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The attacks and subsequent loss of responders helped to once again elevate the public's respect of the entire Fire Service. But with great respect comes great responsibility and five years later some agencies have found that the greater the height, the greater the fall as the "mileage" gained after 9/11 has come back to haunt them in many ways never imagined.
I was asked by 9-1-1 Magazine Editor Randall Larson to express a few thoughts on the events of 9/11, and how we've changed, ten years later. I'd given the request quite a bit of thought; attempting to adequately describe where we stand today, a decade after the Twin Towers fell, appeared at first to be a fool's errand... like Shrek's life, 9/11 is really complicated, having dozens of 'layers,' depending on where you stood that day.
For everyone of us who watched the towers fall and understood the loss not in terms of concrete and steel, but in the content of lockers to be carefully gathered and delivered to loved ones, and of roll calls to which there would never be an answer there will always be the question "have we done enough?"
The devastation in Southeast Asia has graphically demonstrated one thing: tsunami dangers are real. Unfortunately, it has taken a disaster of that magnitude to make the American public aware of that fact. "Before that, you'd mention tsunami and people would snicker," said Gloria Morrison, Emergency Services Coordinator for the City of Huntington Beach, California. "Now people are paying closer attention."
To help communicate flood risk and help citizens take mitigation action, the Atkins FloodMap Mobile smart phone app is the most comprehensive in its class for users to understand their personal risk exposure and how to get help. The app provides flood risk information on demand based on the user’s location or entered address. It also offers an individual risk report customized for that address, which can be emailed and shared.
The Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) recently passed a stringent year-long reaccreditation process that allows its emergency responder students to earn continuing education credits for most of the courses they take at the CDP.
As technology continues to evolve, especially in the emergency communication industry, new technologies are replacing, or being integrated with, traditional communication and notification tools to enhance overall systems. Learning from real-life examples, including an emergency such as Hurricane Sandy and the major transformation of Hawaii's in-progress communication infrastructure project, emergency managers can continue to learn and better navigate through the evolving landscape.
September is National Preparedness Month and CMC Government Supply would like to encourage everyone to get involved with their local Community Emergency Response Team programs (CERT). CERT educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations.
Colorado Emergency Preparedness Partnership and FEMA to hold Meeting on wildfire & flooding on February 6th
This first ever Northern Colorado joint meeting will focus on the recent wildfires and flooding experienced in the state; the challenges that were encountered as well as the hurdles that remain as part of the long-term recovery process.
By identifying the possible things that can create emergency situations to our voice, data, and video pathways we can attempt to find ways to plan for or respond to them... The 2004 hurricane season in Florida and more recently the February 2, 2007 tornado event in Lake County (Groundhog Day Tornadoes) plainly evidenced the need for comprehensive analysis of potential emergencies and how they can or might affect our communications pathways and how we can respond to them.
Recently, Motorola Solutions had an opportunity to speak with two of our customers who were on the front lines of very different natural disasters that grabbed headlines this year. We wanted to hear their stories first-hand to ensure that we are meeting the current demands of first responders throughout the country, as well as anticipating their needs in coming years.
CoreLogic Introduces Natural Hazard & Parcel Data Product to Improve Local Emergency Planning & Response Efforts
CoreLogic. a leading provider of information, analytics and business services, has introduced a new offering that will help emergency responders and local governments improve their emergency planning, preparedness and response efforts in the event of a natural hazard. The new offering from CoreLogic bundles the company's detailed natural hazard geospatial data, risk models and comprehensive parcel database to provide city and county officials a more accurate picture of potential hazard...
Though 2011 represented a record-breaking year with regard to the number of disasters, the American public remains largely unaware of both their local alerting processes and their community's emergency notification capabilities. Even more alarming, many citizens approach the subject of disaster warnings and personal emergency preparedness with attitudes that reflect unacceptable levels of complacency, indifference and, in far too many cases, what can only be described as outright apathy.
