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....


Fri, 2013-10-25 12:57 PM
Because The Meridian Institute, of Dillon, CO, has been so active in developing for FEMA a Web-based Community Resilience Tool -- aimed at helping communities bounce back from a man-made or natural...
Mon, 2013-10-21 01:54 PM

Alan Frazier,
UAS pilot for North
Forks sheriff's dept.

As the spread of unmanned aerial systems creeps forward slowly-and-somewhat-unsurely at police and sheriff's departments across the United States, it’s interesting to hear a quick status report from...
Sat, 2013-10-19 04:42 PM

Calvert Cliffs
nuclear plant in
State of Maryland

FEMA will evaluate a biennial emergency preparedness exercise at the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Calvert County, MD, during the week of October 21, 2013 to test the ability of the State of...
Wed, 2013-10-16 05:40 PM

Andros Titus robot
from Northrop Grumman

Northrop Grumman Corp. will present its public safety solutions for first responders next week at the 120th Annual International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Conference and Law...
Tue, 2013-10-15 11:47 AM
As mobile technologies and social media channels continue to penetrate Americans’ communications behaviors, emergency managers are working diligently to ensure emergency communications keep pace....
Mon, 2013-10-07 05:57 PM
A Coast Guard aircrew flew approximately 1,036 miles to airdrop blood and medical supplies to a cruise ship northeast of the Hawaiian Islands on October 6. Personnel aboard the cruise ship Oosterdam...
Thu, 2013-10-03 07:00 PM

Boats torn loose
by Hurricane Sandy

As the anniversary of Superstorm Sandy approaches, some New Jersey survivors who didn’t apply for federal disaster assistance may now need help, says FEMA in a recent news announcement.  While...
Thu, 2013-10-03 05:37 PM

Honolulu Harbor

In anticipation of a huge tsunami -- like those that pummeled Chile in 2010 and Japan in 2011 -- the U.S. Coast Guard has announced new proposed rules that would establish a “regulated navigation...
Thu, 2013-10-03 04:53 PM

Scott Greiper

Scott Greiper, the president and founding partner of Secure Strategy Group, LLC (SSG), a consulting firm offering financial and business development advice in the homeland security sector, has been...
Tue, 2013-10-01 05:21 PM

W. Craig Fugate

FEMA’s National Advisory Council will hold an all-day public meeting in Philadelphia on October 16 at which its members will discuss the National Incident Management System, a public assistance pilot...
Mon, 2013-09-30 07:14 PM

Flooding isolated
this Colorado town

FEMA’s response branch has issued a solicitation for a 100% small business set-aside contract to provide contract security guards to provide security services at disaster-related sites in nine...
Wed, 2013-09-18 06:45 PM

Colorado National
Guard responds to
floods in Boulder

LRAD Corp. has announced that it has sent six Long Range Acoustic Device systems to the Colorado National Guard for land- and air-based communication to broadcast critical information and...

Company News

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.

Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) was awarded a prime contract by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on Oct. 8 to provide training delivery services in support of the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP). 

The single-award, cost-plus award-fee and fixed price contract has a one-year base period of performance, four one-year options, and a total contract value of approximately $52 million, if all options are exercised.  Work will be performed primarily in Anniston, AL, said SAIC.

When asked at the IACP show in San Diego what the “latest-and-greatest” product they are offering to government customers, the folks at the Garmin booth were quick to name their Rino 655T.

This handheld GPS navigation device looks like many of the company's other devices, but the 655T model offers one intriguing feature – the capability to plot the precise geographic location of as many as 20 different users of this model on a GPS map displayed on the monitor of a laptop computer.

The National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA), a not-for-profit research and development organization and a university completed two weeks of flight testing "sense and avoid" technology that could help unmanned aircraft better integrate into the national air transportation system some day.

The MITRE Corporation and the University of North Dakota (UND) developed automatic sense and avoid computer software algorithms that were uploaded onto a NASA Langley Research Center general aviation aircraft, said the group on Oct. 2.

Pennington, NJ-based Ocean Power Technologies, Inc. has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (“CRADA”) with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology Directorate to perform a new round of in-ocean tests on its autonomous PowerBuoy application for ocean surveillance.

Raytheon Company said it has developed a mobile application for PCs, tablets and smart phones that allows first responders to interact and communicate without the use of land mobile radios (LMRs).

As a part of Raytheon's Interoperability Communications Suite, the new mobile application allows authorized personnel to use tablets and smartphones as "virtual radios."

Raytheon is demonstrating the new application at the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) annual conference and exposition from Aug. 20 - 22 in Minneapolis. MN.

PPM 2000, a provider of end-to-end incident management software, announced on August 14 the integration of its computer-aided dispatch component, Perspective DispatchLog, with the Intelligent Notification (IN) platform from MIR3, an innovator of real-time intelligent notification and response technology.

AtHoc, Inc., a supplier of network-centric emergency mass notification systems (EMNS), announced on July 30 that Deven Kalra has joined the company as vice president of engineering.

Commentary and Opinions

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.

The Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 created a lot of buzz around the word “telework.” President Obama signed this Act into law in December 2010.

According to an Office of Personnel Management (OPM) memorandum, the Act provides a framework for agencies to better leverage technology and to maximize the use of flexible work arrangements, which will aid in recruiting new federal workers, retain valuable talent and allow the government to maintain productivity in various situations.

The subject of disaster management and emergency preparedness has fundamentally evolved over the last 10 years.

Although historians may characterize 2011 differently than I do, I believe that many in the government and public safety arena likely will remember this as the “Year of the Natural Disaster.” From the unparalleled Japanese tsunami to wildfires and tornadoes that literally destroyed entire communities and droughts that plagued many parts of the United States, we have come face-to-face with natural disasters of epic proportions. 

Port security seems to be the forgotten child when it comes to preparing for disasters, at least in the public eye. Potential threats to aviation and mass transit generate many more conversations, and for good reason, but the risks posed to ports, primarily from cargo, cannot be ignored. 

A cargo container looks innocuous, just a square, metal box loaded with goods…right? This impression could not be further from the truth. 


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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...