2020

As the United States' biomedical research agency, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has been the driving force behind decades of advances that have improved the health of people in the United States and around the world. Prepared at the request of Congress, NIH will use this strategic plan framework as it strives to turn scientific discoveries into better health.

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Updates

Army Technology Team Helps Field Robot

U.S. Army science and technology advisors have initiated a project to field a robot capable of assessing chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive (CBRNE) threats from a safe distance. Several Army organizations combined on a new variant of the PackBot 510 robot with enhanced CBRNE detection capabilities.

Reports

Air Travel and Communicable Diseases: Comprehensive Federal Plan Needed for U.S. Aviation System's Preparedness

This report examines: (a) the extent to which selected U.S. airports and airlines have plans for responding to communicable disease threats from abroad and to which a national aviation-preparedness plan guides preparedness; and (b) the challenges that U.S. airports and airlines have faced when responding to threats and any actions taken to address them.

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Updates

Fact Sheet: Update to the National Terrorism Advisory System

The Department of Homeland Security will achieve the objective of more flexible, timely, and useful communication with the public regarding terrorist threats through the introduction of an additional component of National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) to accompany the existing NTAS Alerts: the NTAS "Bulletin."

Resilience

Training Programs & National Preparedness

by Brandon J. Pugh -

There is a positive relationship between first responder training and national preparedness. A comprehensive examination of three different models shows that training is an invaluable component of homeland security. These key findings summarize detailed analysis conducted on the links between training, response capabilities, and funding.

Preparedness

Overcoming Notification Systems Challenges

by William (Bill) Betcher -

Emergency response, information technology, and healthcare communications are three scenarios in which notification systems play a critical role. Recent disasters have demonstrated the benefits of crowdsourcing during response efforts, so notification systems are leveraging this responsiveness through two-way communication technology that can both disseminate and receive information.

Healthcare

The Art of Awareness for Emergency Medical Calls

by Seth J. Komansky & Raphael M. Barishansky -

Civilian responders have successfully acquired many skills that were originally developed by military services. Situational awareness is one such skill that would be beneficial to adapt to the civilian members of the emergency medical services. Maintaining a heightened sense of awareness would help responders stay "in the loop."

Reports

Firefighter Fatalities in the United States in 2014

The objective of the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) study Firefighter Fatalities in the United States is to identify and analyze all on-duty firefighter fatalities to increase understanding of their causes and how they can be prevented. The study is intended to help identify approaches that could reduce the number of deaths in future years.

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Updates

DHS S&T Releases Innovation Call Aimed at Startups

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate announced its first Innovation Other Transaction Solicitation aimed at non-traditional performers such as technology start-ups to offer solutions to some of the toughest threats facing DHS and the homeland security mission.

Reports

Improving DoD Support to FEMA's All-Hazards Plans

This research reviews and analyzes how DoD and FEMA work together to plan and execute disaster response activities, and recommends areas for improvement. The objective of the study was to identify ways that DoD can better support FEMA.

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Updates

DHS S&T Establishes Advisory Panel to Help Ensure Radio Interoperability Among First Responders

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate announced the membership of its Project 25 Compliance Assessment Program Advisory Panel. Project 25 aims to solve the issues that first responders face as manufacturers often use different technical approaches that make their radios unique, and, thus, potentially incompatible with other systems.

Preparedness

Reimagining Epidemic Communications

by ELISS Fellows -

In the first week of December 2015, professionals involved in epidemic preparedness at the national level participated in a forum convened by graduate students from Emerging Leaders in Science and Society (ELISS), a leadership development program hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), in Washington, D.C.

Commentary

See Something . . . Do Something

by Martin D. Masiuk -

When passengers joined forces to thwart the ultimate objectives of their plane's hijackers on 9/11, little did they know they would be inspiring change among every member of society. In light of growing terrorist threats, individuals are now being implored by authorities to remember that, when running and hiding are not an option, it is time to fight.

Preparedness

Bioterrorism in a Technologically Advanced World

by Christina M. Flowers -

Recent advances in genetics, genomics, and biotechnology could have devastating implications for bioweapons and genetically engineered diseases. As such, these developments raise the question of whether it makes sense to pull attention away from "classic" biothreat targets, in favor of more technologically advanced options. Immediacy and ease of use may be determining factors.

Updates

Profectus BioSciences Receives $4.6 Million DOD Grant to Develop Vaccine for Western, Eastern, and Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis Viruses

Profectus BioSciences Inc. announced that the company has received a grant for $4.6 million in support of the accelerated preclinical development and testing of a vaccine to protect soldiers against aerosol exposure with the Western, Eastern, and Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis viruses, considered to be priority select agent biothreats.

Updates

HHS Funds Development of High-Speed Manufacturing for N95 Respirators

To protect healthcare workers and other patient caregivers during an influenza pandemic or other public health emergency, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response will support development of a high-speed manufacturing line to produce N95 respirators.

Updates

FDA Clears Military Traumatic Wound Dressing for Use in the Civilian Population

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared the use of the XSTAT 30 wound dressing, an expandable, multi-sponge dressing used to control severe, life-threatening bleeding from wounds in areas that a tourniquet cannot be placed (such as the groin or armpit) in battlefield and civilian trauma settings.

Updates

American Society of Anesthesiologist Establishes New Checklist for Mass Casualty Situation to Enhance Emergency Preparedness

The American Society of Anesthesiologists announced the release of a new resource for hospitals, physicians and operating room personnel - the Operating Room Mass Casualty Management checklist. The checklist includes step-by-step instructions and outlines specific tasks that should be completed upon being alerted of a mass casualty situation.

