Emergency Management View All →

Free “How to Search” Training Guides are Now Available


A free resource with no commercial agenda is now available to the Search and Rescue (SAR) community. This is a project with no hidden agenda; it was developed by members of the SAR community who simply have the desire to make SAR personnel more effective searchers.

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CERT Members Amplify and Support Social Media Efforts


With each emergency, the public’s use of social media increases and it becomes more apparent that government officials and emergency managers need to devise ways to not only respond to questions posted on these platforms, but also use them to glean information that can aid situational awareness.

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Toward More Resilient Futures: Putting Strategic Foresight Into Practice


David Kaufman, Associate Administrator for Policy, Program Analysis, & International Affairs, recently did a presentation to the War College. 

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92 smart phone apps for public safety and emergency responders


The website for the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) International is http://www.apcointl.org/. A few weeks ago, they created a repository for public safety and emergency response smart phone applications. The site is called AppComm, and you can find it at http://appcomm.org/. Read more @ hlswatch.com

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Satellites See Double Jeopardy for Southern California Fire Season


New insights into two factors that are creating a potentially volatile Southern California wildfire season come from an ongoing project using NASA and Indian satellite data by scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.; and Chapman University, Orange, Calif. The scientists tracked the relationship between rainfall and the growth and drying-out of vegetation in […]

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Can collaboration defend U.S. critical infrastructure?


Vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure, particularly through cybersecurity gaps, are a top concern for government officials and lawmakers. Legislation to address those gaps so far has failed, and key partnerships are crucial to shoring up weaknesses as best as possible until a bill passes, officials say.

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Global Hawk Flies High, Offering a Detailed Hurricane Measurement


Scientists at the Earth Science Office at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., are testing an airborne system that could drastically change the way hurricanes are forecast. 

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What Went Wrong in West, Texas?


A week after a blast at a Texas fertilizer plant killed at least 15 people and hurt more than 200, authorities still don’t know exactly why the West Chemical and Fertilizer Company plant exploded.

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#smem View All →

Social Pressure: Can it work for Disaster Preparedness?


by Kim Stephens In this post I examine what social media, emergency preparedness and get-out the vote messaging have in common–it seems like a stretch, I know!

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Does social media monitoring belong in Planning or PIO?

New Social Media Monitoring Tool: CrisisTracker

by Gerald Baron @ the Crisis Comm Blog In a previous post on making suggestions for updating NIMS, I suggested that social media monitoring should go into the ICS structure rather than be considered a part of the JIC or PIO responsibilities. This prompted some thoughtful responses from readers of this blog–I encourage you to […]

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Keep it Short: The Need for Emergency Managers to be Brief

Microsoft Word - web 2.0 logos.doc

by Adam Crowe @ Disasters 2.0 Last week a colleague pointed out an interesting phenomenon related to social media systems.  

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Social Network for Emergencies to Launch in San Francisco


Disasters are scary — there’s no question about it. But as much as they cause fear, they also bring people together, connecting communities in ways that few other incidents can. Focusing on those connections, rather than the catastrophe, is the theory behind the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management’s (SFDEM) new projectSF72.org, created to enhance […]

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Researchers Review Boston Bombing Social Media Activity


By Kim Stephens @ idisaster 2.0 Project HEROIC–which stands for Hazards, Emergency Response, and Online Informal Communications (see footnote)–took a close look at the online activity of official organizations during the recent domestic terrorist event in Boston and the ensuing suspect chase–that seemed like a marathon in itself.  They released a report today (May 10) titled […]

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Boston bombings: Twitter is too slow, we’re now into nano-news


From Gerald Baron @ the Crisis Comm Blog The events in Boston and West, Texas have generated a deluge of focus once more on how communication happens in major events. I’ve resisted jumping into this, wanting some time for the dust to settle and be able to take a step back. What I see now […]

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3 Observations: Social Media and the Boston PD #BostonMarathon


From Kim Stephens @ idisaster 2.0 on Apr 16 Even though the Boston Marathon 2013 bombing event happened less than 24 hours ago at the time of writing, there are already numerous accounts of the role social media played during the horrific aftermath. Read more @ idisaster 2.0    

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Sandy Marked a Shift for Social Media Use in Disasters

Home Pushed into Boat Docks

First it was the AOL chat rooms, followed by online community chat and discussion boards, then it was blogs. Since 2000, social media has expanded to include Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more.

