• FirefightersGroundbreaking Firefighter Tracking Technology

    In the U.S. alone, approximately 80 to 100 firefighters are lost in the line of duty each year according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. More than 50,000 are injured according to the National Fire Protection Association.  Countless others risk their lives every day to serve and protect our communities. Last month, S&T and NASA JPL successfully tested the Precision Outdoor and Indoor Navigation and Training for Emergency Responders (POINTER) technology.

  • ResilienceMaking Our Infrastructure Safer

    By David L. Chandler

    Saurabh Amin, a systems engineer at MIT, focuses on making transportation, electricity, and water infrastructure more resilient against disruptions. “There are a lot of commonalities among these networks — they are built and operated by human actors, but their functionality is governed by physical laws. So, that is what drives me forward,” Amin says.

  • First respondersCloud-Based Framework Improves Efficiency in Disaster-Area Management

    Researchers have, for the first time, designed a cloud-based autonomous system framework utilizing the standard messaging protocol for the internet-of-things (IoT). This framework is robust to network-denied environments by utilizing each vehicle, along with a clustering algorithm, to maximize the network coverage area. Also for the first time, researchers have implemented a cloud-based, highly efficient control system to aid first responders in disaster-area management.

  • Disaster managementCreating 3-D Maps of Complex Buildings for Disaster Management

    In case of an emergency, first responders like the fire brigade need up-to-date information. 2D maps are a common source of information but they can be difficult to read in an emergency situation. A researcher has created an algorithm that can accurately generate 3D models of the insides of large buildings from point clouds.

  • landslidesSimple Actions May Help People Survive Landslides

    An engineer who analyzed the aftermath of the March 2014 landslide in Oso, Washington, began to investigate the circumstances that can make landslides so deadly. The resulting study shows that certain human actions increase the chance of surviving a devastating event, and suggests simple behavioral changes could save more lives than expensive engineering solutions.

  • Emergency responseThis Emergency Response Tech May Just Save Your Life in a Shooting

    By Naama Barak

    Gabriel is an emergency-response system that can be installed in schools, places of worship, workplaces and elsewhere to help save lives in cases of shootings and other attacks. New Gabriel device detects gunshots, points first responders to the scene and mitigates crises in schools and places of worship.

  • CommunicationThe Future of Security-Forces Communication

    Setting out to tackle real-world challenges in the fight against terrorism and crime, researchers and police officers have developed a new, future-ready technology for sharing information and coordinating in the field. The solution has since been adopted throughout Germany on the merits of its great practical benefit and acceptance on the part of users.

  • Search & rescueRapid Rescue of Buried People

    When someone is buried by an avalanche, earthquake or other disaster, a rapid rescue can make the difference between life and death. Researchers have developed a new kind of mobile radar device that can search hectare-sized areas quickly and thoroughly.

  • PrivacyDe-Identifying Public Safety Data Sets

    For critical applications such as emergency planning and epidemiology, public safety responders may need access to sensitive data, but sharing that data with external analysts can compromise individual privacy. NIST) has launched a crowdsourcing challenge to spur new methods to ensure that important public safety data sets can be de-identified to protect individual privacy.

  • FireAddressing Risk, Safety in Fire Containment

    As 2020 has shown, wildfire frequency, size and severity are threatening communities and natural resources across the western U.S. As a result, there is a high demand for decision-making to mitigate risk, improve firefighter safety and increase fire containment efficiency.

  • Disaster evacuationImproving Wildfires Evacuation Planning

    As global temperatures continue to rise, cities and towns not historically prone to large wildfires may begin to face greater threats. An unsuspecting Tennessee community found itself in this position during the 2016 Chimney Tops 2 Fire, which led to 14 deaths and nearly 200 injuries — many related to last-minute evacuations. A new NIST study could help communities, especially those without robust wildfire response plans in place, devise and improve strategies for getting people to head for safer ground.

  • Disaster casualtiesUniform Framework for Quantifying Disaster-Related Deaths, Illness

    To more accurately quantify disaster-related deaths, injuries, and illnesses, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other agencies supporting disaster response should adopt a uniform national framework of data collection approaches and methods for distinguishing direct from indirect disaster deaths, says a new congressionally mandated report from the National Academies of Sciences.

  • Drones & disastersAmateur Drone to Aid in Natural Disaster Damage Assessment

    It wasn’t long after Hurricane Laura hit the Gulf Coast Thursday that people began flying drones to record the damage and posting videos on social media. Those videos are a precious resource, say researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, who are working on ways to use them for rapid damage assessment.

  • 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.