Index > Response & Containment: Best Practices
January 2011: Australian government authorities are working overtime to try and help the communities of Queensland in the midst of epic flooding, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported. More than 9,000 homes in Brisbane, the country's third largest city, are expected to be impacted by flood waters, while the city's downtown central business center cut it's electricity, the BBC reported.
We were very saddened by the passing of our friend John Solomon last November. John was a friend and a great resource for inspiration through his blog In Case of Emergency, Read Blog. Throughout the years, his work provided the germination of many of the stories that I have used to work on community preparedness and resilience in the face of natural and man-made disasters. I also will remember warmly our wonderful and productive email exchanges. His stories and blog posts proved insightful and I will remember him fondly. Below are a few examples of the helpful work of John's we used to write about how our country is working toward sustainability, resiliency and preparedness during an emergency or crisis. John's obituary can be read here. Thanks John, we'll miss you.
January 2011: When Jared Lee Loughner opened fire killing six people during a Congressional meet and greet in Tucson on January 8 , citizens present at the gathering were instrumental in tackling and disarming the gunman thus preventing any more casualties. According to the Arizona Republic, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik identified the three men and one woman as Patricia Maisch, Roger Salzgeber, Bill Badger and Joseph Zamudio. The official timeline of the response said the first 911 call was received at 10:11:56 a.m. "Within one minute of the first deputy's arrival, the suspect was in custody and medical personnel began treating the injured," the Pima County Sheriff's Department said in a press release.
November 10 '08: Researchers working on disaster response communication technologies have announced new advancements in understanding how radio frequencies behave in difficult areas such as collapsed buildings, mine shafts and tunnels, CNN reported. Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology told the cable news channel that a "sweet spot" frequency has been found which allows radio communication to travel the farthest.
October 27 '08: In a report that is being considered a first of its kind for the DC area, the Washington Post reported a new collaboration between the Nonprofit Roundtable and Deloitte to look at the ability of nonprofit groups to coordinate and respond to a disaster.
It has been one month since the formation of Hurricane Ike, the ninth named storm of the 2008 hurricane season. Since the storm hit the Texas coast, more than 300 people are still missing while the storm claimed 67 lives, and could end up costing close to $22 billion officials said. The storm also was responsible for high winds and rain in the interior parts of the country, causing power outages, flooding and gas shortages in the Midwest and Southeastern US.
August 8 '08: The National Institute of Standards and Technology announced recently the creation of a new radio communications technology that can extend the range of radio communications for first responders working in buildings, underground and in other similarly difficult areas. The mesh network and breadcrumb system, Computer World reported, uses "relay devices [which] run software that can notify emergency crews when they need to place another of the breadcrumbs along their route to extend the range of communications down a hallway or tunnel."
July 29 '08: A Congressionally-mandated study, funded by the Federal Transit Administration and compiled by the Transportation Research Board has looked at the role of mass transportation before, during and after an emergency. Writers of the report said the study's aim was "to explore the capacity of transit systems serving ... locations in times of emergency."
June 20 '08: The First Response Team of America is a privately run organization to help communities respond and recover in the first days after a disaster. On its website, the organization said it helps local, state and federal first responders "by removing the initial obstacles that local emergency and government officials encounter when dealing with a natural or manmade disaster."
June 18 '08: Flood waters from the Mississippi River are working their way south to communities in Illinois, Missouri and other states CNN reported. The destruction from the severe storms over the Midwest have caused large-scale evacuations, as well as causing a surge in global food prices. Meanwhile, Reuters reported that fuel costs will likely rise due to damage to corn crops which produce ethanol used as an additive in gasoline.
June 4 '08: In New York City, the New York Times reported a new federal grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration which will fund "a team of medical experts and bioethicists ... looking to expand the city's donor pool by deploying a 'rapid organ-recovery ambulance' to collect and preserve the organs of people who die of cardiac arrest." If successful, the new program could add as many as 22,000 people to the nation's donor pool.
June 3 '08: On its created by the Community Foundation announced it was closing operations after seven years of providing recovery outreach for those surviving families who were affected by the attacks on 9/11 in Washington DC. In conjunction of the fund's closure, the Community Foundation has released a final report to the community, and a disaster recovery process outline.
May 30 '08: Chinese government officials are utilizing grassroots citizen groups to help with disaster recovery efforts in Sichuan province, the Washington Post reported. The groups are using Internet technologies such as chat groups and online social networking to organize themselves.
May 27 '08: Reuters has reported Chinese officials rushing to evacuate more than 100,000 people who could be in danger of drowning if more than 35 'quake lakes' caused by landslides after the recent earthquake burst. Chinese state-run news agnecy Xinhua reported a possible evacuation of up to 1.3 million people.
May 23 '08: The Associated Press reported state and local officials in California have partnered with more than 300 scientists, first responders and private sector stakeholders to "create a realistic crisis scenario that can be used for preparedness," if the expected "Big One" earthquake were to erupt along the San Andreas Fault. In the press release the US Geological Survey said a response exercise has been planned for November 2008 called "Golden Guardian '08" which will focus on a magnitude 7.8 temblor that lasts four minutes.
May 21 '08: When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, company officials at vacuum cleaner company Oreck rushed quickly to respond in order to make sure that company employees would be safe while maintaining continuity of operations. The Denver Post reported that to help restore business operations the company set up a "backup computer system and a call center on the high ground of Colorado. With these communications centers," Oreck was able to restore its operations quickly.
May 08 '08: Five days after Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar, international aid organizations are trying to reach those most affected by the storm while a lack of fuel supplies and local resources is creating another potential problem as the dead begin to pile up, CNN reported. Shortages of relief supplies and resources continues to grow while the military junta in control of the government is restricting access to parts of the country by foreigners, the cable news channel reported.
May 07 '08: In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, environmental experts together with federal, state and local government officials worried about the potential devastating environmental effects of the storm which could unleash chemicals, sewage and other pollutants into the flood waters released by the broken levees. The CDC released an announcement saying partnerships were being formed to help prevent widespread damage. Buffalo, NY-based Ecology and Environment, Inc., works to help their federal, state and local partners respond and recovery from such disasters and their impacts on the environment.
May 06 '08: Relief aid agencies heading to the affected region's of Myanmar's Irrawady Delta are facing challenges due to the remote location of many villages and the destruction caused by Cyclone Nargis, the New York Times reported. "Bad roads, a lack of cooperation from the country's military government and a breakdown in telecommunications are factors that could hamper relief efforts," the Times reported.
May 6 '08: Reuters has reported nearly 22,500 people dead after a massive cyclone hit the Irrawaddy Delta in Myanmar. The New York Times reported that international aid groups and first responders are moving to help send relief supplies to the affected areas as officials in the capital city Yangon have said the death toll is expected to rise.
