july 2015

Updates

USDA Announces $349 Million in Funding for Rural Electric Infrastructure Projects Including $17 Million in Smart Grid Technology

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $349 million in funding for 15 rural electric infrastructure projects to build or improve more than 1,844 miles of transmission and distribution lines for rural electric cooperatives and utilities in 13 states.

Reports

Synopsis of Biological Safety and Security Arrangements

This synopsis provides summaries of key international treaties, agreements, instruments, guidelines, multilateral engagement mechanisms, and information resources intended to guide biosafety in laboratories. It summarizes the benefits and limitations in promoting biosafety, and contributions toward minimizing the global risk and consequences of laboratory accidents.

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Resilience

National Laboratory Support for First Responders' Biodetection Needs

by Richard M. Ozanich & Cynthia J. Bruckner-Lea -

In an ever-changing biological environment, laboratory support is necessary to help responders identify, categorize, and manage incidents involving biological threats. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is one source that provides valuable testing data to help today's first responders collect, screen, identify, and ultimately protect against such threats.

Updates

Emergent BioSolutions Awarded $19.7 Million BARDA Contract to Develop and Manufacture Ebola Monoclonal Antibodies

Emergent BioSolutions announced that it has been awarded a contract by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) valued at $19.7 million to develop and manufacture cGMP lots of three Ebola monoclonal antibodies in CHO cell lines at a 2000 Liter scale.

Preparedness

U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) Food Defense and Emergency Coordination Update - New Food Related Emergency Exercise

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is making available a new food related emergency exercise to help public health and other officials understand and coordinate their roles and responsibilities, and prepare for a food-related emergency.

Reports

Federal Disaster Assistance Response and Recovery Programs: Brief Summaries

This report is designed to assist Members of Congress and their staff as they address the needs of their states, communities, and constituents after a disaster. It includes a summary of federal programs that provide federal disaster assistance to individual survivors, states, territories, local governments, and nongovernmental entities following a natural or man-made disaster.

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Updates

Tracing the Evolution of a Drug-Resistant Pathogen

Using Sandia National Laboratory's genome sequencing capabilities, Sandia scientists identified several mechanisms that bacteria use to share genes and expand their antibiotic resistance. They found that in some cases, bacteria can receive a new set of genes all at once and in the process become pathogenic.

Commentary

No Defensive Strategy to Address a Growing Terrorist Threat

by Richard Schoeberl -

As the Islamic State group increases its threats around the world, the United States is grossly unprepared to track radicalized members and sympathizers, or to even know how many there are in the United States and abroad. At this point, an international coalition effort is the best hope for thwarting this unpredictable, yet ever-growing, "lawless" group.

Healthcare

Local Public Health's Role in Large-Scale Chemical Incidents

by Rachel Schulman -

Public health departments play, or have the ability to play, a key role in large-scale incidents caused by hazardous materials. By clearly defining their roles and collaborating with local partners, health departments have the ability to help emergency planners and responders prevent, mitigate, plan for, and respond to chemical hazards and incidents.

Resilience

Response Management: Back to Basics

by Stephen Grainer -

When a seemingly unrealistic incident occurs, emergency managers must be equipped with the base knowledge necessary to respond to the previously unknown scenario. Acronyms are a good way to remember what to do when stress levels are high and time is short. By getting back to the basics, managers are better equipped to respond and to protect their communities.

Updates

HHS Unveils First Compendium of Resources for Health Emergencies

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched the first online collection of federal resources and capabilities available to mitigate the health impacts of emergencies. The HHS Response and Recovery Resources Compendium aids state, tribal, territorial, and local officials in health and emergency management as they respond to and recover from disasters.

Updates

USDA and NASA Expand Innovative Partnership to Better Predict Wildfires, Monitor Drought From Space

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced an expanded partnership designed to better protect the nations working lands, predict and prevent natural disasters, and inspire young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and agriculture.

