WFTND Blog Information

An emergency manager trying to make a difference.

The name of the blog comes from a conversation with my daughter, where she told me that I was always looking to help people be prepared for the inevitable emergencies in life.

I started this blog as a place to assemble all the information that I was getting every day and to share my thoughts and ideas on emergency management.

I had no idea how much of the blog would wind up being what's in the news. While it does not take a lot to add a blog entry, I just did not realize how much of my day was involved with simply keeping up with what's going on. All of the posts, whether what's in the news or comments or just a piece of information, have a purpose; to get us thinking, to get us talking, and to make things better - in other words, to make a difference.

Hopefully this blog will save you some time and energy, or help you in some other way. If you would like to see something, please let me know.

Posting an article does not imply that I agree with the comments in the article. In fact, in many case, I do not agree, but feel that the comments should be part of the discussion. All opinions are welcome. I only ask that you remain considerate and professional of other opinions.


Favorite Quotes for the Emergency Manager

  • “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • “Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it.” Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • “Failing to plan is planning to fail”
  • “Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised.” Denis Waitley
  • "Station 51, KMG365."
  • “One of the true tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency.” Arnold H. Glasgow
  • “An ostrich with its head in the sand is just as blind to opportunity as to disaster”
  • “The powers in charge keep us in a perpetual state of fear keep us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor with the cry of grave national emergency. Always there has been some terrible evil to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it by furnishing the exorbitant sums demanded. Yet, in retrospect, these disasters seem never to have happened, seem never to have been quite real.” Douglas MacArthur
  • “My ideas have undergone a process of emergence by emergency. When they are needed badly enough, they are accepted.” Buckminster Fuller
  • “Bad planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part”
  • "If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, ..." Rudyard Kipling
  • "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." Aldous Huxley

Thursday, April 9, 2009

TIME: Wikipedia for Spies: The CIA Discovers Web 2.0

There's a quiet revolution underway at the CIA and its sister agencies. A new generation of analysts, determined to drag their Cold War–era colleagues into the world of Web 2.0 information-sharing, have created Intellipedia, a classified version of Wikipedia they say is transforming the way U.S. spy agencies handle top-secret information by fostering collaboration across Washington and around the world. Rolled out in 2006 to skeptical veterans at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., Intellipedia has grown to a 900,000-page magnum opus of espionage, handling some 100,000 user accounts and 5,000 page edits a day, according to the CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

YAHOO/AP: FBI joins effort in hostage standoff with pirates

NAIROBI, Kenya – FBI hostage negotiators joined U.S. Navy efforts Thursday to free an American ship captain held captive on a lifeboat by Somali pirates. A U.S. destroyer and a spy plane kept close watch in the high-seas standoff near the Horn of Africa.

The pirates took Capt. Richard Phillips hostage Wednesday after they hijacked the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama, then fled the cargo ship as the vessel's crew overpowered them. It was the first such attack on American sailors in about 200 years.

Kevin Speers, a spokesman for the Maersk ship company, said the pirates have made no demands yet to the company. He said the safe return of the captain is now its top priority.

The USS Bainbridge arrived near the Maersk Alabama and the lifeboat with the pirates, he said.

YAHOO/AFP: British police chief quits over terror blunder

LONDON (AFP) – Britain's top anti-terror police chief has tendered his resignation following a security blunder, London Mayor Boris Johnson said Thursday.

Johnson told BBC radio he had accepted Assistant Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bob Quick's resignation with "great reluctance and sadness," after the blunder triggered premature anti-terror arrests Wednesday.

"I have this morning with great reluctance and sadness... accepted Bob Quick's resignation as head of counter terrorism," he said, adding that Assistant Commissioner John Yates would take over from him.

Quick was photographed Wednesday as he arrived at Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Downing Street office for talks on police reform with a sensitive document clearly visible.

FIRE RESCUE 1: Mo. firefighter sues agencies, colleagues

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Cindy Schuenke, the firefighter-paramedic who was severely burned in a fire three years ago in north St. Louis County, has filed suit against three fire agencies and numerous firefighters who responded to the blaze with her.

Schuenke, 44, suffered severe burns March 29, 2006, while searching for the mother of a fellow firefighter in a burning house in Vinita Terrace. Her suit, filed last week in St. Louis County Circuit Court, alleges that firefighters at the scene, and their commander there, made mistake after mistake. The suit also alleged that two fire chiefs had failed to train their fire personnel to properly handle such situations.

The suit also names Grace Industries Inc., the maker of a personal alert safety system (PASS) device that Schuenke wore into the fire. The suit says the device failed to sound, therefore failing to alert rescuers to her predicament and location.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009



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DHS: DHS Announces Nearly $970 Million in Preparedness Grant Final Allocations

CDC: Video: Screening People for External Contamination: How to Use Hand-held Radiation Survey Equipment

EXAMINER: Windsor SWAT team nabs man who evaded border units

DETROIT (Map, News) - Police in Windsor, Ontario, say they arrested a 25-year-old Detroit man who rammed a stolen car through Canadian customs at the Ambassador Bridge and led officers on a chase. The bridge links Detroit and Windsor.

The Windsor Star says a U.S. border guard fired at the car when it refused an order to stop. Windsor police Staff Sgt. Stefan Kowal tells the Detroit Free Press his department's SWAT team and other officers arrested the man at 4:40 p.m., soon after they learned of the border breach.

YAHOO/AP: Santa Barbara County reverses oil drilling stand

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Months after making national headlines for supporting offshore oil drilling, the county famous for spawning the modern environmental movement reversed course Tuesday and voted to oppose the drilling.

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, citing a need to preserve its coastline, voted 3-2 for a resolution to oppose oil exploration and extraction in the county.

The resolution, which will be sent to President Barack Obama and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, is largely symbolic because the board lacks authority to allow or prevent drilling. However, drilling critics said the vote was timely because the Department of Interior is scheduled to discuss oil and gas leasing next week.

YAHOO TECH: FCC gets going on national broadband plan

NEW YORK - The Federal Communications Commission is launching its effort to encourage the expansion of high-speed Internet connections in the country.

The FCC was ordered to create such a plan as part of the economic stimulus package passed this year.

CNN: NY gunman fired 98 shots in about a minute, police chief says

(CNN) -- The gunman who killed 13 people at an immigrant services center fired 98 shots in a minute or so, the police chief in Binghamton, New York, said Wednesday.

YAHOO/REUTERS: U.S. electrical grid penetrated by spies: report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Cyberspies have penetrated the U.S. electrical grid and left behind software programs that could be used to disrupt the system, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

The spies came from China, Russia and other countries, and were believed to be on a mission to navigate the U.S. electrical system and its controls, the newspaper said, citing current and former U.S. national security officials.

