Index > Transportation & Logistics: Best Practices
January 2012: Last Year, Broadcast Engineering reported that the FCC had "approved a proposal that will require LTE technology to be used for public safety mobile broadband networks used by first responders." The technology, commonly called 4G, is now being tested by emergency responders, technology companies and other groups for its interoperability capabilities. In Florida, for instance, Verizon Wireless has rolled out a $205 million 4G LTE wireless network in 14 markets.
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.
July 2010: As NPR has reported, a high-pressure system which settled over the East Coast over the week has brought triple-digit temperatures to the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states testing the region's electrical grid resiliency. The heat wave has prompted local government officials to take responsive measures to help keep power and water usage down while making sure sensitive groups like the very young and very old, stay cool.
August 15 '08: Late in July, the Department of Homeland Security signed an agreement with the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB), based in Milwaukee, "to establish and oversee the development and implementation of the accreditation and certification requirements" for the private sector to strengthen its preparedness and resilience, the Suburban Emergency Management Project reported (courtesy of HSDL). Accreditation guidelines have not been announced yet, but participation is voluntary and will be driven by the marketplace.
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."
July 11 '08: A new partnership among medical industry stakeholders, federal health agencies and nonprofit organizations have developed the Rx Response program which seeks to continue delivering medicines to patients on the regional, state and local levels during an emergency. The partnership works by partnering with biotechnology manufacturing and distribution companies as well as hospitals and community-located pharmacies to help solve supply chain problems caused by natural or man-made disasters.
July 1 '08: In Japan, architect Shuhei Endo has been working on fusing disaster response and recovery capabilities into the design to stadiums, Architectural Record reported in the June 2008 edition. Endo's design incorporates curved lines and open spaces to maximize the space available for large response operations to move into an area also used by sports teams, AR reviewed. Local communities in the US such as Charleston, S.C. have been using stadiums to house displaced people after disasters. Similar uses have been put into place during Hurricane Katrina and during the Southern California wildfires in 2007.
May 28 '08: Following a disaster which destroys the infrastructure, public/private partnerships should work to rebuild improved, sustainable and resilient solutions, a Matthew Wacman wrote in an article featured in World Changing. "The planning policy would focus on finding sustainable solutions to broken or destroyed systems ... Safety measures and the making of resilient urban systems are very important, yet the scope of disaster-planning could be expanded to include a focus on implementing new solutions that provoke a change in the game entirely."
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 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 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 28 '08: The Federal Food Safety and Inspection Service's Food Defense & Emergency Response program under the purview of the USDA has released a new food defense plan for warehouses and food distribution centers in the event that the nation's food supply comes under attack from a terrorist or other man-made threat.
April 24 '08: The Network Centric Operations Industry Consortium, an international non-profit which works to integrate existing open standards communications frameworks around the globe, recently announced a new study and key findings of its Network-enabled Emergency Response project. The NEER project had two-key assertions: that every response organization should migrate all communications to IP capability; and that there should be a nation-wide "map-defined electronic registry of all emergency response organizations, their responsibilities and their information routing information."
April 21 '08: Wired reported on a new project partnership between Purdue University, the US Department of Energy and NASA called Project Vulcan which takes carbon emission data and overlays it onto a map of the country. The partnership, which uses the Google Earth and Google Maps technologies presents a way for infrastructure and energy industries to build real-time and situational awareness capabilities into mapping.
April 16 '08: Duos Technology has announced a new contract which would increase security and surveillance operations for the Amtrak and CSX Rail System running through Washington DC. In the press release, Duos said the $1 million contract would "expand its existing intelligent video and security sensor system along a segment" of train track running through the capital.
March 31 '08: This year's FIRST Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia in June will focus on how businesses, government, organizations and communities can begin to address the challenges and security implications of an ever-interconnected world through the Internet. In a conference PDF, organizers said the event would target "making security a global issues with responsibilities shared globally [with] a proactive global response" to "asymmetric threats" such as terrorism and computer hacking.
March 31 '08: In a press release, AT&T announced it has jointed a global consortium of telecommunications companies to help build a new high bandwidth fiber optic submarine cable called the Trans-Pacific Express to deliver Internet, voice and data communications to the United States, South Korea, Japan and China.
March 17 '08: The Department of Transportation has released a first phase report researching the effects climate change on the Gulf Coast's infrastructure, Environmental News Network reported. The multi-year study and its subsequent findings is a collaboration between the DoT's Center for Climate Change and Environmental Forecasting and the US Geological Survey.
March 12 '08: The Associated Press reported a new study released by the National Academies which found that "Climate change will affect transportation primarily through increases in several types of weather and climate extremes," and that federal, state and local governments should "incorporate climate change into their long-term capital improvement plans ... and emergency response plans."
March 11 '08: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has announced the completion of the Tsunami Warning System after the deployment of the last two tsunami detection buoys in the South Pacific.
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: The Chicago Sun-Times reported a new program begun by Mayor Richard Daley to link the city's public schools' 4500 surveillance cameras into a network which can be accessed by police and first responders. The addition of the public schools' cameras will augment the existing 10,000 public and private cameras already being monitored by the city's law enforcement agencies.
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.
March 4 '08: HSDailyWire.com reported that new trends in security and biometric technology will help to push greater expediency at airports in the future with "Automatic biometric systems [that] will eventually replace the often laborious system of repeated manual passport and security checks." According to Atlanta, Georgia-based airline IT solutions provider SITA, "trusted" travelers who have their biometric information inside a database maintained by security "will simply pass through an automated gate which will instantly verify their identity and security risk," HSDaily wrote.