May 5 '08: According to the Associated Press, a new report outlines treatment priorities during a pandemic. The findings in the report were compiled by a partnership of federal and state officials along with experts from the medical and academic communities. "The proposed guidelines are designed to be a blueprint for hospitals" the AP reported.
May 2 '08: To help federal, state and local officials respond to emergencies on the water, Resolve Marine Group has developed a national network of professional responders who can handle chemical spills, on-board fires, and natural disasters. In recent past, the group helped local officials in San Francisco when an oil tanker spilled several tens of thousands of gallons into the San Francisco Bay.
May 1 '08: Wired Mag previewed several products which seek to help emergency and disaster response professionals using up-to-date technology. Among the most notable were the portable water filtration devices, and the disaster-reconnaissance trailer. Both technologies are now available on the market for immediate use.
April 29 '08: According to the Washington Post, at least 200 people were injured when a series of tornadoes ripped through Southeastern Virginia. Governor Time Kaine declared a state of emergency while emergency medical officials in Suffolk at the Sentara Obici Hospital set up an incident command center and triage stations outside after the hospital was mildly injured after the storms.
April 25 '08: The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program has released its new 2008 earthquake reduction program that "outlines a cooperative program of earthquake monitoring, research, implementation, education, and outreach activities performed by the NEHRP," the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security reported.
April 23 '08: Honeywell announced in a press release that it would be partnering with Butler University to deploy Honeywell's Instant Alert© emergency notification system. The emergency alert service was announced last summer.
April 22 '08: In a press release, Illinois Governor Rod J. Blagojevich said efforts to train first responders, school faculty, personnel and school children to confront the dangers of events such as the Columbine High School shooting have resulted in more than 4,500 training sessions. Gov. Blagojevich said, "Schools have enthusiastically embraced the training opportunities and guidance we are offering, and I believe real progress has been made."
April 14 '08: In a press release, a new wireless radio network for first responders in the City of San Jose was announced by Harris Stratex. The new $9.1 million radio network will integrate emergency response communications for the city interoperably among fire, police, EMS and other agencies and it will be available for 31 agencies in the Santa Clara County area.
April 11 '08: 3M has developed a series of technology solutions for the first responder, and homeland security communities. Specifically, 3M has developed nine products which "address the problems that are confronted by local government First Responders on a daily basis and to help prepare these agencies in the event of a catastrophe in their community."
April 3 '08: A new report released by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University has looked into the ways in which the private sector is able to augment, and in some salient cases, improve upon the overall federal response to a disaster. The report highlights the mechanics behind the private sector's ability to help communities recover from a disaster and the ways in which the public sector can augment those capabilities.
March 28 '08: The Associated Press reported in Arkansas that recent flooding - which could be the worst the state has seen in 100 years - has left 35 counties under a state of emergency. One death has been reported as well. The heavy flooding also has devastated the winter wheat crops Reuters reported.
March 26 '08: Innovative Biosensors has announced a new bio-monitoring technology partnership with Universal Detection Technology to develop a new early-warning monitoring which will "protect people from bioterrorism and other infectious health threats," a press release reported.
March 24 '08: In a press release the American Chemistry Council's Chemical Information Technology Center (ChemITC) said it had "facilitated the participation of 10 chemical companies" during the Cyber Storm II cyber security response drill. According to officials, the industry IT group helped to coordinate existing response and recovery plans as well as technology resiliency communications processes.
March 24 '08: The Star Bulletin reported a partnership of 12 hospitals across Hawaii which participated in a mock bioterror response drill. The exercise, conducted in partnership by the state's Department of Health and the Healthcare Association of Hawaii simulated exposure to anthrax and was meant to simulate the activation of the Strategic National Stockpile, a press release read. (Additional reading here, and here.)
March 19 '08: The Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy at the University of Minnesota (CIDRAP), reported that a recent pandemic response exercise conducted by the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta was the fourth in a series of similar exercises begun in January 2007.
March 17 '08: City and police officials in Atlanta are working to restore order to the downtown area after a tornado smashed through several neighborhoods CNN reported. The storm's 130 mph winds "slammed into skyscrapers as well as landmarks like the CNN Center and the Georgia Dome ... Dozens of streets remained blocked Monday as cleanup crews gathered debris and downed limbs and trees, piling it on sidewalks or in dumpsters positioned on cordoned-off roads," the cable news channel reported.
March 12 '08: To help respond to oil and chemical pollution disasters, two Canadian companies have created a new partnership which will establish emergency response equipment depots around the world as well as allow personnel access to pre-existing training centers, a press release announced. The Swire Group and Lamor Corporation partnership will be able to handle Tier I - Tier III oil spills.
March 11 '08: The technical and management services company Proxtronics, based in Springfield, VA has developed a Mobile Transportation Radiation Monitoring System (MOTRAMS) which measures and establishes baseline radiation levels along roadways, railways, waterways and within communities.
March 10 '08: Texas A&M University's Home Station blog which covers topics related to homeland security (HLS) reported that San Diego County has released an after action report covering the 2007 wildfires.
March 6 '08: Sometimes during disasters, those who are responding may not have all the transportation resources they need to make sure that the affected communities can be reached. The Christian Appalachian Project has developed a partnership with the rental car company Enterprise to provide cars and rental vans on short notice.
March 5, 2008: The Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University will be hosting an online emergency evacuation seminar with a focus on major cities in the country March 5. At the webinar will be several emergency managers - the event will be moderated by the Kennedy School's Program on Emergency Preparedness and Crisis Management.
February 29 '08: Continuity Central has reported a new development from IBM that allows a 3-D virtualization of a business environment. According to the company's press release the new solution can bring in "real-time data from different facilities into a 3-D environment to visualize hot spots, data flow, server utilization and more to better monitor and manage the entire IT platform."
February 29 '08: The House Foreign Affairs Committee approved legislation recently which would create "standby groups of civilian specialists with diverse skills" who would be called upon to help respond to domestic and international crises, a press release from the Friends Committee on National Legislation announced.
February 28 '08: Reuters has reported the formation of a new coalition of several major US city water utilities who are working "to improve research into the impacts of climate change on water utilities, develop strategies for adapting to climate change," and to help conserve water consumption, the coalition's press release said. The Water Utility Climate Alliance was formed by the Cities of New York, Seattle, Portland, Oregon, San Francisco, Denver, the San Diego County Water Authority, Southern Nevada Water Authority, and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California which combined serve more than 36 million people.
February 27 '08: The Miami Herald reported that a major power outage which hit Southern Florida "disrupted life in nearly every imaginable way," after what the Sun-Sentinel reported was a nuclear power plant shutdown which triggered a chain reaction that left more than 1 million people without power.
February 27 '08: ContinuityCentral.com reported that virtualization software company VMWare has developed a new disaster recovery solution for businesses called the Site Recovery Manager. The SRM will enable organizations "to deliver centralized management of recovery plans, automate the recovery process and enable dramatically improved testing of recovery plans."
