Index > Response & Containment: Public/Private Partnerships
January 2012: (Hat tip to PolicyMic. A recent report out from Reuters outlined the current ongoing program at the Department of Homeland Security to monitor social networks with the intention of collecting "information used in providing situational awareness and establishing a common operating picture". The networks include Twitter, Facebook, Hulu, Wikileaks as well as sites like Drudge Report, Huffington Post and others.
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.
June 2010: According to the Baltimore Sun though there are initial response plans for cooperation, currently, there is no specific emergency response system for the Chesapeake Bay should there be an accident from an oil spill. William C. Boicourt from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science at Horn Point told the Sun, "There is no functioning [emergency response] system on the Bay in the terms of what we can call operational." Officials with the Coast Guard did tell the Sun there are contingency efforts in coordination with federal, state and local officials to work with the "party responsible" for the accident who is ultimately in charge of cleanup efforts.
October 14 '08: Last week, October 8, the United Nations observed the International Day for Disaster Reduction. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said recent disasters such as Cyclone Nargis and the Wenchuan Earthquake have pushed highlighted the imperative for international disaster response initiatives and partnership for local, state and international communities and governments.
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.)
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.
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 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.
November 14 '07: According to Science Daily, a new report released by the peer-reviewed International Journal of Emergency Management, has said that "an increase in the complexity of disasters [has made] it more difficult to manage a response" between local and state communities and the private sector. The report found, "It will be the responsibility of citizens and local government officials to work together to adapt the programmes [sic] to their communities' preparedness needs."
October 17 '07: According to a press release, the Metropolitan Exposition Recreation Commission (MERC) with the Red Cross' Oregon Trail Chapter to develop a first-of-its-kind mega-shleter "agreement of its kind in Oregon that provides response and coordination of services and operations during major emergency and disaster relief efforts."
September 12 '07: More than 35 federal, state and local agencies and 200 to 300 officials, responders and community volunteers participated in a mock train derailment/chemical spill disaster exercise in Portage, Wisconsin in cooperation with Canadian Pacific Railroad the Portage Daily Register reported.
August 29 '07: In a press release, chemical and railroad industry experts announced training programs for California first responders through a partnership called Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response. TRANSCAER, started in 1986, is a partnership designed to teach best practices to those responding to chemical and railroad disasters.
August 28 '07: The New York Times reported one insurance company helping to protect its clients' assets from wildfires in Western states by deploying fire prevention crews to spray houses with retardant. AIG Insurance "has deployed a crew to Idaho as part of its Wildfire Protection Unit for high-end clients who are willing to pay what the company says is an average of $10,000 annually for homeowner's insurance."
August 1 '07: Texas businesses and state/local governments are working together to help bolster overall preparedness efforts since Hurricanes Rita and Katrina in 2005. Under direction from the state's Division of Emergency Management, response officers from retailers and government officials are "conducting mock drills alongside" each other, the Houston Chronicle's story appearing in My San Antonio.com reported.
July 25 '07: In the United Kingdom, a partnership between academia, the scientific community and local emergency response organizations is working to "explore the interface between physical and social science approaches to managing disaster risk and uncertainty." The partnership, called the Science and POlice Interfaces for Disaster Reduction, or SPIDER Network, was founded in 2006 and is primarily focused on disaster mitigation research.
June 27 '07: When hurricanes threaten Texas coastal communities, evacuations are slowed when motorists run out of gas, only to find that fuel supplies are limited along the designated evacuation routes. To help mitigate gas shortages, Texas Governor Rick Perry implemented a Task Force on Evacuation, Transportation, and Logistics which was developed with the partnership of oil companies Shell, Citgo, Chevron, Valero, ConocoPhilips, Exxon Mobil and Marathon, the Associated Press reported.
June 18 '07: The Corporation for National & Community Service has announced that it will increase its disaster response and preparedness efforts in the Gulf Coast area as well as other parts of the country through greater cooperation with state and local governments. In its press release, the agency said it will "develop common objectives and measurable targets to make the national service enterprise even more effective in its disaster preparedness and response work."
June 8 '07: Reuters reported that IBM has released pandemic prediction software which will be donated to public health officials to help predict and mitigate any possible international health emergency. The software, called Spatiotemporal Epidemiological Modeler or STEM will be available to more than 20 health agencies worldwide.
May 31 '07: The Homeland Security Watch blog has posted an article about the public/private partnership between the Canadian Defense Department's R&D agency and Battelle "to produce a schematic illustrating a 'preliminary analysis on the economic impact of a nuclear weapon event in Vancouver.'"
