The 2015 National Preparedness Report summarizes progress in building, sustaining, and delivering the 31 core capabilities described in the 2011 National Preparedness Goal. The report presents an opportunity to assess gains that whole community partners have made in preparedness, and to identify where challenges remain.
PositiveID Corporation, a developer of biological detection and diagnostics solutions, recently announced that it has successfully detected influenza on its Firefly Dx breadboard prototype PCR (polymerase chain reaction) pathogen detection system, which is significantly faster than standard laboratory equipment and protocols, with results achieved in minutes instead of hours or days.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced a final rule for the safe transportation of flammable liquids by rail. The final rule, developed by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and Federal Railroad Administration, focuses on safety improvements that are designed to prevent accidents, mitigate consequences, and support emergency response.
Managing one large-scale special event can be a public safety challenge for any jurisdiction. However, when multiple events and hundreds of thousands of people converge in one area, communications between public safety officials is critical. Using the Homeland Security Information Network, officials in the greater Phoenix area kept the lines of communication open.
Cybercommunications 101: How to deploy an effective cybercommunications program as part of an emergency, disaster recovery, and business continuity effort. As more common, daily-use devices become automated, the risk of cybersabbotage increases, so planners must take measures to prevent harm to their efforts, personnel, agencies, and organizations.
At the April 2015 Ready Chesapeake meeting, members of this nonprofit group discussed ways to build business continuity within Annapolis-area communities and created a survey to reach out to other jurisdictions for suggestions. Practitioners (149 public sector, 80 private sector) from 47 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., Canada, and Martinique shared their insights from both the public and private sector perspectives.
Soligenix, Inc., a late-stage biopharmaceutical company developing products that address unmet medical needs in the areas of inflammation, oncology and biodefense, announced today that it has initiated a development agreement with Emergent BioSolutions to implement a commercially viable, scalable production technology for the RiVax drug substance protein antigen. RiVax is a vaccine candidate being developed to protect against ricin exposure.
Identifying and tracking individuals affected by the Ebola virus in densely populated areas presents a unique and urgent set of challenges in public health surveillance. Currently, mapping the spread of the Ebola virus is done manually. Researchers at Florida Atlantic University's College of Engineering and Computer Science have received a National Science Foundation Rapid Response Grant to develop an innovative model of Ebola spread by using big data analytics techniques and tools.
Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory have the ability to forecast the upcoming flu season and other infectious diseases by analyzing views of Wikipedia articles. "The ability to more accurately forecast the flu season and other infectious diseases will transform the way health departments prepare for and respond to epidemics, ultimately saving lives," scientist Sara Del Valle said.
In a geopolitical environment with proliferating threats, a recently held Defense Department whole-of-government exercise provided a realistic way for federal, state and local experts to interact in simulated situations involving mock home-grown terrorists and a nuclear incident. This exercise took place on Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, located on the Kitsap Peninsula, in the state of Washington.
The Transportation Department's Federal Aviation Administration announced a public outreach campaign for the national capital region to reinforce the message that the District of Columbia and cities and towns within a 15-mile radius of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport are a "No Drone Zone."
After receiving credible information about an al-Qaida threat to high-profile buildings where financial institutions were located, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security shared that information through the InfraGard network. InfraGard then used the Sector Chief Program to rapidly disseminate the necessary details to the right people within those institutions.
PrepBiz 1.0 gamification app educates children, youth, adults and visually impaired users on best practice recommendation responses to disasters, hazards and active shooter incidents. PrepBiz 1.0 (VI) is an audio-only action/adventure game for mobile phones, tablets and computers where ears replace eyes thanks to innovative technology.
Mass media can be allies or adversaries to emergency management agencies. The key for these agencies is to ensure that media outlets are sharing accurate public safety and incident-related information from trusted and reliable sources. This means that emergency managers must understand news media objectives and develop mutually beneficial working relationships.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Avelox (moxifloxacin) to treat patients with plague, a rare and potentially fatal bacterial infection. This approval includes use of the drug for treating pneumonic plague (infection of the lungs), and septicemic plague (infection of the blood). Avelox also is approved for prevention of plague in adult patients.
In an executive discussion session, CNA Corporation addressed the movement toward evidence-based policing. When providing resources to the concentrated geographic areas that experience the highest levels of violent crime, law enforcement agencies sometimes anger community residents while trying to fulfill their most important mission of protecting these residents from violence.