As large parts of the nation battle storms of epic proportions, local, state and federal governments, emergency responders and businesses are moving into emergency response mode relying on some of the most powerful and reliable and proven technology available today. Allen Schaeffer, the Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum, issued the following statement on diesel's vital role in the United States' emergency preparedness for this storm system.
According to Alameda County, California, Urban Shield is "a national model, full-scale exercise, designed to assess and validate the speed, effectiveness and efficiency of capabilities, as well as test the adequacy of regional policies, plans, procedures and protocols" (Urban Shield, 2013). Urban Shield events require hundreds of volunteers, to portray victims in a variety of disaster scenarios. When possible local residents are used and that is how I got involved with the Austin, Texas...
One of the most important things for emergency telecommunicators to do is to truly understand their jurisdiction and what critical infrastructure, symbolic targets, and other unique features exist and how the loss or disruption of those facilities or events will impact emergency responders and the community. Understanding community threats prior to an emergency is critical to not just the success of the response, but also the life safety of the occupants and emergency responders.
EmergencyLink, the free emergency ID network, has announced its first government partnership to provide an entire U.S. county with state-of-the-art emergency medical services. Butler County Emergency Medical Service (EMS) in Kansas has implemented EmergencyLink to improve the quality of information first responders have and better prepare its 65,000 residents for emergency situations.
Enbridge Inc. and Midcoast Energy Partners, L.P. have announced the successful launch of an online pipeline emergency training program for 9-1-1 center personnel serving areas along Enbridge's onshore pipeline systems throughout the United States and Canada, including the Vector Pipeline system operated by Enbridge. The training was developed in partnership with the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) and includes material from a NENA standard and Pipeline Emergencies
The popularity of SMS, social media and other internet messaging mediums have substantially expanded opportunities to manage emergency events. This is evident in the rapid development of interoperable, network-based, multi-device communications systems... Though new technologies and messaging formats broaden the overall reach of crisis communications in both natural and man-made disasters, they also present inherent challenges...
As we approach the first anniversary of the day that forever changed our lives, the FDNY still is in a world of hurt. Well documented are the experiences of the firefighters and chiefs on duty that day. Not so well documented is what has happened to us inside the communications office, and inside our minds.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved Omnilert's products as IPAWS alert originators. FEMA-approved organizations can now access the Integrated Public Alert & Warning System (IPAWS) through Omnilert's products e2Campus and Amerilert to broadcast alerts over the Emergency Alert System (EAS), Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA), and other systems, in addition to the client's own subscriber base and endpoints within their Omnilert account.
FEMA Disaster Workshop Brings Tribal Leaders to the Bay Area to Prepare for, Respond to, Recover from Catastrophic Events
Nearly 200 tribal leaders, emergency managers, first responders and other disaster preparedness officials, representing more than 60 tribal governments are meeting this week in Oakland (CA) with Federal Emergency Management Agency officials , to discuss how to jointly prepare for, respond to and recover from the next catastrophic disaster that could strike tribal communities with or without warning in California, Arizona or Nevada.
FEMA Invests $100 Million in Post-Tsunami Disaster Relief & Emergency Preparedness Improvements for American Samoa
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has awarded nearly $100 Million dollars in Post-Tsunami improvements to American Samoa for lifesaving emergency management systems that include an early warning siren system, 9-1-1 emergency call center, and the completion of a formal tsunami hazard plan that proved instrumental in helping the island achieve the coveted status of TsunamiReady.
FEMA, Arizona focus on Emerging Trends in Emergency Management, Collaboration with Public, Private Sector Partners when faced with Large Scale Disasters
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in concert with the Arizona Division of Emergency Management will host the third annual FEMA Region IX Public-Private Sector Leadership Conference on Feb. 19, 2014 in Phoenix, Ariz. The theme of this year's symposium is "Perception vs. Reality."
