september 2015

Commentary

In Honor of National Preparedness Month

As National Preparedness Month comes to a close, DomPrep would like to remind its readers that preparedness is a year-round process that involves practitioners at all levels. One good example of this type of outreach comes from Baltimore City's Health Commissioner, Dr. Leana Wen, who hosts a live weekly call-in podcast to share information and to address the city's health concerns.

Updates

Mass Decontamination Research Provides New Scientific Evidence for Responders, Hospitals to Decontaminate Chemical Terrorism, Accident Survivors

With BARDA support, the University of Hertfordshire will undertake a new series of studies to facilitate a fully optimized, generic, and standardized response to chemical incidents by U.S. first responders. The project is part of a broader federal effort to develop medical products and procedures to protect health and save lives in a terrorist attack.

Updates

National Center for Food Protection and Defense Announces a Name Change

An internationally recognized food protection organization announced that it has changed its name from the National Center for Food Protection and Defense to the Food Protection and Defense Institute. The Institute is based on the Saint Paul campus of the University of Minnesota and is focused on ways to mitigate threats to the food system from intentional contamination.

Updates

HHS Advances Development of New Monoclonal Antibody Drug for Ebola

A novel Ebola virus disease treatment based on three monoclonal antibodies will advance in development through an agreement between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. of Tarrytown, New York.

Resilience

Congress to Decide Funding for Public Health Emergencies

by LaMar Hasbrouck -

Federal spending on public health emergency preparedness, response, and recovery has been falling since 2005, and Congress is now considering how much to spend in the 2016 fiscal year. The final spending figure will play a key role in determining how well the American people are protected from disease, injury, and death in times of emergency.

Reports

DHS Appropriations FY2016: Protection, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery

This report is part of a suite of reports that discuss appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for FY2016. The report provides an overview of the Administration's FY2016 request for Protection, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery, and the appropriations proposed by Congress thus far.

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Updates

USDA Offers Help to Fire-Affected Farmers and Ranchers

Increasing development near forest boundaries mean more than 46 million homes and more than 70,000 communities are at risk from wildfire in the United States. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds farmers and ranchers affected by the recent wildfires that USDA has programs to assist with their recovery efforts.

Updates

FEMA & Operation HOPE Renew Collaboration during September

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and HOPE Coalition America (HCA), the emergency preparedness and financial recovery division of Operation HOPE, signed a memorandum of agreement renewing their 11-year collaboration to promote financial preparedness and support for recovery after emergencies and disasters.

Updates

Coastal Resilience Center Charts Path for Safer Communities

When considering hurricane preparedness, understanding and promoting coastal resilience is crucial. The newly formed DHS Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence (CRC) will build upon the successes of its predecessor, the Coastal Hazards Center of Excellence (CHC), which developed essential storm surge and flood models that were critical for pre-storm planning.

Updates

Combo of 3 Antibiotics Can Kill Deadly Staph Infections

Three antibiotics that, individually, are not effective against a drug-resistant staph infection can kill the deadly pathogen when combined as a trio, according to new research. The researchers, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, have killed methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in test tubes and laboratory mice, and believe the same three-drug strategy may work in people.

Updates

Establishment of the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) announce the appointment of nationally recognized experts to the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria (the Advisory Council).

Updates

Caring for Older Adults in Disasters Curriculum Now Available

The National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health has just released its newest resource for health educators and trainers. The curriculum covers topics ranging from special considerations for older adults in specific types of disasters to ethical and legal issues related to the care of the senior population during a disaster.

Resilience

The Politics of School Safety & Security

by Wayne P. Bergeron -

Sir Earnest Benn, political publisher and British baronet (1875-1954) once said that, "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy." For school safety and security, the stakes of getting it wrong are too high to simply let the normal political process play out.

Resilience

A Federal Agency's Journey to Protect Its Workforce From Infectious Diseases

by Robert J. Roller -

From a presidential executive order to comprehensive workforce protection, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's infectious disease protection process is constantly evolving. The department's centralized guidance/decentralized execution planning paradigm with reliance on a robust lessons learned process ensures an increasingly resilient workforce against biological threats and hazards.

Reports

FEMA Collaborates Effectively With Logistics Partners but Could Strengthen Implementation of Its Capabilities Assessment Tool

The Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has taken actions described in the National Response Framework, Emergency Support Function #7 Logistics Annex, to work with its federal partners in a manner that reflects leading practices for interagency collaboration. This report assesses FEMA's disaster logistics efforts.

