Disaster Preparedness | Emergency Response

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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

Tue, 2014-05-20 11:48 PM
As part of a study to improve firefighter safety and effectiveness, fire researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and partners from fire service organizations have...
Thu, 2014-05-15 08:54 PM
In the midst of one of the country’s worst droughts in decades, firefighters, particularly smokejumpers, who often parachute into the worst kinds of wildfires at a moment’s notice, are ramping up for...
Mon, 2014-05-12 01:45 AM
The Department of Transportation (DOT) has issued an emergency order requiring railroads moving more than one million gallons of crude oil, equaling about 35 tank cars, to inform state emergency...
Tue, 2014-04-22 07:20 AM
North Carolina State University has been awarded a five-year, $25 million grant by the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Research and...
Tue, 2014-04-22 06:10 AM
Link to video: http://www.dvidshub.net/video/331417/cbp-air-and-marine-rescue.Just nine days after agents from the U.S. Border Patrol and the Office of Air and Marine’s (OAM) Tucson Air Branch...
Mon, 2014-04-21 05:51 AM
As part of Earthquake Preparedness month, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), a San Francisco based electric and natural gas utilities company, has announced its ongoing efforts to...
Tue, 2014-04-08 12:55 AM
Israel-based NowForce, a developer of comprehensive mobile emergency response solutions, announced last week at the ISC West conference in Las Vegas that it has signed an original equipment...
Wed, 2014-03-19 09:01 AM
Editor’s Note: GSN has reprinted below in its entirety the DHS press announcement released yesterday on its six preparedness grant programs totaling over $1.6 billion. The grants included more than $...
Mon, 2014-03-17 04:21 AM
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), of Gaithersburg, MD, will host the first of six workshops devoted to developing a comprehensive, community-based disaster resilience...
Mon, 2014-03-03 01:57 AM
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has finalized a rule to increase thresholds for grant assistance available to disaster relief projects. The change aims to make more grant applications...
Wed, 2014-02-19 09:10 PM
The state of Oklahoma last year had the highest natural disaster related insurance payouts, totaling about $2 billion, a figure caused mainly by tornadoes, according to the Insurance Information...
Wed, 2014-02-12 05:59 PM
Pennsylvania state officials are advising residents to prepare for even more winter storms approaching the state on February 12-13th. This announcement follows a series of severe winter storms...

Company News

Washington, D.C.-based The Halifax Group has announced that it has completed, in partnership with management, the acquisition of U.S. Environmental Services (USES). USES is a provider of non-discretionary environmental and industrial services, including emergency response services, industrial cleaning and other recurring maintenance services to refineries, petro-chemical plants, owners of bulk storage terminals, and marine and rail transportation companies.

Buffalo Grove, IL-based Siemens Industry, Building Technologies Division’s new Intelligent Voice Communication panels allow small and medium-size facilities to have full-featured protection sized for their everyday and emergency life safety and communication needs. With Siemens’ Intelligent Voice Communication systems, facilities can now leverage a system that provides increased communications functionality in an efficiently designed solution.

Chicago-based RedSky Technologies, Inc., a provider of automated E911 solutions to enterprises, has announced that the company's flagship product, E911 Manager Version 6, has achieved Interoperability Certification from the Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC) which is part of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA).

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has reported a 70 percent chance that this year’s hurricane season will produce three to six hurricanes. Two of them are predicted to be major hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or higher.

PulsePoint AED, a new mobile application designed to build a comprehensive registry of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) available for use during cardiac emergencies, has been released by the PulsePoint Foundation at the Emergency Cardiovascular Care Update (ECCU) 2014 Conference in Las Vegas, NV. The PulsePoint Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing mobile technologies to help everyday citizens save lives.

Huntsville, AL-based Intergraph will help public safety agencies transition to Next Generation 911 with the newest version of its computer-aided dispatch software. I/CAD 9.3 leverages next-generation communications in the public safety answering point (PSAP), improves mobility and safety of field personnel and reduces the time and cost for new technology deployments, the company says.

Denver-based DaVita Kidney Care, a division of DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc. and a provider of kidney care services, is dedicated to sharing important emergency preparedness information for dialysis patients who might be impacted by weather-related emergencies -- notably the hurricane season that started June 1.

Baltimore, MD-based Hughes Associates and Chicago, IL-based Rolf Jensen & Associates (The RJA Group) have announced a merger agreement. The transaction creates a provider of lifecycle building consultancy services that will include risk analysis, system design, commissioning, research, testing, and project management solutions that encompass fire protection, security, and related disciplines.

Commentary and Opinions

In Washington, attention has shifted from the daily grind towards a hyper-partisan presidential campaign. Battle lines are sharply cast between Republican challenger, Governor Mitt Romney, and the incumbent, President Barack Obama.

While all eyes are on the economy, national security challenges abound. Obama’s killing of Bin Laden and targeting terrorists with Predator strikes argues his prowess on terrorism. Iran’s nuclear weapon pursuits are hindered by cyber-sabotage.

It’s a distressing feeling when you’re in the middle of an unfolding disaster, and suddenly it hits you -- your plans and resources are being overwhelmed by the event. At this point or soon thereafter, you’ll likely ask yourself a series of questions: How and when will we re-establish services for customers and employees? What will this disaster cost us in terms of revenue, reputation and recovery expenses? How can we avoid being in this position again?

The word tornado came from the Spanish word "tronada" which means a thunderstorm. Also known as a twister, a tornado is a violent spiral-shaped storm with a rapidly rotating column of air rising upward, forming a vortex. The vortex has relatively low pressure at the center and is shaped like a funnel.

When reports emerged from Blacksburg, VA, last Thursday afternoon that a shooter had descended upon Virginia Tech’s campus, confirmation that a campus police officer had been killed and headlines of a possible second victim overwhelmed news channels, Websites and every social media outlet.

Throughout the day, there was a jarring litany of that old cliché by anyone that remembers the unspeakable tragedies of April 2007, which claimed 33 lives on Virginia Tech’s campus:

History really does repeat itself.

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.

 

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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...