YAHOO/AP: Helicopter pilot in sex act denied license

GARDENA, Calif. – A judge says a commercial helicopter pilot videotaped in a sex act while flying over San Diego committed gross negligence and cannot have his license back.

National Transportation Safety Board administrative law Judge William R. Mullins upheld a Federal Aviation Administration order revoking the license of David Martz after a hearing Tuesday.

Martz had no comment after the ruling.

A passenger was videotaping when Martz let an adult film actress perform a sex act on him during the 2005 flight, and an edited version eventually became public.

YAHOO/AP: Death toll in Italy quake reaches 260

L'AQUILA, Italy – Aftershocks from the earthquake that has killed at least 260 people in central Italy sent new fears through the tent camps that shelter thousands of survivors, and Pope Benedict XVI said Wednesday that he would visit the shocked and injured people of the area as soon as possible.

As rescue teams pressed ahead with their searches in the crumbled buildings, some of the almost 28,000 left homeless emerged from tents after spending a second night in chilly mountain temperatures.

"I slept so badly because I kept feeling the aftershocks," said Daniela Nunut at one of the tent camps set up across the city of L'Aquila. The 46-year Romanian-born woman said she and her companion plan to stay in the tent for now. "What can you do? You can't go into the building."

The magnitude-6.3 quake hit L'Aquila and several towns in central Italy early Monday, leveling buildings and reducing entire blocks to piles of rubble and dust.

YAHOO/AP: Binghamton officials defend response to massacre

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – Even if police officers had immediately entered the immigrant center where a gunman had just shot down 13 people, the victims' injuries were so severe that none would have survived, a county prosecutor said Sunday.

The shooting at the American Civic Association stopped shortly after the first 911 calls came in at 10:30 a.m. Friday, but police didn't enter the building until nearly 45 minutes later.

YAHOO/AP: Fight over urinating dog got police to Pa. ambush

PITTSBURGH – A 911 call that brought two police officers to a home where they were ambushed, and where a third was also later killed during a four-hour siege, was precipitated by a fight between the gunman and his mother over a dog urinating in the house.

The Saturday argument between Margaret and Richard Poplawski escalated to the point that she threatened to kick him out and she called police to do it, according to a 12-page criminal complaint and affidavit filed late Saturday.

Monday, April 6, 2009

WFTND Blog Update

Yes, WFTND regular readers, you may have noticed that blog entries recently went from about every day to about every week. My attention has been focused on making arrangements for my new job. I will be with FEMA Region VII in Kansas City starting next Monday. Until I can get settled, WFTND will be updated about every week. As soon as I can get into the groove in the new digs, we will go back to the daily entries. Thanks for all your support, and as always, thanks for your comments.

Friday, April 3, 2009

CHICAGOIST: City Building Back-up 911 Center on the Sly

While Mayor Daley has spent most of the last several months huffing and puffing about the Olympics, Al Sanchez, and conflicts with the police, the City has quietly been building a back-up 911 center at O'Hare meant to be used if a terrorist attack or natural disaster renders the current West Loop 911 center useless.

NAMIBIA ECONOMIST: EU emergency experts assess flood-hit areas

A team of European Union (EU) emergency experts brought together by the Community Civil Protection Mechanism arrived in Namibia last week to assess the flood-hit areas.
The team comprises six experts in various areas of emergency management from Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic and the European Commission.

MOSNEWS.COM: Powerful bomb defused near supermarket in south Russia

A bomb has been found near the Metro supermarket in Ulyanovsk city on the Volga River, Interfax informed.

WASHINGTON TECHNOLOGY: Watchdog group questions FEMA appointment of contractor

A government watchdog group is raising concerns about a possible conflict of interest related to the appointment of a former contractor for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to serve as FEMA’s chief of staff.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano named Jason R. McNamara as FEMA’s chief of staff March 4. He previously served as associate vice president and director of emergency management and homeland security at Dewberry LLC since 2005. The planning, engineering and management firm is based in Fairfax, Va.

NJ.COM: Berkeley Heights police chief receives one-time payment of $65,264

BERKELEY HEIGHTS -- A last-minute resolution, introduced and passed while two Township Council members were on vacation, will provide the police chief with a one-time payment of $65,264.

Police Chief David Zager's salary will be adjusted retroactively to $138,306 for 2007 and $152,137 for 2008. The total of the retroactive salary increases amounts to $33,319.

HIGHLANDS TODAY: Arrest Made In Sebring Powder Scare

SEBRING - The Highlands County Sheriff's Office has arrested a 20-year-old man in connection with Thursday's white powder scare that shut down a hospital and a town hall in this small community 90 miles southeast of Tampa.

YAHOO/AP: Calif. nut plant: Kraft found salmonella in 2008

FRESNO, Calif. – A company at the heart of a nationwide pistachio recall said Friday that Kraft Foods Inc. detected salmonella in its pistachios more than six months ago but didn't report the finding until last week.

Lee Cohen, a New York plant production manager for Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, Inc., said Kraft told them on March 24 that the tainted nuts were found in a mixed snack blend that also contained salmonella-tainted cherries.

Kraft spokeswoman Susan Davison said manufacturer Georgia Nut Co. first found the bacteria in its Kraft Back to Nature Nantucket Blend trail mix in September 2008, but it took more than six months of testing to determine what caused the contamination.

HOMELAND 1: Fargo resisted FEMA recommendation to evacuate

FARGO, N.D. — With floodwaters rising around them, Fargo officials and the Federal Emergency Management Agency faced an agonizing decision: Should they order a mandatory evacuation of the entire city?

FEMA thought the best course of action was to evacuate and not leave anything to chance. Fargo officials disagreed, saying they knew what it would take to hold back the Red River. The conversation turned heated at times, and Fargo ultimately won.

Now that the Red River is receding and leaving only relatively minor damage, that decision looks smart. The city began returning to normal Wednesday as people went back to work, stores reopened and the river dipped to only slightly above 37 feet.

GT EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: FEMA Proposes Forgiving Some Community Disaster Loans

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has proposed an amendment to the regulations governing special community disaster loans (CDLs). The regulation submitted to the Federal Register today proposes procedures and requirements for the cancellation of CDLs under certain conditions.

WPXI: Pipe Bombs Found In Mt. Washington Had Nails Attached

Workers cleaning out a house in Mt. Washington called police when they found a device with what looked like pipe bombs with wires and nails attached."It looked exactly like somebody would wear in a suicide bomber-type of scene or suicide bomber- type of incident," said Sheldon Williams, of the Pittsburgh police bomb squad.

GOOGLE NEWS: Spy agencies believe NKorea has nuke warheads

SEOUL (AFP) — Intelligence agencies have information that North Korea has assembled several nuclear warheads for its medium-range Rodong missiles capable of targeting Japan, an analyst said Tuesday.

Daniel Pinkston, senior analyst with the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, said the agencies believe that probably five to eight warheads have been assembled.

