Disaster Preparedness | Emergency Response

Featured Videos

Dubhe Beinhorn describes AtHoc, Inc, winner of GSN’s 2012 award for “Best Mass Notification Solutions,” as a company that operates in one sector only: critical communications for crisis management....

News

Thu, 2013-11-14 03:38 PM
FEMA anticipates that its Emergency Management Institute, which educates first responders, will hear from more than two million individuals each year who are interested in the Institute’s independent...
Mon, 2013-11-11 02:28 PM
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is looking for new members for two advisory groups that might be of interest to the readers of Government Security News: the Information...
Fri, 2013-11-08 07:45 PM
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has issued its analysis of a specific piece of legislation, H.R. 1791, the Medical Preparedness Allowable Use Act, and determined that because the money cited in...
Wed, 2013-11-06 04:24 PM
In order to be able to maintain satellite connectivity at disaster sites, even when the local telecommunications infrastructure has been destroyed or compromised, FEMA wants to extend an existing...
Tue, 2013-11-05 02:30 PM
Government Security News has announced its 2013 Homeland Security Awards finalists, and in some cases preemptive winners, in three different broad awards categories: Vendors of IT security products...
Fri, 2013-11-01 06:57 PM

Hurricane Sandy struck
Coney Island, Brooklyn

Three suspects who schemed to bilk the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the wake of Super Storm Sandy have been arrested and charged with fraud following an investigation by agents of...
Thu, 2013-10-31 06:08 PM

Hurricane Sandy
strikes New Jersey

One year and one week after Hurricane Sandy blasted the Northeast, a Senate Homeland Security subcommittee will hold a hearing to study the aftermath of that mega-storm, in a session entitled, One...
Wed, 2013-10-30 06:11 PM

L. Eric Patterson,
Director of FPS

A handful of senior DHS officials trooped up to Capitol Hill on October 30 to explain to a House subcommittee on oversight and management efficiency what the department is doing to protect employees...
Wed, 2013-10-30 04:02 PM

TAC 700 launcher
from Pepperball

Immigration and Customs Enforcement, better known as ICE, plans to make a sole-source purchase for the Federal Protective Service (FPS) from Pepperball Technologies, Inc., of San Diego, CA, of “less...
Wed, 2013-10-30 03:20 PM

Bus evacuation
exercise by FEMA

When a disaster strikes, it is sometimes vital to evacuate the local population from the affected area by using commercial buses.
Tue, 2013-10-29 03:21 PM
DHS is planning a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business set-aside contract for a vendor to provide laboratory support for the animal disease countermeasures work taking place at the Plum...
Mon, 2013-10-28 06:58 PM
The Coast Guard Research and Development Center (RDC) led a team of engineers and scientists from multiple Coast Guard units, other federal agencies, and universities in evaluating methods to detect...

Company News

Oshkosh Airport Products Group, a division of Oshkosh Corp., has delivered three Oshkosh Striker 4 x 4 aircraft rescue and fire fighting (ARFF) vehicles to New Guinea’s National Airports Corp., a state aviation enterprise owned by the people of Papua New Guinea. 

The U.S. Forest Service is testing airborne imaging technology it got from NASA in 2012 that can be mounted to unmanned and manned aircraft to prepare for this year's wildfire season in the western U.S.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. will receive a $3.5 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to advance the development of its next generation DNA vaccine delivery device capable of simultaneously administering multiple synthetic vaccines via skin surface electroporation.

Once unmanned aerial vehicles are integrated into U.S. airspace plans, the unmanned aircraft industry will generate 70,000 - 100,000 new jobs, according to a study released by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI)

CoroWare Technologies has signed a membership agreement with the National Science Foundation (NSF) Safety, Security, and Rescue Research Center (SSR-RC) along with the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Charlotte to participate in cooperative research on advanced robotics for homeland security, health care, and search and rescue.

McLean, VA-based Science Applications International Corporation was awarded a prime contract by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide exercise design and control support services to the FEMA National Exercise Division (NED) to enrich the National Exercise Program (NEP).

The company said on Nov. 15 that the single-award, cost-plus fixed-fee contract has a one-year base period of performance, four one-year options, and a total contract value of approximately $39 million, if all options are exercised.  

Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. expanded its existing license agreement on Nov. 14 with the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), adding worldwide rights to technology and intellectual property for novel synthetic vaccines against potential biodefense pathogens, cancer, and infectious diseases.