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Updates

As Wildfires Continue to Burn, New Maps Shows Expansion of Wildland-Urban Interface

A new U.S. Forest Service report shows that continued expansion of housing development near forests has direct implications for wildfire management. More of the Forest Service's resources are spent each year to provide the firefighters, aircraft and operators, and other assets necessary to protect lives, property, and natural resources in the wildland urban interface regions.

Updates

S&T to Demonstrate Wearable Technologies for First Responders

On September 23, EMERGE participants will demonstrate their technology concepts and prototypes to the investor community and industry in San Francisco, California. Demo Day will showcase a wide range of innovative technologies including body-worn electronics, advanced sensors, and integrated voice and data communications embedded in a responder's gear.

Updates

App Helps Responders Save Precious Time During Missing Person Searches

When someone goes missing, the first few minutes and hours of the search are critical. The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) First Responders Group recently released a mobile app, developed with the support of search and rescue (SAR) teams around the nation, that provides step-by-step instructions on search plans for first responders and response teams.

Reports

Cybersecurity: Data, Statistics, and Glossaries

This report describes data and statistics from government, industry, and information technology security firms regarding the current state of cybersecurity threats in the United States and internationally. These include incident estimates, costs, and annual reports on data security breaches, identity thefts, cybercrimes, malwares, and network securities.

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Updates

Hospital Ship USNS Comfort to Anchor in Haiti at 2015 Mission's End

U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort will anchor off the Haitian coast, marking its final Continuing Promise 2015 mission stop with an opening ceremony. Since April, the U.S. Southern Command hospital ship has taken a team of U.S. military medical and construction personnel, private-aid organizations, and partner-nation officials to 11 Latin American and Caribbean nations.

Updates

S&T's Prepaid Card Reader Aids Law Enforcement in Seizing Fraudulent Cards

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate's Electronic Recovery and Access to Data (ERAD) Prepaid Card Reader is becoming a vital tool for law enforcement seizing stacks of plastic cards, that have been turned into prepaid cards, and funds associated with criminal activity.

Updates

Department of Defense Awards Cleveland BioLabs a $9.2 Million Contract for Advanced Development of Entolimod as a Medical Radiation Countermeasure

Cleveland BioLabs Inc. announced that the Department of Defense has awarded them a contract valued at up to $9.2 million to support further development of entolimod as a medical radiation countermeasure. Entolimod is a novel, broad-spectrum investigational drug being developed to mitigate the life-threatening consequences of a radiological attack.

Healthcare

Public Health & Political Knowledge

by Raphael M. Barishansky -

Public health professionals fill vital roles in homeland security preparedness. One of these roles is to ensure that government decision makers are well informed on issues that may affect the life and health of - perhaps not all, but at least most of - their community members.

Commentary

Political Realities of Legislation for Extreme Events

by Andrea Boland -

The single extreme solar storm (GMD/geomagnetic disturbance) or electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack (manmade weapon) - together often known as natural and manmade EMP, or simply EMP - could cause a blackout lasting months or years. Even for government officials who have the authority to do something about it, legislation may be required to make new demands on a resistant, powerful industry.

Updates

Tallysman Introduces the VeraPhase 6000 High Precision GNSS Antenna Series

Tallysman, a leading manufacturer of economical high-performance Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) antennas, is pleased to announce the commercial availability of the VeraPhase 6000 antenna series. This antenna family is ideal for use in survey, precision real-time kinematic, and reference antenna applications.

Updates

The FDA Takes Important Steps in Modernizing the Food Safety System

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took one of the most significant steps in decades to prevent foodborne illness by finalizing the first two of seven major rules under the bipartisan FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The two rules focus on implementing modern food manufacturing processes for both human and animal foods.

Updates

NSF Awards $27.5 Million in Hazards Research Grants

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded 11 new grants totaling $27.5 million through its Interdisciplinary Research in Hazards and Disasters (Hazards SEES) solicitation. The effort is part of NSF's Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability (SEES) investment.

Updates

U.S. Army Directs Immediate Safety Review

Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh has directed an immediate safety review at all nine Department of Defense laboratories and facilities involved in the production, shipment, and handling of live and inactivated select agents and toxins. The review follows the discovery of evidence of anthrax contamination in secure areas at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah.

Updates

Early Flu Treatment Reduces Hospitalization Time, Disability Risk in Older People

Because people 65 and older are at high risk of serious flu complications, a new CDC study recommends that they be treated for flu with influenza antiviral medications as early as possible because these drugs work best when started early.

