In collaboration with many local, state, and federal partners, the Northwest Tribal Emergency Management Council hosted the 14th Annual Regional Joint Tribal Emergency Preparedness Conference on 1-3 May 2017, at the Suquamish Indian Tribe’s center overlooking dxʷsəq̕ʷəb (“place of the clear salt water” in the Southern Lushootseed language) at Agate Pass in Puget Sound, Washington. Amateur radio operators from Washington, Oregon, California, and Arizona all contributed to the success of this conference.
A top-down approach provides guidance and support from federal agencies to local jurisdictions. A bottom-up approach ensures that local needs are being heard at the top. However, when local agencies are tasked with national security efforts, more guidance and support may be needed from above. It is time to prioritize resources, measure preparedness and response capabilities, and build and support national capabilities locally by redefining homeland security in today’s environment.
Filoviruses (Ebola and Marburg) are highly contagious pathogens, which cause severe and often fatal illness in humans. Health workers are at increased risk of infection because of their close and prolonged contact with severely ill patients with a high viral load. The risk of transmission of Ebola virus can be reduced if appropriate measures are taken, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
It was a no brainer for the HHS Ventures Fund to include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) GHOST project in its latest round of funding. This CDC Ventures team is developing a cloud-based, public health research tool to help state and local health departments more quickly detect and fight the spread of disease.
Vayl S. Oxford, a member of the Senior Executive Service has been named Director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) located on Ft. Belvoir, Virginia. As DTRA Director, he will lead over 2,000 uniformed service members and Department of Defense civilians working on the full spectrum of counter weapons of mass destruction and improvised threat efforts.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened a committee to identify global health priorities in light of current and emerging global health threats and challenges. The resulting report provides recommendations to the U.S. government and other stakeholders for increasing responsiveness, coordination, and efficiency in addressing these threats and challenges by establishing priorities and mobilizing resources.
Six new “Guide Briefs” issued by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) cover planning for hazard events. The documents complement NIST’s Community Resilience Planning Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems, which lays out a six-step process to plan for resilience in the face of natural, technological, and human-caused hazards.
The Secure Schools Alliance Research and Education organization has released the second brief in its new toolkit for K-12 learning institutions and law enforcement – Securing Our Schools – entitled, “Partner Roles and Responsibilities for Securing Our Schools.” This brief discusses school preparedness, threats facing schools, and the critical roles that all segments of the community have in securing schools.
The Secure Schools Alliance Research and Education organization has released the second brief in its new toolkit for K-12 learning institutions and law enforcement – Securing Our Schools – entitled, "Partner Roles and Responsibilities for Securing Our Schools." This brief discusses school preparedness, threats facing schools and the critical roles that all segments of the community have in securing our schools.
On 16 May 2017, DomPrep hosted a podcast recording with a panel of subject matter experts to discuss the topic of federal grant funding. The Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) Program focuses federal funds on dense urban areas where threats and consequences of attacks are significant. By enhancing the planning, training, and resources in these high-risk areas, the nation as a whole is more prepared for terrorist and other threats. By building and sustaining capabilities in these critical areas, all communities benefit. This podcast addresses potential federal budget cuts to the program, but these subject matter experts explain how cuts to the UASI program would be short sighted. As with any program, it has its flaws, but the regional collaborative support capabilities that it builds are an essential component to national homeland security protection. Listen to hear more.
Released by the World Health Organization (WHO), A Strategic Framework for Emergency Preparedness is a unifying framework that identifies the principles and elements of effective emergency health preparedness. It adopts the major lessons of previous initiatives and lays out the planning and implementation process by which countries can determine their priorities and develop or strengthen their operational capacities.
Cherokee Nation’s Emergency Management team is now equipped with the expertise and vehicles to respond to a Type 3-level Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster. As defined by FEMA, a Type 3 team can respond within hours to a natural disaster, a public health emergency, a large-scale crash, or another crisis within tribal boundaries.
Emergent BioSolutions Inc. celebrates the opening of the company’s newly expanded Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing (CIADM) in Baltimore. The facility is one of three centers designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide advanced development and manufacturing of medical countermeasures to support the U.S. government’s national security and public health emergency needs.
In his statement to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Daniel R. Coats, director of national intelligence, offers his assessment of threats to U.S. national security. Some key threats discussed include cyberthreats, emerging and disruptive technologies, and weapons of mass destruction.
Applications are now being accepted for the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security's newest offering, the Emergence Program. This program is for homeland/public safety officials in the early stages of their careers. The deadline for applications is July 28.
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists have developed a new test that's faster, more sensitive and less expensive than current tests in detecting a major foodborne toxin. The bacterium, Staphylococcus aureus, which makes a variety of toxins, is one of the most common causes of food poisoning.
Weathering the Storm, the New Jersey Hospital Association’s Hurricane Planning, Response and Recovery Toolkit is designed to assist healthcare facilities in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from the potential consequences of a hurricane impacting the Garden State. This toolkit focuses on sheltering-in-place and recovery planning.
