Ghosts of Viruses Past | Domestic Preparedness Photo: ©iStock.com/RTimages
Commentary

Ghosts of Viruses Past

by Catherine L. Feinman -

A decade before COVID-19 emerged as a pandemic, emergency preparedness, response, and resilience professionals were focused on infectious diseases. The H1N1 (swine flu), H5N1 (avian flu), and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreaks were real, and lessons needed to be learned in preparation for something bigger. So, in April 2010, DomPrep polled the experts (i.e., DomPrep advisors and readers) to gather their thoughts on pandemic preparedness and response. A decade later, their responses are haunting.

 
Commentary

Publisher’s Message: Costs vs. Benefits

by Martin Masiuk -

Over the past 20 plus years, I have been perplexed and bewildered why leaders both in government and industry have not taken preparedness seriously. A while ago, it was explained to me. It all comes down to cost-benefit analysis. Leaders love to present bright, shiny new things to their constituents, shareholders, customers, media, and so on. Let’s face it, preparedness is boring! For example, weatherizing power plants in warm environments is not economical nor exciting. Or is it? By kicking the can, leaders hope that unpleasant, yet predictable once-in-a-hundred-years events do not happen on their watch. Cost-benefit analysis matters a lot when those unforeseen events happen. And these types of events have been occurring more and more frequently lately with great cost through loss of life, sociological-psychological impact, and loss of revenue.

Resilience

Building a Holistic Homeland Security Enterprise System

by Daniel Rector -

In the United States, a diverse group of agencies and organizations work together to accomplish the homeland security mission. Many of these organizations fall within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Organizations that are not directly a part of DHS act as partners and provide support in various ways. One of the most vital and most capable partners in the homeland security mission is the Department of Defense (DOD). The current organizational makeup of DHS is disorganized and confusing. As is, it prevents efficient support from its partners. The government should create a new, robust homeland security enterprise to solve these issues. By creating an updated homeland security enterprise and leaning on the DOD’s support, the nation will increase its security and protect its citizens.

Preparedness

Viewing the U.S. Election Process as an Essential Mission

by Michael Prasad -

As a critical element of democracy, elections need to be a part of the all-hazards planning, organization, equipment, training, and exercising benefiting from the nation’s emergency management agencies and departments at all levels of government. Election security, capability, and integrity, as well as the ability for citizens to exercise their constitutional rights through democratic processes are essential to the sustained republic.

Resilience

Moving on From 2020 – A Future for Emergency Management

by Kyle Overly -

The events that unfolded over the course of 2020 and 2021 challenged emergency managers in ways only previously imagined. In the midst of a global pandemic, emergency managers worked through the complexities of a global response while delivering core administrative functions and coordinating the response to countless other threats and hazards. This response tested emergency management capabilities and challenged long-held assumptions about mutual aid systems.

Updates

DHS Announces Funding Opportunity for $1.87 Billion in Preparedness Grants

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced the release of the funding notice for eight different types of preparedness grants worth nearly $1.87 billion. Together, these programs provide more than $1.8 billion in critical funding to assist state and local partners in building and sustaining capabilities to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from acts of terrorism and other disasters.

FLIR Systems Announces Upgraded FLIR identiFINDER R440, Next-Generation Handheld Radionuclide Identification Device

FLIR Systems Inc. announced the launch of the upgraded FLIR identiFINDER® R440, the next-generation of its field-trusted premium handheld radiation detection system. With improved resolution and sensitivity, the new identiFINDER R440 helps operators identify and respond to radiological threats faster and with greater accuracy.

NYC Initiatives Are a Model for Safeguarding the Nation’s Public Transit Systems

To bolster the efforts to ensure the continued safety and security of mass transit nationwide, the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate has partnered with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York City (NYC) to study how simulated coronavirus aerosols travel through buses and train cars to inform disinfection and other virus mitigation methods.

Transitioning From CDC’s Indicators for Dynamic School Decision-Making (released September 15, 2020) to CDC’s Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools Through Phased Mitigation (released February 12, 2021) to Reduce COVID-19

It is critical for schools to open as safely and as soon as possible, and remain open, to achieve the benefits of in-person learning and key support services. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a new Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools to incorporate the best available evidence at this time.

FDA Authorizes Monoclonal Antibodies for Treatment of COVID-19

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for bamlanivimab and etesevimab administered together for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in adults and pediatric patients who test positive for SARS-CoV-2 and who are at high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19.