Rave Mobile Safety, a trusted software partner for campus and public safety, has announced the first statewide deployment of SmartPrepare in Arkansas. The rapidly growing service allows citizens to create free, secure Safety Profiles online that contain vital details about their household. Public safety officials can quickly leverage the data in SmartPrepare to gain greater insight into their communities and identify potential challenges...
With huge crowds expected to descend on New Orleans for Mardi Gras and Super Bowl XLVII this winter, public safety and public health officials are deploying FirstWatch Real-Time Situational Awareness to make sure they have up-to-the minute information on potential safety threats.
The city of Fort Worth, Texas, the 17th largest city in the United States, purchased, configured, trained and successfully deployed WebEOC emergency management software from ESi in three-and-a-half months, just in time for the 2011 Super Bowl and an unexpected snow and ice storm in the days leading up to the big event. On January 30, only a week prior to "Super Week," the city also opened the doors to a brand-new emergency operations center.
In the latest installment of From the Chair, Paul pays tribute to the dispatchers working in the Newtown (CT) Emergency Communications Center on the day of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. He goes on to discuss how they were able to control the chaos of the active shooter incident, and still maintain the order and normal function of their center. He concludes with a warning that what the Newtown dispatchers did would have been impossible without careful preparation and planning...
Last week, Cal EMA and FEMA Region IX hosted the Golden Guardian 2013 Joint Action Planning Training Workshop at Cal EMA Headquarters in Sacramento. This workshop provided an action plan that will be used for the Golden Guardian 2013 Functional Exercise being held May 15, 2013.
Five Years Later: What has happened since September 11, 2001 to instill confidence in homeland security for America? Cosmetic changes, visible security enhancements in certain places, and booming business for government bureaucracy. It is still the same bureaucracy that left civilian targets vulnerable to terrorist attacks in the first place, according to Congressional investigators.
In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy made history as the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of that year’s Atlantic hurricane season... The day Sandy hit, nearly 20,000 calls were received every hour (the NYC 9-1-1 system typically processes about 30,000 emergency requests for assistance - per day). The Intrado Emergency Call Relay Center (ECRC) took the calls, found out exactly where the callers were, determined the nature of the emergencies and redirected the calls to the
All local governments - and especially their first responders and emergency management personnel - face major challenges when dealing with "black swan" events such as ice storms in the South, terrorist bombs at marathons, random shootings in schools and cyber attacks just about anywhere. No city or state has the resources to adequately protect their citizens against all possible hazards in our modern, 21st century threat environment.
The Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services (HCDFRS), a nationally accredited department located in Maryland, has implemented the CommandScope All Hazard Pre-Incident Plan program to help protect nearly 300,000 residents in 25 communities. CommandScope gives first responders access to critical pre-plan information, both on-site and en route on their Mobile Data Computers, which includes maps, photographs, utility shutoff locations, floor plans, fire protection systems, hazardous...
As evidenced during and after Superstorm Sandy, satellite networks played a major role in ensuring continuity of communications, keeping emergency responders, businesses and people connected when terrestrial services were disrupted or unavailable. First responders and public safety managers experienced first-hand the critical need to communicate during a crisis to effectively respond and manage field resources, including organizations assisting with recovery efforts. Government leaders in...
Hurricane Seminar Will Look at 2011 Season Predictions and Offer Enterprise-Level Preparedness Solutions
In advance of the 2011 hurricane season (which begins June 1) ImpactWeather, Inc., with sponsorship support from MIR3, will present The 22nd Annual Hurricane Seminar for Business and Industry: Innovation, New Techniques and What to Expect in 2011. Taking place Tuesday, May 24, at the Hilton Houston Hobby Airport from 7:45 a.m. until noon, this year’s lineup will educate business and industry leaders on how to get, and stay, prepared for the hurricane season.
There are 16 national Type 1 Incident Management Teams (IMTs) across the country. Though they mostly deal with wildland fire, they're also dispatched for non-fire incidents such as floods, earthquakes, and hurricanes. One of FEMA's 12 emergency support functions is firefighting, and under ESF-4 the teams can be activated from the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise, Idaho. The teams are prepared to use the Incident Command System (ICS) to handle just about any situation. But no...