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Grants & Funding View All →

Fiscal Year 2014 DHS Preparedness Grant Programs Allocation

UASI Funding History

FY 2014 Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP) According to the Grant Programs Directorate (GPD), a component of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the HSGP is one tool among a comprehensive set of measures authorized by Congress and implemented by the Administration to help strengthen the Nation against risks associated […]

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House Appropriations Committee Approves DHS Funding Bill


The House Appropriations Committee approved the DHS funding bill.  The bill funds state and local programs at $1,500,000,000 The committee report has the interesting detail. Regarding the number of UASIs: The Committee is pleased that in fiscal year 2012, the Department began restoring the original intent of the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) program by […]

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2013 Homeland Security Grant Program Summary


The 2013 FEMA grant guidance was just released today (May 21, 2013). This document is an unofficial summary of the grant guidance (as contained in the FOA and other documents) designed to provide a quick read of the highlights and some increased context to the guidance. Readers should refer to the official FEMA guidance and […]

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Anti-Terrorism Grants for Cities at Risk


In the midst of last month’s manhunt to find the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing, Massachusetts police received a tip about a trail of blood leading to a resident’s covered boat.

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City of Atlanta losing UASI grants despite its high profile


The city of Atlanta is losing DHS grant money used to strengthen the city’s ability to protect against a terrorist attack. Despite being home to recent high profile events such as the NCAA’s Final Four, federal records show the amount of money allocated to Atlanta through urban area security grants has dropped from $13 million […]

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Homeland Security Grants to States Gutted


In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, the state of Massachusetts, the city of Boston and federal authorities quickly joined together to respond to the emergency. But in recent years, federal funding for state homeland security efforts to respond to emergencies has been gutted.

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Measuring the Effectiveness of UASI Equipment in Real Time


Like everyone else, I am glued to MSNBC watching the events unfold in Boston. What I am seeing is living proof in real time that the money spent on coordinated anti-terrorism, on command and control, and on police equipment to combat real terrorist threats was in fact very well spent. Congress may think otherwise and […]

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Boston 10th in Funds Received for ‘High Threat’ Urban Areas


Terrorism has been in the headlines in Boston before. Ten al-Qaida hijackers departed from Boston’s Logan airport on Sept. 11, 2001. And in 2012, Tarek Mehanna of Sudbury, Mass., a Boston suburb, was convicted of conspiracy to provide material support to al-Qaida. But when the Department of Homeland Security originally assessed the threat of terror to 65 […]

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Homeland Security View All →

Fiscal Year 2014 DHS Preparedness Grant Programs Allocation

UASI Funding History

FY 2014 Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP) According to the Grant Programs Directorate (GPD), a component of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the HSGP is one tool among a comprehensive set of measures authorized by Congress and implemented by the Administration to help strengthen the Nation against risks associated […]

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National Homeland Security Conference Call for Presentations

Philly Logo

The NHSC just released this call for papers. ————————————— Mark your calendars now to join us for the National Homeland Security Conference, hosted by the National Homeland Security Association and the City of Philadelphia May 20-22, 2014 at Philadelphia’s Convention Center. Our program will include general sessions featuring DHS, DOJ and DOD leadership and ten […]

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First-Of-Its-Kind Portable Radar Device: NASA, Homeland Security Test Disaster Recovery Tool


NASA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security are collaborating on a first-of-its-kind portable radar device to detect the heartbeats and breathing patterns of victims trapped in large piles of rubble resulting from a disaster.

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Justice Department sues to block release of FirstNet-related information


A federal court in Des Moines, Iowa, accepted arguments by Justice Department lawyers to issue a temporary injunction to block the release by an Iowa Sherriff of e-mails pertaining to a public safety communication network.

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Recognizing Our Frontline Medical Providers


by Dr. J.D. Polk, Acting Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs & Acting Chief Medical Officer This week, we celebrate and honor the federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal Emergency Medical Service (EMS) practitioners serving communities all across the country. Every day, we see paramedics or firefighters, but many of us do not actually stop to […]

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Working with International Partners on Critical Infrastructure Protection


Today’s evolving threats transcend national borders and affect the security and economic prosperity of the entire international community.

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Lawmakers Fault Pre-Boston Attack Intel Sharing

Boston Marathon Explosion

An early dissection of what federal authorities learned in past years about the accused perpetrators of last month’s Boston Marathon bombings reveals how far the United States still has to go in sharing and making sense of leads on suspected terrorists, current and former lawmakers said on Thursday. Russia warned the FBI of 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s possible […]

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Boston probe’s big data use hints at the future


Less than 24 hours after two explosions killed three people and injured dozens more at the April 15 Boston Marathon, the Federal Bureau of Investigation had compiled 10 terabytes of data in hopes of finding needles in haystacks of information that might lead to the suspects.

