The recent Ebola epidemic in West Africa highlighted the need for better global preparedness and response to disease outbreaks. To help address that need in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has established a new program to strengthen the research capacity to study Ebola, Lassa fever, yellow fever and other emerging viral diseases.
A new Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health study was the first to look at dementia as a potential health risk in the aftermath of a disaster. The study looked at elderly people who were uprooted from damaged or destroyed homes and who lost touch with their neighbors after the 2011 tsunami in Japan.
An unprecedented 40-year experiment in a 40,000-acre valley of Yosemite National Park strongly supports the idea that managing fire, rather than suppressing it, makes wilderness areas more resilient to fire, with the added benefit of increased water availability and resistance to drought.
The shark is one of the oldest species on Earth, dating back more than 450 million years. Shark antibodies, now being used in new research funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Joint Science and Technology Office, provide an alternative, cost-effective approach to developing diagnostic and therapeutic tools for increased warfighter protection from chemical and biological threats.
FEMA Region III has released a podcast on the National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF) to help explain how the program works toward the goal of working with and supporting communities’ long-term recovery. The podcast is a great way to learn more about the framework, roles, responsibilities and objectives.
On 7 June 2016, the Cambridge (Massachusetts) Police Department conducted a law enforcement officer training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to help bridge the understanding gap between officers and the citizens they serve. The training included more than 20 Cambridge career police officers and more than 15 representatives from collaborating local service providers.
On 16 August 2016, David Mitchell, chief of police and director of public safety for the University of Maryland, led a roundtable discussion at the College Park campus on the topic of active shooters and lone wolves. This article summarizes that discussion, which addressed various topics related to active shooters, explosives, lone wolves, terrorism, and related mental health concerns.
by International Association of Emergency Managers -
The International Association of Emergency Manager (IAEM) Think Tank on 17 October 2016 focused on active shooter situations from the emergency management perspective. The event was held at the IAEM Annual Conference, with over 250 people attending in person, many on the webinar, and even more over the phone.
Various drills and exercises highlight efforts to protect communities against various types of attacks involving transportation, buildings, historic sites, sporting events, and so on. Attacks and hostage-taking incidents around the world expose vulnerabilities that need to be assessed in all communities to determine: what they need to drill, who they need to train, and how they will collaborate across jurisdictions.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has increased by $44.25 million the Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) cooperative agreements for all-hazards preparedness efforts in 2016 and 2017. The funds will go to a total of 62 jurisdictions, including US states, cities, and territories.
The threat of bioterrorism, the use of biological agents to cause mass casualty, is one of the greatest and fastest-moving threats facing the world. As global leaders consider policies to control the development and deployment of new and increasingly dangerous technologies, it falls on scientists to play an immediate and significant role in nonproliferation actions.
Extreme space weather events, which could significantly degrade critical infrastructure, could disable large portions of the electrical power grid, resulting in cascading failures that would affect key services. Successfully preparing for space weather events is an all-of-nation endeavor that requires partnerships across governments, emergency managers, academia, the media, the insurance industry, non-profits, and the private sector.
The CDC ensures the health, safety, and security of the American people. CDC scientists and public health experts are world leaders at responding to large-scale health emergencies such as natural disasters, pandemics, deliberate attacks, environmental catastrophes, and other health threats.
Paratek Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced it has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases to study omadacycline against pathogenic agents causing infectious diseases of public health and biodefense importance. These studies are designed to confirm humanized dosing regimens and efficacy of omadacycline against biodefense pathogens, including plague and anthrax.
The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have developed new potential vaccines that protect animals against the bacteria that causes the deadly plague. These findings are detailed in NPJ Vaccines. The World Health Organization has categorized the bacteria responsible for plague, Yersinia pestis, as a re-emerging pathogen because of the rising number of human plague cases globally.
In June 2016, Orlando, Florida, saw the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history. Although the shooter was known to law enforcement before the attack that killed 49 and injured more than 50 others, knowledge of extreme views or malevolent intent is often not enough to prevent a future attack months or even years in the future.
In the United States, First Amendment rights protect the privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties of citizens. However, in the absence of legal requirements for establishing prior probable cause or reasonable suspicion when reporting suspicious behavior, questions arise about the degree to which the suspicious activity reporting, Nationwide SAR Initiative, and Information Sharing Environment (SAR-NSI-ISE) process safeguards those making reports.
