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

Sun, 2013-11-17 07:00 PM

Triggerfish T4H
Remotely Operated
Vehicle

Using their Triggerfish T4H Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) from Deep Ocean Engineering, Inc., the Carter County, TN, emergency and rescue squad located and retrieved a fisherman from Roane Mountain...
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...

Company News

The temperate climate and bright sunny skies of California make it one of the most desirable states to live in or visit. While in the midst of a three-year drought, however, the warm air and clear skies of the state has become a dangerous liability, as the threat of fire has grown substantially. That's why so many property owners throughout the region have expressed their gratitude for the fire pump testing, installation, and many other services offered by Fire Protection Group (FPG), the company says.

Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy will be a special guest at the upcoming Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Recovery Workshop hosted by the Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency, Northeast Utilities, the Traveler’s Institute, and the Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) Institute for Technology and Business Development. The workshop is designed to educate small business owners on disaster preparedness planning and disaster recovery strategies to anticipate and respond to crisis situations.

Government officials from the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fire Administration, and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) will participate in a Twitter chat to discuss emergency preparedness strategies for wildfires. The social media discussion will include Teresa Neal, a specialist from the U.S. Fire Administration, Chief Ken Pimlott, the Director of CAL Fire, and Tom Harbour, the U.S. Forest Service Fire Chief.

Southern Nuclear, a subsidiary of the Atlanta based electric utility company the Southern Company, has announced plans to conduct a hostile action-based exercise at its Joseph M. Farley Nuclear Plant facility in Columbia, AL on April 23, 2014. It is required that nuclear power plants conduct a hostile action-based exercise at least once every eight years.

The City of New York has implemented Local Law 1111-2013, regarding smoke alarms in multi-family properties. It was signed into law in December 2013 by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The new legislation that went into effect on April 1st requires owners of multi-family properties to install 10-year sealed battery smoke and/or CO detectors when they must replace old or damaged units. Property owners may receive up to $50 per smoke detector as a reimbursement for their expenses.

Washington, D.C.-based Apprio, a provider of technology solutions, particularly for the health, defense, and homeland security markets, has announced it received a new contract with the DHS’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) worth as much as $20 million over five years. The base year of the contract totals $3.75 million, with an additional four option years.

Pearl television stations, a partnership that includes eight of Florida’s leading television stations, are testing their emergency alert systems to include mobile digital TV devices such as mobile phones and tablets. The Mobile Emergency Alert System (M-EAS) will include alert banners, text messages, and videos to be sent to mobile device users in the event of emergency situations. Some of the Pearl stations include locations in Orlando and West Palm Beach such as WPTV-TV, WFLX-TV, WPBF-TV, and WESH-TV.

The DHS’s Science and Technology Directorate will use the Knowledge Management System (KMS) from Scottsdale, AZ-based EDGE Innovation Network to exchange information and discuss technical solutions to the department's capability gaps. The KMS is a technology portal provided by General Dynamics C4 Systems, also of Scottsdale, a leading technology partner with the EDGE Innovation Network.

Commentary and Opinions

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. 

What if your cell phone could detect toxic airborne substances like carbon monoxide, chlorine or even chemical warfare agents?

The public would have a new level of personal protection against a range of fairly common airborne chemical-based toxins, as well as against terrorist attacks involving WMDs. And when sensor data is harnessed in an environmental sensing network for first responders and other organizations, it will be the dawn of a new era for disaster preparedness. 

 

Today, more than half of the world’s populations live in cities, and that figure is expected to reach 60 percent by 2030.

Large, modern cities function thanks to a complexity of infrastructure systems that deliver and manage energy, water, food, traffic, healthcare, mass transit, sanitation, environmental monitoring, etc. Working together, these systems make it possible for businesses and citizens to go about their daily activities.

A woman in Black Hawk County, Iowa was alone upstairs when her former boyfriend -- who had a history of domestic violence -- entered her home. Afraid that the sound of her voice would reveal her location, she used her cell phone to send a text message to 9-1-1. A few minutes later, police officers arrived at the scene and arrested the ex-boyfriend for violating a court order requiring him to stay away from the woman.

 

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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...