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Training, Exercise and Drills View All →

Crisis Leadership: The 4 Keys to Preparing


The United States has experienced great turbulence in recent years, serving as a vivid reminder of the crucial role of leadership in cultivating resilient communities — communities able to prepare effectively for, respond to and recover from major crises.

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C-CERTs Allow Colleges to Take Quick Action During an Emergency


When disaster strikes on or near a college campus, local first responders don’t always have the staff or resources to help immediately — especially when the campus is as big as a small city. 

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“Live burns” to benefit research and firefighter training


Fire researchers from theNational Institute of Standards and Technology(NIST) and colleagues from fire service organizations will turn abandoned wood-frame, single-family houses near the site of an old Spartanburg, South Carolina, textile mill into proving and training grounds for new science-driven fire-fighting techniques this week.

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Active-shooter training programs for local law enforcement


Active-shooter training sessions have been in high demand as law enforcement agencies have increased the attention they pay school security after the Sandy Hook Elementary mass shooting.

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The Complete Guide to What To Do Before, During, and After a Disaster


Do you know how to actually protect yourself during an earthquake or hurricane? What about a tornado or fire? You’ve probably heard lots of conflicting information over the years.

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Public School Teachers Take A Firearms Training Class


Rubber pistols and a very bizarre shooting target in Sarasota, Florida, nearly a month after Newtown. (Photoset) Read more @ buzzfeed.com

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Individual Preparedness and Response to CBRN Terrorist Attacks


Individual preparedness is an important element of our nation’s strategy for homeland security. This report adopts a scenario-driven approach that provides a rigorous way to identify actions-linked specifically to terrorist attacks-individuals can take to protect their health and safety.

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What the U.S. Can Learn from the Christchurch Earthquake


Learning from experience, including that of other countries, is an important element of our knowledge about earthquakes and other disasters that affect major urban areas. The United States can learn from a recent report that assessed the response to the damaging earthquake that affected Christchurch and the surrounding Canterbury Region in New Zealand in February […]

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Cyber Security View All →

Preventing Times, Twitter-Type Attacks


In the wake of domain name systems attacks this week aimed at The New York Times, Twitter and other media sites, security professionals in all sectors should take specific mitigation steps, experts say.

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Securing the Network Supply Chain


Securing the supply chain – simply, assuring that computer and communications wares organizations procure are secure – is receiving much attention by the federal government. Supply-chain security is a component of President Obama’s cybersecurity framework, being developed under the guidance of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Now, a House subcommittee has created a […]

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Cyberattacks Against U.S. Corporations Are on the Rise

Cyber Security

A new wave of cyberattacks is striking American corporations, prompting warnings from federal officials, including a vague one issued last week by the Department of Homeland Security. This time, officials say, the attackers’ aim is not espionage but sabotage, and the source seems to be somewhere in the Middle East.

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Beware of Online Fundraising Scams and Hackers Trying to Exploit the Tragedy in Boston


From the DHS Blog The outpouring of support and generosity of the American public in the aftermath of last Monday’s explosions in Boston speaks to both our compassion and resilience as a country.  But unfortunately, as we’ve seen previously, high profile news stories and tragedies can also lead to a variety of Internet scams and […]

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NIST announces federal cyber center plans


The National Institutes of Standards and Technology is spearheading efforts to establish a new federally funded research and development center through its National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence. The goal of the FFRDC is to create a neutral venue for collaboration between government and industry that will accelerate progress in implementing cybersecurity. The idea is to […]

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Guidance Aims to Ease Access Control


Improving information sharing while maintaining control over accessto that information is a primary goal of new guidance coming from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. NIST has issued a draft of NIST Special Publication 800-162: Guide to Attribute Based Access Control Definition and Consideration. Attribute-based access control, or ABAC, is a logical access control methodology where […]

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Are You Vulnerable Online? Get Tips from U.S. CERT


Cyberspace is woven into the fabric of our daily lives.  According to recent estimates, this global network of networks encompasses more than two billion people with at least 12 billion computers and devices, including global positioning systems, mobile phones, satellites, data routers, ordinary desktop computers, and industrial control computers that run power plants, water systems, and more. […]

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Reassuring Industry on IT Best Practices


Top administration officials told Congress that industry, not the federal government, will take the lead in establishing IT security best practices for critical infrastructure operators called for in a presidential executive order.

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