"Intelligence agencies believe the North Koreans have assembled nuclear warheads for Rodong missiles, which are stored at underground facilities near the Rodong missile bases," Pinkston told AFP.

"It might be right, it might be wrong -- but if others believe it is true, it has implications for the psychological aspects of deterrence," he said, describing the assessment as "quite significant."

EMS DAILY NEWS: Local Cities Will Be Without Ambulance Service Next Week

COLLEGE STATION, TX - Beginning Tuesday, unless stop gap solutions materialize, thousands in northeast Leon County will be without ambulance service for the coming weeks, if not months.

The longtime providers of emergency medical service, a company based out of Palestine, can no longer cover the costs after years of service in the Buffalo-Flo-Oakwood area. Their deal — one that was essentially a free service to the area — ends Tuesday.

Now, it will be at least May — when an election item is voted on — until ambulances can answer calls to the thousands of residents and tens of thousands of drivers passing through.

YAHOO/AP: Homeland Security boss says cartels under pressure

LAREDO, Texas – Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says strategies outlined with Mexican officials this week will put warring drug cartels in a vice.

At a border crossing facility near the Rio Grande River, Napolitano said U.S. and Mexican officials reached agreement on several ways to stop the illegal flow of guns and drugs between the two countries.

Napolitano said beefed up border inspections, drug- and gun-sniffing dogs, more information-sharing and improved surveillance will "operate almost like a vice" on the cartels.

YAHOO/REUTERS: Ex-U.S. sailor jailed for 10 years on terrorism charges

BOSTON (Reuters) – A former U.S. Navy sailor stationed in the Middle East was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison on Friday for spying and providing material support to a terrorist organization.

Hassan Abujihaad, 33, was convicted last year by a federal jury in Connecticut of providing classified information to Azzam Publications in London, knowing that it would be used in a conspiracy to kill U.S. citizens.

TMC NET: Sprint Emergency Response Team Holds Demonstration

The Emergency Response Team from Sprint Nextel reportedly is all set to demonstrate the deployment of communications and other infrastructure for catastrophic events to first respondents in Oklahoma.

The over-the-air tactical exercise will address catastrophic incident response, emergency preparedness and response as well as disaster recovery. Rapid deployment of IP and wireless communications systems will also be demonstrated in this live show.

HS TODAY: New weather satellite helps predict hurricanes

A new satellite set to launch later this month from Cape Canaveral will help weather forecasters better predict hurricanes and assist in pinpointing distress signals to trigger search-and-rescue operations.

The $499 million GOES-O (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite) will orbit about 22,000 miles above Earth, sending back high-resolution images for the next 10 years.

YAHOO/AP: Intel chief wants new spy satellite program

WASHINGTON – The national intelligence director and defense secretary are asking the Obama administration to approve a new top-secret spy satellite program that could cost more than $10 billion, according to government, military and industry officials.

The program calls for building two sophisticated satellites equal to or better than the huge, high-resolution secret satellites now in orbit. At the same time, the government would also commit to spend enough money on commercial satellite imagery sufficient to pay for the construction and launch of two new commercial satellites.

CNN: Gunman barricaded back door before rampage, police say

(CNN) -- A gunman barricaded the back door of an immigration services center with a car and burst through the front door on a shooting rampage, killing 13 people and then, apparently, himself, police said.

YAHOO/AP: At least 12 killed at immigration center in NY

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. – A gunman opened fire on a room where immigrants were taking a citizenship exam in downtown Binghamton on Friday, killing as many as 13 people before committing suicide, officials said.

Gov. David Paterson said at a news conference that 12 or 13 people had been killed. The suspected gunman carried identification with the name of 42-year-old Jiverly Voong of nearby Johnson City, N.Y., a law enforcement official said.

HOMELAND1: Who are those guys?

During the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, computer scientists at Rice University determined who the perpetrators were even before local Indian authorities could.

Mumbai police had to wait four days to learn from the only surviving attacker that the culprits were a militant Pakistan-based group called Lashkar-e-Tayyiba. The Rice researchers had only to wait on output from a sophisticated new computer program to determine which terrorist group might be responsible for the attacks.

CNN: Alabama mass grave may contain bodies from 1870s epidemic

(CNN) -- A mass grave unearthed Tuesday in downtown Montgomery, Alabama, is believed to contain bodies from an epidemic of yellow fever that swept the city in the 1870s, police said.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Emergency Management Around the World: On Common Ground

A couple of years back I was offered a contingent contract to work on the emergency management program for a foreign country. It was to be a major upgrade to the existing system, bringing the country in line with the applicable emergency management standards. While the contractor that was to hire me did not get the contract for the project, as part of my due diligence, I did a fair amount of research into emergency management around the world, so I could avoid the tendency to see things in an American ethnocentric perspective.

What I found was both enlightening and encouraging from an overall emergency management profession perspective. I found that, in fact, my American point of view of emergency management was not that far from many other countries. The stories that are found on my blog “Waiting for the Next Disaster” and on other websites and listserves show evidence that this perspective continues to expand and grow. An example is the daily report “Around the World Today” authored by Arthur Rabjohn, CEM, R3 Manager-Europe & Africa at WorleyParsons LLC, as well as International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) Europa President and IAEM Chairman of the Board. Reading the report reveals similar problems and challenges from all corners of the globe, from emergency response to program management.

It is especially interesting to note that when countries around the world have taken the initiative to improve their own emergency management capabilities, they move even closer to that perspective. The point of view, as it turns out, is not American, but global. The 9/11 from emergency management as the overall coordination and facilitation body to a primarily security focus was not only evident in the United States, but in many other countries around the world. I believe that the USA is finally in a state of change which will move us back to the viewpoint that “homeland security” is a part of emergency management, not the other way around. I see the same thing happening in many other countries, especially those with major natural disaster considerations. The “all hazards” approach is the way to go.

An example of the emergence of the all-hazards approach is in Indonesia. As reported in the Jakarta Post, the capital city of the province of Bali has created the Denpasar Disaster Management Agency. The Agency “has already tackled six disasters since it was established in December 2008, ranging from contagious diseases to floods and fires.” The article continues “The agency, the only one of its kind in the province, is responsible for all pre-disaster, disaster and post-disaster activities. The agency coordinates during pre-disaster and post-disaster periods while assuming full command of city resources when a disaster strikes.”

An example of the similar global perspective is the United Kingdom. The “Management and Co-ordination of Local Operations” system uses the Bronze/Operational (immediate "hands-on"), Silver/Tactical (ensure that the actions taken by bronze are coordinated), and Gold/Strategic (multi-agency management) levels. While differing in terminology, the basic principles are the same as the US ICS system. The UK Resilience website ( would be familiar territory to any American emergency manager.

