DomPrep wanted to know what still keeps experts up at night. To answer this question, DomPrep hosted and Ron Vidal, a partner at Blackrock 3 Partners, moderated a panel discussion on 17 June 2016 at the Annual International Hazardous Materials Response Teams Conference in Baltimore, Maryland. This article summarizes that discussion.
The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate recognizes the struggle for wildland firefighters as they try to achieve a balance of personal protective clothing and heat safety. A major concern for developing new Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is the need to increase the protection, safety, and comfort for wildland firefighters while lowering the danger of heat exhaustion.
As the number of patients with Zika virus grows worldwide, Johns Hopkins Medicine announced the opening of the new Johns Hopkins Wilmer Zika Center dedicated primarily to caring for patients with the mosquito-borne and sexually transmitted virus. The center is composed of providers and staff from departments and divisions at Johns Hopkins Medicine and the Bloomberg School of Public Health.
As responses to security threats evolve, terrorists use different materials to develop homemade explosives. Many of the chemicals used in explosive devices are highly sensitive and dangerously unstable. This makes it difficult for law enforcement to train bomb sniffing K-9s on detecting these compounds; the Center of Excellence for Awareness and Localization of Explosives-Related Threats (ALERT) fills this gap.
As a metaphor for picturing the maintenance of preparedness, imagine a number of 5-gallon buckets, where each one represents some aspect of readiness - detection, personal protective equipment (PPE), communications, training, etc. Each bucket is filled with water and ideally each would stay filled representing a steady state of preparedness.
The "things that keep me up at night" are much more numerous and remarkably different than emergency management 15 years ago. There is no time to rest. The nature of emergencies has changed, complicated by the fact that new threats of intentional incidents using chemical, biological, and other weapons must be considered in addition to accidental or natural incidents.
In today's climate of austere budgets, federal, state, local, tribal, and private sector training managers need to get the most out of the scarce dollars that are available. A risk-based approach and assessment will help discern who needs what training, the specific levels of that training, and refresher training requirements.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Chemical and Biological Defense Program (CBDP) 2016 Annual Report to Congress provides an assessment of the DOD's overall readiness to fight in a chemical and biological warfare environment. Highlighted within this report are some of the many accomplishments of the CBDP in fiscal year 2015.
The Dam Safety Act of 2006 requires the Federal Emergency Management Agency's administrator to submit a report to Congress that describes the status of the National Dam Safety Program, the progress achieved by federal agencies and participating states during the two preceding fiscal years, and recommendations for legislative and other necessary actions.
To demonstrate improvements to emergency communications and foster research on systems that can be quickly placed in strategic locations, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has worked with industry partners to integrate commercial technologies into a mobile wireless communications system.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) awarded approximately $3.7 million to six universities to support transitioning the "ShakeAlert" earthquake early warning system into production. An earthquake early warning system can give people a precious few seconds to stop what they are doing and take protective actions before the severe shaking waves from an earthquake arrive.
The only way to be prepared is to be well trained and well educated, which are essential components to effectively respond to and mitigate threats from chemical, biological, and radiological incidents. Evidence-based response requires the knowledge of the threat, training in skills needed to be effective, and the ability - based on sound judgment to apply the appropriate knowledge and skills to ensure an effective response.
Most chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield explosive (CBRNE) critical incidents differ from more common hazardous materials (hazmat) events by virtue of four factors: broader scope, enhanced physical toxicity, malicious intent, and the potential to do the unimaginable. The net effect is new levels of stress and psychological toxicity.
First responder safety is the immediate goal when approaching and operating in an emergency response scenario. Not only does keeping personnel safe keep experts up at night, it is a priority for equipment manufacturers responsible for the design, function, and purpose of responder tools used in dangerous situations and environments.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has released an update of procedures first published in 1982 governing intelligence activities. DoD Manual 5240.01, "Procedures Governing the Conduct of DoD Intelligence Activities," authorizes certain members of the intelligence community to collect, retain, or disseminate information about U.S. persons.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response announced a $4.1 million agreement with Hologic Inc. of Marlborough, Massachusetts, to advance the development of a blood screening test that will help detect the presence of Zika in the blood supply.
Following incidents of terrorism or mass violence in the United States, jurisdictions and individuals may be eligible to receive victim assistance directly from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and indirectly from DOJ state victim assistance agencies or other programs. This report focuses solely on assistance available from DOJ's Office for Victims of Crime.
In work that aims to protect soldiers from biological and chemical threats, a team of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists has created a material that is highly breathable yet protective from biological agents. This material is the first key component of futuristic smart uniforms that also will respond to and protect from environmental chemical hazards.
Radiological and nuclear sources pose a wider variety of threats than many realize. By understanding the threat and leveraging federal requirements such as the Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (THIRA), emergency managers can better equip themselves and their communities to prevent, protect against, and respond to incidents related to these threats.
Law enforcement personnel operating in their communities have been trained to report suspicious activity sightings to their headquarters. Firefighters, emergency medical service providers, public health officials, and other first responders have been asked to "Remain Alert for Suspicious Activity." Now, every citizen and visitor plays a critical role in preventing terrorist threats.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate announced that the Next-Generation Incident Command System (NICS) is now available worldwide. NICS is a mobile, web-based communication platform that enables responders on scene at a developing incident to request and receive assistance from remote experts in real time.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is working to combat electronic jamming of first responders' radio communications systems by enhancing jamming prevention, detection and mitigation technologies.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, has launched a clinical trial of a vaccine candidate intended to prevent Zika virus infection. The early-stage study will evaluate the experimental vaccine's safety and ability to generate an immune system response in participants.
The triggering of small, deep earthquakes along California's San Andreas Fault reveals depth-dependent frictional behavior that may provide insight into patterns signaling when a major quake could be on the horizon. The study reports that the deepest part of California's 800-mile-long San Andreas Fault is weaker than expected and produces small earthquakes in response to tidal forces.
A study by University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) life scientists could be a major step toward combating drug-resistant infections. The research found that combinations of three different antibiotics can often overcome bacteria's resistance to antibiotics, even when none of the three antibiotics on their own - or even two of the three together - is effective.
The National Incident Management System (NIMS) is the mandated national framework for emergency incident management. It is a natural derivative of the Incident Command System developed in California after a particularly disastrous wildfire season in 1970. However, there are some notable reasons that it should not be considered the solution for all incidents.
Fire season is in full swing in the driest parts of the United States, and capabilities of National Nuclear Security Administration's (NNSA) laboratories are helping equip firefighters in the battle to save property and environment. A long history of adapting to climate change has prepared NNSA researchers for a cascade of climate-related impacts.