May 22 '07: Dartmouth College has announced the release of a new virtual training tool for first responders which focuses on chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive emergencies. The new computer-based tool has more than 16 hours of training material and is the first course in the college's Interactive Media Laboratory's Virtual Terrorism Response Academy.
May 21 '07: Community Emergency Response Teams have been forming in the Manatee area in Florida to prepare for the summer heat, fire season and hurricane season, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune report via LexisNexis. Art Wessan, a CERT volunteer in University Park told the paper the members of his community "are the firs responders in the event of a cataclysmic event that has 911 overwhelmed like a (Hurricane) Katrina situation."
May 21 '07: On Tuesday, May 22 the Ford Motor Company and Michigan State University will participate in a disaster preparedness and response competition to test the car company's ability to address emergency situations, an MSU press release announced.
April 13 '07: Severe weather experts, state and local government officials and emergency response personnel were on-hand in Baltimore for the 22nd Annual Severe Storms Awareness Conference, a local NBC affiliate, WBAL reported.
April 12 '07: In East Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, the Post Gazette reported that local Quaker Valley school nurse Darcy Yeloushan has been working with here counterparts on the state level to prepare the school and the surrounding area for a flu pandemic by developing a response plan.
April 11 '07: Members of the University of Massachusetts' Medical Response Corps will participate in an emergency response drill with the cooperation of community and local health and government leaders, the Daily Collegian reported. The exercises will coincide with other similar drills in Western Massachusetts.
April 11 '07: WiFi-Planet reported that in Richmond, Virginia emergency response service officials have been working with the communications technology company InMotion to create seamless wireless communications and data-transfer networks to help with response operations.
March 23 '07: The Associated Press reported that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta have partnered withe General Motor Corp.'s OnStar service to help improve response times to automobile accidents. On Wednesday, General Motors announced "a partnership with federal health officials to create guidelines ... for the use of real-time crash data to help emergency services."
March 20 '07: The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Port of New Orleans have entered into an agreement whose goal would be to mitigate the impact of any future hurricane along the Gulf Coast, a FEMA press release announced. About $50,000 in federal funding was earmarked for the project.
March 19 '07: The state of Michigan and the federal government are cooperating in an exercise to test the state's ability to mobilize volunteers "in the event of a federal public heath emergency," a press release from the Michigan Department of Community Health. Among those participating in the exercise: the Office of Public Health Preparedness and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
March 6 '07: Arizona lawmakers voted recently to create a citizen responder corps much like the National Guard, but with the mission to help local and state first responders during a natural or man-made disaster, the Yuma Sun reported.
March 5 '07: Tribal members from the Confederated Salish-Kootenai and Blackfoot tribes have been taking an 18-month course to train for hazmat disaster response, the Daily Interlake reported. The 24-member crew, called the Hazardous Action Workers Keeping Safe (HAWKS) "will be specialists on how to handle hazardous materials and what to do in the event of "agro-terrorism", the Daily reported.
February 27 '07: The Brandenton Herald reported recent efforts in the Lakewood Ranch area near Sarasota to organize community members to be prepared for disasters. Joan Robbins, a retired nurse who moved to the area in 2004 with her husband, has been credited with organizing the community's emergency preparedness committee and for mobilizing the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training.
February 21 '07: In Burton, Michigan, students at Faith High School are working with local firefighters to train for the Student Emergency Response Team certificate in the hopes that they will be able to help first responders in the event of a disaster that affects their schools, the Flint Journal reported via LexisNexis.
February 19 '07: In Bothell, Washington, the city council has announced a community-wide plan that will target every household to develop a broad foundational level of emergency response a press release announced. The plan, called "Operation: Every House Prepared," will begin March 3 with the city delivering 15,000 emergency preparedness informational packets to citizens in the City of Bothell, and the Snohomish County Fire Protection District #10 households.
February 19 '07: 14 students from Smithsburg High School in Washington County, Maryland participated in a Community Emergency Response Team training seminar sponsored by the local volunteer fire department, the Herald-Mail reported. In addition to the high school students, members of a local Boy Scout troop participated.
February 19 '07: According to federal guidelines issued earlier this month, the focus of pandemic response should rely on the local level with state and local community organizations working to install a chain of command and communication to help keep communities running. The Episcopal Church announced their pandemic preparedness and response plans for all dioceses and parishes recently.
February 15 '07: In Palm Beach County, Florida, a group of hospitals, medical responder agencies and non profit organizations have been working to share information, training experience and resources to help prepare for a medical, natural or man made disaster, the Palm Beach Post reported.
February 5 '07: A Dallas Morning News story reported in the Journal of Emergency Medical Services via LexisNexis found high school students in the Dallas area were helping first responders by learning to use and operate ham radios. The amateur radio club begun at Rowlett High School pairs the students with adult sponsors who teach the kids about the technology, how to communicate and the uses of the radios.