The terminology differences are important to consider. After all, one of the principles of NIMS/ICS is consistent, standard terminology. However, it is enough of a challenge to come up with one standard in the US. While we are moving toward that goal, there are still issues of how NFPA 1600, ISO and EMAP interface, what is public and what is private, certification vs. accreditation, etc. It would be a monumental challenge to try to come up with an international standard.

Yet, that is in fact what many are working on around the globe, and should be at least a target on our radar. Damon P. Coppola, MEM, author of Introduction to International Disaster Management, argues in his paper “The Importance of International Disaster Management Studies in the Field of Emergency Management” that “there are a great number of highly successful emergency management systems found in the many industrialized nations of the world, and a handful in the developing world, that we stand to learn from considerably. Their lessons become our lessons only when we pay attention.” He cites The Netherlands, Japan, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, and India as examples.

We need to continue to strive to improve emergency management programs around the world, and to continue to promote emergency management as a profession. We also need to continue to talk to each other around the world. The more we talk, the more we find how much we have in common, the more we can help each other and the profession, and ultimately, the more we can help the people that we are entrusted to protect.

Arthur Rabjohn, CEM can be reached at

Damon P. Coppola, MEM, can be reached at

The author can be reached at his blog “Waiting For the Next Disaster” at and presenting “Situation Assessment: The Elusive Common Operating Picture” at CPM 2009 West.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Harris Unity XG-100 Multiband Radio

LA TIMES: Report calls for new food safety oversight

Adding to the chorus seeking an overhaul of the nation's food safety system, a report issued Wednesday called on the Obama administration to put someone in charge of safeguarding the food supply and to create a Food Safety Administration.

The food safety system is "plagued with problems," said Jeffrey Levi, executive director of Trust for America's Health, which released the report in conjunction with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Calls for reform of the Food and Drug Administration have only become louder since the salmonella outbreak linked to peanut products late last year. Voluntary product recalls are still being announced; the outbreak has sickened nearly 700 people in 46 states and possibly caused nine deaths.

"We are way overdue for a makeover," said Michelle Larkin, director of the foundation's Public Health Team. "It costs us around $44 billion annually in medical care and lost productivity, so the stakes are really high."

Michigan Center for Public Health Preparedness (MI-CPHP)

The Michigan Center for Public Health Preparedness (MI-CPHP) is part of a national network of centers established to support preparedness efforts of state and local health departments nationwide. MI-CPHP is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. MI-CPHP training products are competency-based, performance driven, targeted to the public health workforce, and designed to enhance individual and agency competency. Built upon existing national CPHP resources, MI-CPHP products are developed in response to community need and are disseminated to the national network of centers via the Centers for Public Health Preparedness Resource Center.

DOMESTIC PREPAREDNESS: Thales's LibertyTM Multiband Land Mobile Radio Available Under GSA Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA)

CLARKSBURG, Md. – Thales Communications, Inc., a pioneer and global leader in the development, manufacture, and support of multiband, software-defined radio (SDR) equipment, announces its selection as an Industry Partner on the General Services Administration Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) for Land Mobile Radio (LMR) Equipment. The purpose of the BPA, which is in support of the U.S. Department of Interior, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Justice, is to obtain Project 25 (P25)-compliant1 LMR equipment.

In early 2008, Thales Communications introduced the first multiband, software-defined LMR for government agencies and first responders. The LibertyTM multiband LMR enables Federal, State, Local, and U.S. Department of Defense agencies to communicate across all of the public safety bands 136-174 MHz, 380-520 MHz, 700 MHz, and 800 MHz using a single portable radio. Operating modes include P25-conventional, P25-trunked, and legacy analog. The Liberty radio offers full encryption capabilities, including the Data Encryption Standard and Advanced Encryption Standard with Over-The-Air-Rekeying. Key features include a color-coded display screen, keypad programming, and more than 2,600 channels. The Liberty radio is size, weight, and performance equivalent to existing single-band portable LMRs, and its Mil-Spec metal housing is submersible to 2 meters.

INSIDEBAYAREA.COM: Oakland police shooting: The mourning after

The horror for Oakland police that began Saturday afternoon did not end at daybreak Sunday. If anything, the light of day made the killings of the police officers all the more real as friends and family struggled to cope with their losses.

Five veteran officers were shot by the same suspect in two related events Saturday afternoon. Sgts. Mark Dunakin, 40, of Tracy; Erv Romans, 43, of Danville; and Dan Sakai, 35, of Castro Valley, died at Highland Hospital minutes after they arrived. Motorcycle officer John Hege, 41, of Concord, was pronounced brain-dead at Highland Hospital on Sunday morning, said police spokesman Jeff Thomason. A fifth officer, whose name was withheld by authorities, was grazed in the head and a

bullet entered and exited his shoulder, Thomason said.

LA TIMES: White House unveils plan to fight drug cartels at border

Reporting from Washington -- The Obama administration said Tuesday it is speeding hundreds of federal agents and intelligence analysts to the Mexican border, along with specialized technology, as part of an ambitious new plan to attack the powerful drug cartels and prevent violence from spilling into the United States.

The initiative represents the most determined U.S. effort in years to counter the powerful and dangerous cartels and assist Mexican President Felipe Calderon in a battle that has already claimed more than 7,000 lives in Mexico over the last 15 months.

EMS RESPONDER: London EMS Computers Crash on Busy Saturday Night

London ambulances' computer system, which controls all medical 999 calls, crashed during one of its busiest nights of the year so far, the Standard has learned.

The breakdown for almost two hours on Saturday night threw London Ambulance Service's emergency response into chaos, forcing patients to wait more than an hour for medical help.

Politicians have called for an urgent investigation.

EMS RESPONDER: NJ Sheriff's Ambulances Fill Void as Volunteer Squads Shrink

Passaic County's Sheriff's Department is the only one in the state that operates its own ambulance squad. In most other counties, the sheriff's officers do what civilians do in an emergency. They call 911.

"Why would you not?" Monmouth County Undersheriff Ted Freeman said. "Every town has its own first-aid squad. Right now, the volunteer services are doing an outstanding job."

The same can't be said in Passaic County, where, like in most of North Jersey, membership in volunteer squads has declined sharply with the onset of the economic recession.

ACCELERATE: Twitter: How to get started guide for business people

Don't understand what all the Twitter fuss is about? Here’s a look at how and why to get started.

EMS RESPONDER: Ohio Committee Questions Need for Paramedics

A committee charged with finding ways for Columbus to save money has recommended that the city return to a basic emergency medical system.

The last time the Columbus Division of Fire provided only basic-level care was in 1968.

Since then, Columbus has provided advanced life support to anyone who calls 911 for medical attention, whether a patient needs it or not.

EMS RESPONDER: Emergency or Not, Use 911, Minnesota County Says

If you're being chased by a serial killer in Dakota County, be sure to dial 911.

Heart attack? House on fire? You've fallen and you can't get up? Ditto.