Alabama emergency management officials used the Incident Command System in responding to the April 27 outbreak of storms and tornadoes that devastated many communities. On that day, 62 tornadoes swept through the state. All 67 Alabama counties have participated in ICS training, according to the Alabama Emergency Management Agency. More than 70 emergency managers from Alabama have attended the ICS course at EMI in the last five years and many more have been trained in classes held in Mobile,...
For public safety and disaster management responders, Iridium GO! is the perfect tool for the fast-moving assessment teams that arrive in the first stage of disaster relief or in emergency situations. Assessment requires standard form submission detailing local conditions, coupled with pictures of the emergency/disaster zone. Form submission is an easy app to design and photo compression is already built-in.
LASD Announces Innovative Eyewitness Video Platform to Revolutionize Responses to Terrorism, Large Scale Criminal Events & Disasters
SENDUS and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Dept (LASD) have announced LEEDIR, a new technology platform that will change the way law enforcement agencies respond to large scale criminal events and terrorists events. This new technology would have been ideal during the kind of active-shooting event that happened at LAX on Nov 1st, to understand how the shooting happened through eyewitness videos and to expedite collaborative analysis of the situation.
While the general public beheld the unfolding events at the Pentagon and World Trade Center as tragic, those of us in public safety saw an even more disturbing picture. Most, if not all, of us immediately recognized the magnitude of these losses from our particularly parochial viewpoint... So, what have we learned from all of this? How are we as a nation and as a profession different now? How do we view life after 9/11?
As the president of Blackboard Transact, I often speak with safety officials on campuses about how they can improve their approaches to reduce campus safety risks and institution liability, a high priority for universities in light of high-profile security issues on college campuses in recent years. While a unified approach takes commitment, time and resources, the end result could help save lives.
Earth Networks, the owner of and operator of the largest weather, lightning and climate observation networks, announces it is continuing to support the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), the agency that is responsible for coordinating the response to any major emergency or disaster, through a new five-year contract with the State of Maryland.
Massachusetts EMA Unveils Renovated State EOC & Introduces First-In-The-Nation Emergency Alerting App
On Oct 5th, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick held his weekly cabinet meeting at the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) Headquarters in Framingham, where he joined Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray and members of his cabinet to tour the newly renovated State Emergency Operations Center and received a demonstration of Ping4alerts!, a new public alerting technology for smartphone users.
In March 2012, the CDP, located in Anniston, Ala., conducted its first Integrated Capstone Event (ICE). The ICE is a unique training approach that allows the CDP to combine multiple courses in a single end-of-course exercise. ICE events may include students from ten different disciplines - ranging from law enforcement to healthcare - to interact, communicate, and respond to a full-impact mass casualty incident.
A group of national public safety associations has released the results of a national survey completed by more than 1,000 first responders, emergency managers, public health officials and others on the front lines of emergency preparedness and response.
New Multimedia Toolkit Helps Local Governments Integrate 3-1-1 Disaster Response and Recovery Systems
ICMA, the International City/County Management Association, and the 311 Synergy Group have announced release of a new multi-media DVD toolkit, "Integrating 311 into Disaster Response & Recovery." The kit is designed to assist local governments in better using their 311 or CRM (constituent relationship management) systems to share information with the public in the event of an emergency.
New White Paper Assesses What's Needed for Improving Communications During Disasters and Emergencies
Eight years after the 9/11 Commission named interoperability as a serious problem for 9/11 first responders, and the Department of Homeland Security developed a communications plan for interoperability, there is still no inclusive national communications capability, according to a new white paper issued today by Mutualink, Inc.
What has changed since that ill-fated day around the 9-1-1 Center? The 9-1-1 Center has relocated; it is no longer in the basement of the County Courthouse. It moved across the street to a newly renovated, modern, three story 10,000 square foot facility, that was already county property.