February 28 '08: The St. Louis Business Journal reported that the rental car company Enterprise has partnered with Washington University to provide hybrid cars for hourly use on a 24-hour basis. The WeCar program has been targeted to students and faculty who need may need transportation quickly or for a family emergency.
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 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: United Press International reported that Raytheon's Integrated Defense Systems has developed and will deploy an SUV-mounted radiation detection system that will be used by the Department of Homeland Security's Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, a press release read.
February 19 '08: Sprint's Nextel Direct Connect push-to-talk service customers can now communicate using Motorola's MOTOBRIDGE IP solution, Washington Technology reported. "The new connectivity means that now any of the 20 million Direct Connect users can communicate with users of other radio systems, either on a day-to-day basis or during an emergency," WashTech reported.
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 15 '08: The American Chemistry Council has published the Responsible Care Management System which outlines the ways in which railroad companies can work to cover "community awareness and emergency response, security, distribution, employee health and safety, pollution prevention, process safety and product stewardship," Earth 911 reported.
February 12 '08: GreenTechMedia.com reported that eSolar has developed a competitive, renewable and scalable power generation technology by using solar thermal mirrors which can be portable, easy to set up and are resistant to earthquakes and other natural disasters.
February 12 '08: Purdue University and the state of Indiana have partnered to develop a radiation detection technology which could be put into regular cell phones. In a press release, the university said that the technology would "use a network of cell phones to detect and track radiation to help prevent terrorist attacks with radiological 'dirty bombs' and nuclear weapons."
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: The Economist has reported on new capacitor technology which can allow security and military personnel to store more energy for longer amounts of time without the use of conventional batteries. The new technology has also been demonstrated in cars giving one prototype 150 mph fuel efficiency.
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.
January 31 '08: For the upcoming Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Arizona, Allied Defense Group Inc. will be providing the surveillance solution through its subsidiary, NS Microwave, a press release announced.
January 31 '08 The U.K. business and technology consultancy Detica is urging businesses to "move beyond 'security' to 'resiliency'," a press release announced. The message, the company said, is that though businesses can never be completely free from threats facing continuity, they can develop ways to become "as resilient to threats as possible.
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: In San Francisco last October, the city announced a new secure web-based information-sharing portal for first responders and community stakeholders, a press release announced. Working with Collaborative Fusion, a consulting, technology, first response and homeland security firm, the city has developed the www.HelpBayArea.org.
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 25 '08: The Burlington Free Press reported a group in Eastern Vermont working to provide a template for rural communities who want to build and deliver broadband Internet access. The group, called the Eastern Central Vermont Community Fiber Network, has gathered 25 towns together in an effort to reduce costs to any one community and to provide the legal framework for delivering the infrastructure.
January 23 '08: Avaya's Mobile Communications System was announced in 2006 and allows businesses and emergency management personnel the ability to establish remote communications capabilities using "self-contained communications units specifically designed for use in mobile or temporary locations." In January of 2007, Raytheon's JPS Communications said that its two-way radio communication technology ACU-2000 IP was MCS compliant - giving more range to the overall communications system.
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 23 '08: Contingency Planning & Outsourcing Inc., has developed a disaster recovery planing and management software (CPOTracker System) solution which provides a "series of templates ... [for] quick, effective and viable" recovery and planning. The software was developed to help companies navigate managing resources, government licensing and compliance issues as well as reporting on incidents, readiness, response and outreach.
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 18 '08: A white paper released by Neutral Tandem, has proposed the introduction of an "independent tandem infrastructure" - what Barron's Online reported to be a solution to "fixing interconnection problems among wireless, wireline, cable, Internet and other telecom carriers."
January 18 '08: In a press release, the CompuDyne Corp. subsidiary Tiburon Inc., announced a new partnership with Anne Arundel County, Maryland to build "an integrated public safety system" which will use a computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system like the one recently installed last spring in Minneapolis.
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 17 '08: Skyhook Wireless has developed a geographically-based location technology for devices such as personal computers, PDAs and smartphones which allows users to find their location without needing GPS technology. CNET News reported that Skyhook also has partnered with Google and Apple to incorporate the technology into the iPhone.
January 14 '08: Enivsage has announced a new collaboration with the Army at Fort Gordon & Signal Center to manage the training of soldiers. Using the company's Acadis Readiness Suite Envisage will be able reduce the time and amount of resources necessary to build complex training and education scenarios.
January 14 '08: The University of Arkansas has released an announcement about a new study (Download here - large file though!) looking into the nation's rural transportation networks' security. In the press release, the University said that more than 83 percent of the country's "infrastructure is not urban," and that since 9/11, much of the focus on homeland security had been looking at the state of more populated areas.
January 11 '08: Food Navigator USA reported an on-site biofuels production facility to go online at a meat packing plant in Nebraska by the end of the fourth quarter of this year. The new plant, to be managed and built by Micrology, a subsidiary of Environmental Power, will provide about 235,000 MMBtu per year, about 25 percent of the plant's total energy needs which equals about 1.7 million gallons of oil.
January 9 '08: Government Technology reported in California that the state's 911 enhanced calling systems will get additional funding around $2 million so that local communities can upgrade their systems. E911 systems as they are sometimes called, were used during the California wildfires after the San Diego City government decided to use the reverse-calling system.
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 3 '08: Solar Turbines, a Caterpillar Company helped the City of San Diego by providing electricity for up to 11,000 homes during last fall's wildfires.