January 31 '07: From 1811 to 1812, three massive earthquakes struck along the New Madrid Seismic Zone in Missouri causing massive damage to villages and towns in an area hundreds of miles in diameter. To raise earthquake awareness in the area on the upcoming anniversary of the quakes on February 7, Disaster News reported local and state emergency management agencies and seismologists urging people to prepare themselves for another large temblor.
January 29 '07: Working with school administrators, faculty, students, the local police departments, campus law enforcement and emergency response experts, Humboldt State University ran a mock disaster scenario to test the community's and school's disaster preparedness, the Times Standard reported. The day-long exercise was overseen by former FEMA Director James Lee Witt's disaster preparedness organization.
January 26 '07: Researchers at the Louisiana State Medical Society Educational and Research Foundation have received a grant totaling $254,000 from the Physician's Foundation for Health Systems Excellence to conduct a study analyzing state and local emergency evacuation and preparation plans during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Shreveport Times reported.
January 24 '07: In South Dakota, responders participating in a terrorism response exercise said experience was the best teacher, reported. The recent statewide exercise sponsored by the South Dakota Department of Health gave responders and government leaders valuable lessons-learned for future events officials said.
January 23 '07: Members of the local community, government officials, disaster responders, and private organizations gathered from the Atmore and Escambia counties in Alabama recently to hold a disaster preparedness and response town hall-type meeting, the local Atmore Advance reported. The focus of the meeting was to plan a community-wide disaster drill "to test the response of emergency workers, public and private."
January 8 '07: Recently, the Washington D.C. metro area received high marks for its first responders' ability to communicate and efficiently share information regarding a disaster. A press release detailed some of the reasons for the area's ability to become more flexible in sharing information citing low training thresholds and the ease with which the communications equipment can be obtained and distributed.
November 15 '06: Responders in Tennessee are using dogs to help rescue and recovery efforts, Firehouse.com reported Tuesday. The Tennessee Task Force One is only just one of 28 emergency response groups trained in the US using dogs to help locate victims of terrorist attacks or natural disasters.
October 26 '06: Should a Category 5 hurricane strike the Florida coast, federal officials working for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, are developing a plan to help state officials prepare for mitigation or response in the even that Miami is hit or that elderly and weakened levees on Lake Okeechobee break, the Miami Herald reported Wednesday.
October 25 '06: State officials in Tennessee have voted to begin construction on an infrastructure modernization plan which would digitally connect the state's 911 and responder emergency systems into a centralized network, the Associated Press reported this week.
October 18 '06: Local responder officials, private sector crisis management chiefs and members of private organizations and the religious community gathered in Indiana to discuss emergency response, preparedness and management during a Crisis Response Summit co-hosted by the National Council on Readiness and Preparedness and Manchester College in Indiana on Monday.
October 9 '06: Grants to firefighters around the country from homeland security funds will total close to $485 million in the 2006 fiscal year, according to Department of Homeland Security press releases and announcements. The grants are a part of a larger DHS-led program called the Assistance to Firefighters Grants program that is working to coordinate the national level of preparedness and response of firefighters.
September 21 '06: Teachers and school administrators in California's San Ramon Valley school district are learning basic fire-fighting, triage and wound treatment skills so that faculty will be able to effectively respond to an emergency situation, the Contra Costa Times reported earlier this month.
September 11 '06: At a regional workshop for medical first responders and emergency officials, the Assistant Secretary of Health Admiral John Agwunobi said the US has a "long way to go before we can say we are prepared for any and every hazard," a Utah NBC affiliate, KSL reported.
August 31 '06: Disaster response crews and military personnel are relying more on robotic assistance in the field despite some drawbacks. Using new technology and increased dexterity, the machines "are being tested for use in military situations and civilian catastrophes," McClatchey News Services reported Wednesday. However many say that humans and dogs are still the best tools to use in recovery, response and emergency situations.
August 23 '06: A group of private inventors in San Francisco were able to design and build a radiation detection device for $12,000 which can be used in ports to search for possible smuggled nuclear materials, Wired reported Tuesday.
July 21 '06: In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a new report, published by the International Association of Assembly Managers seeks to find best practices and coordinated efforts at helping to improve emergency conditions for "mega-shelters".
July 18 '06: A new article published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found the greatest benefit to pandemic flu preparedness is an "effective coordination among state and local public health authorities and individual health care providers." The article, the result of work compiled by the American College of Physicians, looked at the responsibilities set forth in federal plans to plan, prevent and address the threat of a flu pandemic, should it hit the United States. In the article, eight recommendations were given to help address better practices and methods of confronting pandemic response.
