NICE has announced that the Air and Marine Operations Center (AMOC), the operational and domain awareness center for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Office of Air and Marine (OAM), has implemented NICE solutions to record and manage mission-critical voice communications used for investigations and debriefing.
Office of Health Affairs (OHA) Assistant Secretary and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Alexander Garza discusses the four strategic goals of the OHA and how the fiscal year (FY) 2013 budget request will support these efforts. The OHA provides health and medical expertise in support of the DHS mission to prepare for, respond to, and recover from all threats.
The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service and the International Association of Fire Chiefs, announces the release of Your Role in Fire-Adapted Communities Guide. This guide promotes a holistic approach to wildland fire risk reduction in the wildland urban interface and addresses the actions needed to improve individual and community safety.
The huge budget problems now facing the nation are on a collision course with the rapidly escalating possibility of new CBRN incidents and events that could devastate entire communities. A distinguished former Department of Defense program official puts the dilemma into context and provides several useful guidelines to follow.
The numbers are staggering - U.S. subway systems carry literally billions of passengers every year, while all of the nation's airlines combined carry less than one billion! Today, airline passenger screening is routine, and reasonably thorough. However, there is little if any screening of subway passengers, making subways an easier target for a possible terrorist attack.
The recent upgrading of the Defense Department's former CBRN Consequence Management Response Force means that states, cities, and smaller communities throughout the country will have much greater medical response capabilities - personnel as well as equipment - than was ever before possible.
In the 21st century, combatting terrorism could be as simple as seeing something and saying something. Suspicious activity may signify terrorist activity, but that can only be determined if the right information gets into the right hands. Listen to W. Ross Ashley's audio roundtable discussion on the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative (NSI), which presents a key business process for protecting the nation against future terrorist threats.
There are several "known" unknowns - namely, how to develop, produce, and deploy chemical and biological weapons that are more toxic than ever before possible. There also are some "unknown" unknowns, the most important of which is this: Where are the tons of chemical weapons that disappeared from Libya's reported and unreported stockpiles?
Draeger is introducing an innovative, fully integrated communication system called the FPS-COM-PLUS that is specifically designed for the Draeger FPS 7000 full face mask. Developed for use by firefighters and first responders, the new communication unit provides the clearest voice transmission, even under extreme emergency conditions.
The new ChemProDM (ChemPro Detector Module) is a compact module for the detection and classification of vapors released from Toxic Industrial Chemicals (TICs) and Chemical Warfare Agents (CWAs). The ChemProDM's compact package includes mounting flanges for vehicles, robot mounting, or incorporation into Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) systems.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has launched TSA PreCheck operations at the Ronald Reagan Washington National (DCA) and Chicago O'Hare International (ORD) airports. In addition, active-duty service members in the U.S. Armed Forces are now eligible to receive the same expedited screening benefits when flying out of DCA as part of TSA PreCheck. TSA has worked closely with the Department of Defense to implement these screening procedures for service members.
First responders in Miami-Dade County, Florida, are on the air with 700 MHz Band 14 LTE and are poised to take advantage of the benefits of next-generation wireless broadband technology, provided by Harris Corporation. The program, one of the first of its kind, demonstrates the potential for real-time access to databases and video for the 35 municipalities of Miami-Dade - putting integrated, mission-specific information into the hands of Miami-Dade County police officers who respond, on average, to roughly 12 million calls each month.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed that companies be required to report to EPA all new uses, including in domestic or imported products, of five groups of potentially harmful chemicals. This action is part of EPA's work to ensure chemical safety in order to protect Americans' health and the environment.
Even the best trained and most highly motivated responders can be no better than their equipment. This means that the search for and purchase of the best equipment available must always be a top priority for senior management with critical decision-making responsibilities.
President Barack Obama has released his executive order on national defense resources preparedness. The United States must have an industrial and technological base capable of meeting national defense requirements and capable of contributing to the technological superiority of its national defense equipment in peacetime and in times of national emergency.
Success in any field of human endeavor usually requires not only education and training but also having at hand the best "tools" available to do the job - no matter what that job entails. In hazmat or CBRNE incidents, the tools used by emergency responders include a broad array of detection, analysis, and identification devices, an uncommon degree of common sense, and a healthy awareness of the many dangers and possible pitfalls usually involved.
The so-called "standardization" of equipment is intended to lower costs, simplify procurement decisions, and also improve training and operational capabilities - theoretically, at least. When the standards previously approved are not followed, though, or are simply ignored, new and complex difficulties follow in short order. When those difficulties complicate CBRNE operations, the results could be almost cosmic in nature.
Avon Protection is reaching out to all law enforcement and emergency service departments, currently unable to purchase or upgrade safety critical respiratory protection for their dedicated teams, by offering an affordable means of bridging budget shortfalls. This initiative, Avon promises, will make the re-equipping a simple and highly cost-effective process while ensuring that vital public emergency services are not diminished or personnel safety standards jeopardized.
More than 60,000 emergency responders across 37 states have received training, provided by TRANSCAER® (Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response), in the safe handling and distribution of anhydrous ammonia. The Anhydrous Ammonia Training Tour is the first nationwide, product-specific training module of its kind.
Foodborne disease outbreaks caused by imported food appeared to rise in 2009 and 2010, and nearly half of the outbreaks implicated foods imported from areas that previously had not been associated with outbreaks, according to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Officials said it is too early to determine if the recent numbers obtained pertaining to foodborne illness represent a trend; however, the CDC will continue to monitor for future outbreaks.
The Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and AmeriCorps Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) have announced an innovative partnership designed to continue to strengthen the nation's ability to respond to and recover from disasters while expanding career opportunities for young people.
"Private organizations across the country play a vital role in bolstering our disaster preparedness and response capabilities," said Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. "I commend AT&T for achieving PS-Prep certification, and encourage other private sector partners to work with the PS-Prep program to further enhance the readiness and resiliency of our Nation."
From the Pre-Colonial Era to the present, America has been a nation of volunteers. The tradition of neighbors helping neighbors is probably more important today, though, than ever before. The cost of dealing with a "relatively minor" CBRNE incident is prohibitively expensive, and it is likely to be years before, if ever, current budgetary restrictions can be eased even slightly.
In today's increasingly complex and ever more dangerous world, EMS units in U.S. communities both large and small are learning to cope with a broad spectrum of mass-casualty incidents and events never before encountered by their predecessors. Here are a few common-sense cost, training, political, legal, and operational suggestions that should help.
The American Red Cross (ARC) and Dell have launched a new Digital Operations Center, believed to be the first social media-based operation devoted to humanitarian relief, demonstrating the growing importance of social media in emergency situations. The ARC also announced establishment of a Digital Volunteer program to help respond to questions from and provide information to the public during disasters.
"The need to securely share actionable, timely, and relevant classified information among state, local, tribal, and private sector partners in support of homeland security is critical as we work together to address evolving threats," said Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. "This directive strengthens this effort by instilling uniformity and consistency in the application of security standards when classified information is shared."
With the potential to kill thousands in a single attack, chemical warfare agents have been an ongoing threat to nations around the world since World War I. Although efforts have been made to reduce the production and stockpiling of these deadly chemicals, there remains a need not only to stockpile effective antidotes, but also to train and equip the medical community to combat such disasters.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are once again partnering for National Flood Safety Awareness Week, March 12-16. This is a time for individuals, families, businesses and communities to understand their risk for flooding and take precautions to protect their families and homes in the event of flooding.
Battelle has been awarded a contract to manufacture 140 Chemical Vapor Sampling Systems at Battelle's Production and Field Support (PFS) facility in Dublin, Ohio. The systems sample chemical vapor in air at designated locations and store it in canisters that are then taken to Gold Star Laboratories for confirmatory analysis.
With so many citizens planning to enjoy the upcoming spring and summer travel season, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is reminding travelers to be properly prepared by, among other things, educating themselves on the rules and regulations related to international travel.
Universal Detection Technology has unveiled the first-generation smartphone application for its RadSmart Device. The RadSmart is designed to detect radiation levels on surfaces, and in food, and, via bluetooth, to automatically send the collected data to a smartphone.
"The United States works on the frontline of livestock animal health research to defend against foreign animal, emerging, and zoonotic diseases that could threaten the U.S. livestock industry, food supply, and public health," said Homeland Security Under Secretary for Science and Technology Tara O'Toole. "To address Congressional requirements, this detailed, updated risk assessment reaffirms that we can build a safe and secure facility to meet this important mission."
All or almost all suicides are personal tragedies by definition, regardless of the circumstances involved. A rapidly growing number, though, are becoming public dangers as well, with first responders and hospital staff among the most likely to become secondary casualties. All of which translates into a new set of mandatory precautions that must be taken, new lessons to be learned and followed, and additional rules and regulations to be observed.
Ready to Wear - When There Is No Time to Spare! That is, or should be, the slogan of the far-sighted and foresighted PPE clothing and equipment manufacturers who recognize that there is absolutely no time that can be wasted when a CBRN incident occurs and that first responders must see to their own safety before they can protect the lives of others.
The SCape CO/CBRN Escape Mask has received the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) seal of approval. This leading technology respirator is the only one of its kind that meets the stringent NIOSH standards for an escape respirator with 30 minute duration that can be used for CBRN and Carbon Monoxide protection.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Air Force Reserve will host a series of public events from March 12 to 17 in six communities in Mexico and the Caribbean to encourage residents to prepare for the 2012 hurricane season which begins June 1.
In the outcome of a highly competitive selection process, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) has identified Upp Technology as a preferred IT Project and Staff Augmentation partner. The BCBSA provides multi-level support for 39 national BCBS healthcare plans, coordinating all initiatives in over 165 countries and territories throughout the world. Upp Technology currently holds the distinction of being one of a very few carefully selected preferred vendors whose services are made available to all BCBS plans.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has recognized the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) as one of 17 rail and mass transit agencies from across the nation that earned TSA's highest rating of "Gold Standard" on the agency's most recent Baseline Assessment for Security Enhancement (BASE) in recognition of the Authority's dedication to building a strong security program.
Avon Protection has announced that its C50 configurable mask has been sourced by the Malayan Police as part of its civil riot upgrade program. Designed to give optimum respiratory protection to law enforcement and police teams, the Avon C50 provides complete next-generation CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear) protection and is a widely sourced mask for first-line defense scenarios.
FluMist Quadrivalent, a vaccine to prevent seasonal influenza in people ages 2 years through 49 years, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). FluMist Quadrivalent is the first influenza vaccine to contain four strains of the influenza virus - two of them influenza A strains, and two of them influenza B strains.