A Race Against Time: Canine/Handler Teams Prep for Disaster | Domestic Preparedness Photo: NYC Emergency Management, 2018
Preparedness

A Race Against Time: Canine/Handler Teams Prep for Disaster

by Omar Bourne -

New York City has various disaster preparedness teams that are specially equipped to manage many types of threats. One such team involves canines trained to perform search and rescue tasks. Canines have helped save lives at critical times following disasters such as 9/11, when finding survivors among rubble and debris is especially challenging. A Dutch Shepherd named Diesel is one responder who currently works with New York City Police Department to prepare for the next disaster.

 
Preparedness

Detecting & Preventing Nuclear/Radioactive Materials

by Ian Pleet -

This case study from a 2015 deployment to the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) Combined Arms Training Center (CATC) Camp in Fuji, Japan, demonstrates effective ways to detect and prevent unwanted nuclear and radioactive materials from being brought aboard an overseas USMC installation. The author was deployed as the emergency manager (EM) with the collateral duty of being the chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield explosive (CBRNE) protection officer (CPO). Upon arrival, the commanding officer also appointed him to serve as the alternate antiterrorism officer, with full support from his contracting company, Camber Corporation.

Commentary

White Paper: Orthogonal Detection Can Help Save Firefighters Lives in the Overhaul Stage of Operations

by -

Building materials, furnishings, paints, plastics, and electronics found in today’s buildings have the potential to burn or decompose into acutely and chronically acting toxic gases and vapors. Studies have validated that toxic gases and vapors are not just present during suppression activities but also during the overhaul and investigation stages. The impact can be life threatening.

Resilience

Cascading Consequences: Electrical Grid Critical Infrastructure Vulnerability

by George H. Baker & Stephen Volandt -

If there were a prolonged nationwide, multi-week or multi-month power failure, neither the federal government nor any state, local, tribal, or territorial government – acting alone or in concert – would be able to execute an effective response. This bleak outlook results from understanding that so many critical infrastructures depend on electricity. As such, effective recovery cannot be expected through top-down assistance alone. Without electric power, the goods and services essential to protect life and property would be at risk by day three or perhaps longer depending on preparedness levels. Consequently, it is vital that citizens, households, communities, businesses, and governments be as informed and prepared as possible.

Commentary

Turning Five Crisis Leader Pitfalls Into Opportunities

by Eric J. McNulty -

Crises are among the most daunting challenges for leaders. The very nature of true crises – complex, high-consequence events that threaten physical, emotional, economic, and/or reputational health – test a leader’s ability to discern what is happening and what is to be done. The word “crisis” derives from the Greek “krisis” or decision. The contemporary understanding of the word stems from Middle English usage of the medical Latin variant that means “the turning point in a disease,” when the patient either lives or dies. These are the types of decisions today’s crisis leaders are asked to make in situations ranging from forest fires to active shooter incidents.

Resilience

CBRNE Weapons & Islamic State – A Bad Combination

by Richard Schoeberl -

The recent developments concerning the nerve agent attack in the United Kingdom and their alleged country of origin, Russia, have raised fears in the international community. The ease of the attack raises concerns about terrorists utilizing similar methods. This raises questions about the likelihood of a similar attack against the West.

Updates

Department of Homeland Security Unveils Strategy to Guide Cybersecurity Efforts

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a strategy outlining the Department’s approach to identifying and managing national cybersecurity risk. The DHS strategy details a department-wide approach to address evolving threats to the nation’s cyber and critical infrastructure security.

2018 Predicted to Be Challenging Wildfire Year

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, and Forest Service Interim Chief Vicki Christiansen briefed members of Congress on what to expect in the coming fire season. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service is well prepared to respond to wildfires in what is currently forecast to be another challenging year.

Los Alamos and University of Nebraska Team for Biodefense Program

A partnership involving the University of Nebraska and Los Alamos National Laboratory boosts educational opportunities for students seeking careers in the biodefense field. The partnership is specifically looking into the diagnosis and detection of infectious disease agents through the use of biosensors.

What’s in Your State’s Disaster Management Plan? 4 Ways to Incorporate Mental and Behavioral Health Into Disaster Planning

A recent analysis by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that 64% of the state emergency response plans that are available online do not adequately plan for behavioral health needs, which is a critical component of disaster response. States are encouraged to use this information as a starting point to help integrate mental and behavioral health needs into preparedness, response, and recovery activities.

Study by Center for Health Security Identifies Characteristics of Microorganisms Most Likely to Cause a Global Pandemic

Infectious disease preparedness work focuses predominantly on an historical list of pathogens derived from biological warfare agents, political considerations, and recent outbreaks. However, this fails to account for the most serious agents not currently known or without historical precedent, according to scholars from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in a new report on the traits of microorganisms with high pandemic potential.