But what if the neighbors are making too much noise, you see a suspicious car circling the block or you have a parking complaint? What if a child prankster dials your home and makes rude sounds into the phone, or if a car alarm down the street won't shut up?

In that case ... dial 911.

FIREHOUSE: Biden Says Administration Backs Firefighters

Vice President Joe Biden says the Obama administration is committed to getting firefighters the equipment, training and additional staffing they need to do their jobs.

FIREHOUSE: Gaines Tapped for USFA Deputy Director

Former Fairfax County Fire Chief Glenn Gaines has been appointed USFA deputy director.

Gaines takes over the slot vacated last year by Charlie Dickinson.


MARPLOT has been upgraded to version 4.0.
  • Compatibility with shapefiles, common raster formats, and web-mapping services
  • Automatic download of the latest county street maps
  • Automatic download of state and national layers
  • LandView-like population functions
  • Instant weather forecasts and elevation data for locations of interest
ALOHA has been upgraded to version
  • New chemical library, including updated DIPPR data, AEGLs, ERPGs, and TEELs.
  • Minor bug fixes

Freedom Dynamo Electric Shaver


Electric Shavers can really be a pain in the bare-skinned cheek (both figuratively and literally!). Well, we at ThinkGeek have a dream that one day everyone will be able to have a nice shave without the hassle of plugging into walls or the frustrations of dead batteries! You already use enough electricity throughout your day, for goodness' sake! Can't the trimming of one's hair be held as sacred as it once was?!

(goosebumps now in full effect)

The Freedom Dynamo Electric Shaver provides true liberty through its Wind 'N Go lever, avoiding any need to use actual electricity. One minute of winding, and you've got yourself enough power for a full shave! It also comes with three individual heads that properly flex and rotate to provide a close and precise performance. And for any on-the-go users, it comes with a travel case, which includes a mirror, cleaning brush and adapters (as noted below). We'll have to insist that you provide the hair, however. Sorry!

MTSTANDARD.COM: Crash recovery: Cause of downed plane still a puzzle

The airplane that crashed Sunday at Holy Cross Cemetery and killed 14 people was configured to hold a maximum of 10 people, meaning there were more passengers than seats on board.

But acting chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, Mark Rosenker, said it is unclear if the extra passengers had any bearing on the cause of the crash.

ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWS: Redoubt quiets after sending ash north

Mount Redoubt roared to life Sunday and Monday, blasting a column of ash and steam almost 12 miles above Cook Inlet.

RadioSTAT Portable Emergency Advisory Radio Station

During public health and safety emergencies, take a RadioSTAT Portable Emergency Advisory Radio Station into critical areas and speak directly to citizens via standard radio receivers.

RadioSTAT can be a lifesaver, allowing the broadcast of critical instructions and information regarding . . .




Medical Emergencies (hospital surge, points of distribution field information, quarantine isolation, decontamination).


Terrorist/Shooter Incidents.


HAZMAT and Traffic Information.


Critical Public Safety Instructions. Road Construction/Infrastructure Failures.


AMBER Alerts.

RadioSTAT is built for speed and portability. All electronics are housed in an easy-to-transport, high-impact, weather-resistant case. The quick-erect antenna system folds down for transportability. The entire system may be set up in 10 minutes by one person. For details, see planning steps and specifications, which follow.

RadioSTAT broadcasts may be received on standard vehicle radios over a 3-5 mile range (25-75 square miles). The stations are priced affordably so that multiple units can be deployed simultaneously at different locations during an emergency, if required. Each RadioSTAT station can broadcast a select series of messages from a prerecorded library. Or, as situations change, new messages may be recorded on the spot. Audio software is provided for message creation, editing, processing and archiving on a field laptop or desktop PC. Messages may be staged on flash drives for quick deployment. “Live” programming may be placed on the air immediately with the flip of a switch.

RadioSTAT is a FCC-licensed service. Operate one or more RadioSTAT units within a specified territory such as a city, county or state. The signal is typically announced to the public by FASTrack or other portable signs, positioned at the periphery of the coverage area.

During non-emergency times, it is recommended that RadioSTAT operators establish the broadcast on an ongoing basis at a “home location” using a (optional) fixed antenna. This will help promote the broadcast frequency, enhances its value for citizens and affords additional frequency protection for the service. If the home location ever requires evacuation, RadioSTAT’s portability becomes an instant asset, allowing reestablishment of the signal from the new location quickly.

RadioSTAT’s portability makes it especially useful at large public gatherings. Broadcast key information, such as: schedules, traffic, parking, safety and critical instructions for patrons approaching or exiting.

USA TODAY: FedEx plane crashes in Tokyo; 2 dead

TOKYO (AP) — A FedEx cargo plane smashed into a runway and burst into a ball of fire while attempting to land at Tokyo's main international airport Monday, killing the American pilot and co-pilot. Investigators believe wind shear, or a sudden gust of wind, may have been a factor.

Questions were also being raised about the safety of the MD-11, a wide-body airliner built by McDonnell Douglas and based on the DC-10.

ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWS: Fifth explosion rocks Mount Redoubt volcano

An erupting Mount Redoubt exploded again this morning at 4:31 a.m. -- its fifth and strongest discharge yet -- sending an ash cloud to new heights, the Alaska Volcano Observatory reported.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: “PKEMRA Implementation: An Examination of FEMA's Preparedness and Response Mission”

EUROPEAN CIVIL PROTECTION: Call for Proposals: Cooperation projects on preparedness and prevention

WDIV: CDC Searches For Passengers On Flight From Germany

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is looking for passengers who may have come in contact Tuesday with a passenger who was infected with tuberculosis.A passenger aboard a Northwest Airlines Flight No. 51 from Frankfurt, Germany, to Detroit Tuesday had tuberculosis, the CDC has confirmed.

PHYSORG.COM: New Madrid fault system may be shutting down

( -- The New Madrid fault system does not behave as earthquake hazard models assume and may be in the process of shutting down, a new study shows.

A team from Purdue and Northwestern universities analyzed the fault motion for eight years using global positioning system measurements and found that it is much less than expected given the 500- to 1,000-year repeat cycle for major earthquakes on that fault. The last large earthquakes in the New Madrid seismic zone were magnitude 7-7.5 events in 1811 and 1812. Estimating an accurate earthquake threat for the area, which includes parts of Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, Arkansas and Kentucky, is crucial for the communities potentially affected, said Eric Calais, the Purdue researcher who led the study.

MIAMI HERALD: Court papers reveal nuclear feud at Turkey Point

At 1:09 one afternoon last year, 90 metal rods slid into the cores of the two nuclear reactors at Turkey Point, part of an automatic shutdown that had been triggered by a utility worker's blunder moments earlier at a substation miles away. A million customers lost power.

