• New Jersey teams with Target for disaster response

    During the next major disaster, New Jersey emergency responders will receive assistance from the big box retailer Target; last week the company announced that it had officially teamed up with New Jersey’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness to assist state and local officials in the event of a major disaster or terrorist attack

  • Protecting first responders from a quiet killer

    Emergency responders in Flagstaff, Gilbert, and Chandler, Arizona recently underwent a battery of medical tests to help minimize the risk of having a stroke or heart attack while in the line of duty; 44 percent of all firefighter deaths were the result of heart attacks, which is the leading killer of firefighters

  • Texting 911 in emergencies

    The Post Falls police department in Idaho is testing a new 911 system that would allow residents to report emergencies via text message or e-mail

  • Georgia to build privately funded first responder training center

    A local firm in Georgia is set to build a privately funded training facility for first responders that would bring more than 100 jobs to Perry; the sophisticated training center, built by Guardian Centers of Georgia, would help prepare first responders for natural disasters and terrorist attacks

  • Insects to become first responders, aid in search and rescue

    Researchers are finding ways to harvest energy from insects, holding the promise of using insects to aid in first response and search and rescue, and monitor hazardous situations before sending in humans

  • Early 9/11 responders at greater risk of heart disease

    A new study warns that 9/11 responders who arrived immediately after the attacks could be at greater risk of heart disease; researchers examined the blood vessel walls of thirty-one 9/11 responders and found that the nineteen men and women who went to work before 13 September had much greater damage to their blood vessel walls than those who arrived later

  • Pennsylvania’s homeland security office to operate out of state police HQ

    The Pennsylvania Governor’s Office of Homeland Security will move its operations to the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) headquarters in Harrisburg; the office was merged into the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) during the previous administration, but the governor determined that relocating the office to the state police headquarters would result in an even greater combination of intelligence gathering and sharing

  • Harvard-designed swarm robots licensed to Swiss company

    Harvard researchers developed Kilobot — a low-cost, easy-to-use robotic system for advancing development of “swarms” of robots; robot swarms might one day tunnel through rubble to find survivors, monitor the environment and remove contaminants, and self-assemble to form support structures in collapsed buildings

  • New Jersey first responders to get universal IDs

    Starting next year, 12,000 first responders in New Jersey will receive special IDs to help enhance security and cut down on identity fraud during emergencies and natural disasters

  • New Jersey first responders prohibited from taking crash scene photos

    New Jersey lawmakers are currently considering a bill that would make it illegal for first responders to take pictures or videos of an accident and distribute them without the permission of the victim’s family; under the proposed law, any first responder who circulates an accident photo or video without permission could face as much as eighteen months in jail or a $10,000 fine

  • Training mission showcases Israeli counterterrorism techniques

    A group of U.S. law enforcement officials recently concluded a weeklong training seminar on the methods Israel uses to prevent and respond to terrorism

  • Sandia's rescue robot wins technology prize

    The remote-control robot contains color video cameras, a thermal imaging camera, microphones, and sensors that act as eyes and ears for rescue crews and provide air-quality information; two-way audio enables survivors to communicate with rescuers

  • Robots help evacuate buildings, search for trapped people

    Two Georgia Tech engineers designed an emergency robot to help people evacuate buildings in an emergency; they say that emergency robots pacing the hallways and instructing people how to get to the emergency exits is a better solution than static emergency instructions placed on the wall; the robots will also search for injured or trapped people who failed to evacuate the building

  • Twitter and natural disasters: lessons from Japan

    Researchers from Kobe City University of Foreign Studies surveyed and questioned Twitter users and tracked updates from people in the disaster-struck area on the social media site two weeks after the Tohoku earthquake and devastating tsunami of 11 March; Twitter was the only functioning communication tool immediately after the earthquake; the researchers found that there benefits for using Twitter, such as bringing information to people involved in a disaster and to those hoping to hear news; there was a downside, though: Twitter helped spread unverified rumors and misinformation, causing people to panic in areas where there was no reason to panic, thus making the work of rescuers and service authorities more difficult; one solution: have the government itself use Twitter to offer reliable information to all involved

  • Disaster-zone phone communication software available for free

    Australian researchers developed software which enables mobile phones to communicate during a disaster; it will be freely available to the public by the end of the year thanks to the support of the Dutch NLnet Foundation; the software can be used on compatible mobile phone handsets to create an alternative “network” where conventional mobile phone coverage has been destroyed or does not exist