First response

  • New surveillance technologies for improved emergency management

    Researchers are working to design and build resilient streaming sensor networks for emergency response such as bushfires; experts say the emergency services sector can significantly improve the availability of critical information better to manage incidents by exploiting new and emerging surveillance strategies

  • Flying robot avoids obstacles

    Researchers have created an autonomous flying robot which is as smart as a bird when it comes to maneuvering around obstacles; able to guide itself through forests, tunnels, or damaged buildings, the machine could have tremendous value in search-and-rescue operations

  • "Stutter jump" could improve performance of search and rescue robots

    A new study shows that jumping can be much more complicated than it might seem; in research that could extend the range of future rescue and exploration robots, scientists have found that hopping robots could dramatically reduce the amount of energy they use by adopting a unique two-part “stutter jump”

  • Approaches to international consequence management for CBRNE incidents

    The National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences, through a grant sponsored by NIST’s Office of Law Enforcement Standards (OLES), is organizing an effort to understand the metrics and measures that are needed to develop standards of response that will support the basic capabilities of a country or region to respond to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosive (CBRNE) incident

  • Technology used in BioWatch could not detect pathogens, issued false alarms

    The BioWatch program was created to detect the release of pathogens in the air as part of a terrorist attack, but scientists say that the program is unable to detect lethal germs because the system uses defective components; these components often set off false alarms; for example, BioWatch sensors issued fifty alarms between 2003 and 2008, but scientists and security authorities never had enough confidence in the BioWatch system to evacuate an area or take other emergency steps

  • The DARPA Robotics Challenge begins

    The DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) began yesterday, and DARPA wants to know whether you will be part of it; DARPA introduces teams for Tracks A and B, opens registration for Tracks C and D, and launches simulation software for download; the goal of the competition is to help advance robotic technology to the point where it can have a tangible impact on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief

  • Mayor suggests student fee to hire more police, firefighters for local college’s sporting events

    Morgantown, West Virginia mayor Jim Manilla wants to hire more police officers and firefighters to deal with street fires, riots, and other incidents following West Virginia University sporting events, and he wants the students to pay for it

  • Green laser pointer identifies traces of dangerous chemicals in real time

    By using an ordinary green laser pointer, the kind commonly found in offices and college lecture halls, an Israeli research team has developed a new and portable Raman spectrometer which can detect minute traces of hazardous chemicals in real time; the new sensor’s compact design makes it a candidate for rapid field deployment to disaster zones and areas with security concerns

  • Imagining first responders’ high-tech future

    What kinds of gear will be needed by future firefighters, EMTs, and police officers? DHS Science and Technology Directorate researchers asked the experts, then applied sophisticated math to discover unlikely patterns

  • New mobile app could save lives in earthquakes

    A new iPhone app called has been developed to locate loved ones in the world’s earthquake zones during the event of an earthquake; the app, once downloaded, prompts users to enter their own details and those of four friends or family members in order to become their “Buddies”; in the event of an earthquake registering above 5.5, the user’s buddies will instantaneously receive an e-mail displaying a Google map of the user’s location

  • EU considers far-reaching Internet security initiative

    Cybersecurity is becoming an increasingly more daunting challenge as governments try to prevent attacks against critical infrastructure on which the well-being of countries depends, now, several European countries are trying to come together in an effort to defend themselves against a cyber attack, but critics say the project, called CleanIT, goes too far

  • Keeping safe during earthquakes? There’s an app for that

    The American Red Cross released its official earthquake application for iPhone and Android smartphones; the app is free, available in English or Spanish; the app includes earthquake epicenter locations, impact magnitudes, and local geographical impact data provided by the U.S. Geological Survey; it also includes a “shake zone” impact map and a one touch “I’m safe” messaging

  • Wearable map-creating device to help first responders

    A wearable sensor system automatically creates a digital map of the environment through which the wearer is moving; the system is envisioned as a tool to help emergency responders coordinate disaster response

  • Maryland rolls out public safety interoperable communication system

    To be better prepared for man-made or natural disasters, Maryland leaders have decided to develop Twelve Core Capacities for Homeland Security, picking the deployment of an interoperable communications system as the highest priority; on 5 June 2012, Governor Martin O’Malley inaugurated the state’s new network, known as the Maryland First Responders Interoperable Radio System Team (Maryland FiRST)

  • First responders train to deal with a new threat: zombie attack

    A company specializing in training military units, federal, and state agencies in security, force protection, emergency response,and disaster management, has a new threat incorporated into its disaster-crisis scenario, which is part of the firm’s annual counterterrorism summit in San Diego: a zombie attack