• First respondersBolstering Realistic Radiation Training

    The Radiation Field Training Simulator (RaFTS) technology provides a first responder training solution that can be used to protect against acts of radiological or nuclear terrorism and to deal with their subsequent aftermath.

  • CybersecurityNext Generation 911 Services Vulnerable to Cyberattacks

    Despite a previous warning by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researchers, who exposed vulnerabilities in 911 systems due to distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS), the next generation of 911 systems that now accommodate text, images and video still have the same or more severe issues.

  • RoboticsEmulating Snakes for Building Better Robots for Search-and-Rescue Missions

    Snakes live in diverse environments ranging from unbearably hot deserts to lush tropical forests. But regardless of their habitat, they are able to slither up trees, rocks, and shrubbery with ease. Mechanical engineers design a snake robot based on the climbing technique of the kingsnake. The new design could help advance search-and-rescue technology.

  • FirefightingSafe, Effective Shipboard Firefighting

    Fire on board! This is a grave danger for any ship, but especially so when a ship is ostensibly safely docked in harbor – where “normal” firefighters are on duty and have to cope with the special challenges on board a ship. The countless types of vessels and their different structures coupled with the unique aspects of firefighting operations on the water present unusual and difficult operating conditions for traditional firefighters and involve many risks.

  • ResilienceWays to Strengthen the Resilience of Supply Chains After Hurricanes

    A new report from the National Academies of Sciences recommends ways to make supply chains — the systems that provide populations with critical goods and services, such as food and water, gasoline, and pharmaceuticals and medical supplies – more resilient in the face of hurricanes and other disasters, drawing upon lessons learned from the 2017 hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

  • WildfiresNew Wildfire Reality: Helping Land Managers Take Risk-Analysis Approach

    New digital tools will enable land managers to better adapt to the new reality of large wildfires through analytics that guide planning and suppression across jurisdictional boundaries that fires typically don’t adhere to.

  • PerspectiveDARPA Wants Smart Suits to Protect Against Biological Attacks

    DARPA, the Pentagon’s research arm, wants to accelerate the development of innovative textiles and smart materials to better and more comfortably protect humans from chemical and biological threats.

  • BiometricsRapid DNA Identifies Boat Fire Victims

    Thirty-four people died in a tragic boat fire on 2 September 2019, off the coast of Santa Cruz Island, California. Thanks to a technology funded by the DHS S&T, the 33 passengers and one crew member who died were quickly identified.

  • WildfiresData Science Could Help Californians Battle Future Wildfires

    By David Wild

    A major wildfire spread through Colorado, and I spent long hours locating shelters, identifying evacuation routes and piecing together satellite imagery. As the Fourmile Canyon Fire devastated areas to the west of Boulder, ultimately destroying 169 homes and causing $217 million in damage, my biggest concerns were ensuring that people could safely evacuate and first responders had the best chance of keeping the fire at bay. The oddest thing about that 7 September 2010? I spent it sitting comfortably in my home in Bloomington, Indiana, a thousand miles away from the action.

  • Chemical attacksPreparing for Chemical Attacks

    Is the U.S. ready for a chemical attack on the homeland? With the very real possibility of a chemical attack in public spaces like stadiums, religious buildings, museums and theaters, or even contamination of the food or water supply, the U.S. needs to be prepared to take appropriate action to save lives. This means having security measures in place to prevent or minimize the attack. It also means having effective medical responses that consider the quantity of medical supplies needed, transportation of those supplies to the scene, and medical facilities and personnel to care for the injured.

  • HurricanesMonitoring Hurricanes: Better Life-Saving, Property-Preserving Decisions

    When a natural disaster strikes, first responders step in to reduce harm and save lives. They risk their lives in highly unpredictable environments — often without clear knowledge of the dangers they are facing or where they are needed most. Now, imagine if responders could make use of cutting-edge disaster forecasting models in conjunction with real-time data to predict a disaster’s impact and then use that information to make better-informed decisions. Fewer lives would be lost and more people would receive the help they need.

  • Disaster responseRobotic Lifeguard EMILY Proves Itself in the Wake of Hurricane Dorian

    The responders who came to the rescue a day after Hurricane Dorian finished lashing Abaco Island in the Bahamas had a tool to get ashore, so they could provide medical care and supplies to stricken islanders. It was EMILY the robotic lifeguard—officially known as the Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard—a remote-controlled unmanned surface vehicle that has proven its mettle saving imperiled swimmers during natural disasters and humanitarian crises.

  • DetectionHelping First Responders Identify Unknown Chemicals

    First responders arrive first on the scene when disaster strikes or terrorists attack. They often encounter dangerous conditions like smoke and chemicals. To best help in situations like these, they need to know the chemical substances present onsite. This is where analytical field instruments such as Gas Chromatograph/Mass Spectrometers (GC/MS) come into play. But to acquire such technology, first responders first need to know which GC/MSs suit both their needs and their budgets.

  • First respondersIn-Suit Communications Equipment for First Responders

    Every day, across the nation, emergency responders are dispatched to calls with situations ranging from basic structural fires to complex search and rescue operations to domestic violence or assaults. Emergency responders answering those calls for help oftentimes arrive at a scene with limited information, so communication between themselves and their colleagues becomes of the utmost importance. When responding to a hazardous material incident, personal protective equipment (PPE) may need to be worn, which can significantly impact the ability to communicate.

  • DisastersThe Complications of Counting Casualties after Natural Disasters

    There are many gray areas when collecting data on how and why people died in a disaster. A new study now underway aims to identify best practices for collecting, recording, and reporting death and illness data during and immediately after large-scale weather disasters.