January 2 '08 The Daily Press in Norfolk, Virginia reported that Hampton Roads port officials are finishing new installations of radiation detectors for outgoing trucking shipments in order to increase safety measures and expedite the security processes. The $2.5 million upgrade was a partnership between the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Virginia Port Authority.
December 21 '07: The New York Times reported that the first major test of New York State's statewide interoperable first responder network "has failed its first major test, prompting concerns from some state officials and causing the state's second largest city, Buffalo, to opt out of the system."
December 20 '07: In a press release, the grain and energy cooperative CHS Inc., has announced a new emergency notification system which they will implement to "act as a fundamental component of the CHS emergency preparedness and continuity plan."
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: In a press release, the Culpeper Regional Hospital in Virginia has announced the deployment of a visual imaging and information-shairng technology designed to help medical and health officials prepare for pandemic diseases and biological terrorism.
December 12 '07: Seismologists in California are testing new technologies and systems designed to detect and predict earthquakes, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Testing of the new lattice-work systems will last into 2009, but more monitoring stations are needed, scientists said. If effective the new technology "being tested could provide seconds or even minutes of early notification that a dangerous quake has struck."
December 12 '07: Government Executive reported that the Coast Guard is expanding its coverage and use of the Rescue 211 system - a digital disaster and emergency response communications framework which will replace the National Distress Response System. The new wireless "command-and-control system" is being built by General Dynamics C4 Systems based in Scottsdale, Arizona.
December 7 '07: Earlier this summer, members of the public and private sectors gathered in Monroe County, Michigan to test their response and communications abilities to an emergency situation, the Monroe News reported. The emergency response exercise, called Operation Safeguard, a partner with the National Congress, hosted representatives from the local, state and federal governments, railroad companies, the American Red Cross, the National Guard, the Department of Agriculture, police enforcement agencies, EMS responders and other responder agencies.
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: Consumerist.com reported Monday that after severe flooding in the Pacific Northwest, the T-Mobile customer care center and certain business centers were were offline. In a press release, the company said the "Severe flooding stemming from a powerful storm has affected a facility in Western Washington that houses some T-Mobile business systems."
December 4 '07: The airline industry should begin to share information about past medical emergencies while in the air to help companies, crew members and first responders learn how to adapt better methods of in-flight medical response, experts said during a conference in London recently, FlightGlobal.com reported. Speaking at the Royal Society of Medicine, Dr. James Ferguson, from TheFirstCall and the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary said that current practices are about 20 to 30 years-old and that airline medical equipment and medication should be updated.
December 3 '07: The Huntsville Times in Alabama reported that local responders are using the Google Earth web-based location technology to help analyze, track and map emergency situations. The technology's ability was shown during a news conference with representatives from the Alabama State Department of Homeland Security, Google Earth technicians, and Governor Bob Riley.
November 28 '07: A recent press release announced that Dallas County, Texas' Office of Security and Emergency Management and the Dallas Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) will use NC4's E Team solution for situational awareness and information management.
November 26 '07: Computerworld reported that a public safety communications group will get a license for 10MHz of wireless spectrum from the FCC "in anticipation of the spectrum being used to build out a nationwide emergency communications network." The announcement comes as other groups work to wrangle the spectrum for interoperable communications.
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 20 '07: When the I-35W Bridge collapsed in Minneapolis in August, residents near the crash sent cell phone pictures to responder officials; posted them onto Fickr sites and exchanged them over the city's wireless network. Officials used the open-sharing of data using private networks and existing private sector resources to help with response operations - something that Frontline Wireless wants to try and harness.
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 14 '07: When a child is abducted in a community, residents and authorities sometimes only have a few critical hours in the beginning to ensure the safety of the child. Through the AMBER Alert system, a partnership of federal, state and local governments cooperating with community and private sector leaders, urgent bulletins can be issued to spread information about the stolen or lost child. Tech company Syniverse was selected to provide the platform upon which the communications and messaging are built.
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 6 '07: Washington Technology has reported that the Federal Communication Commission "is endorsing adoption of the common alerting protocol technical standard for the nation's next-generation emergency alert system," which was developed by over 130 emergency managers and technology experts working under the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards in 2004. The new standard would help to solve interoperable communications hurdles facing different responder agencies using various frequencies, languages and practices.
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 1 '07: In California, an overdue fault line triggered a 5.6-magnitude earthquake on Tuesday October 30 in the San Francisco Bay Area, causing many residents to check their earthquake preparedness status, Bloomberg news reported. Scientists said the small temblor signaled a imminent larger seismic shift although they could not say when that shift would happen.
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 11 '07: In a press release emergency response coordination and technology company ENVISAGE announced their charter membership with the Corporate Crisis Response Officers Association to help build upon the Essential Public Network. ENVISAGE officials said they hoped to help CCORA with technology, interoperability and data standards within the EPN to boost the network's capability.
October 9 '07: Neighborhood America, the organization which provides sponsorship for the National Blueprint, has announced a new enterprise social network solution for businesses, governments and organizations which can help with emergency preparedness and response. The networking technology uses Software as a Service which can help build secure and targeted social networks much like the Essential Public Network.
September 28 '07: In the aftermath of disasters and emergencies, many communities must find ways to recover without the help of state or federal assistance for the first 72 hours. To support response operations, businesses within that community can provide valuable assistance - with existing resources in the location of the recovery process - through cooperation with local, state and federal emergency responders and first responders. One of the ways to help coordinate such resources and information is through a network much like the Essential Public Network, launched today by the Corporate Crisis Response Officers Association.
