Commentary

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

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.

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.

Emerging Threats to Rail Infrastructure: Part II, Passenger

by Catherine L. Feinman -

With millions of passengers travelling each day by rail and subway in the United States alone, the passenger rail industry and the communities they serve are faced with difficult safety and security challenges – from equipment failures to terrorist attacks. A whole community approach is needed to address these challenges, to understand the threats and consequences, and to promote a culture of resilience.

Roles in Disaster – Completing the Chain

by Catherine L. Feinman -

A passenger train derails in an urban community. Whether caused by intentional or unintentional factors, this incident would have consequences that go well beyond the rail company and the passengers traveling in these fated rail cars. Surrounding companies and communities would be affected, hazardous materials may be a threat, critical infrastructure beyond transportation could be impacted, cyber and physical security could be at risk, and so on. Mitigating these risks, threats, and vulnerabilities requires education, tools, and a desire to play a key role in disaster preparedness and response.

Podcast: MPAs & Disasters

by Andrew Roszak -

With so many graduate degrees available, it can sometimes be confusing to know which to pursue when entering the world of emergency and disaster preparedness and response. DomPrep Advisor Andrew Roszak addressed one broad-based degree that covers many areas critical for managing disasters. In this podcast, Dr. Randolf Burnside of Southern Illinois University’s Political Science Department and Dr. Anirudh Ruhil of Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs share their insight about the Master’s of Public Administration (MPA) degree and how it can help prepare professionals for jobs in both the public and private sectors.

Rail Threats & Interdependencies – Thoughts for Discussion

by Rick Mathews -

In the United States, there are ongoing efforts to protect the nation’s critical infrastructure. Presidential directives, coupled with national security strategies and several iterations of the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP), have spanned the terms of at least four presidents and included the rail system. The volume of activity on or near rail lines, potential threats, and interdependencies all raise concern for the protection of this critical infrastructure asset.

Setting Examples for Disaster Preparedness

by Catherine L. Feinman -

From coast to coast, communities across the United States are implementing solutions to address gaps that could hinder response efforts should a disaster occur. From special events to widespread natural disasters, this edition of the DomPrep Journal shares experiences and lessons learned from those who have firsthand accounts of these events and incidents and want to ensure that any existing gaps are closed before similar situations arise again.

Emerging Homeland Security Issues – A 2017 Panel Review

by Joseph J. Leonard Jr. -

The 2017 Emerging Homeland Security Issues panel met in December to discuss the current challenges of today’s threats, review risk management practices, assess means of strengthening interagency relationships, and to consider future resource requirements.

Explosives & Handheld Trace Detection

by Ryan Holland & Mark Fisher -

The threat of homemade explosives (HMEs) is not new. From the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, to the “shoe bomber,” London underground bombings, “underwear bomber,” and attacks in Paris and Brussels in the 2000s, the threat is ever changing. Not only do post-incident crime scenes present danger to responders until secondary devices have been ruled out, but also makeshift laboratories where the bombs are made. Handheld explosives trace detection (ETD) equipment can help responders quickly determine on-scene threats, like Triacetone Triperoxide (TATP) and react appropriately and expediently.

Making Schools Safe & Secure – A Local to National Effort

by Mary Filardo -

This article explores the meaning of safe and secure schools, shows where current schools are falling short, and offers policy prescriptions, pointing to the pending federal infrastructure package as a unique opportunity to make an important down payment to secure a safer and better future for the nation’s students.