Updates

Puerto Rico’s Recovery Brings Opportunity to Improve

As 2018 ends, Puerto Rico’s transformation from hurricanes Irma and Maria has pivoted toward making the island stronger and more resilient. The island’s long-term recovery envisions enhanced infrastructure and communities more capable of withstanding events like the 2017 hurricanes. The government of Puerto Rico and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have collaborated on several recovery projects that meet these objectives.

Senate Votes to Authorize the DHS Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen released the following statement after the U.S. Senate passed the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Act of 2018 (H.R. 7213). This legislation permanently establishes the Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD) Office within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), granting it needed authorities to protect the American people against evolving WMD threats.

Fighting Fire with Fuel Treatments: A Shared Stewardship Approach

Each year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service uses prescribed fire and mechanical treatments to limit the potential for extreme fire activity on national forests. National forest fire and fuels programs were designed to reduce and remove excess vegetation. Years of research confirms that these treatments result in better fire suppression outcomes and help firefighters in their response efforts.

Pandemic Influenza Vaccine: An Investment in Preparedness That Lasts More Than a Decade

As part of the nation’s overall pandemic preparedness strategy, HHS set a preparedness goal of establishing and maintaining a stockpile of bulk vaccine antigen and adjuvants for influenza viruses with pandemic potential to vaccinate 26 million people immediately after a pandemic is declared. The results of the “BARDA Ready In Times of Emergency” (BRITE) study has determined that the H5N1 influenza vaccine stored for more than a decade in the National Pre-Pandemic Influenza Vaccine Stockpile (NPIVS) is still safe and immunogenic.

VitalTag Delivers Faster Response Time for Paramedics

When mass casualty incidents occur, emergency medical technicians and paramedics need a way to easily monitor multiple patients on scene, receive notifications when vital signs change for the worse, and share that information with everyone who needs it. The first solution targeting medical responders – called VitalTag – began development about 18 months ago and is now past the prototype stage.

Partner Alliance for Safer Schools Releases New Safety and Security Guidelines for K-12 Schools

The Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS) released the fourth edition of its Safety and Security Guidelines for K-12 Schools, which provides school administrators, school boards, and public safety and security professionals with guidelines for implementing a layered and tiered approach to securing and enhancing the safety of school environments.

Friendly Electromagnetic Pulse Improves Survival for Electronics

An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) emitted by a nuclear weapon exploded high above the United States could disable the electronic circuits of many devices vital to military defense and modern living. Military equipment designs – and some civilian designs as well – have been tested and improved by a “friendly” EMP generator installed at Sandia National Laboratories.

Four Ways to Enhance Language Access During Disaster Response and Recovery

A checklist, which was developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response in partnership with the HHS Office for Civil Rights, includes recommendations, specific action steps, and effective practices to assist emergency responders in communicating with various populations who have communication needs. The checklist also includes additional federal resources and tools for first responders.

TSA Releases Cybersecurity Roadmap

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) released its Cybersecurity Roadmap, which will guide efforts to prioritize cybersecurity measures within TSA and across the transportation systems sector. The roadmap is the agency’s first, and closely aligns with the DHS Cybersecurity Strategy published earlier in 2018. It stresses the inextricable risks to critical cyber and physical transportation infrastructure, and provides a way forward to improve and protect the systems from threats.

Coast Guard, DHS S&T Venture Into Space With Polar Scout Launch

Coast Guard Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation Program – in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) – launched two 6U CubeSats from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The launch is part of the Polar Scout project to evaluate the effectiveness of space-based sensors in support of Arctic search and rescue missions. Knowledge gained from this demonstration will be used to inform satellite technology recommendations for many potential applications within the Coast Guard and across DHS.