September 27 '07: On the ESRI homepage a press release announced a new emergency vehicle tracking and situational awareness technology which has been installed on Charleston, South Carolina's EMS fleet. The new geographic information system (GIS) was first installed earlier this year and has since been approved to put into use in selected emergency response vehicles.
September 13 '07: As the ninth tropical depression of the 2007 hurricane season forms off the coast of Texas and Louisiana, local and state governments are gearing up for the heavy rains and high winds. To keep communications operations before, during and after the storm and to help raise awareness about how to maintain contact with family members, AT&T has posted its best practices and preparedness plan for the company and for communities.
September 11 '07: An article in Underground Construction recently looked at how utility companies work to respond to the logistical hurdles faced immediately after a disaster strikes. Many times, the companies are charged with restoring essential services so that other recovery efforts can progress.
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.
August 29 '07: Lockheed Martin has developed a new wearable technology which allows soldiers or first responders in the field to record information in real-time, a press release announced. The technology - called Wearable Intelligent Reporting Environment (WIRE) is a "spoken-language-understanding system".
August 24 '07: A new type of technology platform is now available to first responders which would allow changes to communications equipment to be done through software upgrades instead of having to replace hardware, Emerging Technology reported. The technology, called software-defined-radio will be able to change frequency capabilities using a program that can be changed on -the-fly.
August 24 '07: The San Jose Mercury News reported recently that a new video game/virtual reality training program has been developed by scientists at the Sandia National Laboratories. The game is called "Ground Truth" and it simulates various scenarios.
August 22 '07: Earlier last week when initial forecasts had predicted a possible Texas landfall for Hurricane Dean, Texas officials immediately began to plan their response and evacuation scenarios. The Houston Chronicle reported that Governor Rick Perry and state emergency officials would have worked under the National Incident Management System (NIMS) to coordinate a broad-base of operational management and cooperation.
August 22 '07: A planned emergency response exercise in Salinas, California will partner the Monterey Sheriff's Office, the Salinas Police Explorer Volunteers and the Girl Scouts of Monterey Bay at the Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital and it will simulate a bio-emergency response using the Portable Isolation Containment System.
August 20 '07: Officials in the energy industry have been preparing for Hurricane Dean as it heads toward the Yucatan Peninsula and Mexico, the Houston Chronicle reported. The storm, expected to become a Category 5 and could damage oil and natural gas rigs, however Dean's projected path shows the storm heading into mainland Mexico after passing the Yucatan.
August 14 '07: Despite headline grabbing scenarios which push most managers to prepare their businesses for a disaster, InformationWeek reported that most of the time, the greatest threat to continuity of operations is simple human error. According to experts, about 80 percent of all IT outages and failures are caused by employee mistakes.
August 10 '07: United Press International reported in Philadelphia a new emergency communication system which has gone online. The announcement was made by officials working with the Emergency Management and Public Safety Office in the Southeastern Counter Terrorism Task Force. The system was built by Roam Secure and its Roam Secure Alert Network services.
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 10 '07: The Edmond Sun reported local hospitals are taking steps to integrate security and preparedness operations into their programs to help staff become more prepared. The Edmond Medical Center and Mercy Health Center train their staff through the first receivers certification course, and the hospital systems will now be linked via wireless Internet.
August 7 '07: Using a computer-generated model of the United States, tech experts and the Department of Homeland Security are studying the ways in which a potential terrorist attack, natural disaster or infrastructure collapse might affect the nation's cities and communities, Bloomberg reported. The simulation programs are being run through a partnership with the Sandia National Laboratories, DHS and Los Alamos Laboratory.
August 3 '07: The recent bridge collapse in Minneapolis, which has claimed at least five people, has been blamed on a weakened or "functionally obsolete" infrastructure, CNN reported. Meanwhile, Reuters reported that rescue and response efforts are being slowed by dangerous river conditions.
August 2 '07 MojoPac has released new software which lets the user carry their vital applications and information with them - allowing them to boot up into any PC. According to the company's website, the MojoPac software "virtualizes the Windows operating system ... [while] installed applications and application configuration are all encapsulated ... so that they can be moved from one physical machine to another without dependency on the hardware or the Windows operating system."
August 2 '07: The Associated Press reported that federal homeland security grants have been given to the Texas Radio Coalition to help improve statewide interoperable communications. In a press release, state officials said the improved system would allow all levels of emergency management "to communicate using a unified wireless radio system during natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and other critical incidents."
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 30 '07: The Times Picayune in New Orleans reported over the weekend that Army Corps of Engineers officials have downgraded their levee designs "for long-term flood control projects" from a Category 5 preparedness level to a "Katrina-like event". The announcement came during a National Research Council committee briefing, the Picayune reported.
July 27 '07: At a press conference in Los Angeles, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff outlined steps the federal government would take to help private sector businesses and organizations rebound in the event of a large disaster or terrorist attack, the LA Times reported. The plan was unveiled in the 130-page Strategy to Enhance International Supply Chain Security.
July 26 '07: In Duval County, Florida, a new emergency alert system has been installed that will target specific areas of Jacksonville and the surrounding community in the event of an emergency with up to 60,000 telephone calls an hour, the Jacksonville Business Journal reported. The technology used, CodeRed is preloaded with the targeted community's phone numbers while businesses can be added.
