• Next Generation 911Testing Interoperability, Compatibility of Next Generation 911 systems

    Next Generation 911 (NG911) is an updated version of the current nationwide emergency response system operating on an Internet Protocol (IP) platform that will enable voice, video, photographs, text, and future communications technologies to be transmitted to and by the public and first responders for assistance. The Critical Infrastructure Resilience Institute (CIRI), a DHS Center of Excellence led by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), will develop a framework and process for testing the interoperability and compatibility of NG911 systems.

  • Nuclear threatsNuclear Threats Are Increasing – Here’s How the U.S. Should Prepare for a Nuclear Event

    By Cham Dallas

    On the 75th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, some may like to think the threat from nuclear weapons has receded. But there are clear signs of a growing nuclear arms race and that the U.S. is not very well-prepared for nuclear and radiological events. Despite the gloomy prospects of health outcomes of any large-scale nuclear event common in the minds of many, there are a number of concrete steps the U.S. and other countries can take to prepare. It’s our obligation to respond.

  • Dust explosionsReal-time Imaging to Help Prevent Deadly Dust Explosions

    Dust explosions can be among the most dangerous and costly workplace incidents. Dust builds up in agricultural, powder-handling or manufacturing settings, causing hazards to employees and posing the risk of exploding. Researchers have developed an image- and video-based application using OpenCV algorithms that detect explosible suspended dust concentration.

  • ExplosionPort of Beirut Explosion kills 73, injures 3,700

    A massive explosion late afternoon Tuesday at the warehouse section of the port of Beirut, Lebanon, killed more 73 and injured nearly 4,000, flattening buildings, shattering glass, and spreading fire. There were two explosions. The first, and much smaller one, was at a warehouse storing fireworks. But that explosion triggered the massive explosion next door, in a sprawling warehouse which stored 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, a volatile chemical which was downloaded from a commercial ship in 2014 and which was supposed to be stored at the site only temporarily (for comparison: Timothy McVeigh used 1.8 tons of ammonium nitrate to blow up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995). The number of dead and injured is likely to rise, as an untold number of people are still buried under collapsed buildings. Lebanese authorities say that many bodies may never be found because they were likely destroyed by the immense explosion or incinerated in the intense fires which follow.

  • AnthraxPreparing to Clean Up Following an Anthrax Attack

    The microorganism that causes anthrax, the bacterium Bacillus anthracis, has infected people and animals since ancient times. Anthrax is one of the most likely agents to be used in a biological attack, because the anthrax bacteria exist in the natural environment, can be easily disguised in powders, sprays, food or water, and have been previously used as a biological warfare agent.

  • First respondersAutotalks Deploys Smart Traffic Signals in Alpharetta, Georgia

    By Brian Blum

    When an emergency vehicle comes speeding towards an intersection, drivers know to pull over and give the ambulance or firetruck the right of way. Israeli automotive technology firm Autotalks takes that one step further by sending a wireless signal from the emergency responder to the traffic lights so the signals will automatically change to stop cross traffic.

  • PreparednessPreparing for an Explosive Attack

    Explosives are a popular choice among terrorists for causing disruption, casualties and destruction. Although chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) weapons may cause much more damage, explosives can still be the first choice because they are relatively easy to make, transport and use. DHS S&T says it wants to make sure that state and local leaders have choices, too, by arming them with technology to plan for worst-case scenarios and mitigate the fallout of terrorist attacks.

  • First respondersGear Treated with “Forever Chemicals” Poses Risk to Firefighters

    Firefighters face occupational hazards on a daily basis. Now, new research shows they face additional risk just by gearing up. Fabric used for firefighter turnout gear tested positive for the presence of per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS), according to a new study.

  • Tunnel evacuationSound Beacons Support Safer Tunnel Evacuation

    By Christina Benjaminsen

    Research conducted as part of the project EvacSound demonstrates that auditory guidance using sound beacons is an effective aid during the evacuation of smoke-filled road tunnels. This is good news. It is a fact that vehicle drivers and passengers cannot normally expect to be rescued by the emergency services during such accidents.

  • Overlapping disastersHeightened Risks When Pandemic and Hurricane Season Overlap

    Researchers studying the ability of coastal communities to respond to disasters say that combined disasters may make community recovery vastly more difficult. What they have found serves as a stark warning to policymakers preparing for hurricane season during a pandemic. One of the main worries is that there will be significant delays in recovery efforts if front-line workers are not kept healthy.

  • Search-and-rescueSearch-and-Rescue Algorithm Identifies Hidden “Traps” in Ocean Waters

    When an object or person goes missing at sea, the complex, constantly changing conditions of the ocean can confound and delay critical search-and-rescue operations. Now researchers have developed a technique they hope will help first responders quickly zero in on regions of the sea where missing objects or people are likely to be.

  • Floods & emergency responseFloods and Emergency Response Time

    First responders, such as fire and ambulance services, will likely struggle to reach urgent cases in a timely manner during flooding in England, researchers found. The researchers investigated how various levels of flooding impact the ability of emergency services to reach urgent cases.

  • PPESecond Skin Protects against Chem, Bio Agents

    Recent events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the use of chemical weapons in the Syria conflict have provided a stark reminder of the plethora of chemical and biological threats that soldiers, medical personnel and first responders face during routine and emergency operations. Researchers have developed a smart, breathable fabric designed to protect the wearer against biological and chemical warfare agents. Material of this type could be used in clinical and medical settings as well.

  • DisastersUnderstanding the Hidden Impact of Disasters

    The September 2017 Hurricane Maria killed people, demolished homes, and destroyed infrastructure. But Maria also damaged the manufacturing plants of a major IV bag maker, plunging hospitals into supply shortage that didn’t ripple across the mainland United States until six months after the hurricane made landfall. Given the highly integrated nature of supply chains in the U.S., natural and man-made disasters can have unanticipated consequences that are every bit as serious as the immediate damage of the event itself.

  • Future shocksCoronavirus Shows We Are Not at All Prepared for the Security threat of climate change

    By Kate Guy

    How might a single threat, even one deemed unlikely, spiral into an evolving global crisis which challenges the foundations of global security, economic stability and democratic governance, all in the matter of a few weeks? My research on threats to national security, governance and geopolitics has focused on exactly this question, albeit with a focus on the disruptive potential of climate change, rather than a novel coronavirus. At this stage in the COVID-19 situation, there are three primary lessons for a climate-changing future: the immense challenge of global coordination during a crisis, the potential for authoritarian emergency responses, and the spiraling danger of compounding shocks.