February 26 '08: Ameriqual, makers of meals-ready-to-eat, has developed the APack self-heating emergency meal. The APack has a long shelf-life - up to three years, and can be ready to eat in under 10 minutes, the company's product website read. The company also contracts with the Department of Defense to provide MREs to American military personnel, the Evansville Courier & Press reported.
February 26 '08: During the 2007 hurricane season wireless telecomm companies operating in the Gulf Coast deployed communications resiliency solutions to ensure a sustainable information infrastructure. Sprint was no different and has employed a variety of solutions through their Emergency Response Team to make sure that first responders and community stakeholders are able to share information before, during and after an event.
February 21 '08: Reuters reported that a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that many states in the are more prepared for a public health emergency or biological attack "but still lacked trained staff and specialized facilities."
February 20 '08: In the Financial Times, John Podesta from the Center for American Progress wrote that the US military will have five "key areas" to confront when facing the challenges posed by climate change. In many cases, Podesta wrote, the Pentagon will be the world's most capable first responder when helping affected communities afflicted by disasters.
February 19 '08: In a press release the Harris Corporation announced a new land mobile radio that provides interoperable communications capability for federal agencies needing to talk to first responders on a secure link. The new multiband radios can provide "multi-agency communications across multiple frequency bands," including VHF and UHF.
February 19 '08: Wyoming officials have announced a new statewide interoperable communications system which will link first responders, emergency management and government officials together, the Torrington Telegram Online reported. The system is called Wyolink and it will be 80 to 85 percent complete by March this year. Eventually, officials said the system will be linked to other states' systems.
February 14 '08: Georgia Tech has partnered with Austin, Texas-based company Stellar Micro Devices to develop a new anthrax-killing technology which is able to effectively kill the spores in hours, as opposed to the 26 months is took to clean the Brentwood postal facility outside of Washington D.C. in 2001 at a total coast of $130 million, a GATech news story reported.
February 14 '08: HSDailyWire.com reported that Ahura Scientific has released a new handheld chemical ID device which "allows first responders to analyze" compounds in the field. The device, called the TruDefender FT is three pounds and uses Fourier-Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, the company's press release said.
February 14 '08: Corporate Lodging Consultants provides first responders a place to stay when a disaster strikes by working with local, state and federal emergency management officials. Through its Emergency Lodging Assistance program, the company can provide "lodging reimbursement for pre-qualified individuals from designated disaster areas," the company's website said. The ELA program is funded through FEMA and administered by CLC.
February 13 '08: International IT consulting and resource management company EDS has been participating in several case studies involving the cities of Anaheim, California and Montreal, Quebec among others. Specifically, EDS helped the municipalities to increase their ability to respond to disasters, streamline information sharing among stakeholders, and to integrate computer aided dispatch systems and launch virtual emergency management solutions.
February 13 '08: In Miami-Dade County, Florida emergency management officials told Government Computer News back in 2004 that they were operating their response operations based on 25-year-old technology. To help the county with a more modernized telecommunications solution, Basking Ridge, New Jersey-based Avaya helped install a voice over IP community response solution.
February 12 '08: Seven Seas Water, based in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands has developed a specialized water delivery and desalinization process for the tropics in addition to donating $20 million to finding ways of making clean water cheaper and more available to areas which typically have little water to use.
February 7 '08: RAE Systems was selected to deploy a wireless AreaRAE toxic gas and radiation sensor network during the TOPOFF 4 exercises held in Guam and Oregon last October, a press release announced.
February 7 '08: In the Kansas City Star Deborah Smithey, the President of the Missouri Midwives Association said that communities should incorporate midwives into local emergency response plans because of their specific training "in homes and out-of-hospital settings."
February 6 '08: On its official blog, Google has announced a series of five initiatives, including one that will locate and respond to areas around the globe where infectious disease and pandemic have arisen. The Predict and Prevent program will work to pinpoint locations of disease as well as identify resources, manpower, information and data which can respond, mitigate current or prevent additional outbreaks.
February 5 '08: A new report has been released by the UK-based Oxford Group, which works to find sustainable solutions to security questions facing the UK and the rest of the world. The new report outlines the potential challenges law enforcement agencies will face in the coming years if changes in the climate begin to stress resources among communities in both the developed and developing world.
February 1 '08: To help communities who have been affected by disasters or other crises, Honeywell has partnered with Operation USA. The partnership's focus is to "rapidly and expertly [provide] on-the-ground aid by sending vital life-saving supplies and cash grants to assist communities in rebuilding."
January 30 '08: Spacenet has announced a new Emergency Communications Vehicle (ECV) "for disaster recovery and first responder organizations," the press release said. Spacenet's ECV "can typically be deployed in ten minutes or less and provides converged data, voice and video communications." The ECV vehicle is based on a HUMMER 2 and can be connected to Spacenet's Connexstar satellite service - the same technology used in the EPIC interoperable solution.
January 30 '08: A white paper has been released by First Water Inc., which outlines a plan to deliver potable water to counties affected by a disaster. The company said its water purification technology, "will augment current options and enhance the County's ability to respond to any type of disaster where water quality or availability is comprised," rather than replacing current bottled water delivery systems.
January 29 '08: EMS scholarship grants have been awarded to 33 recipients around the country, medical distribution company Bound Tree Medical announced. The biannual scholarship was developed by the company "to reduce the financial burden of individuals that are focused on starting or furthering their education in the EMS field," the company said on its website.
January 28 '08: Global Security and Engineering Solutions, a division of L3 Communications has developed a wireless communication safety system which can be installed in mines. The Deseret Morning News reported that 900 megahertz network can "provide a high level of reliable, clear and audible communication throughout all areas of a mine, even around corners deep in a mine."
January 24 '08: Hospitality Net reported earlier last year, just before hurricane season, that the American Hotel & Lodging Association was partnering with Response, a recovery, cleanup, renovation and remediation company. The company has had a history with renovation and disaster remediation services for hotels on a national and regional level following the Katrina and Charlie hurricanes. The AH&LA will use Response's First Response Program.
January 24 '08: Mine Safety Appliances partnered with regional state officials in Southwestern Pennsylvania in 2004 when some of the worst flooding in decades inundated communities. MSA delivered "approximately 6,000 air-purifying respirators, along with safety eyewear, coveralls and first aid kits."
January 23 '08: The Department of Homeland Security has launched a new resource website called the National Resource Framework Resource Center. The website's goal is to allow for emergency management officials, community organizations, religious organizations and public officials to come together and share best practices and ideas as well as find solutions to some of their preparedness and response questions.
January 22 '08: CrisisR4 is a company which provides crisis counseling for companies in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. The company works to provide "Readiness, Response, Resilience and Recovery" and says that they "view emergencies as a Crisis Cycle, believing that groups go through the four phases (aforementioned) when dealing with a critical incident."
