may 2021

Updates

Enhanced Rescue Hoist Glove Available for Responders

An enhanced rescue hoist glove will soon be available for first responders. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) collaborated with Higher Dimension Materials Inc. (HDM) and North Carolina State University Textile Protect and Comfort Center to identify and develop the best materials with which to create a more durable and flexible glove for rescue hoist operations.

Updates

FEMA Announces Operational Guidance for Disaster Response and Recovery in Pandemic Environment

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released the “COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Guidance: All-Hazards Incident Response and Recovery,” a document aimed at helping emergency managers plan for disaster response and recovery, while adhering to public health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Updates

BioFlyte Launches First Field Deployable Airborne COVID-19 Detection System to Improve School and Workplace Safety

BioFlyte, a biodetection company with a new class of fieldable biological threat collection, detection, and identification solutions, announced the launch of the Sentinel™ Airborne COVID-19 Detection System for real-world surveillance of airborne coronavirus and other respiratory pathogens.

Commentary

What Are Preparedness Professionals Doing?

by Catherine L. Feinman -

With all the thought, planning, and training that go into disaster preparedness efforts, communities theoretically should be ready for any threat and hazard that they face regularly – severe storms, wildfires, hurricanes, power outages, earthquakes, droughts, mudslides, etc. However, that is not always true. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has already recorded 37 declared disasters in various states so far in 2021. Governors often request federal assistance when their states’ resources are insufficient to adequately respond to disasters.

Preparedness

Impact of Critical Biosecurity Reports – Uncertainty Remains

by Robert C. Hutchinson -

Domestic Preparedness published an article in 2016 discussing the uncertain impact of several biosecurity reports on national planning and preparedness for biosecurity and pandemic threats. The article focused on the consistent and repeated warnings of the consequences for failing to plan and prepare for a multitude of biosecurity threats. The identified inferior planning and preparedness concerns were as apparent and repetitive as the demonstrated lack of reaction to them in the past. The nation was vulnerable.

Healthcare

Revisiting Face Masks Near the End of a Long Journey

by David Mayfield -

On 11 March 2021, the world reached a dubious milestone – one year since the World Health Organization (WHO) first declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. Soon after that declaration, a large portion of the world shut down. In the 12 months that followed, community stakeholders have become relatively well-versed in the scientific theories surrounding social distancing, viral load, herd immunity, and transmission of respiratory droplets. However, no topic has likely been more discussed (or more heatedly debated) than the need for and use of face masks.

Reports

NSTAC Report to the President on Communications Resiliency

The report outlines some of the communications infrastructure challenges the nation faces. It highlights the evolution of the information and communications technology ecosystem toward a highly resilient environment of federated, hyperconnected, distributed networks managed via software.

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Reports

Mitigating the Threat of School Violence as the U.S. "Returns to Normal" From the COVID-Pandemic and Beyond

DHS's Office of Intelligence and Analysis and the Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships provide a resource to raise awareness of potential risk factors and indicators for targeted violence in schools, raise awareness of the likelihood that students may have been exposed to multiple risk factors during the COVID-19 pandemic, and provide resources to become an engaged bystander as part of a comprehensive local prevention framework.

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Updates

DHS Creates New Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships and Additional Efforts to Comprehensively Combat Domestic Violent Extremism

Building on the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to combating all forms of terrorism and targeted violence, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has established a new Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships (CP3) to improve the department’s ability to combat terrorism and targeted violence, consistent with privacy protections, civil rights and civil liberties, and other applicable laws.

Resilience

Post-Hazard Event Airport Recovery

by Gregory Brunelle, Chhabra Jaskanwal, et al. -

The role airports play in the world is critical. Even a minor disruption to their operations has immediate cascading impacts, which can be familiar to anyone who has experienced a delayed departure and the dreaded “Will I make my connection?” stress that follows. However, airport disruptions create far greater economic and business operations impacts than the occasional need to catch a later flight. Cargo aviation operations provide a critical part of global trade, accounting for the movement of nearly US$7 trillion worth of goods annually. Additionally, the air transport industry supports 29 million jobs globally and billions of dollars in local economies. Meanwhile, amid the global pandemic, aviation supports critical healthcare operations, carrying doctors and specialists rapidly to areas where they are needed; epidemiological investigators to locations of emerging diseases; and medications valued at more than US$1 trillion to locations around the world. These examples emphasize the need to ensure that aviation, and its component parts – including airports – remain resilient and functional at all times.

Updates

WHO, Germany Launch New Global Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Federal Republic of Germany will establish a new global hub for pandemic and epidemic intelligence, data, surveillance, and analytics innovation. The Hub, based in Berlin and working with partners around the world, will lead innovations in data analytics across the largest network of global data to predict, prevent, detect, prepare for, and respond to pandemic and epidemic risks worldwide.

Updates

FLIR Wins Additional $15.4M Contract for Black Hornet Nano-UAV Systems for U.S. Army Soldier Borne Sensor Program

FLIR Systems Inc. announced it has won an additional $15.4 million contract to deliver its FLIR Black Hornet® 3 Personal Reconnaissance Systems to the U.S. Army. The advanced nano-unmanned aerial vehicles are being used to augment squad and small unit-level surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities as part of the Army’s Soldier Borne Sensor program.

Updates

DARPA Selects Teams to Defend Against Chemical, Biological Threats From Inside and Out

State-of-the-art personal protective equipment (PPE) can be bulky, heavy, and cumbersome, often severely limiting user mobility and performance. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Personalized Protective Biosystem (PPB) program aims to develop technology that reduces the need for burdensome protective equipment while increasing individual protection against chemical and biological threats.

Updates

CWMD Delivers Updated Technology to Detect Radiological Threats

To improve the nation’s defense against radiological threats, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office (CWMD) completed a technical refresh of 60 mobile Radiation Portal Monitors currently deployed and used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). CWMD supplies CBP with this capability to scan cargo for potential radiological threats.

Preparedness

National Preparedness Failure: Hindsight Is 2020

by Michael A. Brown -

In February 2021, the Congressional Research Service released an evaluative nonpartisan report on the National Preparedness System (NPS). This report noted problems and difficulties experienced in 2020 during the Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic. For example, lack of personal protective equipment, disorganized logistical distribution, and other issues that demand attention. In essence, the report can be interpreted as revealing the NPS’s failure. The report’s summary states, “Congress may also consider mechanisms to strengthen the development of preparedness to ensure the National Preparedness Goal can be met.”

Updates

Secretary Mayorkas Announces Domestic Violent Extremism Review at DHS

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas announced an internal review to address the threat of domestic violent extremism within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Secretary Mayorkas has made identifying, addressing, and preventing domestic violent extremism across the country a top priority.

Reports

Improving Public Messaging for Evacuation and Shelter-in-Place

This report and companion documents identify relevant concepts, considerations, and principles that can inform jurisdictions in planning for evacuation and/or shelter-in-place protective actions. The research report presents recommendations for informing community members about risk and providing effective warnings.

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Updates

New Biosensor Designed to Detect Toxins and More

A device from Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Portable EnGineered Analytic Sensor with aUtomated Sampling (PEGASUS) is a miniaturized waveguide-based optical sensor that can detect toxins, bacterial signatures, viral signatures, biothreats, white powders, and more, from samples such as blood, water, CSF, food, and animal samples.