Legislation Protecting Children in Disasters | Domestic Preparedness Photo: FEMA/George Armstrong, 13 May 2011, Phil Campbell, AL
Healthcare

Legislation Protecting Children in Disasters

by Andrew Roszak -

Emergencies and disasters can have a profound impact on children. However, in 2004-2012, less than $0.01 of every $10 invested by federal emergency preparedness grants went to activities geared toward improving children’s safety. As the federal government plays a major role in funding and directing emergency preparedness, it is encouraging to see recent legislative and policy developments designed to increase planning and preparation for children of all ages.

 
Resilience

Biometrics & Continuous Evaluation: A New Approach

by Ernest Baumann & Delilah Barton -

Increased focus on insider threats has resulted in greater attention to background screening and automated methods to assist the vetting process for initial and continued access to secure facilities and classified information. Recent technology applications can provide investigators with an ever-increasing variety of data for screening and continued vetting. Applying this model to homeland security and emergency management, however, presents broader cultural issues, including information privacy and interoperability.

Commentary

Educating Leaders on Hardening Schools

by Robert Boyd -

The recent release of the 2017 Infrastructure Report Card is notable – not simply because it gave U.S. public schools a D+ grade on their overall condition, but due to its failure to address upgrades needed to the security infrastructure, security technology, and life safety systems of schools. As the new administration and Congress consider a major national infrastructure bill, it is time to invest in upgrading the security infrastructure of K-12 public schools.

Preparedness

Civil Unrest – Prediction & Preparedness

by Kenneth Comer -

Civil unrest, regardless of cause, creates unexpected risks to lives and property. Predicting the timing and scale of these events would allow for better tactical management and a more effective training process. However, theoretical work by complex systems scientists and real-world experiences of first responders make a strong case that such forecasting may be impossible. Still, recent advances in understanding complex systems can provide profound contributions to the preparedness community.

Healthcare

Building Community Resilience Through Health Equity

by Nicolette Louissaint -

Each person is affected by disasters in different ways. However, the reasons for these disparities stem from factors that can and should be addressed pre-disaster. The public health field is implementing measures to address at-risk communities and to help mitigate public health threats, which increase in magnitude during disasters. The equitable efforts of five cities are shared in this article.

Resilience

Coastal Resilience Grants – States Left Holding the Sandbag

by Rodrigo (Roddy) Moscoso -

The federal Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget plan includes significant reductions to most domestic programs, and a common theme across agencies appears to be the elimination of grant programs, particularly those supporting environmental protection and monitoring. Beyond reductions to the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget, other agencies involved in similar activities are also facing significant cutbacks.

Updates

Secure Schools Alliance Research & Education Releases First Brief in ‘Securing Our Schools’ Toolkit

The Secure Schools Alliance Research and Education organization has released the first brief in its new toolkit for K-12 learning institutions and law enforcement – Securing Our Schools – entitled, “Starting the Conversation About School Safety.” This first brief discusses school preparedness, threats facing schools and the critical roles that all segments of the community have in securing our schools.

Deep Inequities Exist in States' Preparedness for Public Health Emergencies, 2017 Index Shows

An annual assessment of the nation’s day-to-day preparedness for managing community health emergencies improved slightly over the last year—though deep regional inequities remain. The Preparedness Index analyzes more than 130 measures to calculate a composite score that provides the most comprehensive picture of health security and preparedness available.

System to Turn Deadly Chemicals into Harmless Dirt Makes Advances

A DARPA program that is developing a field-deployable system for onsite neutralization of bulk stores of chemical warfare agents has successfully demonstrated a novel waterless soil-scrubbing technology that safely neutralized toxic chemicals simulating sarin, soman, and mustard agents. Created under the Agency’s Agnostic Compact Demilitarization of Chemical Agents program, the technology demonstrated greater than 99.9999% removal of the simulants, without creating any hazardous waste by-products.

Piedmont Virginia Community College and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management Partner to Hold First National Unmanned Aerial Systems Conference for Public Safety Personnel

Piedmont Virginia Community College and the Virginia Department of Emergency Management recently partnered to hold the nation’s first unmanned aerial systems (UAS) conference for public safety personnel. The conference featured expert panel discussions on a variety of topics including UAS usage by fire and emergency medical services, by law enforcement, in search and rescue situations and in emergency and disaster management.

New "Water On-the-Go" App Helps Keep Texans Safe With Current Stream Conditions

The new “Water On-the-Go” mobile app, developed by the U.S. Geological Survey, gives the public easy access to current conditions in streams across Texas. The new, mobile-friendly website/app will allow users to quickly locate USGS gages in Texas that measure streamflow, stream height, rainfall or lake levels so that users can get up-to-date information on water conditions near where they are located.