Uncharted Waters: Volunteers & Active Shooters

by Andrew Altizer & Barrett Cappetto -

Universities often use volunteers to provide assistance in helping keep campuses safe and prepared. Most facilities on campus rely on volunteer crisis managers, crisis coordinators, fire wardens, or similarly named individuals to help with various emergency preparedness and response efforts – especially with evacuations. Some larger, or specialized facilities, have full-time building managers or engineers, who have emergency preparedness and limited response responsibilities. Additional volunteers can also fill such gaps with expanding roles and responsibilities.

Disaster Preparedness: A Societal View

by Jeffrey Odoms -

As communities become more impacted by all types of disasters, society is constantly coming to new realizations. Solely relying on governmental agencies to perform emergency response and recovery tasks is insufficient. The frequency, scale, and impact of disasters make it more challenging to stage resources in the right place. Perhaps a more prepared citizenry would help the overall disaster response and recovery. Research of three leading institutions into how concerned the public is about preparedness and its effectiveness has begun to paint an informative picture for creating public outreach efforts.

Autonomous Vehicle Training Challenges for Law Enforcement

by Joseph Trindal -

In the early morning hours of Saturday, 1 December 2018, a California Highway Patrol (CHP) unit observed a Gray Tesla Model S traveling southbound on US-101 at about 70 mph. The CHP unit, a two-officer patrol, pulled alongside of the Tesla and noticed that the single driver/occupant appeared to be asleep. Activating the CHP unit emergency lights and siren failed to wake the driver. Apparently, the Tesla Autopilot, a semi-autonomous driving feature was “assisting” the vehicle from running off the roadway. According to the CHP report, the officers proceeded to pull the CHP unit in front of the Tesla and, using the autonomous crash avoidance safety system, the vehicle was slowed without colliding with the CHP unit. The Tesla driver was awakened by the officers at his door, whereupon the driver, displaying intoxicated behavior, was placed in custody and charged with driving under the influence (DUI). Autonomous vehicles pose this and other challenges for law enforcement agencies.

Situational Awareness & How to Obtain It

by Jason Pagan -

Emergency management is a dynamic field filled with numerous personalities managing ever-changing environments. Some emergency managers handle disastrous events on a yearly basis compared with others who go their entire careers without facing a single disaster. They maneuver unique political landscapes, manage robust emergency management offices, or work in offices of one. In any setting, one of the critical tools found within the emergency manager’s toolbox is maintaining situational awareness.

Crisis Leadership – Doing More With Less

by Terry Hastings -

During a crisis, leaders must be able to adapt and operate in an uncertain environment. In doing so, leaders are required to make more consequential and challenging decisions with less information and less time to decide. They also have fewer options to consider and likely garner more scrutiny for their actions. This examination of key case studies provides current leaders with lessons learned from effective and ineffective leadership decisions in the past.

Gene Drives – An Emerging Terrorist Threat

by Richard Schoeberl -

Conventional acts of terrorism will likely never fade away, and advancements in technology will continually raise concerns for governments and global security practitioners. The increasing threat and possibility of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive (CBRNE) use is evolving. Terrorist groups are actively seeking materials and the expertise to manufacture and utilize those materials in future operations. One of the frontiers in terrorism today involves a developing technology known as “gene drives.”

Planning for Animals in an Emergency Management Strategy

by Heather Kitchen -

Throughout history, animals and pets have held varying degrees of importance to the people who care for them. They have been worshipped, raised for food, served as co-workers on farms, or just loved as companions. Regardless of their “worth,” when something disrupts the ability to care for those animals, outside help is needed. The outside help currently needed is limited when it comes to rescuing, caring for, and sheltering pets because it has not been fully integrated into emergency management’s planning activities.

Special Edition: School Security

In 2017, the Secure Schools Alliance (the Alliance) began a unique relationship with the DomPrep Journal. The goal was to raise awareness of the need to improve K-12 school security within the emergency preparedness community. This special reprint edition is a compilation of this effort, beginning with the macro argument of why school security needs to be improved and concluding with a call to recognize that schools are a critical part of the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, which has been ignored for way too long.

Control System Cybersecurity Concerns

by Joseph Weiss -

The U.S. electric grid, which was designed more than 100 years ago, consists of control systems and field equipment. The grid was originally designed with large central station generation – for example, coal, oil, nuclear, natural gas, hydro – with transmission and distribution substations to deliver electricity to the end customer. As central station power plants are being supplanted by renewable generation from sources such as solar and wind, control systems are becoming more complex and increasingly vulnerable to cyberthreats, especially as the control system networks are connected to the internet.

Technology Behind the Next Heat Emergency

by Tashawn Brown -

According to the National Weather Service, there were 107 fatalities across the United States related to heat in 2017 – more than the deaths related to tornados, hurricanes, and cold weather combined. Local emergency management agencies must work closely with the National Weather Service – as well as other agencies and organizations – to monitor extreme heat and related threats that can affect local communities.