January 22 '08: Security Solutions.com reported that Cox Enterprises has launched a new crisis management site for its employees and business partners. On the site, the company has provided emergency readiness, preparedness and response information including pamphlets for families on such topics as national emergencies, pandemics and school safety. However, according to the site, "much of the current content ... focuses on what to do in preparation for" a global outbreak of avian flu.
January 22 '08: Regional school officials in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho said last summer that they would begin to use the Prepared Response Inc.,'s Rapid Response© crisis management system. Rapid Response© has been used in other parts of the country such as South Carolina.
January 18 '08: The New York Interfaith Disaster Services was established in 2003 after the attacks on 9/11. The 501(c)(3)'s mission is to provide "disaster readiness, response and recovery services for New York City." NYDIS' mission in disaster recovery includes "all phases of a disaster life cycle, including sustained advocacy, mitigation education, preparedness training, disaster planning, and recovery programs."
January 17 '08: Core Street announced a partnership with the Los Angles Urban Area Security Initiative in 2006 to use the company's PIVMAN System credential verification technology. The PIVMAN System was selected by SuperCom, now known as Vuance.
January 16 '08: Earlier in 2007, with the hurricane season just about to start, Anheuser-Busch announced it was pre-staging canned water around the Gulf and Southeastern Atlantic coasts. 12,850 cases of canned water were delivered to relief organizations and local emergency response agencies. An additional fact sheet from the National Conference of State Legislatures showed that the company also gave support to law enforcement and relief agencies as well as financial support and transportation/trucking capabilities during Hurricane Katrina.
January 15 '08: Commonwealth Edison electric company - also called ComEd - received an award from the Edison Electric Institute for its efforts in recovering from the "Storm of the Decade", which hit Chicago August 2007, a press release read.
January 14 '08: Networks like Verizon have been working to prepare their networks in the event of a large-scale disaster like a hurricane. Similarly, AT&T's Network Disaster Recovery (NDR) has been developed to recover voice and data services quickly in the affected area of a disaster.
January 11 '08: Carmax has initiated a company-wide disaster relief program to help its customers and employees with disaster relief. The program's goals are two-fold: to look for ways to assist local community organizations working on disaster relief; and to help employees with recovery after a disaster.
January 8, '08: In a press release, the STIHL chainsaw company's USA headquarters announced the Hearts of STIHL program - a bifurcated initiative to pre-position chainsaws in hurricane-prone areas during Hurricane Katrina and to help local emergency response funding for communities by matching grant money.
January 8 '08: The makers of the Hexayurt, a portable and quick-setup emergency shelter have been working on the Disastr.org emergency evacuation plan for cities and communities using a peer-to-peer resource allocation process which would provide sheltering for potentially hundreds of thousands of people. The value of having portable emergency shelters using scant resources was evident when the company participated in the 2006 Strong Angel III exercise, the New York Times reported.
January 7 '08: In New Jersey, NorthJersey.com reported that local EMS, fire and police officials will begin to train for hazardous driving conditions using a computer program developed by New York-based Doron Precision Systems. The simulators will be installed later this year at the Law & Public Safety Institute in Mahwah, NJ.
January 7 '08: The recent severe winter storms which hit the West Coast and Pacific Northwest with heavy rains, hurricane-force winds and feet of snow caused state officials in California to declare a state of emergency while in Nevada, heavy rains caused levees to break, the Associated Press reported. At least three people were killed as a result of the storm system which dumped more than five feet of snow in parts of the Sierra Nevada.
January 4 '08: The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel reported that the State Bar of Arizona will host an emergency preparedness and response seminar later this month. The seminar will focus on business community management issues and the legal implications which could arise from disasters such as pandemics, man-made disasters, or natural emergencies.
December 20 '07: The Associated Press reported earlier this year that the rental container company PODS has developed a PODS Rapid Response Team to help provide shipping and emergency shelter capabilities to those affected by disasters. The containers can be air conditioned and are able to "be used to transport food, water and medical supplies to impacted areas or as a storage container for household items and assets of homeowners and businesses," as well as temporary shelters, the company's website read.
December 17 '07: Hummer has been working with the American Red Cross to coordinate and provide emergency vehicle and transportation services during emergencies through a program called HUMMER Owners Prepared for Emergencies (HOPE).
December 13 '07: Western Union has announced a new partnership with the United Nations' Central Emergency Response Fund by being the first corporate donor to the international response and aid agency. In a press release Western Union said its corporate donation would help on-going humanitarian and response operations around the world.
December 12 '07: In a press release, the RAND Corporation announced a new study which "gives rail security planners and policymakers a framework to develop cost-effective plans to secure their rail systems from terrorist attacks." The authors cite terrorist attacks in London and Madrid as highlighting the "vulnerability of rail travel and the importance of rail security for passengers."
December 11 '07: The Associated Press reported that in several western states, oil and gas companies are providing ambulance service for workers in the natural gas fields. In Sublette County, Wyoming, Shell, EnCana, Ultra and BP have "contributed $900,000 toward the new ambulance and a place to house it." Meanwhile county officials have given $500,000 for the ambulance service.
December 7 '07: A Fox News affiliate in Portland, Oregon reported that while the recent storms knocked out power and some basic cell and phone services for thousands of residents, local amateur ham radio operators were hailed as essential components in the response and recovery.
December 6 '07: The Associated Press reported state officials at the Georgia Emergency Management Agency are working on water shortage mitigation plans in the face of a looming crisis. According to the AP, Georgia residents "may be down to just a few months of easily accessible water, and the faucets could run dry if reservoirs aren't replenished soon."
December 5 '07: The Seattle Post Intelligencer reported that a state of emergency has been declared in Washington by Governor Chris Gregoire and in Oregon by Governor Ted Kulongoski. The late fall storms have knocked out power to more than 50,000 people while completely inundating Interstate 5. Officials said the road should re-open Thursday or Friday pending little damage to the infrastructure, however some estimates put the total cost of damage in the hundreds of millions.
December 4 '07: BLU-MED Response Systems, a Washington State-based partner with the National Congress, has announced two new contracts to help communities in Idaho's District Four and Suffolk County, New York increase their hospital surge capacity capabilities. In a press release, the company said it would provide two types of deployable medical shelters which could handle a full-scale medical emergency.
November 21 '07: Officer.com reported that during the holiday season with record numbers of travelers, federal, state and local officials urge safety using the National Unified Goal for Traffic Incident Management. Use of the system will help increase public safety awareness in addition to creating a more "unified" approach to making travel more safe, officials said.
November 15 '07: An online collaborative tool designed for businesses to hold meetings over the Internet has been deployed in the field to help first responders share information real-time. In a press release from Citrix Online's GoToMeeting, a public/private partnership designed to test communities' abilities to respond to fire emergencies in multicultural settings, an emergency response operation was conducted through funding provided by the Department of Homeland Security and with the cooperation of FIRE 20/20, a research and education non-profit organization which is working to integrate fire preparedness and response into the business world.