As we all have read or witnessed through news accounts since September 11th, 2001, our world has changed. Those of us in Emergency Management have seen both positive responses in understanding, establishing and mitigating threat, or risk, to our citizens, but we have also seen what I would consider to be the "chicken little" mentality where an uneasy society sees a terrorist around every corner and in every shadow
The California Emergency Management Agency, the California Fire Chiefs Association Communications Section, and the Carnegie Mellon University Silicon Valley Disaster Management Initiative held the 3rd Annual Mobile Communications/Command Center rally on May 22 and 23rd, 2011. This year's event combined the Rally with CMU's Disaster Management Initiative for a greater opportunity for associated workshops and exercises. The event was held at the CMU Silicon Valley campus located within the...
By utilizing the latest version of Infor EnRoute, the Spokane CCC is able to equip all of their dispatch users with the latest GIS functionality. This allows them to make route recommendations to responders, helping EMS and fire units to arrive at the scene of an incident as quickly as possible. Infor EnRoute also provides advanced data drill down capabilities, which facilitates in-depth analysis of dispatch responses.
For years many have talked about the threat of an electromagnetic pulse, whether natural occurring or as a result of a nuclear weapon, but recent event have increased concerns about that threat. EMP is the acronym for electromagnetic pulse, a burst of energy that travels through the air that is produced by a nuclear explosion in the atmosphere or possibly non-nuclear -manmade means that may result in widespread damage to all unshielded semiconductor/electronics, power lines,...
Originally published in 2007, the author, retired fire department captain George R. Bradford, has thoroughly updated the book with additional tools and guidelines for the civilian "immediate responder" -ordinary citizens operating at their own homes or businesses who are willing and able to provide the most timely action during those critical first few moments following an emergency, before the availability of government public safety responders (which, during a major event, may be delayed).
Sitting half a world away and watching the spectacle unfold, those of us in the Western Hemisphere are still afforded a ringside seat as the tragedy in Japan continues to develop. Every day brings with it new information, and seemingly a new crisis. As with any disaster, we in emergency services have a unique view of these events. Who didn't watch the Twin Towers fall and immediately have a sense of the tremendous public safety losses? We didn't need to be informed; the first picture told us...
The Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) in Anniston, Alabama is known for its realistic, emergency response exercises. Responders attending the Hands-On Training for CBRNE Incidents (HOT-I) course will now have an added level of realism thanks to a school bus CDP recently added to the simulated mass casualty exercise for each class.
In an effort to combat the high costs, deaths and injuries associated with traffic collisions, state departments of transportation (DOT) work closely with law enforcement agencies, state traffic safety offices and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to plan and implement policies that can help reduce the number of motor vehicle crashes. One approach is through the Four E’s of traffic safety - Enforcement, Engineering, Education and Emergency Medical Services.
After tornadoes left over 300 dead in just a 24 hour period those in the across the country are now aware that technology, email, text alerts, and weather radios prevented an astronomical death toll. Some of the supercell storms from Wednesday were so extreme that if anyone in their path didn’t adequately seek shelter they would not survive. By a miracle, highly visible tornadoes during the day Wednesday combined with media coverage saved many whom are counting their blessings today. Had the...
The Helios environmental intelligence platform uses proprietary algorithms that give users the ability to monitor current conditions and detect changes in visibility, precipitation and road surface conditions at a hyperlocal, or street scale. Helios can then inform users of threatening conditions. Content from the Helios platform is available via API or Web interface for integration across platforms.
Since Shanksville is located in a very rural area, the Pennsylvania State Police were in charge of the crash scene, although numerous other agencies would follow to conduct the investigation and necessary follow-up tasks.
e2Campus has just released the latest video episode of "America's Safe Campuses" featuring University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES). The in-depth video examines the benefits and considerations when conducting a full-scale exercise of an emergency on campus.