To help save people and better prepare the nation for the health impacts of a large-scale nuclear or radiological emergency, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) will sponsor late-stage development of two tests that can determine how much radiation a person’s body has absorbed.
Preparing for and responding to public health emergencies require involvement of the governor’s office – which coordinates and organizes the response – and multiple state agencies, such as public health, homeland security, and emergency management. This National Governors Association paper details actions governors can take to improve preparedness and response to public health emergencies.
The delivery of essential services relies increasingly on a complex, interconnected system of critical infrastructure. Ensuring these interdependent systems continue to operate during disasters is crucial to maintaining public health and safety. The National Science Foundation (NSF) announces new investments to promote better understanding and functioning of these infrastructures in an effort to improve their resilience.
Federal agencies, which the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) surveyed, generally use land mobile radio (LMR) equipment to meet their core missions, such as public safety, emergency management, or firefighting. In this report, GAO examined federal agencies' LMR interoperability and procurement practices.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded cooperative agreements totaling $350,000 to strengthen the ability of healthcare and public health sector partners to respond to cybersecurity threats. The agreements will foster the development of a more vibrant cyber information-sharing ecosystem within the healthcare and public health sectors.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) announced the selection of 10 startup companies to be part of EMERGE 2016: Wearable Technology, a program designed to bring startups, accelerators, and other strategic partners together in a common research and development effort. The program is focused on wearable technology that can be modified specifically for first responders.
The phrase “It’s not if, but when” may distort how certain organizations perceive emergency preparedness, especially in cases such as active shooter threats. This common expression leads to inaccurate threat perceptions and can result in leaders becoming complacent. Emergency managers should be aware of this potential odd pairing of a sense of inevitability with complacency, and be prepared to counter it.
Law enforcement and healthcare organizations – including emergency medical services (EMS), trauma centers, and other hospitals – have a common mission in active shooter attacks: saving lives. Law enforcement stops the shooter, healthcare stops the bleeding, but both must work together to ensure early access to victims and their rapid evacuation.
Meggitt Training Systems will debut a new use-of-force simulation solution at the 2016 International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) annual conference and exposition to be held in the San Diego Convention Center on October 15-18, 2016. The FATS® 100LE and entry-level FATS L7 LITE simulators offer law enforcement departments a clear choice based on their training requirements and budgets.
As part of its mission to help protect Americans’ health following even the most unthinkable of disasters, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response is purchasing two medical products to treat bone marrow injuries in victims of radiological or nuclear incidents.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and America’s Public Television Stations (APTS) have signed an agreement that will enable them to leverage both organizations’ strengths and resources to benefit the first responder community. The agreement will make datacasting technology available nationwide.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate has awarded a $494.7 million contract to the RAND Corporation to operate and manage a new federally funded research and development center known as the Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center. The center will conduct studies and assessments and make recommendations to strengthen homeland security for the nation.
The first potential antidote to treat the life-threatening effects of chlorine inhalation, a potential terrorism threat, will advance in development under a contract between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) and Radikal Therapeutics Inc. of Beverly, Massachusetts.
The U.S. Department of Justice awarded CNA grants totaling nearly $7 million to continue providing training and technical assistance to law enforcement. Through this program, CNA helps law enforcement officials conduct body-worn camera pilot programs, collaboratively develop body-worn camera policies, procure and purchase cameras, determine storage solutions for video files, and collaborate with prosecutors to use the footage.
Schools, colleges, and universities are diverse communities that present especially challenging situations. Safety officials know that they have to be extremely well prepared for a vast array of potentially difficult situations that can spiral. Fortunately, many resources exist to help communities prepare for such dangerous scenarios.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released an updated online climate change risk assessment tool that assists users in designing adaptation plans based on the types of threats confronting their communities. EPA's Climate Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool (CREAT) is designed for water utilities.
Mass casualty decontamination is an intervention employed by first responders at the scene of an incident involving noxious contaminants. This report reviews decontamination guidance for emergency responders and associated research evidence, in order to establish the extent to which psychosocial aspects of casualty management have been considered within these documents.
After a 45-year partnership with the U.S. Army, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) formally accepted primary responsibility for the Hazardous Devices School at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama, the facility that trains and certifies every one of the nation's public safety bomb technicians.