July 4 '06: A huge earthquake strikes the West Coast causing massive damage and the potential for a destructive tsunami while putting thousands of lives at risk. That is the scenario which involved more than 330 emergency management officials and first responders from more than 150 organizations simulated in California during the Blue Cascades III exercise, the program's press release read. The two-day event, sponsored by the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region hoped to "prepare and examine mitigation, response, restoration, and long-term recovery activities for potential large-scale natural or man-made disasters such as an earthquake, terrorist attack, or tsunami."
June 23 '06: A new standard has been ratified by the Organization of the Advancement of Structured Information Standards which will allow federal, state and local governments, as well as a myriad of private organizations and non-governmental organizations to share information, Government Computer News reported. "The Emergency Data Exchange Language Distribution Element (EDXL-DE) Version 1.0 has been designated a standard by Oasis, which serves as the de facto international standards body," and it will allow emergency information to be transfered across jurisdictions. The creation of the standard was in part, with the help of the Department of Homeland Security.
June 8 '06: City officials in Los Angeles voted on Monday to develop an emergency preparedness plan in the event of a large natural disaster or terrorist strike, a local CBS News affiliate reported. The announcement came as the White House planned to release a report on advancements of city councils around the country regarding emergency management and disaster preparedness, National Public Radio broadcast earlier. Part of the money needed to increase the city's disaster preparedness plans will come from federal funding from the Department of Homeland Security which announced new grant allocations this week.
June 7 '06: Preparedness through government programs in cooperation with the private sector in airports, sea ports and along the border are all ways that federal officials and their state and local counterparts say is one way to help keep the nation prepared for a major natural disaster or terror attack. But a new pilot program, to keep schools prepared in case of an emergency, is being adopted by schools across the country. In Wisconsin, students at the Chippewa Falls public schools are participating in the Student Emergency Response Team program (SERT). "It's a program for kids from 13 to 18 years old. They're getting a three-day lesson in everything from putting fires out to dealing with a mass-casualty terrorist disaster," a local ABC affiliate reported Tuesday.
June 5 '06: Miami-Dade County Homeland Security officials held an instructional meeting with residents last week to help raise community awareness regarding spotting suspicious activity the Miami Herald reported recently. Under a new program begun in coordination with federal efforts nationally, local homeland security officials said that it was important residents become able to spot suspicious activity and that they report that activity. "The officers gave a run-down of the bureau's job, which is to gather, investigate and disseminate intelligence to avoid or quickly react to local attacks," the Herald reported.
May 10 '06: As federal officials plan for hurricane season - discussing ways to increase responders' abilities to communicate in times of crisis - the private sector has been mirroring those preparations in communications' abilities.
April 5 '06: National Public Radio reported Wednesday that the Red Cross is revamping its organization in preparation of the 2006 hurricane season.
April 3 '06: The ability to assess risks, harden targets, prepare for responses, respond to emergencies as needed and learn from past mistakes are the most valuable tools the first responder community has, according to three days of lectures, talks and breakout sessions at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard in Cambridge, Mass. In cooperation with the National Council on Readiness and Preparedness, the school worked with national, state and local leaders as well as executives from the private sector to help "clarify" ways in which response to national and natural emergencies can be improved, and strengthened through greater communication, awareness and efficiency.
March 17 '06: The Christian Science Monitor reported Friday that as many as 10,000 college students from around the United States are spending their spring breaks helping recovery and cleanup efforts in New Orleans.
January 19 '06: The Department of Homeland Security will give federal grant money to Purdue University which has partnered with the Indiana University School of Medicine to help with analytical software development to disseminate information on a large scale right as a major event unfolds and while the response process is underway, the Journal and Courier, a local paper in Lafayette, Indiana reported.
January 17 '06: Department of Homeland Security funding and grants to help protect and prepare communities for national and natural disasters are also needed by educational institutions to help research, preparedness and coordination with federal, state and local resources. Bangor Daily News in Maine reported last week that some school districts in the state have been given DHS grants - money that will be used in surveillance and preparedness according to the guidelines in the grant reward.
January 2 '06: New York City officials announced recently that they will begin to equip the city's hospitals with radiation detection systems to help them prepare for surge capacity in the event of a dirty bomb attack, the Associated Press reported.
November 28 '06: Two communities in Mississippi and Massachusetts are developing tracking technologies to help them protect and prepare although the goals of the tracking are very different. In Mississippi, researchers at the state's University are working to develop a tracking system to help protect inland waterways. In Massachusetts, health officials are helping community members learn to use elderly patient tracking technology.