July 24 '07: A new survey released by Juniper has found that teleworking for government employees is a best practice which strengthens continuity of operations in the event of an emergency. The results were announced in a press release on Monday. Charles Church, the chief information officer for the Department of Homeland Security's National Protection and Programs Directorate said, "the survey shows that we are moving in the right direction for emergency preparedness ... that teleworking is a 'must have' for effective COOP planning."
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 9 '07: New York City officials announced recently that they would begin a video surveillance network in Downtown Manhattan similar to the Ring of Steel network in London, the New York Times reported. The $90 million network will include license plate readers, about 3,000 public and private cameras as well as license plate readers.
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.
July 5 '07: Information Week reported that a national nonprofit emergency responder group is lobbying for radio over Internet Protocol to help with interoperable communications. The group, Comcare, "promotes emergency systems, procedures, tools, and training," Information Week wrote.
June 29 '07: According to the Jacksonville Financial News and Daily Record railroad company CSX has said it is working to make sure that its operational infrastructure and its employees are prepared for a disaster. John Hawkins, the director of Corporate Communications told the Jacksonville paper, the company "has detailed plans for disasters. ... We have to be able to find a way to satisfy our customers while protecting our assets."
June 11 '07: Computer World reported gaps in business emergency response and continuity planning according to a new study released by AT&T. The study's findings, announced in a press release revealed that 30 percent of those business polled were not prepared for a worst-case scenario. Businesses in New York ranked first, while Cleveland came in last.
June 11 '07: In Fort Wayne, Indiana a local internet service provider and storage company is now offering backup services for companies so that they can restore their computer systems after a disaster, the Journal Gazette reported. The company, called the Indiana Data Center partnered with New York Binomial to provide the technology.
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 5 '07: Existing plans to evacuate downtown Pittsburgh in the event of a large-scale disaster are untested and inadequate, city officials told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Ray DeMichiei, the deputy director of the city's emergency management agency said, "We did a few things to the plans post-9/11, but we still aren't satisfied." DeMichiei's comments came a day after a bomb scare closed three tunnels into the city, halting traffic for hours, the Tribune-Review reported.
May 29 '07: Hurricane season officially begins June 1. Last week, the National Portable Storage Association released an announcement urging residents and businesses along the Gulf Coast to prepare for an active season by reserving ahead of time, portable storage devices in case of damage to houses.
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 '07: In a departmental release, Homeland Security officials announced the completion of an infrastructure protection set of guidelines designed to support the National Infrastructure Protection Plan. The NIPP was designed to identify, classify and define the nation's critical infrastructure and to help find ways to securing it against natural and man-made threats.
May 8 '07: The Department of Homeland Security must coordinate and support the 17 information-sharing networks better according to a Government Accountability Office report released recently. The report recommended that to improve coordination among the information networks, DHS officials must "implement coordination and collaboration practices, and ensure its efforts are consistent."
May 4 '07: Two California counties are joining their radio response networks to improve communication and information-sharing, the Contra Costa Times reported. The new joined system would be digital and would "allow public safety agencies in both counties to communicate directly with each other via radio."
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 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 19 '07: Responders in Jennings County, Indiana will practice a simulated response to a nuclear threat at the Muscatatuck Urban Training Center the Associated Press reported. More than 1,000 National Guard troops are expected to attend the exercise which will be held May 10 - 18.
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 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 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 29 '07: The Associated Press reported that James Lee Witt, former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has released a new report detailing the Pennsylvanian state government's response to the Valentine's Day winter storm. In the independent report, commissioned by Gov. Ed Rendell, Witt said that an inexperienced staff, miscommunication and lack of resources were to blame.
March 27 '07: Rhode Island health officials have announced a new web-based service which will allow medical officials in the state's hospital system to share real-time information including video and imaging as well as data to help increase awareness about the status of hospitals the Kent County Daily Times reported.
March 20 '07: To help businesses keep their continuity of operations, personnel and resources on track and to mitigate a disaster's impact, IBM and Cisco have announced a new all-in-one package called the Crisis Management Services for Crisis Response, a press release announced recently.
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 2 '07: About 80 search and rescue team members from the Texas Task Force are planning a simulated earthquake response exercise at the Disaster City facility in College Station a press release announced recently.
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 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 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's Domestic Nuclear Detection Office is supervising a new technology installation around the city of New York which would help city and state officials detect radiological and nuclear material used in making dirty bombs, the New York Times reported.
February 6 '07: Real-time information sharing, situational awareness and established communications lines have helped Navajo emergency officials prepare for a possible flu pandemic, Government Computer News reported. That kind of preparedness allowed tribal health officials to vaccinate more than 24,000 in one day - the largest in the U.S..
January 26 '07: The Washington Times reported recently that Maryland's first responders will be issued electronic ID cards which will "help reduce confusion and delays during major emergencies in which multiple agencies respond." To fund the program, the state was awarded a $1 million federal homeland security grant which will be administered by the Maryland Department of Transportation.
January 3, '07: Communities along Delaware's shoreline have been developing emergency plans in case a hurricane, large-scale disaster or terrorist attack forces massive evacuations in a short period of time. The News Journal reported that community emergency management leaders are using tourist-season scenarios as examples for how to develop evacuation routes.
December 28: A report released by the Government Accountability Office in December found that state and local government emergency evacuation plans were insufficient in taking into consideration evacuations for populations without readily-available transportation.
To download the report click here: GAO Report
December 26 '06: West Virginia first responders, police and firefighters will be equipped with new interoperable digital communications technology through a state-wide program called the Interoperable Radio Project, the Charleston Gazette reported late last week. Within a month's time, all county public safety agency will have at least one digital radio.