November 13 '07: In August of this year, Blu-Med Response Systems was able to assemble a 30,000 square-foot Mobile Field Hospital, which is similar to a Combat Support Hospital. According to the press release, the 200-bed MFH was assembled 12 hours ahead of schedule during the California Rough & Ready 2007 Exercise.
November 13 '07: In Stockton, California, the Record reported that community leaders are working with the University of the Pacific and the Port of Stockton to develop and execute the Golden Guardian 2007 emergency response exercise which will begin on Wednesday.
November 9 '07: The Associated Press reported that a 58,000-gallon oil spill in San Francisco Bay has prompted a cleanup and response effort from local residents and environmental groups working to contain the slick which has spread at least 15 miles out into the Pacific Ocean. To help with the cleanup and response efforts, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that local residents are aiding emergency crews who have established remote and mobile operations units along the beaches.
November 9 '07: The Associated Press reported that a 58,000-gallon oil spill in San Francisco Bay has prompted a cleanup and response effort from local residents and environmental groups working to contain the slick which has spread at least 15 miles out into the Pacific Ocean. To help with the cleanup and response efforts, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that local residents are aiding emergency crews who have established remote and mobile operations units along the beaches.
November 8 '07: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has ordered a review of Southern California's response to the recent wildfires which burned more than 2,000 homes, the NBC affiliate in San Diego reported. Gov. Schwarzenegger has said a task force will look into ways that response efforts could be tweaked to produce better results for the future.
November 6 '07: Two geospatial technology companies have partnered to provide responders in California with detailed images of last month's wildfires, GISUSer.com reported recently. The companies, TerraGo Technologies and GeoEye took the large file images, each totaling about 19 gigs each, and compressed them into pictures only 600 mb each so that the pictures could distributed more easily.
November 5 '07: Emergency management and local government officials in Huntsville, Alabama have reopened their fallout shelters to help with response operations in the event of a large emergency or radiological disaster, Physicians for Civil Defense wrote. The program was designed by local officials to help buffer the impact of potentially hundreds or even thousands of people displaced by a nuclear or radiological disaster and who would seek a safe haven.
November 2 '07: Disaster News Network reported a gathering of local and state California officials with community church groups, relief organizations and church leaders "to bring local churches together in order to better coordinate their response efforts," during the recent devastating wildfires.
October 29 '07: The New York Times reported that the fires in Southern California are giving federal disaster response officials an opportunity to review their recovery operations - a first since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. According to the Times, part of the disaster response operations include making sure that federal relief funds are given to those who need them and avoid fraudulent claims.
October 24 '07: In Southern California, as wildfires continue to burn, close to 1 million people have been evacuated while President Bush declared a state of emergency allowing for federal aid and resources to be sent to the state. Officials have said they have learned from Hurricane Katrina, the LA Times reported.
October 22 '07: The Los Angeles Times has reported that local communities in Southern California are rushing to respond to the intense wildfires sweeping through at least seven counties. More than 30,000 reverse 9-1-1 calls were made to residents urging them to evacuate from the "unrestrained fires." Local emergency officials also have partnered with area businesses to organize an effective response, the Times found.
October 3 '07: According to Agence France-Presse, a new report from the Pediatrics journal has found that in a disaster the most vulnerable population will be the children.
October 3 '07: The New York Times reported that fire fighters responding to the Deutsche Bank fire in New York City on August 18 were not aware of a special sealed staircase designated for emergency response. "The stairwells were sealed with heavy plywood and plastic to prevent toxic materials from escaping and hinged trap doors were put in the plywood slabs, yet the escape plan was never brought to the attention of firefighters assigned to respond."
October 2 '07: In Oklahoma City, Oklahoma at the annual National Emergency Managers Association conference attendants said they focused on recent lessons-learned after heavy snowfalls this past winter and vernal torrential rains flooded the state activating record response measures. The Norman Transcript reported "Networking and sharing experiences were the messages" of the conference.
September 6 '07: Responders in South Florida are learning to use a new national location system to train for disasters, Naples Daily News reported. Using the National Grid System, the Southwest Florida Urban Search and Rescue learned how to send information about the location of disasters and their victims.
September 4 '07: The Coulee News in Wisconsin reported that during the recent intense flooding in Midwest states some residents in La Crosse County were ready to respond and give assistance to local first responders and emergency management officials.
August 28 '07: Recently, when a magnitude 8.0 earthquake shook Peru, the Mormon Church mobilized disaster response resources and recovery supplies to help to affected communities. Church leaders said on their website that disaster and response efforts were helped through existing resources and congregational help.
August 27 '07: Environmental News Network reported that California state officials unveiled three new mobile civilian emergency medical response shelters - the largest of their kind - during a demonstration in Los Alamitos. The shelters can contain up to 200 beds along with "other new medical assets".
August 23 '07: USA Today reported recently that a partnership between the City of Atlanta, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Emory University called the Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival program, uses an Internet-based database approach to combine several formats and medical records data to help create EMS performance reports and has improved survival rates for heart attack victims.
August 21 '07: The Chemical Safety Board released a report earlier in July which outlined several missteps in corporate emergency preparedness which led to a faulty response and one death at the Synthron chemical plant in Morgantown, North Carolina.
August 20 '07: In Fairfield, Ohio, Fire Chief Don Bennet has created the Clergy Crisis Response Team "in an attempt to support the citizens which encounter traumatic events within the community."
August 14 '07: In Hawaii, residents and responder officials are bracing for Hurricane Flossie while a 5.3 earthquake struck the Big Island under a hurricane watch and a tropical storm warning, CNN reported. To help residents stay informed about the impending storm - which has been downgraded to a Category 3 and is not expected to hit the islands directly - the Honolulu Advertiser has posted a disaster preparedness page on its website.
August 13 '07: Victorinox, the maker of the Swiss Army Knife, has developed a new first responder tool especially designed to help emergency response with capabilities to cut car windshields, break windows and cut seat belts.
August 10 '07: Government Technology reported that the City of Tallahassee has been recognized by the Public Technology Institute for its Public Safety Project, a city-wide interoperable communications network.
August 6 '07: First responders in Minneapolis said that the city's new wireless network - just two months old - has been invaluable in sending and receiving information to help with response and recovery efforts after the I-35W bridge collapsed into the Mississippi River. PC World reported that the new network has "helped the city with communications, moving large mapping files to the recovery site, and is supporting wireless cameras that are being installed to help with recovery operations."
August 2 '07: The Associated Press reported Minneapolis police officials have said at least seven people died when a bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis collapsed during rush-hour traffic. Authorities have not said what caused the crash, though they did rule out foul play. Reuters said the eight-lane bridge served as a major artery for the city and that the collapse happened while the bridge was under renovations.