Georgetown University global health and law experts say that a robust global health framework can be created to help prevent tragedies like Ebola, while also allowing countries to meet everyday health needs. They propose specific priorities to transform a fragmented health system into an organized framework with national health systems at its foundation and the World Health Organization at its apex.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency's National Integration Center is soliciting public feedback for the update of the National Planning Frameworks. This National Engagement Period will conclude at 5:00 p.m. EDT 3 June 2015. These frameworks set the strategy and doctrine for building, sustaining, and delivering the core capabilities identified in the National Preparedness Goal.
The National Science and Technology Council's Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Sustainability requests public comments on the draft 2015 National Space Weather Strategy for its Subcommittee on Disaster Reduction. Submit comments by 29 May 2015 for consideration.
FLIR Systems, Inc. announced the release of FLIR Vue, a compact thermal camera that makes thermal imaging capability more accessible to commercial drone applications like search and rescue, substation inspections, livestock monitoring, precision agriculture, critical infrastructure security, pipeline and power line inspections, emergency response operations, and many more.
The terrorist attacks of 9/11 put a spotlight on the gaps that existed and, in many jurisdictions, still exist between public safety agencies. Although most preparedness professionals would agree that it is critical to have interoperable communications, there are factors that hinder achievement of this goal. With careful consideration, agencies can overcome these hurdles.
On 15 April 2015, a 61-year-old mailman from Florida breached restricted airspace over the nation's capital and landed a gyrocopter on the West lawn of the U.S. Capitol building. Although this event did not involve explosives or other hazardous materials, the next incident may not be benign. Communication gaps must be closed.
908 Devices announced that the State of Massachusetts' Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Division has purchased eight of the company's flagship product, M908TM. These devices will be used for routine response and large-scale events throughout the state, thus arming response teams with enhanced chemical threat detection capabilities.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate, in partnership with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, announced the transition of the final prototype of the Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response (FINDER) technology to the commercial market. This radar technology is designed to detect heartbeats of victims trapped in wreckage.
This report by the Government Accountability Office details (a) FirstNet's progress carrying out its responsibilities and establishing internal controls; (b) the estimated network cost and FirstNet's plans to become self-funding; and (c) the lessons that can be learned from the early builder projects.
Scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is part of the National Institutes of Health, and the University of California, Berkeley - as well as other colleagues - have developed a mobile phone microscope to measure blood levels of the parasitic filarial worm Loa loa. This device could aid efforts to eradicate neglected tropical diseases.
USAID contributes an additional $11 million for earthquake response efforts in Nepal, bringing total U.S. Government humanitarian assistance to nearly $28 million. Additional U.S. military aircraft arrived in Nepal on May 6 to support relief efforts. Although life in Nepals capital city of Kathmandu is beginning to normalize, relief actors report that the humanitarian situation in remote and hard-to-reach areas remains concerning.
The World Health Organization is stepping up efforts to accelerate the elimination of neglected tropical diseases (NTD) in the African Region. Health experts, donors, development partners and affected countries have reached a consensus on the main components of the framework for establishing a new NTD entity.
Accessing and sharing information between various agencies and organizations may be challenging, but are necessary for developing effective situational and operational awareness. The National Information Sharing Consortium (NISC) formalized an approach for such interagency communication. By operationalizing these capabilities, NISC creates dialogue and closes communication gaps.
This report has been developed to assist with planning and response efforts related to shelter operations in a radiation emergency. It provides information and guidance about screening for radioactive contamination, decontamination, radiation monitoring, registration, health surveillance, and communications.
A new microneedle patch being developed by the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could make it easier to vaccinate people against measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases.
The patch is designed to be administered by minimally trained workers and to simplify storage, distribution, and disposal compared with conventional vaccines.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture recently announced more than $3.8 million in funding to support grants focused on using nanotechnology to find solutions to societal challenges such as food security, nutrition, food safety, and environmental protection.
Significant strides in science have been made to better understand potential ground shaking from induced earthquakes, which are earthquakes triggered by manmade practices. A recently released U. S. Geological Survey report outlines a preliminary set of models to forecast how hazardous ground shaking could be in the areas where sharp increases in seismicity have been recorded.