December 21 '06: In Scotland, government officials and the private sector have partnered to create a system of "virtual" power facilities which act as standby depots in case national power demand exceeds current production, as is the case during emergencies.
December 20 '06: Security upgrades and measures put into place in Oklahoma since 2002 to increase the level of protection for the state's power grid and infrastructure could provide a helpful example of best practices used in creating a secure and robust electrical and power system, officials said according to Utility Automation & Engineering T&D.
December 20 '06: A panel of government officials and business leaders from the shipping and ports industry told the White House recently that increased funding and cooperative security programs driven by federal homeland security grant money would help to increase the level of protection of goods coming into-and-out-of-the U.S. as well as protecting American citizens against a terrorist attack, Reuters AlertNet reported.
December 15 '06: The New York Times reported Friday that the Department of Homeland Security was planning to announce new railroad security measures which would increase the surveillance and protection given to hazardous material rail cars as well as "clarify how government workers inspect tank cars and railyards for compliance."
December 14 '06: Federal Times reported this week that the 109th Congress passed legislation creating a new federal agency designed to combat the threat of bioterror. The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act was pushed by Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn) and it included language to create the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).
December 13 '06: Medical officials have worried about surge capacity in the nation's hospitals during a crisis such as Hurricane Katrina or the attacks on September 11, 2001. Johns Hopkins University Medicine reported recently that one plan proposed by leading health experts would call for hospitals to "begin with a strategy to empty their beds of relatively healthier patients."
December 11 '06: After the attacks on September 11, 2001 the New York City Police Department revamped its counterterrorism and intelligence operations as well as the way police officials conduct their day-to-day operations by pulling together a list of "best practices' from other law enforcement agencies worldwide, McClatchy News reported late last week.
December 8 '06: A Department of Homeland Security press release Thursday announced the beginning of a new port security initiative which will focus on cooperative efforts between US homeland security officials and foreign ports in an effort to place an emphasis on securing cargo shipments at the point of origin.
December 5 '06: Emergency responders in Maine are working with animal care specialists to train for a new program called Large Animal Emergency Rescue, the Morning Sentinel reported Monday. The program's focus will train local fire departments to respond to animal emergency situations involving horses, cattle and other large farm animals.
November 29 '06: Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said on Tuesday that his agency will work to help all highest-risk urban areas comply with an interoperable mandate to make all agencies able to communicate with each other, GovExec reported Tuesday. DHS wants complete interoperability for 2008.
November 22 '06: The Associated Press reported Tuesday that Rhode Island Amtrak stations will be beefing up security using undercover federal agents from the Transportation Security Administration, bomb-sniffing dogs and uniformed officers according to federal officials.
November 20 '06: The Washington Post reported over the weekend that a new plan to streamline information-sharing among federal, state and local government officials will "reduce more than 100 restrictive and confusing categories of 'sensitive' federal information ... so local-level officials can better understand what they are told."
November 13 '06: Local officials in Montana have announced the completion of the first phase of a new digital communications system designed to link area and state responders, the Independent Record in Helena reported. Another similar project is underway near the northern border of the state with Canada which will link the entire state under a digital communications system.
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 20 '06: During the 113th annual conference of the International Association of Police Chiefs, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said information-sharing and cooperation between law enforcement agencies on all levels during the recent plane crash in New York was "a great example of the kind of coordination and information-sharing which is increasingly the hallmark of our relationship with local police."
October 18 '06: Many state and local homeland security agencies and emergency management offices are now spending federal homeland security money for "information-sharing, geospatial capabilities, intelligence fusion centers, biometrics and situational awareness applications," Washington Technology reported Monday.
October 12 '06: USA Today reported Thursday morning that a new report just released by the American Highway Users Alliance has given most major US cities failing grades for evacuation routes and plans in the event of a large-scale disaster.
October 11 '06: The Navy is working to create a wireless Internet blanket over the world's oceans to help track commercial and military sea vessels in an effort to help boost communication and sea lane and port security, NetDefense reported this week.
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.
October 3 '06: West Virginia state officials have said federal homeland security grants for interoperable communications between first responder agencies, law enforcement and medical responders will be given to local governments, the Huntington Herald-Dispatch reported Tuesday.
September 20 '06: As Hurricane Rita bore down on the Gulf Coast last year, medical responders in the area had to use inventive and varied ways to make sure patients and those injured by the storm were cared for even when supplies and basic necessities were low or non existent. An editorial originally published in August of this year in the Annals of Internal Medicine details some of the methods used by medical responders in the field during the storm.
September 12 '06: Five years after the attacks on September 11, 2001 New York City firefighters are still facing challenges in communicating with other first responders, and upgrading and improving their response capabilities and technologies, Government Computer News reported, chronicling an interview with Michael Pena, a top lieutenant with New York City's Rescue Company 1.
August 24 '06: Most of the time, state and local first responders are able to handle emergency situations in the first 72 hours while federal resources are pooled and deployed. During the terrorist attacks in 1993 in Oklahoma City and in 2001 in New York and Virginia, state and local emergency responders were able to effectively respond the the crises.
August 23 '06: An emergency response requires multiple disciplines - everything from water treatment experts to nurses, cyber security specialists, firefighters, police, medical personnel and private sector power company employees. Having proper identification to organize all the various responders is essential for maintaining organization and efficiency during a time of crisis officials in homeland security have said.