July 31 '07: Local officials in San Ramon Valley are considering partnering with a medical information distribution service which would compile residents' information that could then be used to build smart lists of special needs during emergencies, the Contra Costa Times reported. Some of the obstacles facing the implementation of the plan include pricing, privacy and security.
July 26 '07: The Wall Street Journal reported that medical schools and emergency response programs have added wilderness-medicine to their curricula. Medical officials say as more people enjoy outdoor activities and with an increase in disasters in remote locations, it is important that response operations are able to incorporate wilderness scenarios.
July 23 '07: The Harvard Post reported that the town has been planning on working to mobilize some of the 6,000 residents to help respond in the event of a bio-terror attack or a pandemic outbreak. "Ken Gikas, of the Region II Emergency Preparedness Coaltion, said he will work with the (Board of Health) to identify and seek out members of the community who are willing to support emergency and bioterrorism preparedness efforts," the Post wrote.
July 20 '07: Firefighting officials in the Western states have raised the fire alert and preparedness level to its highest, the Associated Press reported. The hot summer weather, coupled with drought conditions and high winds have created "perfect conditions" for the blazes, CNN reported. Additionally, firefighter manpower resources are low, so officials have said there is a chance of international recruitment from Canada and Australia.
July 20 '07: The American Medical Association and the American Public Health Association have released a new report (see link below to download the report), which calls for repairing "gaping holes in the U.S. disaster response system," the Government Health IT website reported.
July 19 '07: One person was killed and about 30 were injured when an underground steam pipe in Midtown Manhattan exploded sending a jet of hot water several stories high and shaking the nearby city streets, the New York Times reported. Among those injured were several responders, the New York paper continued.
July 18 '07: In California, the eight-day training exercise Golden Phoenix has gathered more than 60 law enforcement and response agencies to simulate a magnitude-7.9 earthquake, the Wittier Daily News reported. Organizers hope to test the communications abilities of those participating in the event.
July 17 '07: Shelter Architecture has developed a portable, energy independent, and "small scale, self contained ecosystem," called The Hub which can provide shelter to first responders and disaster victims during emergencies.
July 12 '07: A new post on Continuity Central by Dr. Jim Kennedy, NCE, MRP, MBCI, CBRM, Business Continuity Services Practice Lead and Consulting Member of Technical Staff for Lucent Technologies has illustrated alternatives for establishing emergency communications systems after a disaster. Dr. Kennedy wrote that relying on traditional lines of communication such as land-lines and cell phone networks hinders a company, organization, or government's ability to relay critical information in a timely manner.
July 11 '07: In a press release, Honeywell announced a new web-based notification system for the healthcare industry and academia. Instant Alert© Plus can send 100,000 30-second phone calls about disasters, terrorist attacks, or other emergencies to cell phones, pagers, email, PDS's or regular land-line phones.
July 11 '07: "Unprecedented" was the word used to describe the response in Texas after more than 45 days of flooding that left more than a dozen people dead and hundreds more stranded, NPR reported. Officials told the public radio network that the search and rescue operations were the largest the state had ever mobilized.
July 11 '07: ITWorld Canada reported that many companies around the Toronto, Ontario area have learned business continuity best practices after the city was besieged by a Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2002. Those best practices were discussed during the World Conference on Disaster Management held this week.
July 10 '07: Kershaw County school system in South Carolina announced recently that it has installed an emergency and crisis management system for the 2007-2008 school year according to GIS User.com article posted by the network's company, Prepared Response Inc..
July 9 '07: In Dearborn, Michigan city officials are working on a new emergency vehicle alert system which will be installed on city street intersections to alert drivers about oncoming response vehicles, the Associated Press reported. Three intersections will have the alert system installed to test its viability.
June 29 '07: According to the Associated Press, the torrential rains which have killed at least 12 people in Texas and Oklahoma are projected to stay for the next couple of days, exacerbating the flood levels and pushing emergency responses. Evacuation orders for 2,00 of Parker County, Texas were issued while in San Antonio there have been 52 street closures and 43 high-water rescue calls made.
June 28 '07: The U.S. Fire Administration has released a report detailing recruitment of volunteer fire fighters and retaining them. The report comes during an active Western fire season which has been stretching responder and local services. In response to civilian preparedness issues, the administration also has released a preparedness set of guidelines.
June 19 '07: The Associated Press reported that a huge blaze at a furniture warehouse in Charleston, S.C. has killed nine firefighters who responded to the inferno. While nine died, two warehouse employees were rescued according to City Mayor Joseph P. Riley during a morning news conference.
June 14 '07: Two global communications and network companies have partnered to create a mobile emergency response command center which can be used for field operational management for the 2007 hurricane season, a press release announced. The companies, PacStar and SpaceNet will design the Emergency Preparedness Integrated Communications system.
June 13 '07: A $1 million project, funded by Oregon State University, is studying the impacts of repeated tsunamis on a replica model of the town of Seaside in the hopes that researchers will be able to help develop more effective evacuation and warning systems in case of a killer wave, the Gazette-Times reported.
June 7 '07: According to officials in Louisiana, during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the single largest hurdle to response and rescue operations was the complete breakdown of communication among all levels of government, first responding agencies and emergency management operations. The Times Picayune reported that a new $32 million emergency communications system was installed which will allow officials from multiple parishes communicate with each other.
June 4 '07: Home improvement stores in Florida told the Tallahassee Democrat that they have prepared for this year's hurricane season by stocking up on essential preparedness and rebuilding supplies as well as stocking centralized depot points to help with any reconstruction efforts after large storms.
June 1 '07: Over the last week, a 31-year old Atlanta man infected with a rare strain of tuberculosis resistant to almost all forms of medication traveled from the U.S. to Europe and back again potentially infecting dozens of people with the deadly virus while American and European health officials failed to share critical information about his whereabouts, and exposed gaps in international pandemic response and preparendess the International Herald Tribune and other news sources reported.
May 30 '07: Center for Disease Control officials have quarantined an airline traveler who has been diagnosed with a fatal drug-resistant form of tuberculosis CNN reported. The man, who flew from the U.S. to France and who returned to the U.S. by car via Toronto, was the first person to be ordered under such guidelines since 1963.
May 29 '07: Financial sector officials have announced a flu pandemic response and preparedness exercise to be help in cooperation with the federal government, FinExtra.com reported. The exercise will take place later in the year and it will last several weeks to help simulate a "full pandemic wave".
May 25 '07: City officials in Chicago have said that recent emergency response exercises have increased their capability to act quickly, a local NBC affiliate reported. Cortez Trotter, the Chicago chief emergency officer told the station results from an earlier massive emergency drill which included the evacuation of 3,000 people from 4 city buildings "were positive."
May 24 '07: According to Reuters forecasters have urged the oil industry to move their stockpiles away from the Gulf Coast before the start of the 2007 hurricane season to protect U.S. supplies. The suggestion was made after weather predictions for this year's summer storm season harbinged an active cycle with some saying it is "almost certain there is going to be significant production disruption in the Gulf of Mexico this year."