Reports

FEMA: Additional Planning and Data Collection Could Help Improve Workfoce Management Efforts

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has historically relied on both permanent and temporary disaster-related employees to respond to presidentially declared disasters. The U.S. Government Accountability Office examined: (a) FEMAs actions to address long-standing workforce challenges; and (b) the challenges that have affected FEMAs new disaster workforce components.

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Updates

DHS S&T Transitions Third Cybersecurity Technology

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announced that another cybersecurity technology has been licensed for commercialization. The Network Mapping System (NeMS), developed by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, is a software-based tool that helps users know how to better protect their networks.

Reports

The 2015 National Security Strategy: Authorities, Changes, Issues for Congress

The National Security Strategy (NSS) is a congressionally mandated document that highlights the broad national security priorities of each administration. This latest report details key points of the 2015 strategy, as well as issues for Congress to consider.

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Updates

Joint Medical Exercise Trains for Future Interoperability

One of the largest Defense Department field medical training exercises, combining 1,600 active-duty and reserve personnel from 17 states and three countries, wrapped up on 26 June 2015. In a simulated combat-medicine scenario, the joint exercise helped prepare active-duty and reserve troops with capabilities for any situation they could be called upon to support in the future.

Preparedness

Dangerous Suicides

by Stuart K. Cameron -

Although most suicides injure only the suicide victims themselves, others may cause injury to anyone within close proximity. With law enforcement officers typically being the first on the scene of such incidents, they should be aware of the hazards and be able to recognize the signs of potential residual threats.

Preparedness

Superheroes in Waiting: Emergent First Responders

by Wayne P. Bergeron -

Although they may not want to be called "heroes," military members and veterans can fill a critical gap in emergency and disaster response. Their unique qualities of training, discipline, leadership, and teamwork make them the perfect emergent responder either as a member of an organized team, or simply by being in the right place at the right time.

Healthcare

What It Takes to Be a Public Health Emergency Preparedness Professional

by Raphael M. Barishansky -

In the relatively young subspecialty of public health emergency preparedness, effective public health preparedness managers must identify the essential elements of their roles and the skills or requirements necessary to be effective in their positions. Although there is no set recipe for success, diverse and field-related skills are a must.

Updates

Public-Private Partnership Launches New AmeriCorps Program to Help Communities Build Resilience

Building on the President's Climate Action Plan, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, The Rockefeller Foundation, and Cities of Service, announced a new Resilience AmeriCorps pilot program.

Updates

HHS Awards Improve Health Care, Public Health Preparedness

Health departments across the country will receive more than $840 million in cooperative agreements from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - distributed through the Hospital Preparedness Program and the Public Health Emergency Preparedness programs - to improve and sustain emergency preparedness of state and local public health and healthcare systems.

Reports

FDA Medical Countermeasures Initiative (MCMi) Program Update-FY 2014

This fiscal year (FY) 2014 report responds to the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2013, which requires the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to detail its annual medical countermeasure activities for protection against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats and response to emerging public health threats.

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Updates

iCVI Mobile Application to Expand to Multiple Devices and Platforms

The Institute for Infectious Animal Diseases (IIAD), a Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Center of Excellence, announced that the Institute has been funded to expand its iCVI mobile application to multiple devices and platforms. IIAD works closely with state animal health officials and practicing veterinarians to refine and optimize the application.

Updates

New Spanish-Language Website for Hurricane Preparation

Florida International University's (FIU) International Hurricane Research Center, in partnership with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Hurricane Center (NHC), has launched a new Spanish-language website, which includes information on hurricane science, residential mitigation strategies, preparedness, and descriptions of NHC information products.

Reports

Report to Congress on the Security Inspection Program for Commercial Power Reactors and Category I Fuel Cycle Facilities: Results and Status Update

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has made available to the public an unclassified version of its annual report to Congress detailing the previous year's security inspection program. The report covers the NRC's security inspection program, including force-on-force exercises, for commercial nuclear power reactors and Category I fuel cycle facilities for calendar year 2014.