August 4 '06: The National Council on Disability released a report on Thursday entitled "The Impact of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on People with Disabilities: A look Back and Remaining Challenges" a press release issued by NCD announced. The report focuses on ways to "guide" the president, Congress and state and local emergency planners develop and improve evacuation and response plans.
August 2 '06: Public demand for 9-11 footage has caused a cyber-gridlock on the government site hosting the information and videos according to the Richmond Times Dispatch in Virginia. Following the release of exhibits shown during the Zacarias Moussaoui trial, videos showing sometimes grizzly footage of the attacks would take close to 20 minutes to download, but the gridlock has caused the servers to clog denying people access to the information.
July 28 '06: In an effort to combine emergency preparedness and counterterrorism efforts on the federal, state and local levels, officials at the Department of Homeland Security have announced new plans to strengthen intelligence sharing at fusion centers in several large metro areas around the country. The fusion centers will help "to facilitate the two-way flow of timely, accurate, actionable information on all types of hazards," the department's press release said.
July 20 '06: State and local emergency management officials have set up operations at the Baltimore Washington International Airport to help the incoming evacuees from Lebanon proceed through repatriation and processing services the Baltimore Sun reported Thursday. As the violence in the Middle East intensifies, Israeli and Hezbolline forces continue to launch rocket attacks at each other causing thousands of people to flee Lebanon. On Thursday, US marines were sent into Beirut to help evacuate the more than 8,000 of the total 25,000 Americans in the country.
July 19 '06: Timely and quick dissemination of information following a large earthquake which could trigger a tsunami is difference between life and death according to a Government Accountability Office report released in June. The GAO's findings were reinforced on Monday when a killer wave struck the coast of Java killing more than 500 people. Indonesian scientists told the BBC they were not able to warn residents on the island coast of Java about an impending tsunami following a large earthquake Monday because of a slow warning system. The inability of scientists to process the incoming information and relay it to those in harm's way caused more than 500 deaths while officials have said the country is in the process of building an improved public warning apparatus.
July 12 '06: Washington DC police practiced emergency evacuation drills using the crowds departing the city after the Fourth of July celebrations this year, the Washington Post reported last week. "This is the second year that officials tested their ability to move people out of the city in a hurry. They kept traffic lights on green, used police officers at intersections and coordinated the flow with Maryland and Virginia officials."
July 12 '06: The Associated Press reported Wednesday that a new digital national emergency warning system built by the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management System will be up and running by next year. Aaron Walker, a spokesman for DHS told the AP, "Anything that can receive a text message will receive the alert. ... We find that the new digital system is more secure, it's faster and it enables us to reach a wide array of citizens and alert them to pending disasters."
July 11 '06: The Department of Homeland Security will begin a pilot security screening program at New Jersey's PATH stations starting Thursday, the New York Times reported. "Starting at 10:00 am Thursday, riders may be electronically searched by handheld devices that look like cameras, told to step in front of machines that resemble phone booths or subjected to tests involving radar, infrared sensors and other technology" according to federal sources. The pilot program will last three weeks and comes on the heels of recent announcements from New York City officials and federal homeland security officials that a terrorist plot to blow up commuter tunnels into the city was uncovered.
July 5 '06: In an emergency, phone text messaging might prove the most effective method of communication according to the Times Picayune in New Orleans. During Hurricane Katrina, one student trapped in his dorm by the rising flood waters used his cell phone to text his family who in turn alerted rescuers. Because text messaging systems are not wired to a 9-1-1 system, those in need cannot send a message alerting a positioning system of their whereabouts.
July 3 '06: The Department of Homeland Security announced the completion of a report focusing on critical infrastructure and key resource protection (CR/KR) called the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP). Completion of the report "represents an unprecedented initiative ... that integrates critical infrastructure security efforts, sets protection goals and supporting objectives, and focuses resources according to risk," FCW.com reported according to DHS officials. Government Technology reported that completion of the report "fulfills requirements in [the] Homeland Security Presidential Directive (HSPD) 7 and the Homeland Security Act of 2002."
June 29 '06: Last week, Washington Technology reported that the Department of Homeland Security would increase their participation in regional response following a natural or man-made disaster by deploying regional field officials. The move would be under the guidelines of the National Response Plan, that would create "multi agency coordination centers" which could be used to integrate a federal, state and local response. This week, following the heavy rains and flooding from a stalled storm system over the Mid Atlantic, DHS announced it would set up a Regional Response Coordination Center in Philadelphia using those new plans.
June 26 '06: The annual TOPOFF exercises were completed last week according to the Department of Homeland Security. The exercises, designed to have several federal agencies working together to simulate a terrorist attack or natural disaster, operate within the guidelines of the National Response Plan (NRP) and the National Incident Management System (NIMS). DHS Undersecretary for Preparedness George Foresman said the the fourth TOPOFF exercise "provided an excellent opportunity to strengthen the nation's capacity for effective, coordinated action to address terrorist threats and major disasters."
June 21 '06: A report released by the RAND Corporation which was compiled for the US Department of Health and Human Services found that response to a medical emergency stemming from a natural disaster or a biological, chemical, nuclear or other terrorist attack would "largely depend" on the existing medical response structure and that, depending on how those responder and public agencies are organized, would affect the response. The report, compiled in 2004 and 2005, was prepared for the Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness and was released this year.
June 16 '06: States along the Pacific Coast could see a drop in federal funding because of changes in homeland security and disaster funds while a report released has found an over-emphasis on technology rather than educational programs according to the Seattle Times. "Much of the $35 million in extra money appropriated after the disastrous Indonesian tsunami is being spent on detection and warning systems that will be of little benefit to people on the Pacific Coast," the Times found in a report released by the Government Accountability Office.
