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

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...
Fri, 2014-07-18 05:43 PM
U.S. flights are no longer allowed to fly across eastern Ukrainian airspace until further notice, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The “Notice to Airman” declaration is due to...
Mon, 2014-07-14 03:04 AM
The House passed a bill last week approving the continuation of a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) program aimed to secure American chemical facilities.Passed by voice vote, H.R. 4007, the...
Sun, 2014-07-06 05:40 PM
U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Anthony Foxx has announced a final rule that expands DOT’s current requirement that air carriers report incidents involving the loss, injury, or...
Thu, 2014-07-03 03:51 AM
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has denied a petition for reconsideration of its findings in the investigation of the 1996 TWA flight 800 crash.The petition was filed in June 2013 by...

Company News

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.

Exelis C4i, a business unit of Exelis Inc. has been awarded a contract extension by Airservices Australia to provide its voice communications system to six additional airports. This extension brings the number of Australian airports served by Exelis C4i to 27, with presence at all Australian capital city airports and 19 regional airports.

C4i, which was acquired by Exelis in January, 2013, was Winner in GSN’s 2012 Homeland Security Awards Program in the category of “Best Interoperable First Responder Communications.”

Framingham, MA-based Rave Mobile Safety, the trusted software partner for campus and public safety, has announced the availability of Rave Panic Button. Uniquely tying together 9-1-1, first responders and school personnel, Rave Panic Button shortens the time between the onset of an incident and the arrival of first responders on-scene, while improving collaboration during the critical first minutes, allowing for the fastest, most effective crisis resolution possible.

Emerging global trends are impacting the operating environment of light tactical interdiction vehicles for military, law enforcement and homeland security operations, particularly helicopters and patrol boats. As they engage in higher-risk scenarios, such as supporting clandestine operations and penetrating inner harbors and coastlines, such vehicles require enhanced armor protection that won't compromise their speed, agility, range and payload capacity.

Falls Church, VA-based Irving Burton Associates’ (IBA) In Case of Crisis has announced that Providence College has selected its emergency management mobile app. Launching during the fall of 2014, In Case of Crisis will provide Providence College’s 5000+ faculty, staff, and students -- living on or off-campus -- and its 100-acre campus community with dynamic, real-time emergency plans, and procedures and incident reporting capabilities during emergencies.

Weymouth, MA-based ELERTS Corp., a provider of mobile communication for emergency response, and the ALICE Training Institute, the foremost active shooter response program, have entered into an exclusive agreement to improve response options during emergency events.

ELERTS develops mobile security solutions for academic, corporate, hospital and mass transit systems. Leveraging the popularity of smartphones and the power of crowd-sourcing, ELERTS apps enable rapid, shared communication when seconds count.

Washington, D.C.-based The Halifax Group has announced that it has completed, in partnership with management, the acquisition of U.S. Environmental Services (USES). USES is a provider of non-discretionary environmental and industrial services, including emergency response services, industrial cleaning and other recurring maintenance services to refineries, petro-chemical plants, owners of bulk storage terminals, and marine and rail transportation companies.

Buffalo Grove, IL-based Siemens Industry, Building Technologies Division’s new Intelligent Voice Communication panels allow small and medium-size facilities to have full-featured protection sized for their everyday and emergency life safety and communication needs. With Siemens’ Intelligent Voice Communication systems, facilities can now leverage a system that provides increased communications functionality in an efficiently designed solution.

Commentary and Opinions

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.

From the time it capsized at a refinery dock in Texas City, the listing barge -- loaded with 235,000 gallons of sulfuric acid -- began seeping its toxic, corrosive load into the 30-foot-deep waterway.

The water mixing with sulfuric acid inside the hull had begun to corrode the steel. This process reduced the barge’s structural integrity and created reactions inside the sealed compartment that generated a cloud of highly-flammable, highly-pressurized hydrogen gas -- just one spark away from a calamitous blast.

It was time for new plan.

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)

 

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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...