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Updates

Behind the Scenes with Operational Medics

Highly trained members of the FBI's Operational Medicine (OpMed) Program are focused on their mission to provide care under the most stressful situations. Whether for a fellow agent engaged in a SWAT operation or a violent criminal injured during a high-risk arrest, the "medics," as they are known, provide care to everyone who needs treatment.

Updates

New Tool Monitors Dams, Keeps Communities Safe

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the availability of DamWatch, a new web-based application that provides real-time monitoring of rainfall, snowmelt, stream flow, and seismic events that could pose potential threats to dam safety. By monitoring dams, project sponsors can better prevent and protect against hazardous, costly, and potentially catastrophic events.

Preparedness

Apples & Oranges - Understanding Curies & REM in Radiation Sources

by Jeffrey D. Williams -

Hazardous materials personnel are faced with a broad range of chemical, biological, and radiological hazards. However, not all hazards are equal, nor are similar quantities. Responders who encounter radiological materials need to know the relationship of quantity and biological impact of specific materials by first understanding the terminology of measurement units.

Preparedness

Operation Twister - Exercising Disaster Behavioral Response

by Craig DeAtley -

Functional exercises are invaluable for helping participants understand their roles in disasters. This is particularly true for participants who normally are not included in interagency exercises, such as behavioral health personnel. Triaging following a disaster should not stop at the physical level, but should consider psychological concerns as well.

Updates

HHS launches National Ebola Training and Education Center

To ensure that U.S. health care providers and facilities are prepared to safely identify, isolate, transport, and treat patients with Ebola and other emerging threats, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched a National Ebola Training and Education Center, at Emory University, University of Nebraska Medical Center, and Bellevue Hospital.

Reports

CYBERSECURITY: Recent Data Breaches Illustrate Need for Strong Controls across Federal Agencies

Effective cybersecurity for federal information systems is essential to preventing the loss of resources, the compromise of sensitive information, and the disruption of government operations. This report summarizes: (a) challenges facing federal agencies in securing their systems and information; and (b) government-wide initiatives aimed at improving cybersecurity.

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Preparedness

See Center for Domestic Preparedness Training in Action on YouTube

Responders interested in training at the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) can now view video descriptions of courses, as well as news stories and podcasts on CDP training and events on YouTube. The CDP's primary mission is to train state, local, and tribal emergency response providers, as well as the federal government, foreign governments, and private organizations.

Updates

How Anthrax Spores Grow in Cultured Human Tissues

Cultured human lung cells infected with a benign version of anthrax spores have yielded insights into how anthrax grows and spreads in exposed people. The study, published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology, will help provide data for human health related to anthrax exposure and help officials better understand risks related to a potential anthrax attack.

Reports

CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL DEFENSE: Designated Entity Needed to Identify, Align, and Manage DOD's Infrastructure

The United States faces current and emerging chemical and biological threats, and defenses against these threats enable the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to protect the force, preclude strategic gains by adversaries, and reduce risk to U.S. interests. This report reviews and provides recommendations on DOD efforts to manage its defense infrastructure capabilities.

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Updates

Critical Infrastructure Protection Act (CIPA) Passage Out of Homeland Security Committee is Decisive Step to Protect the Nation

The Committee on Homeland Security passed the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act (CIPA). This important legislation protects Americans from an electromagnetic pulse (EMP), which threat experts consider one of the most serious risks to national security.

Updates

SRI International to Develop Screening Device for Radiation Exposure

SRI International has been awarded a $12.2 million contract from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to continue development of a diagnostic test for absorbed doses of radiation following a radiological incident. A new, simple screening test is needed to rapidly triage large numbers of people.

Updates

ECBC Scientists Testing Fabric for New Warfighter Uniforms

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency is leading an effort to design a new warfighter uniform - with added protection against chemical warfare agents encountered in the field - and Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) scientists are using both standard and new methods to test fabrics that will be used in the suit.