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....


Tue, 2013-09-17 08:57 PM

Testing a FINDER

NASA and DHS are collaborating on a new radar device that detects heartbeats of victims trapped in wreckage. The agencies will demonstrate and discuss the device on September 25 at the Virginia...
Tue, 2013-09-17 07:34 PM

Johns Hopkins University

FEMA awarded on September 16 a contract worth more than $300,000 to Johns Hopkins University, of Baltimore, MD, to provide technical assistance to a federal effort to produce a guide for high-quality...
Tue, 2013-09-17 05:21 PM
As part of its celebration of National Preparedness Month in September, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) plans to host a live Twitter chat about campus readiness on September 18 from 1:...
Sat, 2013-09-14 12:09 PM
An industry-government team demonstrated on September 12 how plugging the Cloud into an international disaster-relief effort can improve response time, collaboration and mission success.
Fri, 2013-09-13 04:46 PM
FEMA’s office of response and recovery intends to award a contract extension (of four to six months) to Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) to continue hosting a Cloud-based geospatial...
Mon, 2013-09-09 05:54 PM
President Obama has declared September 2013 as National Preparedness Month and hailed this year’s theme: “You Can Be the Hero.”In a presidential proclamation issued on August 30, the president urged...
Mon, 2013-09-09 05:27 PM
The National Maritime Security Advisory Committee will hold a two-day public meeting at the new headquarters of the U.S. Coast Guard in Washington, DC, to examine President Obama’s executive order on...
Tue, 2013-09-03 04:51 PM
In an effort to monitor the reported outbreaks of infectious diseases worldwide, the DHS office of health affairs plans to contract with a small business to provide a “real-time data feed,” drawn...
Tue, 2013-09-03 11:01 AM
FEMA has issued an updated version of one of its standard documents, Guide for the Evaluation of Alert and Notification Systems for Nuclear Power Plants, and is inviting the public to comment on this...
Tue, 2013-09-03 10:04 AM

Dr. Duncan Earl

GridCOM Technologies, a provider of cyber security solutions for energy infrastructure, has been awarded a grant from the State of California to help protect the country’s vulnerable electrical grid...
Wed, 2013-08-28 02:34 PM

SOS Hyperlite
Hyperbaric Chamber

CBP’s Special Operations Group in El Paso, TX, plans to buy the military version of an SOS Hyperlite Hyperbaric Chamber, which can be used to administer a full range of hyperbaric therapies,...
Mon, 2013-08-26 10:15 PM
The 50,000 member American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), which represents 11,000 hotels nationwide, has announced that it intends to make available its leading edge  "Eye on...

Company News

Raytheon announced on July 18 that it completed the preliminary design phase of the Tactically Expandable Maritime Platform (TEMP) program awarded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The TEMP program is an innovative system of modular technologies – including air and sea cargo transport, cargo transfer and onboard support resources – that enable commercial container ships (cargo ships) to support humanitarian aid and other non-combat missions through the use of advanced technology such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), according to Raytheon.

The Texas Department of Public Safety chose Helinet Technologies to develop and implement a microwave downlink and satellite solution for the DPS Aircraft Section's recently-acquired Pilatus PC-12 NG Spectre airplane. 

AtHoc, Inc., a supplier of network-centric emergency mass notification systems, announced on June 22 the successful completion of an oversubscribed $5.6 million investment round led by Intel Capital, the global investment organization of Intel Corp.

The funding will be used to accelerate the company’s aggressive product and market expansion initiatives.

Revision, a supplier of protective soldier solutions, announced on June 22 its purchase of MSA’s North American ballistic helmet business.

Exalt Communications announced on June 19 that the Rock County (Wisconsin) Communications Center is using Exalt microwave backhaul systems to unify emergency communications services across the county's 720 square miles and enable the center to quickly migrate its backhaul network to all-digital technology, while dramatically reducing equipment costs.

Bethesda, MD-based Lockheed Martin said on June 12 it had delivered the fifth P-3 Orion equipped with new Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU) modifications to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) more than 50 days ahead of schedule.

AT&T said on June 8 that is has become the first in the country to be certified by DHS under its Voluntary Private Sector Preparedness Program (PS-Prep).

The PS-Prep program, administered by DHS's Federal Emergency Management Agency, enables private sector organizations to enhance their capabilities for planning, responding to, and recovering from natural disasters and other threats.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued a conditional license for a foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) vaccine for use in cattle, said GenVec, Inc. on June 7.

Commentary and Opinions

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.

Whether an incident occurs locally or overseas, the response to a disaster can become its own storm, pulling people in from their normal daily duties and placing them squarely in the middle of crisis response.

By Nicole Lurie, MD

[Editor’s note: Nicole Lurie, M.D., M.S.P.H., Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), delivered on Oct. 18, 2011 the following testimony to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, entitled, “Safeguarding our Nation: HHS Readiness to Respond to a Biological or Other Emergency.”]



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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...