May 24 '07: In a press release, Verizon announced it is readying its networks for the 2007 hurricane season to make sure that service continues in the event of a disaster. Much of the preparation is through the development of "smart" networks which can re-route communications when damages occur and through extensive inventory cataloguing to help send supplies to repair damaged communications infrastructure.
May 23: North Carolina Governor Mike Easly told the News & Observer that his state was ready for the 2007 hurricane season, which forecasters have said will be very active with already one tropical storm on the books. Despite the state's readiness, Easly also said that manpower and equipment was down because of Iraq deployments.
May 17 '07: Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said on Monday that gas stations along the state's hurricane evacuation routes must install emergency backup generators, NBC 6 and the Associated Press reported. However, Crist sent a letter to about 254 of the gas stations which have not installed the mandatory generators, the NBC affiliate reported.
May 16 '07: Maintaining business continuity after disasters is essential on the road to recovery. To help businesses and financial institutions along the Gulf Coast, the FDIC has been working to compile best practices and business continuity plans which can serve as templates for other members of the community.
May 14: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association has released a new website designed to provide valuable information about hazardous chemicals and proper response techniques for first responders, Government Technology reported. The site, called Computer-Aided Management of Emergency Operations (CAMEO) Chemicals, is an addition to the original information suite developed over the last twenty years.
May 11 '07: Several large fires around the country are burning while firefighters and local residents work to contain the blazes, the Associated Press reported. Meanwhile, CNN has provided a national map showing the wildfires.
May 7 '07: Local residents in Greensburg, Kansas are beginning to return and rebuild after a tornado flattened the town on Friday, CNN reported. However, efforts are hampered by a lack of resources and several incidents of looting in the aftermath, local news sources reported.
May 2 '07: Security experts told the San Francisco Chronicle that a recent tanker crash, which spewed thousands of gallons of fuel causing a massive fire and the subsequent collapse of a busy overpass in the San Francisco metro area, highlights the dangers posed by potential terrorists who would use similar tactics by employing tankers as weapons.
May 1 '07: According to a press release from the U.S. Northern Command, the U.S., and Canadian governments will cooperate with state and local authorities in Alaska, Indiana and Rhode Island, among other northern East Coast states during the response exercise called Ardent Sentry-Nothern Edge 07. The exercise will be the largest NORTHCOM has organize and will be held from April 30 to May 18.
April 30 '07: According to the On Deadline blog at USA Today, more than 700 firefighters in Southern Georgia were working to put out wildfires which have consumed more than 100 square miles of swampland. The Associated Press reported that by Monday, about 70 percent of the blazes had been contained.
April 30 '07: A 17-foot stretch of a major overpass on the Bay Area freeway collapsed this weekend after a gas tanker crashed, causing intense heat and flames reaching almost 200 feet, the LA Times reported. The collapses of the overpass caused heavy traffic on Monday morning as commuters headed to work and it prompted a declaration of emergency from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
April 24 '07: In May 2005, an English first responder Bob Brotchie devised the In Case of Emergency program which would tag certain phone numbers on peoples' cell phones so that in an emergency, those on the scene could contact the victims' family or friends. The program later caught on globally and is now in the U.S..
April 19 '07: California National Guard troops and Los Angeles first responders are participating in a major emergency response exercise code named "Operation Vector", the Los Angeles Times reported. The three-day training exercise will include "a Hollywood-style convergence of" and earthquake coupled with a bioterror attack.
April 18 '07: The National Crime Prevention Council said that the recent tragic school shootings at Virginia Tech where 32 people were killed, highlights the imperative for "all higher education campuses [to] continually update and rehearse emergency plans and emphasize a campus community-wide crime prevention strategy," a press release announced.
April 18 '07: The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently sent a letter to Congress saying that its revisions to the National Response Plan might not be able to hit the June 1 deadline, the Associated Press reported.
April 17 '07: On Monday, 32 people were killed at Virginia Tech after a gunman stormed a dormitory and the engineering school, killing many students execution-style the Roanoke Times reported. Response to the shootings has been under question after email notifications about the first shooting came nearly two hours later according to local and regional officials who have asked whether more could have been done to save the lives of students and faculty, the Times reported.
April 16 '07: A computer aided-dispatch (CAD) 911 call system in Minneapolis is helping law enforcement, fire and medical personnel respond to emergency calls in the city, a press release announced. The system was built over the course of two years and came online in March 2007.
April 16 '07: The Toledo Free Press reported that with money from the Department of Homeland Security and the state of Ohio, the Owens Community College has built a 110-acre, $20.5 million emergency preparedness training facility for first responders near the Toledo area.
April 13 '07: Broadcast companies working in the Gulf Coast region will begin to prepare for the upcoming 2007 hurricane season by implementing a new emergency alert messaging platform called ALERT FM a press release announced. The new system will be showcased during the National Association of Broadcasters 2007 Show, in Las Vegas April 14 - 19.
April 12 '07: More than a half-dozen counties in Iowa will participate in emergency preparedness drills simulating a pandemic, Radio Iowa reported. The exercises also will include a full-scale exercise with law enforcement and EMT's as well as county and local health officials.
April 12 '07: The second full week in April is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. The week, honoring those in the emergency response industry who are instrumental in sending the right and timely information to those in the field, was mandated by Congress in 1994 after several states, prompted by California, began to recognize the responders' efforts.
April 9 '07: The 911 system in many parts of the country is facing difficulties as state and local governments try to upgrade the systems to handle new technologies such as cell phones and text messaging, the New York Times reported according to state, local and regional officials.
April 5 '07: Virginia first responders in the City of Alexandria and in Arlington County are the first in the country to receive First Responder Authentication Credentials for quick field identification and response, WTOP reported. The FRAC cards, as they are called, are encoded with vital biographical and technical information and can be read by a wireless device.
April 3 '07: The World Health Organization and members of response communities in Japan and Southeast Asia participated in a simulated bird flu pandemic response exercise, Agence France-Presse reported. More than 1,000 experts and responders were involved in the exercises in Manila, Philippines.
March 28 '07: About 150 North Dakotan first responders and members of area schools, police, fire, public health agencies, airport personnel, and public schools will participate in a nighttime emergency response exercise at the Bismark Municipal Airport, the Bismark Tribune reported. The nighttime exercise was chosen because of the logistical difficulties it presents, organizers said.
March 22 '07: A new report released at a recent communications technology conference has found that collaborative applications in the field could help first responders close the "knowledge gap" which exists between emergency management directors and responders at the scene, the State College Local News reported.
March 22 '07: A three-year study by the University of Georgia has found that the U.S. is not ready to respond to a nuclear attack, a press release read. The study, which has called "the most advanced and detailed simulation published in open scientific literature," found that surge capacity inadequacies and a breakdown in response services would result from a large nuclear attack in a major American city.
