Federal spending on public health emergency preparedness, response, and recovery has been falling since 2005, and Congress is now considering how much to spend in the 2016 fiscal year. The final spending figure will play a key role in determining how well the American people are protected from disease, injury, and death in times of emergency.
Sir Earnest Benn, political publisher and British baronet (1875-1954) once said that, "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy." For school safety and security, the stakes of getting it wrong are too high to simply let the normal political process play out.
From a presidential executive order to comprehensive workforce protection, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's infectious disease protection process is constantly evolving. The department's centralized guidance/decentralized execution planning paradigm with reliance on a robust lessons learned process ensures an increasingly resilient workforce against biological threats and hazards.
Following a disaster, communities, tribes, and states typically experience years of rebuilding and recovery work. Understanding the presidential disaster declaration process and how to access supplemental disaster relief funds helps to speed the recovery efforts and potentially build back even better than before the incident.
Resilience, a central element in any recovery, is established before potentially disastrous events. Twenty-one federally sponsored risk methods and tools were screened for possible use as the core of a defensible, repeatable risk/resilience management process that would capture the greatest benefits for available budgets. None was fully ready for this role, but several hold promise for further improvement.
When planning and training for major disasters, communities often place more emphasis on the response rather than the recovery effort. However, it is critical that the recovery effort begins concurrent to the response in order for communities to be more resilient. New York City recognized this need and exercised one of its recovery plans.
In an ever-changing biological environment, laboratory support is necessary to help responders identify, categorize, and manage incidents involving biological threats. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is one source that provides valuable testing data to help today's first responders collect, screen, identify, and ultimately protect against such threats.
When a seemingly unrealistic incident occurs, emergency managers must be equipped with the base knowledge necessary to respond to the previously unknown scenario. Acronyms are a good way to remember what to do when stress levels are high and time is short. By getting back to the basics, managers are better equipped to respond and to protect their communities.
Managing one large-scale special event can be a public safety challenge for any jurisdiction. However, when multiple events and hundreds of thousands of people converge in one area, communications between public safety officials is critical. Using the Homeland Security Information Network, officials in the greater Phoenix area kept the lines of communication open.
Cybercommunications 101: How to deploy an effective cybercommunications program as part of an emergency, disaster recovery, and business continuity effort. As more common, daily-use devices become automated, the risk of cybersabbotage increases, so planners must take measures to prevent harm to their efforts, personnel, agencies, and organizations.