Florida Power & Light executives ordered that the reactors be back online within 12 hours, according to court documents. The plant's top nuclear operator, David Hoffman, said that would be dangerous. When FPL executives disagreed with him, he walked out at 8 p.m., refusing to participate in actions he felt were unsafe.

At 11:49 that night, Feb. 26, 2008, he submitted a heated resignation letter, blasting FPL for constantly putting cost savings ahead of safety and creating a horrible morale problem. ''People are not valued and are treated like equipment and numbers,'' Hoffman wrote.

Hoffman's charge offers a rare insight into safety complaints made by nuclear workers, who are often forbidden by contract from saying anything negative about their bosses. The information came to light because FPL is suing him for the return of a bonus, and he's charging in a countersuit that the utility is improperly trying to silence his complaints about safety.

MLIVE: At-home caregivers prepare for emergency situations

DEERFIELD TOWNSHIP, Michigan -- Nobody's happy when the lights go out. But for those who depend on home medical equipment, power failures can be deadly. Tammy and Roger Rudi's nine adopted children all have special needs, many requiring life support equipment.

When the power goes out -- as it has three times this year -- the Rudis have to move fast.

"We have a little backup generator, but we can only plug in two things at a time. So we have to decide what we need most," said Tammy Rudi.

General Motors retiree Wayne Nelson, 75, had more on his mind than wet feet during the February melt that flooded his Burton home.

Nelson depends on a portable oxygen machine. His backup generator was out in the garage -- shin-deep under water.

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS TIMES: Ice storm brings to light emergency preparedness for those with disabilities

During the ice storm in January, situations arose due to power outages that were a matter of life or death for some.

These concerned people who depend on oxygen and other equipment.

About 17 of them, including their caregivers, were taken care of at the Washington County Health Department in Fayetteville for five days.

One of the temporary residents was a quadriplegic man who depended on a breathing treatment.

These were just a few of the Washington County residents with disabilities and other health concerns facing the disaster.

HERITAGE FOUNDATION: An Analysis of Federal, State, and Local Homeland Security Budgets

NIEM (National Information Exchange Model)


NIEM, the National Information Exchange Model, is a partnership of the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security. It is designed to develop, disseminate and support enterprise-wide information exchange standards and processes that can enable jurisdictions to effectively share critical information in emergency situations, as well as support the day-to-day operations of agencies throughout the nation.

NIEM enables information sharing, focusing on information exchanged among organizations as part of their current or intended business practices. The NIEM exchange development methodology results in a common semantic understanding among participating organizations and data formatted in a semantically consistent manner. NIEM will standardize content (actual data exchange standards), provide tools, and managed processes.

GT EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: Next-Generation Law Enforcement Fusion Centers: Crime Analysis in Action

Every time a cop walks the beat, a trooper patrols the highway or a deputy questions a suspect, a key question enters their minds: Is everything as it should be?

In the wake of major terrorism acts, that question has taken on national and global significance. You also hear: Are we safe? From my perspective as a law enforcement professional of 25 years, we are. Here's why:

WCTV: New E.O.C. Building Going Up

Local emergency operations officials will soon be able to better operate during times of emergencies.

Taylor County is constructing a new emergency operations center.
Emergency management officials say it will allow them to coordinate all emergency activities.

YAHOO/BUSINESS WIRE: James Lee Witt Associates Receives Contract to Develop Continuity of Operations and Continuity of Government Plans for the City o

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--GlobalOptions Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: GLOI - News), a leading provider of domestic and international risk management services, today announced that James Lee Witt Associates (JLWA), its Crisis Management and Preparedness Services Division, has obtained a contract to assist the City of Alexandria, Virginia’s Office of Emergency Management in building its comprehensive emergency preparedness program.

POST-GAZETTE: FEMA to review city fire equipment contract

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will ask the city of Pittsburgh for documents explaining its $977,550 purchase of a firehouse ventilation system from an Ohio company with federal money and without a competitive process, agency officials said today.

The city is buying the system, made by Sweden-based Nederman Inc., from Toledo-area firm Clean Air Systems Inc. Two other vendors have complained that they were not given the opportunity to submit their own proposals, though FEMA -- which is paying $716,760 of the cost under an Assistance to Firefighters Grant -- demands "full and open competition" on all purchases made with its grants.

FEMA regularly reviews grants, and in this case will conduct "a full desk review," said Lisa Lewis, director of the agency's grants management division. "With the concerns [expressed by competing vendors] we'll take a closer look at it" than normal.

WTHR: FEMA makes laptops more secure after theft

Griffith - The Federal Emergency Management Agency is putting new safeguards in place to protect sensitive information stored on laptop computers after one containing personal information for about 50 Indiana flood victims was stolen from an inspector's car.

FEMA is installing more protection software on all of its laptops and now uses additional encryption and data-tracking software in all portable data storage devices, the Post-Tribune of Merrillville reported Sunday.

PORTLAND NEWS: Multnomah County gets new emergency management director

Multnomah County Chairman Ted Wheeler has named interim director David Houghton to head the county's Office of Emergency Management.

The announcement comes weeks after a scathing report by the District Attorney's Office that accused the agency charged with coordinating disaster response with "flagrant mismanagement and a systematic failure of basic record keeping" that created an environment "ripe for abuse."

TIMES-PICAYUNE: Obama undecided on whether to make FEMA separate department

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama says he has not decided whether to restore the Federal Emergency Management Agency to a stand-alone department but promises that his administration is committed to robust Gulf Coast recovery efforts regardless of the agency's status.

WGNO: Rainwater Encouraged By New FEMA Tone

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Louisiana's hurricane recovery chief said he's encouraged to hear a new tone at FEMA. Paul Rainwater met Friday with Tony Russell, the newly named acting director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Louisiana office. Rainwater said the two discussed issues including the new state-federal "decision teams" meant to help settle funding disputes and speed rebuilding projects stemming from the 2005 hurricanes.

TIMES PICAYUNE: N.O. FEMA office gets 'Decision Team'

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced Wednesday that, in cooperation with Louisiana officials, she is creating a new "Decision Team" at the New Orleans' FEMA office to "expedite final decisions" about rebuilding projects that have been the source of long-running disputes between FEMA and the state.

MISSOURI NEWS: Homeland Security Secretary advocates "all hazards" approach

United States Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has instituted an "all hazards" approach to public safety since joining the Obama Administration.

Homeland Security grew from the ashes of September 11, 2001 in response to the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. Yet, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano won't single out terrorism as the biggest threat to the security of the nation.

"There are always a number of threats to our security," Napolitano said during a news conference at the State Emergency Management Agency in Jefferson City. "They can be international, they can be terrorist, they can be domestic and domestically raised. So, it's hard to say what is the single largest."