March 19 '07: A disaster, all-weather blanket designed by the Polymer Group based in Charleston, S.C. is being used all over the world by disaster recovery groups because it is so versatile, the Associated Press reported. Called the "All Day, Every Day" blanket, company officials said it is "warmer than traditional blankets woven of cotton or wool," and can repel water as well as being resistant to diseases.
March 15 07: First responders in Virginia will be the first in the nation to be issued credentials for the field, a news release announced. More than 1,400 First Responder Authentication Credentials (FRAC) will be sent out through a joint venture sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security in the National Capital Region, the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
March 14 '07: Recently Alabama Homeland Security officials installed an $18 million radio communications system to boost capabilities for the state's first responders, EMS and police and fire officials. However, the Associated Press reported that during a recent severe weather disaster responders had difficulty talking with one another.
March 14 '07: Members of the Oregon National Guard trained recently with local firefighters during a two-day training exercise designed to boost cooperation between state and local responders with the National Guard, Guard Experience reported. Officials at the training exercise said it was important to "enhance the capabilities of those first on the scene" of a disaster. Officials said they thought of the mutual training exercise after their experience with Hurricane Katrina.
March 13 '07: IBM has developed a business disaster response and preparedness plan, the company's website reported. The Business Continuity Self-Assessment Tool was developed to tackle three main areas of disaster mitigation: business, data, and event driven threats.
March 12 '07: FBI Special Agent Warren T. Bamford told the Boston Globe that if a terror cell were to plan an attack on U.S. soil, local and state police would be on the front line of response. "If we're going to stop a terrorist attack, the person it's going to be stopped by is a police officer of citizen."
March 9 '07: In San Diego, local first responders paired with regional emergency services personnel, police officials and members of the California Department of Forestry to test communications equipment reliability, News10 in San Diego reported. The exercise simulated a terrorist attack on the Alvarado Water Treatment Facility.
March 9 '07: First responders, members of the private sector and government officials have been testing new credentialling technology designed to increase field and situational awareness during a response to a disaster in the National Capital Region, a press release announced. During the "Winter Storm" exercise in February, officials worked to implement the "test to verify the integration and interoperability of credential system attributes such as qualifications, authorizations, certifications and privileges."
March 8 '07:" More than 1,800 firefighters, police, EMS, emergency management operators and others will participate in the New Jersey Emergency Preparedness Association's ninth annual conference to enhance "the abilities of police, fire and medical response units," New Jersey.com reported.
March 7 '07: According to a web release emergency management officials in Pennsylvania are planning to test a new emergency field management technology designed to increase field situational awareness. Members of South Central Regional Counter Terrorism Task Force will test the Incident Collaborator technology later this year.
March 6 '07: A two-part exercise in Hampton Roads, VA will gather emergency management officials, and federal, state and military officials to test emergency response operations simulating a simultaneous terrorist attack and hurricane along the East Coast, the Virginia Pilot reported.
March 2 '07: A new E911 call center in the Town of Lockport, New York in Niagra County has given emergency management officials a leg-up in situational awareness and communications capabilities, the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online reported. The multi-million dollar facility allows 911 operators locate and track emergency response equipment, vehicles, manpower and increases the center's ability to handle distress calls.
March 1 '07: Seattle's Mayor Greg Nickels announced recently that there would changes to his city's emergency management and response systems after recent storms hit causing power outages and widespread damage, the Seattle Post Intelligencer reported.
February 26 '07: Top level White House officials ran an emergency response exercise to test the Bush administration's ability to communicate and respond to a roadside bomb attack in the U.S., the Associated Press reported. The three-hour exercise was supervised by White House homeland security advisor Frances Townsend - President Bush did not participate in the exercise however.
February 23 '07: According to an investigation promulgated by Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, poor planning, preparation, communication and response was to blame for the hundreds of motorists who were stranded by the severe winter storms which hit earlier in February, a press release announced. State officials said that thought the storm was highly unusual because of the mix of precipitation, the state should "have been better prepared."
February 23 '07: The Times Argus reported in Vermont that state and local police are practicing their coordination and response to a school shooting and how the various levels of law enforcement communicate with each other during the emergency. Drills in Rutland County were attended by about 50 officers, the Times Argus reported.
February 22 '07: The Salem News in Ohio reported that as Community Emergency Response Training programs have been offered by the local Emergency Management Agency residents in the community have been signing up for the training. Officials told the Salem News that the diverse backgrounds of the volunteers have provided well-needed experience to help team cooperation during an emergency.
February 21 '07: In Georgia and Florida, state lawmakers and governors are urging residents to stay prepared and vigilant for all types of natural disasters during Severe Weather Awareness Week. The Courier Herald in Georgia and a press release from Florida Governor Charlie Crist's office both announced plans to include the public in safety and response preparedness initiatives statewide.
February 21 '07: In Florida, communities hit by recent tornados are getting recovery help from Native American tribal volunteers through the Tribal Civilian Community Corps, an organization begun and modeled after the National Civilian Community Corps.
February 20 '07: The Associated Press reported that grocery store chains have been readying themselves for the potentialities of an avian flu pandemic. "Unlike other critical infrastructure sectors like water, energy and health care, the food industry isn't getting much help from state and federal governments when it comes to disaster planning."
February 15 '07: In Ventura County, California, a new emergency call center has incorporated technology and operations into one location designed specifically for 911 emergency services, the Ventura County Star reported via LexisNexis.
February 15 '07: The severe winter storm that moved across the Midwest and into the Mid Atlantic and Northeast this week dumped ice and snow causing more than a dozen fatalities and slowing air and highway traffic. In Indiana, coordination among state and local responder agencies along with the Department of Homeland Security and the Red Cross helped to reduce the impact of the storm, responder officials told the South Bend Tribune.
February 14 '07: The American Red Cross in Greater New York recently sponsored an international conference of Red Cross emergency managers from the U.S., Great Britain and Spain, Voice of America reported. The gathering's goal was to share information about lessons learned during the terrorist attacks in London, Madrid and New York in the last five years.
February 13 '07: With the rise of hybrid vehicles on the road, emergency responders on the scene of an accident are faced with new electrical and airbag systems, and batteries in the cars that could create hazards after an accident. The Oberly Monitor Index reported that a new program has begun to train Missourian first responders on hybrid vehicles with the cooperation with Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety.
February 9 '07: The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have announced the creation of a National Advisory Council that will be comprised of federal, state and local emergency management directors, non profit organizers, and private sector businesses and organizations who will work to redesign FEMA, a DHS press release announced.
February 7 '07: Small and large corporations and businesses around the U.S. are planning on ways to make sure if an influenza pandemic were to strike, operations would be able to continue, Reuters reported. To help businesses plan for pandemic response and preparedness, the U.S. Department of Occupational Health and Safety Administration released a series of guidelines designed to maintain such vital business operations as food supply distribution and electricity production.
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