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

Mon, 2014-02-10 05:15 PM

Mark Francis

AT&T constantly plans for disasters and possible service interruptions, according to Mark Francis, vice president of global network operations planning and support, based out of the company’s...
Mon, 2014-01-27 11:00 PM

Dr. Oliver McGee

“Terrorism is all about interrupting the flow of human activity, not just taking human life,” explains Oliver McGee.McGee is the former United States deputy assistant secretary of transportation for...
Wed, 2014-01-15 11:58 PM
The Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, has announced a partnership with U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones to develop earthquake resilience strategies for Los Angeles.Dr....
Tue, 2014-01-14 11:48 PM
Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC), chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency, has released a Majority Staff report questioning whether DHS’s plan to consolidate its...
Tue, 2014-01-14 06:58 PM
One of the biggest weather-related events in 2013 was Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated areas of the Philippines and other portions of Southeast Asia, causing more than 6,000 fatalities. Another...
Tue, 2014-01-14 01:33 AM
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) have announced a plan to provide almost $12 million in federal disaster assistance to people that...
Sun, 2014-01-12 11:42 PM
Working in close coordination with the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues to supplement state and local...
Fri, 2014-01-10 04:02 PM
The current deep freeze across much of the northern regions of the United States and Canada has certainly caused new challenges for police departments and emergency management services (EMS). But...
Fri, 2014-01-10 02:43 PM
January 6 - High temperature for the day -2 degrees at 12:03 AM, beating the 1912 record of -1. Noon temperature was -14 degrees. “And it just kept going down”, reported Deputy Director of...
Fri, 2014-01-10 02:25 PM
Over the last week the city of Cleveland wrestled with low temperatures, piles of snow and roadways covered with ice that left some people stranded and caused a number of car accidents. While the...
Fri, 2014-01-10 01:54 PM
The City of Indianapolis is slowly getting back on its feet after several days of icy road conditions, dangerously low temperatures, and over a foot of snow. Thousands of residents across the city...
Thu, 2014-01-09 02:20 PM
When the temperature drops to a certain level, many fire departments have protocols in place to help protect firefighters’ safety and to help them continue to carry out their duties in an effective...

Company News

Wallingford, CT-based Z-Media, a developer and marketer of hemostatic agents, has announced that its Belt Trauma Kit, which includes QuikClot Combat Gauze, will be standard issue to every law enforcement officer in the State of New York. Distributed by the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES), the initiative is one of the largest standardizations of advanced first aid kits ever deployed by a state.

Buffalo Computer GraphicsDisasterLAN (DLAN) version 9.0 includes major upgrades to style, usability, and function, according to the company, a provider of incident management software (IMS) and maritime training solutions. The new design and logo are more than just a facelift, the new style reflects system-wide changes that improve usability for both desktop and mobile devices.

The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and Clear Channel Outdoor will announce a new partnership that leverages the real-time ability of digital billboards to communicate safety information to area travelers. The event is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday, May 22, adjacent to a Clear Channel Outdoor digital billboard at 1500 Union Avenue in Baltimore.

Phoenix, AZ-based nFocus Solutions, a provider of performance management solutions to more than 4,500 clients nationwide, has reached an agreement with General Dynamics C4 Systems to become the exclusive domestic supplier of GeoSuite. GeoSuite is a software tool that enables first responders, law enforcement, and other public safety professionals to view, collect, and share real-time and historical data with one another, throughout a mission.

Mountain View, CA-based Rhombus Power Inc.'s first product, Mercury, is a networked, scalable, digital, highly accurate, easy to use neutron detector. Mercury can be readily used by homeland security, defense, and intelligence communities to detect contraband nuclear weapons and materials, the company says. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has independently verified that Mercury meets ANSI standards.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved more than $1 million in Disaster Assistance Loans for residents in Alabama affected by severe storms, tornadoes, high winds and flooding from April 28 through May 5, 2014.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS) has selected Blackboard to enhance district-wide advanced mass notification capabilities. Blackboard works with some of the largest school districts in the country including the Los Angeles Unified School District and Chicago Public Schools.

Firefighters wear protective gloves called “structure gloves” to keep their hands safe on the job. The protective equipment firefighters wear -- including structure gloves -- give them the confidence to focus on putting out fires and saving lives. The structure gloves currently used by firefighters, however, are not designed for the precision movements first responders must perform, according to Responder Technologies, a division within the U.S. DHS’s Science and Technology Directorate (S&T).

Commentary and Opinions

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:

A good disaster recovery plan includes all of the processes, policies and procedures necessary for your company to continue operating its critical technology systems after a disaster. The “classic” disaster recovery (DR) scenarios -- such as floods, earthquakes and hurricanes -- are widely understood. However, the disasters most commonly faced by businesses are not those recognized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), but the more mundane power outages, cyber attacks and vendor issues. Yet, in all cases, you need to be prepared.

 

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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...