June 16 '06: The Associated Press reported Friday morning on a report it obtained from the Department of Homeland Security which reviewed the status of the nation's state and city emergency response plans. In the report, the department reviewed 131 state and city emergency plans around the country and found cause "for significant national concern," because of antiquated and uncoordinated programs. "Although emergency plans appear to be stronger in 18 states along the nation's 'Hurricane Belt', the analysis cited preparedness gaps ... Planning for evacuations also remain 'an area of profound concern," the AP wrote.
June 13 '06: A local Virginia NBC affiliate reported that a joint Coast Guard, Navy, FBI and Department of Homeland Security exercise off the coast of North Carolina, called Frontier Sentinel, will focus on cooperation among federal agencies in the event of a terrorist attack or national/natural emergency. The Virginia-Pilot reported Monday that the agencies involved are participating in a "layered defense" exercise which would "allow the Navy to turn over forces to the Coast Guard for specific operations. The Coast Guard always has been able to send forces to the Navy. ... Sharing forces will allow the two services to respond together, ensure jurisdictional requirements are met and evidence and forensics are protected."
June 7 '06: The Transportation Security Administration reported Monday that five new airport screening machines which are smaller, more portable and cheaper than conventional screening machines were sent to be used at Kansas City International Airport. The Reveal CT-80 machines were designed "to address requirements at smaller and medium-sized airports," according to Richard Curasi, the TSA's Federal Security Director in Kansas City. According to the Kansas City Star, "KCI is one of 22 airports that have or are about to have the machines. Others include John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, and Newark Liberty Airport," in New Jersey.
June 2 '06: A new report released by the Government Accountability Office last week found that many government agencies will not be able to meet federally mandated regulations surrounding the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, Government Computer News reported Thursday. GCN found in the report that "there are no simples solutions or alternatives to providing quick and secure access at US land border ports," and that GAO "urged the agencies to expedite their decision-making process if they are to meet Congress' January 2008 deadline."
May 30 '06: New machines being installed at Denver International Airport will test passengers' clothes for explosives residue by sending puffs of air over the travelers' clothes and then taking an analysis the Denver Post reported Tuesday. "In 20 seconds or less, the device collects the air sample and analyses it for explosives residue," the Post was told by federal aviation security officials. "Passengers selected for the the new screening will be directed to stand in the unit, and a glass door will be closed in front of them." In addition to Denver, the Transportation Security Administration has begun other similar programs around the country to detect chemical traces on passengers that could alert security officials to possible weapons being carried onto commercial aircraft.
May 23 '06: The Baltimore Business Journal reported earlier in the month that Maryland officials working with the Transportation Security Administration have begun a pilot program along Baltimore's commuter train lines to use canine units to search for bombs and explosives.
May 5 '06: The Department of Homeland Security announced Thursday that it will begin a series of regional "table-top exercises" in the Gulf Coast, Mid Atlantic, New England and Southern states as well as Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands to help coordinate local, state and regional response and recovery officials in preparation of the upcoming 2006 hurricane season.
May 3 '06: In preparation for the 2006 hurricane season, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has announced new plans for evacuation and emergency response in the event another large hurricane hits his city, the BBC reported Wednesday.
April 27 '06: State and local authorities in the Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC areas have integrated a standardized communications frequency so that first responders will be able to communication to each other during an emergency, Government Computer News reported Wednesday.
April 27 '06: The Senate released a report Thursday on the Federal Emergency Management Agency's response during Hurricane Katrina, CNN reported. In the report, lawmakers said the agency needs to be dismantled and reassembled and that the Department of Homeland Security should "create a National Preparedness and Response Authority within DHS to fuse the department's emergency management, preparedness and critical infrastructure assets 'into a powerful new organization that can confront the challenges of natural and manmade catastrophes,'" the cable news channel reported.
April 21 '06: A federal report released two days ago but published back in March by the Inspector General's Office at the Department of Homeland Security found that the standardization of communications for the first responder community in the United States by the Department of Homeland Security "has appropriately centralized the standards adoption process within S&T (Science and Technology Directorate), and has effectively partnered with Standards and Development Organizations (SDOs) and other external organizations to fulfill its standards adoption mission."
April 19 '06: Government Computer News reported Tuesday that the General Services Administration will begin to test several "products for interoperability under Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 and Federal Information Processing Standard 201," which will help the Department of Homeland Security to strengthen communications abilities using cross-platform technologies.
April 14 '06: Homeland Security Watch has posted an article about a new Swiss report outlining critical infrastructure protection and cybersecurity policies. The International publication focuses on "national governmental efforts to protect critical infrastructure" and was written by the Center for Security Studies in Zurich, Switzerland.
April 13 '06: A new program begun by the Department of Homeland Security is looking to help frequent border crossers move across the border into the US from Mexico and Canada. The People Access Security Service card, also called PASS would work with "frequent border crossers with existing trusted traveler programs for Canadians, Mexicans, and truck drivers," Government Computer News reported this week.
April 12 '06: Officials in the Department of Homeland Security are revamping efforts and logistics "to deliver fast aid and supplies to victims during the looming hurricane season," the Associated Press reported this week. So far, 13 states will receive federal disaster responders in a larger effort to reorganize the response from the government following a major disaster.
April 7 '06: A report released by the National Governors Association this week looks into state homeland security directors' tasks at coordinating preparedness and communications practices.
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