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

Mon, 2014-08-25 07:35 PM
In the wake of the 6.0 magnitude earthquake that occurred Sunday morning near California’s Napa Valley, the Department of Transportation (DoT) has made $2 million in Emergency Relief funds available...
Sun, 2014-08-24 05:39 PM
The Federal Railroad Administration has funded two grants totaling $350,000 to support development of a Short Line Safety Institute. The Institute would help mitigate risk associated with shipping...
Thu, 2014-08-21 05:02 PM
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now has more than 50 disease detectives and other highly trained experts battling Ebola on the ground in West Africa – successfully deploying in...
Wed, 2014-08-20 06:19 PM
Chautauqua County’s city of Dunkirk will receive a mobile burn unit that will allow the New York fire department and the county’s 42 other departments to conduct live-fire training. The award,...
Tue, 2014-08-19 08:31 PM
As nearly 1,000 guests watched the ceremony on August 16, Huntington Ingalls Industries' Ingalls Shipbuilding division christened the company's fifth U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter (NSC),...
Tue, 2014-08-19 04:08 PM
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) in the Federal Register on August 18, 2014, seeking comments on a broad range of topics related...
Sun, 2014-08-17 08:16 PM
The University of Texas (UT) Health Science Center at Houston has received nearly $1.5 million in preparedness funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to address the health of...
Wed, 2014-08-13 02:22 AM
According to the American Association of Port Authorities, the Lower Mississippi River, where the Port of New Orleans is located, provides transportation for over 45% of all energy resources and more...
Tue, 2014-08-05 05:36 PM
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate has appointed 12 new members and reappointed two current members to FEMA’s National Advisory Council (NAC).The NAC is...
Mon, 2014-07-28 06:21 PM
Eight of the top 10 U.S. cities that have seen an increase in so-called “nuisance flooding” -- which causes such public inconveniences as frequent road closures, overwhelmed storm drains and...
Mon, 2014-07-28 05:56 PM
In addition to its other widespread destruction, Hurricane Sandy also undermined the effectiveness of multiple sets of the Atlantic City Fire Department’s (ACFD) personal protective equipment via...
Thu, 2014-07-24 06:40 PM
The Department of Transportation (DOT) has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) detailing a comprehensive proposal to improve railway safety while transporting large quantities of flammable...

Company News

Schaumburg, IL-based Motorola Solutions Foundation, the charitable arm of Motorola Solutions, is now accepting applications for grants to support education and training programs improving public safety in the U.S. and Canada.

Dominion Virginia Power is warning its customers about a scam in which robbers gained access to homes by posing as utility workers. Several incidents of this type have been reported to police in the past few days in Northern Virginia.

Union Pacific Railroad, the principal operating company of Union Pacific Corp., which connects 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country by rail, reminds drivers to use caution at railroad crossings while traveling during the Independence Day holiday.

Maker Consulting, a private firm with experience in emergency management, private security, and information technology, recently launched a new website, http://www.profarsystem.com, to showcase its new patent pending approach to public safety. The ProActive Fire and Rescue System “ProFARS” Mobile App will allow any individual user to work directly with local emergency departments by sharing, updating, and alerting one another.

As America prepares to celebrate Independence Day, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is urging consumers to celebrate safely. A new CPSC study highlights an increase in the number of fireworks-related deaths and injuries. Device malfunction and improper use are associated with the most injuries.

Willow Grove, PA-based NMS Labs has announced the launch of its newest test offering for the latest group of agents to have come to the fore in the rapidly changing Designer Drug arena in the US. The Pyrrolidinophenones or “Pyrros” are potent stimulants with psychoactive properties becoming popular with young people and drug users looking for a newer, different high.

The convergence of drought-parched conditions, a recent rash of suspected arson-caused fires around the state, and the increased movement of illegal fireworks into California are bringing renewed commitment to fire safety enforcement efforts in the run-up to the Fourth of July. A linchpin for these efforts is the sale of Safe and Sane fireworks, which not only has proven to reduce the use of illegal pyrotechnics but also provides funds for enhanced enforcement efforts.

Palm Beach, FL-based Global Digital Solutions Inc. (GDSI), a provider of cyber arms manufacturing and complementary security and technology solutions, has announced the acquisition of North American Custom Specialty Vehicles (NACSV), a provider of mobile command/communications and specialty vehicles for emergency management, first responders, national security, and law enforcement operations.

Commentary and Opinions

 

Whenever a crisis requires a large evacuation, effective communication becomes vital to the success of any response operation. All too often, emergency situations create obstacles to communication -- power may be cut off, access routes may be blocked, isolated response teams may be operating with inaccurate information, or teams may have difficulty getting instructions to large groups of frightened civilians.

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.

 

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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...