SAIPAN TRIBUNE: Work on $2.8M emergency center project delayed

The contractor for the $2.8 million construction of the CNMI Emergency Operations Center on Capital Hill is asking for a five-month extension to complete the project due to change orders and delays caused by last year's weather, Saipan Tribune learned yesterday.

Once completed, the project will provide a state-of-the-art command and control center to better equip the CNMI to address both man-made and natural disasters.

POST-GAZETTE: Volunteer presents extensive credentials for emergency management position

When Dr. Tom Stein volunteered to be Franklin Park's emergency management coordinator, it was pretty clear he was the right guy for the job.

In addition to being an emergency room doctor and assistant professor of emergency medicine at Allegheny General Hospital, he is a colonel in the Army Reserves, has decades of military disaster and emergency training, is on the board of directors for the Red Cross of Western Pennsylvania and is a member of Allegheny County Council's Emergency Medical Services executive committee.

YAHOO NEWS: 5,000 evacuated after hazardous acid spill in Pa.

WIND GAP, Pa. – Evacuation orders for about 5,000 people in northeastern Pennsylvania remain in effect even as authorities say the leak of a hazardous chemical has been contained.

Authorities say a tanker truck carrying more than 16 tons of hydrofluoric acid overturned early Saturday near Wind Gap, about 60 miles north of Philadelphia.

The Kidney Community Emergency Response (KCER) Coalition


An emergency or disaster is an event that can result in significant harm to lives and/ or property, as well as disruption in daily activities. Emergency management officials create response mechanisms and guidelines to manage such events.

But for the kidney community, emergencies and disasters can be the difference between life and death. Dialysis and kidney transplant patients must take special preparedness measures to ensure their own health and safety during and after disasters.

The Kidney Community Emergency Response (KCER) Coalition provides technical assistance to ESRD Networks, CMS organizations, and other groups to ensure timely and efficient emergency preparedness, response, and recovery for the kidney community.

Please browse the information about the Coalition, membership, Response Teams, and resources for patients, providers, and ESRD Networks.

Feel free to contact us with any questions.

BIG MEDICINE: Marking the one year anniversary of the sinking of the Alaska Ranger

Monday marks the one year anniversary of the sinking of the 189-foot fishing vessel Alaska Ranger in the Bering Sea. The crew of the Alaska Ranger was forced to abandon ship after the vessel began taking on water 120 miles west of Dutch Harbor, Alaska. The ensuing rescue was the largest in recent Coast Guard history. Of the 47 crewmembers aboard the Alaska Ranger, 42 were rescued.

FREE PRESS: Carbon monoxide detectors made Michigan law

LANSING -- Carbon monoxide detectors will be required in all new homes under a law signed Thursday by Gov. Jennifer Granholm.

MUNICIPAL SOLUTIONS: Is your Security Consultant an Expert?

The security industry has always had an unfortunate public image of being an industry that is a law unto itself and is made up of large numbers of rogues with criminal records. This may indeed be true of some but the majority work hard to maintain a professional product within a professional industry. The purpose of the SIA is to legislate and organize this largely fragmented industry, a task rather like that of swimming uphill in a pool of sticky toffee.

HOMELAND1: Seven phrases you should never say on television

In the preparedness business, engaging the public is a necessity and a challenge. Effective risk communication includes identifying audiences and understanding how they perceive the messages we broadcast. With that in mind, with tongue in cheek, and in memory of (and apologies to) the late, great George Carlin, here are seven phrases you should avoid when you’re communicating risk to your public. We’re all guilty of these, and we almost always mean well, but we can do better.

JEMS: Why the U.S. should consider equipping medics with ketamine

Models of prehospital care differ across the globe, but the provision of adequate analgesia, particularly for extremely painful and complicated orthopaedic injury, should be a universal goal for all contemporary EMS systems. For many years, this expectation has been met in hospitals with ketamine. Now, the ketamine tide is coming in for paramedics in Australia, with a number of services trying it out. The drug was introduced to my own agency, Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS), six months ago. I’ll explain why your service should consider adding it to your protocols.

WASHINGTON TECHNOLOGY: Auditors declare FEMA acquisition files a disaster

Contracting documents at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s headquarters office are such a mess that the agency was unable to find two-thirds of the files requested during a recent audit.

Contracting officers at FEMA’s Washington office could not locate 16 of the 24 files the accounting firm Urbach Kahn and Werlin requested, according to the audit released March 13 by the Homeland Security Department’s inspector general.

And the files FEMA did find were not in good shape, the auditors said.

YAHOO/AFP: Medvedev orders large-scale Russian rearmament

MOSCOW (AFP) – President Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday announced a "large-scale" rearmament and renewal of Russia's nuclear arsenal, accusing NATO of pushing ahead with expansion near Russian borders.

Meeting defence chiefs in Moscow, Medvedev said he was determined to implement reforms to streamline Russia's bloated military and stressed Moscow continued to face several security threats needing robust defense capacity.

"From 2011, a large-scale rearmament of the army and navy will begin," Medvedev said.

FREE PRESS: Sri Lankan national charged with threatening flight crew

A 40-year-old Sri Lankan national, who U.S. authorities have twice tried to deport, was in federal court today charged with throwing a tantrum and threatening the flight crew of a London-bound Northwest Airlines jet last month during his removal.

REUTERS: London police launch counter-terrorism PR campaign

LONDON (Reuters) - London police launched a new counter-terrorism publicity campaign on Monday, calling on residents of the capital to keep their ears and eyes open for anything suspicious and to report it.

The campaign is not linked to any specific threat, police said, but rather a reminder that attacks have happened in the past and could easily happen again. The slogan is: "Don't rely on others. If you suspect it, report it."

"Terrorists can be stopped in their tracks if suspicious activity is passed to the police," Deputy Assistant Commissioner John McDowall, the head of the Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism command, said in a statement.

GT EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: First Responders See New Risk in Suicide by Chemicals

Two recent cases of suicide by hazardous chemicals prompted author August Vernon and Red Hat Publishing to develop a set of guidelines for first responders to consider when approaching a scene that could involve suicide and hazardous materials.

The two cases involved men in their 20s who sealed themselves inside a vehicle with tape to prevent the gas from escaping. The household chemicals mixed together produce a flammable, noxious gas and cause victims to go unconscious and eventually suffer heart failure.

GT EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: Main Federal Disaster Relief Law Has Fallen Behind Modern Threat Levels

In new research published in the Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, New York University Professor Mitchell Moss explains that the cornerstone Federal disaster relief legislation, the Robert T. Stafford Act, is dangerously out of date, and must be reformed to provide for rapid relief after a catastrophe.

GT EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: New Method for Detecting Explosives

A group of researchers in Tennessee and Denmark has discovered a way to sensitively detect explosives based on the physical properties of their vapors. Their technology, which is currently being developed into prototype devices for field testing, is described in the latest issue of the journal Review of Scientific Instruments, which is published by the American Institute of Physics (AIP).