Water is vital to life. Water and wastewater are taken for granted, with people believing that the faucet will turn on and the toilet will flush – that is, until a disaster. To ensure access to critical resources such as water when needed the most requires understanding the scale and scope of the problem, identifying ways to preserve such lifeline services, and strategizing to best allocate these resources during both disaster and non-disaster times.
The hurricane season and reports of disease outbreaks – domestically and abroad – serve as reminders that there are several threats that communities face at the same time. Creating resilient communities requires an understanding that communities contend with competing priorities, and must find ways to harness their existing strengths to improve their preparedness and response capabilities.
Scientists from the National Institute of Standards and Technology are working to address the first responder hazard of handling unknown powders. They report that two technologies, Ion Mobility Spectrometry and Direct Analysis in Real Time Mass Spectrometry, can detect trace amounts of fentanyl even when mixed with heroin and other substances. This research suggests new ways to protect law enforcement officers, evidence examiners, and drug-sniffing dogs.
Pluristem Therapeutics Inc. announced the results of its non-human primates pilot study for PLX-R18 as a treatment for Acute Radiation Syndrome. The study was designed to assess the safety and efficacy of PLX-R18. Efficacy measures included survival as well as level of bone marrow function, which is affected by exposure to high levels of radiation as may occur in a nuclear accident or attack.
The Division of National Healthcare Preparedness Programs (HPP) has developed the 2017-2022 HPP Performance Measures Implementation Guidance, which is intended to assist awardees and health care coalitions in collecting and reporting on performance measures. HPP is the only source of federal funding for health care delivery system readiness.
A new report by the Social Media for Emergency Services and Disaster Management Advisory Committee, which was established by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate, addresses social media in all aspects of an agency’s emergency preparedness, response and recovery operations, including in the agency’s exercises.
As interdependencies between and among critical infrastructure sectors and the potential for cascading effects increase, communities must be able to recover and adapt to new normals. One organization incorporates research to help enhance communication between sectors by identifying and addressing research gaps. As threats evolve, communities with a solid framework for resilience are better prepared to update plans and adapt to new normals.
Emergency managers (and others) often fail to truly engage and educate their various stakeholders. With numerous competing priorities and a vast array of information outlets to contend with, getting a message to resonate requires more effort than ever before. As such, emergency managers must be willing to over-communicate and explore new ways to educate people. Much like disaster preparedness, communication is an ongoing process that requires a sustained commitment.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has submitted a report to Congress that details current and emerging threats to the federal government’s use of mobile devices and recommends security improvements within the mobile device ecosystem. The DHS Science and Technology Directorate led the study in coordination with the National Institute of Standards and Technology and its National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence.
In November 2014 the Department of Energy established the Grid Modernization Initiative. The initiative aims to deliver fundamental knowledge, new concepts, tools and data to support the nation's journey to modernizing the electric power system infrastructure. Enhanced grid security, grid flexibility via energy storage and improved economic competitiveness are key outcomes of this initiative.
This report describes the comprehensive data analysis of damages that faith-based and nonprofit organizations sustained after Hurricane Sandy and the type of recovery aid available after the storm. The report presents the task force’s recommendations that can be implemented to improve the resilience of neighborhoods by supporting the key community institutions that serve them.
To reduce losses from cybercrime, the DHS Science and Technology Directorate Cyber Security Division funded a new research initiative focused on the best way to alert small businesses to potential threats. The project, Dissect Cyber, is being led by a threat analyst training and alert provider of the same name.
Although major geomagnetic storms are rare, with only a few recorded per century, there is significant potential for large-scale impacts when they do occur. Extreme space weather can be viewed as hazards for the economy and national security. The United States Geological Survey monitors the Earth’s magnetic field at 14 ground-based observatories positioned across the United States and its territories.
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center researchers collaborated with international scientists to understand pathogens responsible for some of the world’s most deadly infectious diseases. The Center for Structural Genomics of Infectious Diseases has determined the 3-D atomic structures of more than 1,000 proteins, which is an important step in identifying and understanding where a pathogen might be vulnerable to assault by drugs or vaccines.
As in any community, a solid network of partnerships is needed to address the specific needs of its community members. Native American and Alaska Native populations span the nation, but face similar preparedness challenges. To address resilience gaps, a public-private sector collaborative approach was used to create a tool as a foundational document for community outreach by tribal stakeholders, as well as tribal emergency managers and others to train new staff.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated its guidelines for preventing influenza pandemic, which focus on nonpharmaceutical strategies to reduce the spread of disease. These strategies fall into three categories: personal protective measures, community measures, and environmental measures.
The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate collaborated with Customs and Border Protection and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center to develop tools that can help optimize imposter detection training. The most recent capability to transition is called “Eye-dentify,” which is an imposter detection training technology.