Emergency management systems

  • PreparednessFlorida better prepared to deal with disasters than it was in 2004 -- the Year of Four Hurricanes

    Much has improved for residents and emergency managers in South Florida since the state’s 2004 Hurricane season, known as the Year of Four Hurricanes. That season, Hurricane Charley released 150-mph winds, followed by Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne. Officials in South Florida are implementing new technology and improved protocols to battle the next round of extreme weather events.

  • PreparednessEmergency readiness of health-care providers

    In 2013 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services(CMS) proposed new preparedness requirements for hospitals and sixteen other types of health care providers, including home health agencies, nursing homes, hospices, transplant centers, and community mental health facilities, to mitigate natural and man-made disasters. Health-care providers say these requirements are too costly.

  • Crisis managementAnticipating and addressing the knock-on effects of crisis situations

    Crisis situations such as an EU-wide black-out, or cross-border flooding in the Netherlands and Germany, say, can have devastating repercussions. A well-known example of such an effect is the meltdown of Fukushima’s nuclear reactors in Japan, after the power plant was hit by a tsunami, which in turn was triggered by an earthquake. Being able to anticipate such cascade effects — and put in place effective emergency measures — can help avoid catastrophe and save lives. This is why the three-year EU-funded FORTRESS (Foresight Tools for Responding to cascading effects in a crisis) project was launched in April 2014; in order to identify and better understand their cause.

  • Emergency managementRio builds a high tech integrated urban command center

    Rio de Janeiro is one of the most densely populated cities in South America. Much of the city is vulnerable to flooding, and about three-quarters of Rio’s districts have areas at risk of landslides. High temperatures can make living situations unbearable. In addition, a high crime rate and poor infrastructure make the city difficult to govern. In preparation for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics, authorities are looking to improve response times to disasters and establish a more efficient system to deal with the city’s many challenges. One of the solutions is a high tech integrated urban command center — Centro de Operações Preifetura do Rio de Janeiro (COR) – which unites Rio’s thirty departments and some private suppliers in a single monitoring room where operators can track real-time conditions of the city and coordinate a response to emergencies and disruptions.

  • DisastersCanada is not doing enough to prepare for, cope with natural, man-made disasters

    The 2013 Alberta floods cost more than $6 billion, making it the worst weather disaster in Canada’s history. Before 1990, only three Canadian disasters exceeded $500 million, but in the past ten years alone nine disasters have exceeded that amount. Disaster management experts said that while it may be understandable that corporate and municipal budgets for disaster training and preparations have been reduced during the economic slowdown, corporate and government leaders in Canada must consider how such reductions would impact the ability of communities to build adequately resilience systems against potential natural and manmade disasters.

  • 911 textingTexas cities adopt 911 texting

    Adding to the rising number of U.S. cities that accept 911 emergency texts, North Texas public safety agencies will now institute the procedure at their response centers. 911 emergency texting not only helps the deaf, but it better caters to younger generations that do not recognize as much the divide between text and voice communications. The texting of additional media such as photos before the responders reach the site could also have a profound impact on the development of an emergency situation.

  • ResilienceResources on disaster preparedness, resilience

    One year after Superstorm Sandy hit the eastern United States, local, state, and federal agencies as well as community groups and businesses are working to strengthen the U.S.s resilience to future disasters. A National Research Council (NRC) has issues a series of studies and reports, and has put together workshops and study groups, which should advance the national conversation on preparedness and resilience.

  • Infrastructure protectionMaking buildings more tsunamis-resilient

    Often in disasters such as tsunamis, people escape the on-rushing wall of water by climbing to higher ground, called vertical evacuation. As people race to the third or fourth floor of a building, however, how do they know whether the building will hold up? Walls of water often carry with them cars, trucks, and 60,000-pound fully loaded cargo containers, transforming them into projectiles which slam into buildings with tremendous force. Most structural systems are designed to defy gravity, not a side kick from a shipping container. Engineers are now studying the impact of tsunami-carried debris in order to make buildings and other structures more disaster-resilient.

  • Emergency managementNew 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

  • Chemical plant securityMeasuring DHS effectiveness monitoring chemical plant safety standards

    The events of 9/11 triggered a national re-examination of the security of facilities that use or store hazardous chemicals in quantities which, in the event of a terrorist attack, could put large numbers of Americans at risk of serious injury or death; the GAO issued a report on how DHS ensures compliance with chemical facilities security standards

  • Rare Earth elementsChinese monopoly on rare Earth metals a challenge for green economy

    In order for clean technologies to contribute significantly to reducing greenhouse gases, the world would require an increase of neodymium and dysprosium – two of the seventeen rare Earth elements — of over 700 percent and 2,600 percent, respectively, in the next twenty-five years; the supply of these metals is currently increasing at 6 percent a year, and is under threat from China

  • Emergency responseUnion University bolsters emergency response with GPS 911 system

    In an effort to bolster its emergency response capabilities Union University in Tennessee recently installed an enhanced 911 system

  • Emergency servicesFlorida blood service upgrades storage systems

    Florida Blood Services has replaced three disparate storage systems with the Nimble CS240 converged storage array; FBS says the new storage operation allows FBS more efficient and centralized storage for FBS’s headquarters and forty field offices

  • Emergency communicationRI’s new emergency manager makes disaster communication key priority

    One of the top priorities for Theresa C. Murray, Rhode Island’s new executive director of emergency management, is communication particularly among government employees during a major attack or a disaster