The technologies were developed by UPenn Professor David Weiner and collaborators. Dr. Weiner is a pioneer in the field of DNA vaccines, and chairman of Inovio's scientific advisory board. All newly licensed products are in preclinical development, said the company.

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Israel has sent the only foreign team to DARPA’s Robotics Challenge aimed at developing a disaster response robot.

Commentary and Opinions

From the time it capsized at a refinery dock in Texas City, the listing barge -- loaded with 235,000 gallons of sulfuric acid -- began seeping its toxic, corrosive load into the 30-foot-deep waterway.

The water mixing with sulfuric acid inside the hull had begun to corrode the steel. This process reduced the barge’s structural integrity and created reactions inside the sealed compartment that generated a cloud of highly-flammable, highly-pressurized hydrogen gas -- just one spark away from a calamitous blast.

It was time for new plan.

Most people who are involved in emergency management are aware of the four primary phases of emergency management: prevention/mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.

Recovery includes short-term measures taken to restore essential functions and systems, as well as longer-term activities intended to facilitate a return to pre-emergency conditions, or ideally to improve conditions through mitigation measures. I will focus on early recovery; the short-term phase.

The frantic phone calls arrived on the leading edge of Hurricane Irene’s assault on the East Coast.

“We are out of flares and need to re-stock fast.”

“Can we drive to you and pick them up at your warehouse?”

“Do you have distributors or retailers in our area and do they have stock?”

When natural disasters strike or catastrophic man-made events occur, existing infrastructure is often disrupted or compromised; power and communications frequently fail and personal contact can become difficult. Rural areas may become isolated and urban areas impassible and dangerous. Maintaining civil order, implementing evacuations, conducting rescue operations and providing relief distribution becomes highly problematic.  

Facilitating communication with acoustic hailing devices (AHDs)

With new emphasis being placed on data protection due to the broken state of backup – as well as budget cuts -- there needs to be an increased focus on data reliability and recoverability while adding value back into the agency itself.

Backing up data to a physical tape is just not viable due to the amount of data and the speed and flexibility with which data must be recovered.

Agencies are implementing disks into their IT infrastructure. However, before taking this step, chief technology officers must first ask and answer these questions:

 

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Recent Disaster Preparedness Videos

Stephen Meer, one of the founders of Intrado, Inc of Denver, Colorado, indicates that his company provides services and products to the 9-1-1 infrastructure, which he says is a very complicated ecosystem with lots of different constituent groups. The 9-1-1 infrastructure is like an iceberg, he says, with a little piece that delivers services to the public that is above the water line, and a massive infrastructure under the water line that supports it in operating seamlessly, continuously, dealing with all the regulations and issues in the world of public safety communications.

Mike Bostic of Raytheon points out that he spent 34 years as an Assistant Chief in the LAPD, where he worked about a third of that time in technology  and communications. And one thing he learned from his LAPD experience is that everything the military needs, so does public safety. But Raytheon is in the business of solving operational problems rather than selling boxes and devices, he says, and as a systems integrator the company sells solutions to specific sets of problems.

Kevin Madden discusses the nation’s first demonstrated multi-vendor interoperable Public Safety Long Term Evolution (LTE) network, which was deployed by a consortium of companies including Cisco and Raytheon during the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL.

Spillman Technologies is a vendor of public safety software used by law enforcement, fire and emergency management agencies, according to Dave Snyder. The company provides an integrated solution and specializes in multi-jurisdictional assignments involving agencies that want to collaborate with other agencies with information systems in large geographic areas. Snyder points out that the company has been in business for almost 30 years and has an extraordinary degree of stability, and its customers can count on major upgrades each year at no cost.

ESRI is the innovator of GIS, or Geographic Information Systems, which Paul Christin describes as a way of managing information and understanding it geographically, or plotting information, visualizing the data, and analyzing the dots to make sense out of the data. The company sells to 40 verticals, one of which is homeland security. Christin describes how GIS technology is used for planning major events, such as political conventions or the recent NATO conference in Chicago.

New Products

Add Jerusalem-based Identa Corp. to the handful of companies that issued statements in the wake of the failed...

Legalzoom.com, an online legal service, and Donate Life America (DLA), a non-profit organization, have created and are offering ICE App, intended to help users input the compreh...

Cambridge, MA-based MetaCarta, Inc., a provider of geographic search solutions, has announced the launch...

Waukesha, WI-based Magnasphere reports that its new high-security sensor, HSS, has completed its UL inspections and is r...