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, 2014-01-14 01:33 AM
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) have announced a plan to provide almost $12 million in federal disaster assistance to people that...
Sun, 2014-01-12 11:42 PM
Working in close coordination with the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues to supplement state and local...
Fri, 2014-01-10 04:02 PM
The current deep freeze across much of the northern regions of the United States and Canada has certainly caused new challenges for police departments and emergency management services (EMS). But...
Fri, 2014-01-10 02:43 PM
January 6 - High temperature for the day -2 degrees at 12:03 AM, beating the 1912 record of -1. Noon temperature was -14 degrees. “And it just kept going down”, reported Deputy Director of...
Fri, 2014-01-10 02:25 PM
Over the last week the city of Cleveland wrestled with low temperatures, piles of snow and roadways covered with ice that left some people stranded and caused a number of car accidents. While the...
Fri, 2014-01-10 01:54 PM
The City of Indianapolis is slowly getting back on its feet after several days of icy road conditions, dangerously low temperatures, and over a foot of snow. Thousands of residents across the city...
Thu, 2014-01-09 02:20 PM
When the temperature drops to a certain level, many fire departments have protocols in place to help protect firefighters’ safety and to help them continue to carry out their duties in an effective...
Thu, 2014-01-09 11:07 AM
January 8 – The temperature is 7 degrees. The city has been in a deep freeze for a week. Schools are closed for the third day, and the snow is so high that it blocks the first floor of many buildings...
Wed, 2014-01-01 05:52 PM
A 31-year-old woman was rescued by the Coast Guard Auxiliary after spotting her clinging to a channel marker near Matanzas Pass, FL, last week. The Auxiliary boat crew from Flotilla 91 was on a...
Mon, 2013-12-23 03:30 PM
In its role as overseer of security for the nation’s pipeline infrastructure, TSA expects to collect current contact information from more than 3,300 pipeline operators across the United States. “The...
Sat, 2013-12-21 03:17 PM

A FEMA responder
base camp

FEMA is gathering information from prospective vendors who could help the agency in case of an emergency in Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands by quickly establishing two large “responder support...
Thu, 2013-12-19 01:48 PM

Disaster Reporter from
BAE and Eye Street

BAE Systems and Eye Street Solutions, Inc. have launched an add-on feature to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) official mobile app that is designed to enhance situational awareness...

Company News

St Louis, MO-based Code 3, Inc., has introduced a new amplifier system that significantly changes how warning sounds are utilized in emergency response. The Banshee system offers a selection of tones, features, and options that have never been available in one siren amp system before: three low frequency tones, multiple dual tones, and a true-sounding electronic air horn, according to the company.

Mutualink, based in Wallingford, CT, will partner with Comprehensive Communication Services and CTS Consolidated Telecom Services at the Texas Emergency Management Conference to demonstrate multimedia interoperability capabilities for public safety personnel. Attendees will experience first-hand how on-demand interagency communication and information sharing can be simply and effectively achieved across the Public Safety LTE Band 14 broadband network.

Redlands, CA-based Esri and Alchemy Management has selected five of the nation's leading fire rescue departments to take part in the 2014 National Community Risk Reduction (CRR) Leadership Program. As part of the program, Esri will train fire rescue staff on how to use mapping software to identify community risk, establish risk prevention programs, and prioritize neighborhood outreach and education.

The Pennsylvania National Guard is hosting a multi-agency emergency-preparedness exercise called Vigilant Guard, May 7-16, at Fort Indiantown Gap, Lebanon County, PA. Secondary training events are scheduled to take place in Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lawrence, Mercer, and Philadelphia counties.

America’s PrepareAthon! launched its Spring program on April 30th for its first day of action to help communities focus on emergency planning and disaster preparedness strategies. This Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) initiative is geared toward helping communities plan and respond to natural disasters such as tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. President Obama released a statement encouraging people to get involved in the America’s PrepareATHON!

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.

Commentary and Opinions

[Editor’s note: Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer Alexander G. Garza, MD, MPH, of the Department of Homeland Security, testified before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, on Oct. 18, 2011, and submitted the following statement, entitled, “Ten Years After 9/11 and the Anthrax Attacks: Protecting Against Biological Threats?”]

By Alexander G. Garza, MD

By Craig Fugate

[Editor’s note: Craig Fugate, Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, delivered the following testimony on Oct. 13, 2011 before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management, entitled "Streamlining Emergency Management: Improving Preparedness, Response, and Cutting Costs."]

Introduction

In the 2010 Quadrennial Review of Homeland Security, the department identified an objective regarding individuals and families. Specifically, it addressed the reduction of vulnerabilities and the enhancement of resources in order to minimize impact and fallout from attacks and disasters.

The reason seems to be obvious. However, this is not usually the approach of homeland security.  The practice of homeland security, to this day, has been a top-down approach, yet, if the system fails, it is the citizen or local responder left to deal with the fallout.

9/11 unleashed ripples of uncertainty and fear of further attacks in the following months. While this was expected, given the enormity of the event, did the federal and state response fuel the terror of terrorism?

I would argue that it did, and that effective risk communication strategies are still lacking 10 years later. Furthermore, failure to implement a comprehensive risk communication strategy that covers natural and man-made disasters will continue to undermine preparedness, response and recovery efforts.

It used to be that most government organizations had a crisis communications plan that would be pulled out and reviewed maybe once a year, which was relatively static and standard in its contents.

The plan provided guidance on calling a press conference to update reporters who would, in turn, update the public on the process and progress being made in dealing with the crisis or disaster at hand, creating press releases and other briefing materials, etc.

 

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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...