Preparedness

U Visas – A Hidden Homeland Security Vulnerability

by Robert C. Hutchinson -

Immigration continues to be a relevant yet sensitive topic of discussion. Some of the most concerning immigration issues may be the ones that are more complex and not well understood by lawmakers, law enforcement, or the public. This complexity increases opportunities for abuse of an important immigration process, which then creates a significant vulnerability that is not fully appreciated until it is too late.

Excess Equipment Sales & Potential National Security Threats

by James M. Rush -

Recent terror attacks have demonstrated that the modus operandi for terrorists to attack innocent people is to use whatever tools can easily be obtained. Some agencies and companies may inadvertently sell or donate the very equipment terrorists use to kill people and endanger national security. This proposal offers a barrier to terrorists wishing to exploit the healthcare, public health, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries in the area of excess equipment.

Mass Fatality Research – New York & Beyond

by Katie Joel & Terry Hastings -

Low-probability, high-consequence situations, such as mass fatality events, often stress or overwhelm local response capabilities within a very short timeframe. The ability to handle these situations differs greatly depending on the size of the jurisdiction affected and its readily available resources. New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Research conducted research to address this issue.

Indiana’s Emergency Response Guidelines for School Safety

by Robert Quinn -

The 2016 Legislative Session of the Indiana General Assembly passed Senate Enrolled Act 147 requiring the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) to establish minimum standards and approve best practices no later than 1 July 2017 for a school emergency response system. The new guidelines are helping to improve school safety and security across the state and offer a template for other states to consider when reviewing and updating their emergency response systems.

Protecting the Homeland From Nefarious Drone Use

by Richard Schoeberl & Kendall J. Smith -

Rezwan Ferdaus, a U.S. citizen and graduate of Northeastern University, was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 2011 for supporting al-Qaida and plotting to fly a motorized airplane – loaded with explosives and controlled by a global positioning system (GPS) – into the U.S. Capitol Building and the Pentagon. Though the FBI insists the public was “never in danger,” the threat of a terrorist attack via unmanned aircraft system (UAS) technology is increasing. If someone other than FBI undercover agents supplied explosives to Ferdaus, the story would have been very different.

Chemical Attack on Public Transport – A Likely Scenario

by Zamawang Almemar -

Some experts say that a chemical attack plot on Western public transportation systems such as this one is inevitable: It is 0753 on a Tuesday morning at the busy red line subway station in Washington, D.C. The Islamic State group (IS) just claimed responsibility for a chemical attack that took place there by three IS supporters (two males and one female) about half past the hour. The Metrorail transportation staff and first responders are rushing to care for the victims of what seems to be a sulfur mustard attack.

Staying “PRIMED” for a Radiation Event

by Grant Coffey -

Chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive (CBRNE) events are low in frequency, but high in consequence, requiring a frequent and more targeted emphasis on the way that responders train and learn. Radiation is often not well understood. It can be intimidating for both the public and for first responders. Radiation cannot be seen, smelled, or heard. Yet, risk is relatively easy to mitigate when responders have been adequately trained and equipped.

Prioritizing Life Safety While Addressing Classroom Security

by Lori Greene -

As school districts across the country provide an effective level of security within budgetary constraints, dozens of new retrofit security devices are being marketed to enhance the safety and security of students and teachers. Although the price tag for some of these security methods may be attractive, there are also significant life-safety implications to consider.

Three Storms Demonstrate Five Forms of Flooding

by John Englander -

Flooding results from three primary forces: rainfall, coastal storm surge, and rising sea level, made even worse with by runoff and extreme tides. Recently, hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria showcased the new environmental conditions the world faces as well as the devastating damage that can occur when any combination of these flood types converges on a built community constructed without adequately addressing the increasing threats.

Animals in Distress: A Community Preparedness Checklist

by Lacie Davis & Richard Green -

Recent studies have shown that pets have the ability to relieve stress, provide purpose, and give unconditional love and support to those who need them. This profound connection is referred to as the “human-animal bond.” During an emergency or disaster, this bond is exhibited with the great lengths people go to both remain with and save their pets, including putting themselves and others at risk. A new tool addresses this gap.