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

Mon, 2014-03-17 04:21 AM
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), of Gaithersburg, MD, will host the first of six workshops devoted to developing a comprehensive, community-based disaster resilience...
Mon, 2014-03-03 01:57 AM
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has finalized a rule to increase thresholds for grant assistance available to disaster relief projects. The change aims to make more grant applications...
Wed, 2014-02-19 09:10 PM
The state of Oklahoma last year had the highest natural disaster related insurance payouts, totaling about $2 billion, a figure caused mainly by tornadoes, according to the Insurance Information...
Wed, 2014-02-12 05:59 PM
Pennsylvania state officials are advising residents to prepare for even more winter storms approaching the state on February 12-13th. This announcement follows a series of severe winter storms...
Wed, 2014-02-12 05:29 PM
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is closely coordinating with states potentially impacted by severe winter weather across the southern United States. FEMA, through its regional offices...
Tue, 2014-02-11 09:28 PM
Cars in ditches, severe traffic accidents, road closures, abandoned vehicles, warming centers, and children forced to stay in school overnight were common sights during the severe winter storm system...
Mon, 2014-02-10 09:31 PM
Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies Subcommittee Chairman Patrick Meehan (R-PA) introduced a bill last week to strengthen the security of chemical facilities from...
Mon, 2014-02-10 05:15 PM

Mark Francis

AT&T constantly plans for disasters and possible service interruptions, according to Mark Francis, vice president of global network operations planning and support, based out of the company’s...
Mon, 2014-01-27 11:00 PM

Dr. Oliver McGee

“Terrorism is all about interrupting the flow of human activity, not just taking human life,” explains Oliver McGee.McGee is the former United States deputy assistant secretary of transportation for...
Wed, 2014-01-15 11:58 PM
The Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, has announced a partnership with U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones to develop earthquake resilience strategies for Los Angeles.Dr....
Tue, 2014-01-14 11:48 PM
Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC), chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency, has released a Majority Staff report questioning whether DHS’s plan to consolidate its...
Tue, 2014-01-14 06:58 PM
One of the biggest weather-related events in 2013 was Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated areas of the Philippines and other portions of Southeast Asia, causing more than 6,000 fatalities. Another...

Company News

The Connecticut Convention Center, in Hartford, CT, has completed the installment of a multimedia communications system with the assistance of Mutualink, Inc. -- the Wallingford, CT-based company. The system provides an interoperable communications platform that enables multimedia sharing of radio, voice, text, video, data files and telephone communications in a secure environment -- all in real-time.

The Philippines’ Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and IBM have unveiled a new intelligent operations center to provide a central point of command for disaster management. The new center will help the Philippine government better manage ongoing and future disaster response and recovery efforts following Typhoon Yolanda in 2013.

Sunnyvale, CA-based Da-Les Auto Body, a full service auto body vehicle repair business located in Sunnyvale, CA, has posted a new blog to its site that is devoted to the topic of safe driving, including why people should never think about texting while driving. The new blog is just part of a new public service campaign that Da-Les will release in the near future.

Wallingford, CT-based Z-Media, a developer and marketer of hemostatic agents, has announced that its Belt Trauma Kit, which includes QuikClot Combat Gauze, will be standard issue to every law enforcement officer in the State of New York. Distributed by the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES), the initiative is one of the largest standardizations of advanced first aid kits ever deployed by a state.

Buffalo Computer GraphicsDisasterLAN (DLAN) version 9.0 includes major upgrades to style, usability, and function, according to the company, a provider of incident management software (IMS) and maritime training solutions. The new design and logo are more than just a facelift, the new style reflects system-wide changes that improve usability for both desktop and mobile devices.

The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and Clear Channel Outdoor will announce a new partnership that leverages the real-time ability of digital billboards to communicate safety information to area travelers. The event is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday, May 22, adjacent to a Clear Channel Outdoor digital billboard at 1500 Union Avenue in Baltimore.

Phoenix, AZ-based nFocus Solutions, a provider of performance management solutions to more than 4,500 clients nationwide, has reached an agreement with General Dynamics C4 Systems to become the exclusive domestic supplier of GeoSuite. GeoSuite is a software tool that enables first responders, law enforcement, and other public safety professionals to view, collect, and share real-time and historical data with one another, throughout a mission.

Mountain View, CA-based Rhombus Power Inc.'s first product, Mercury, is a networked, scalable, digital, highly accurate, easy to use neutron detector. Mercury can be readily used by homeland security, defense, and intelligence communities to detect contraband nuclear weapons and materials, the company says. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has independently verified that Mercury meets ANSI standards.

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...