GT EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: Smart Grid Security Requirements Released

The economic stimulus package signed by President Obama in February contains $11 billion for smart grid technology. With all the improvements that the Smart Grid is expected to bring, it will contain several places for potential vulnerabilities. Smart grids combine several pieces of technology including special meters, wireless networks, and software - not to mention existing systems. The integration of these pieces poses significant security challenges. Advanced metering infrastructure is a command and control system that contains millions of nodes and touches every consumer and many businesses. Because of this, building robust security into the system as it is implemented is paramount.

AUTONEWSCAST: Porsche Delivers Cayenne Emergency Medical Vehicles to Stuttgart’s Fire Service

Stuttgart. The City of Stuttgart has taken delivery of two new Porsche Cayenne emergency medical vehicles for the municipal fire department’s Emergency Medical Service. Today both vehicles, which have the radio identification names “Florian Stuttgart 5/82-1” and “5/82-2” were handed over in Zuffenhausen to Dr. Martin Schairer, Stuttgart’s Deputy Mayor in charge of law, public safety and order, by Thomas Edig, Porsche AG’s Executive Board Member responsible for Human Resources and Welfare.

ICMA: Disaster Recovery: A Local Government Responsibility

Disasters happen. A massive flood inundates a central downtown. A tornado levels a small town in a matter of minutes. A hurricane ravages a community.

And, all disasters are local. They happen in cities and towns and counties of all sizes where citizens look to their local government managers and elected officials to lead the immediate response, guide the longer-term recovery, and reassure them that life will be normal again . . . someday.

Regardless of community size or the nature of the disaster, local government leaders are responsible for overseeing all four phases of emergency management—preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation (see Figure 1). Federal and state governments play a supporting role in the immediate aftermath and in providing funding and guidance for long-term recovery and mitigation.

Preparation and response—half of the emergency management cycle—generally get the most attention, particularly in high-risk areas. Preparing to respond usually involves significant training and practice to ensure that key local employees and supporting resources are ready to jump into action quickly and that local residents understand their roles and responsibilities in preparing for and responding to disasters.

Local government leaders—particularly those who have been through a major community disaster—recognize that preparing for long-term disaster recovery demands as much attention as preparing for short-term response. After a major disaster, the recovery process takes months and even years to bring a community back to a "new normal" and as strong as or better than before the disaster.

FEDERAL COMPUTER WEEK: DHS sees upgrade for Common Operating Picture

The Homeland Security Department wants to upgrade its Common Operating Picture (COP), the situational awareness tool used at the department’s National Operations Center (NOC), and make it more accessible to state and local authorities, a senior department official has said.

DHS’ activated the COP in May 2006 and currently uses it as a situational awareness tool for strategic, operational and tactical purposes at the NOC. The department now plans to spend millions to upgrade it, refresh technology and eventually to build a new version of the COP that would allow for improved visualization and increased users.

Harry McDavid, chief information officer of DHS’ Office of Operations, Coordination and Planning, said in a recent interview that when DHS originally developed the COP, the urgency brought by the 2001 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina didn’t allow for much advanced planning and officials made use of existing technology. However, McDavid said officials overseeing COP have since planned how to develop its capabilities and have worked with other DHS agencies on topics such as geospatial information, Service Oriented Architecture and federated search engines.

WHITE PAPER: Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities

REPORT: Seattle December 2008 Winter Storm AAR

REPORT: US Senate Special Report - Deficiencies in Federal Disaster Housing Assistance After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

CHICAGO OEMC: Mayor Daley Announces Major Upgrade To Chicago's 911 System

Mayor Richard M. Daley today announced the completion of major upgrades to Chicago's Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system at a press conference at the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC), 1411 W. Madison St.

The CAD system coordinates the City's delivery of police, fire and Emergency Medical Service resources to 911 calls

"On an average day, Chicago's 911 Center answers 15,000 calls for emergency service. Our call takers and dispatchers answer those calls with calm professionalism. Their job is a critical one," said Mayor Daley

"That is why it is so important that we provide 911 with the best tools availble to assist the residents who are calling in need," he said.

The upgrade was paid for by a $6 million grant from the United States Department of Homeland Security and includes a new UNIX operating system, an upgraded Oracle database, new HP servers and Storage Area Network cabinets.

One of the most groundbreaking elements of this upgrade is the integration of the Operation Virtual Shield (OVS) camera network into each CAD workstation.

FEDERAL COMPUTER WEEK: DHS forms new research centers

The Homeland Security Department has hired two not-for-profit organizations for up to $712 million for up to five years to run two new research and development centers. The centers will both be Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs).

TIME: Fusion Centers: Giving Cops Too Much Information?

At the time, it seemed one of the unanimous lessons of the tragedy of Sept. 11 — law enforcement agencies at all levels of government have to do a better job of sharing information with each other in order to prevent terror plots. Making that actually happen, of course, is easier said than done, which is why newfangled, multi-organizational agencies were set up to promote cooperation and overcome turf battles. But now critics claim that these so-called fusion centers are making it all too easy for government to collect and share data from numerous public databases.

LA TIMES: Little-known U.S. agency hunts down radioactive castoffs

Reporting from Sunnyvale -- The four-man government disposal team arrived Monday from Los Alamos, N.M., to take away the small canister of plutonium. Weighing just 1.3 grams, the plutonium-238 isotope had been owned by a Silicon Valley company for nearly 30 years and was stored safely in a 10-foot hole in the ground.

But in the wrong hands, federal officials say, the highly radioactive isotope could pose a serious threat to public safety and conceivably provide terrorists with material for a dirty bomb.

HS TODAY: FEMA Would Succeed In or Out of DHS, Deputy Says

The acting deputy administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) argued before a House panel Tuesday that removing his agency from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would not disconnect it from valuable resources in times of a catastrophe.

TENNESSEAN: Metro, Belmont look to team up on emergency information center

Belmont University has agreed to provide space for Metro Nashville to set up a central location from which to disseminate information after a disaster, Mayor Karl Dean announced today.

NEWS-LEADER: Ex-trooper to head Missouri emergency agency

A former Missouri Highway Patrol troop commander has been named director of the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency.

Paul Parmenter, 61, was with Troop C for 11 years before his retirement in 2002 after serving in the patrol 29 years.

BIG MEDICINE: Main federal disaster relief law has fallen behind modern threat levels

In new research published in the Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, New York University Professor Mitchell Moss explains that the cornerstone Federal disaster relief legislation, the Robert T. Stafford Act, is dangerously out of date, and must be reformed to provide for rapid relief after a catastrophe.

Two years after Hurricane Katrina, and six years after the September 11 attacks, the Federal government still lacks the legal authority to provide rapid financial assistance to residents, small businesses and municipal governments following a major disaster, according to the Journal article (Vol. 6 : Issue 1, Article 13, January 2009).