Updates

Statement by Secretary Jeh C. Johnson on New Measure to Unify Department's Research & Development Activities

As part of the Department of Homeland Security's Unity of Effort initiative, Secretary Johnson has directed the establishment of Integrated Product Teams, which will be charged with coordinating and prioritizing research and development across the department in the areas of aviation security, biological threats, counterterrorism, border security, cybersecurity, and disaster resilience.

Updates

FEMA Region III Introduces Plan Integration: Linking Local Planning Efforts

FEMA Region III has developed a planning integration guide that is aimed at helping communities link mitigation principles and actions with various community plans in order to increase community resilience. The guide leads planners and community officials through synchronizing plans and facilitating interagency coordination to reduce risk before and after a disaster.

Updates

Kansas State University's National Agricultural Biosecurity Center Animal Disease Response Training Course to Be Included in FEMA Training Catalog

Emergency preparedness encompasses agricultural disasters, including disease outbreaks such as avian influenza. Kansas State University's National Agricultural Biosecurity Center is helping the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) ensure that state and local first responders are adequately prepared with their Animal Disease Response Training course.

Preparedness

Role of Local Government in Counter-Radicalization

by Romeo B. Lavarias -

The war against terror cannot be won solely on the battlefield, but instead must be fought with a counter-radicalization strategy. Implemented at the local level (i.e., mayor's, sheriff's, and/or governor's offices), with the coordinated effort of federal, state, and local organizations, this strategy could address and counter the critical factors that make people susceptible to the terrorist message.

Resilience

The Politics of Presidential Disaster Declarations

by Kay C. Goss -

Following a disaster, communities, tribes, and states typically experience years of rebuilding and recovery work. Understanding the presidential disaster declaration process and how to access supplemental disaster relief funds helps to speed the recovery efforts and potentially build back even better than before the incident.

Updates

NIST Seeks Members for New Panel to Help Communities Become More Resilient

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) seeks members for a new Community Resilience Panel, part of the institute's effort to reduce the heavy toll that natural, technological, and human-caused hazards inflict on U.S. communities. The panel's membership will range from local governments to infrastructure systems, and from building construction to insurance/re-insurance.

Reports

Ebola Concept of Operations (ConOps) Planning Template

This planning template provides a standard format for creating an Ebola ConOps plan at the state, territorial, or major metropolitan area government level. It provides information on measures that local governments, agencies, and organizations can take to support the plan.

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Updates

Ernst & Young LLP and Los Alamos National Laboratory Make New Cybersecurity Tools Available to Private Sector

Ernst & Young LLP and Los Alamos National Laboratory have formed a strategic alliance to deliver some of the most advanced behavioral cybersecurity tools available to the commercial market. This unique relationship will improve their ability to develop and test adaptive cybersecurity technologies across both industry and government networks.

Updates

Soligenix Receives Additional NIAID Funding to Advance Development of OrbeShield in GI ARS

Soligenix Inc. announced today that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has exercised its option to advance preclinical development of OrbeShield, a medical countermeasure for the treatment of gastrointestinal acute radiation syndrome (GI ARS).

Updates

EPA Proposes Rules to Improve Hazardous Waste Management and Better Protect Our Waterways

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing two new hazardous waste rules to strengthen environmental protection while reducing regulatory burden on businesses. The proposed rules will protect waterways and provide greater flexibility to industry while requiring new safeguards to protect the public from mismanagement of hazardous waste.

Commentary

A Case for Political Leadership in Disaster Response & Recovery

by Jason McNamara -

Among some professional emergency managers and media outlets, the role of senior elected officials in incident response and recovery efforts is, at best, perceived as unhelpful. However, political engagement is necessary for effective disaster response and recovery, and continuous, meaningful involvement of elected officials is an essential element of the National Preparedness System.

Reports

U.S. Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration: Enterprise Strategic Vision

This report summarizes the U.S. Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration's global strategic environment and how modern challenges and opportunities inform their missions and the broader national security capabilities of the nuclear security enterprise. Core mission pillars and the critical crosscutting capabilities that enable successful program execution are included.

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Updates

New Drug Protects Against the Deadly Effects of Nuclear Radiation 24 Hours After Exposure

An interdisciplinary research team led by The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston reports a new breakthrough in countering the deadly effects of radiation exposure. A single injection of a regenerative peptide was shown to significantly increase survival in mice when given 24 hours after nuclear radiation exposure.