Updates

Training on Response to Active Shooters

After months of coordination between the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate and the New York Police Department (NYPD) Counter Terrorism Division, the NYPD conducted an active shooter training exercise, which tested its training and proficiency and incorporated several commercial technologies that could benefit during future emergencies.

Updates

Stanford Scientists Develop 'Shazam for Earthquakes'

An algorithm inspired by a popular song-matching app is helping Stanford scientists find previously overlooked earthquakes in large databases of ground-motion measurements. They call their algorithm Fingerprint And Similarity Thresholding (FAST), and it could transform how seismologists detect quakes that do not register when analyzed by conventional methods.

Reports

WHO Estimates Global Burden of Foodborne Diseases

The World Health Organization's (WHO) estimates of the global burden of foodborne diseases form the most comprehensive report to date on the impact of contaminated food on health and well-being. It is apparent that the global burden of foodborne diseases is considerable, and affects people of all ages, particularly children and persons living in low-income regions of the world.

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Healthcare

Forging New Partnerships for Healthcare Preparedness

by Jessica Wambach Brown -

In the first week of December 2015, more than 1,000 professionals in healthcare-related organizations, emergency management agencies, public health departments, emergency medical services (EMS), nongovernmental organizations, and academia met in San Diego, California, to discuss ways to bolster partnerships within and between these disparate groups.

Preparedness

Climate Change Presents an Emerging, Dynamic Set of Hazards

by Jeffrey N. Rubin -

Despite ongoing political controversy about climate change, one leading organization released a position statement that supports scientific research on weather extremes, which are some of the visible indicators of a changing climate. Changes in weather and habitats need to be addressed to mitigate the potential negative consequences to health and critical resources.

Healthcare

Food for Thought: Emergency Shelters & Food Allergies

by Andrew Roszak -

When one peanut has the ability to kill, it is necessary to examine the practices and procedures used in public yet confined spaces such as emergency shelters. By following simple steps, emergency managers are able to perform shelter operations while limiting exposure to allergens and contaminants that could turn a safe haven into an exposure risk.

Updates

ECBC Scientists Gain Insight Directly From Warfighters

Created by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) in partnership with the U.S. Army 20th CBRNE (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, explosive) Command at the beginning of 2015, a new program called Scientist in the Foxhole embeds scientists who work on chemical and biological solutions with the warfighters who actually use them once they are fielded.

Updates

Responding to People With Mental Illness

Emergency responders face an increasing number of calls involving people with behavioral and mental health issues. To deal effectively and safely with these individuals, responders must be able to recognize signs of mental distress, apply proven techniques for de-escalating potentially dangerous situations and make appropriate referrals for them to obtain mental healthcare.

Preparedness

Responders Can Teach CDP Training Through the Indirect Training Program

Emergency responders who attend the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) training can easily become qualified to share that training with their colleagues back home through the CDP's Indirect Training Program. Several CDP courses offer a "train-the-trainer" option by taking an additional day of training at the CDP's Anniston, Alabama, campus.

Updates

Pegfilgrastim Approved for Treatment of Acute Radiation Syndrome

The Food and Drug Administration approved the use of pegfilgrastim (trade name Neulasta) to increase survival of people with acute radiation syndrome, which will improve access to the drug in the event of a public health emergency such as a nuclear power plant accident or terrorist attack.

Updates

DQE Releases the New SafePaq Plus Blood & Virus Protection Kit, Adding to Its Line of Healthcare PPE for Infectious Diseases

In the past year, Ebola has made headlines throughout the healthcare community, causing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for protecting healthcare personnel to evolve. DQE has added a new convenient, practical PPE kit that follows the new CDC guidelines. DQE now provides two preassembled, blood and virus protection kits - the SafePaq and the SafePaq Plus.

Updates

FDA Approves First Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Containing an Adjuvant

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Fluad, the first seasonal influenza vaccine containing an adjuvant. Adjuvants are incorporated into some vaccine formulations to enhance or direct the immune response of the vaccinated individual. Fluad is approved for the prevention of seasonal influenza in people 65 years of age and older.

Reports

Practical Guide for Medical Management of Chemical Warfare Casualties

This guide contains information, guidelines, diagrams, and other materials addressed to medical practitioners who are engaged in the treatment of casualties of chemical weapons.

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Updates

UN Report Finds 90 Percent of Disasters Are Weather-Related

A new report issued by the United Nations (UN) Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) shows that over the past 20 years, 90 percent of major disasters have been caused by 6,457 recorded floods, storms, heat waves, droughts, and other weather-related events.

Preparedness

Predictive Policing: Renewed Promise Through New Approaches

by James R. (Chip) Coldren Jr. & Zoë Thorkildsen -

Policy makers and the legal system must often make tough decisions that affect the future. In the case of violent criminals, the decision to release or retain in incarceration could determine life or death for future potential victims. As such, decision makers need the right tools to ensure more statistically accurate predictions of future outcomes.

Updates

Ensuring Communities Have Technologies for Disaster Response

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate's National Urban Security Technology Laboratory (NUSTL) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) demonstrated new technology developments that will enable more effective radiological decontamination, by containing contamination and mitigating the radiation hazards.

Updates

FDA Approves Emergent BioSolutions' BioThrax for Post-Exposure Prophylaxis

Emergent BioSolutions Inc. announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved its supplemental Biologics License Application to expand the label of BioThrax to include post-exposure prophylaxis of disease following suspected or confirmed Bacillus anthracis exposure when administered in conjunction with recommended antibacterial drugs.