• Understanding the Hidden Impact of Disasters

    The September 2017 Hurricane Maria killed people, demolished homes, and destroyed infrastructure. But Maria also damaged the manufacturing plants of a major IV bag maker, plunging hospitals into supply shortage that didn’t ripple across the mainland United States until six months after the hurricane made landfall. Given the highly integrated nature of supply chains in the U.S., natural and man-made disasters can have unanticipated consequences that are every bit as serious as the immediate damage of the event itself.

  • Coronavirus Shows We Are Not at All Prepared for the Security threat of climate change

    How might a single threat, even one deemed unlikely, spiral into an evolving global crisis which challenges the foundations of global security, economic stability and democratic governance, all in the matter of a few weeks? My research on threats to national security, governance and geopolitics has focused on exactly this question, albeit with a focus on the disruptive potential of climate change, rather than a novel coronavirus. At this stage in the COVID-19 situation, there are three primary lessons for a climate-changing future: the immense challenge of global coordination during a crisis, the potential for authoritarian emergency responses, and the spiraling danger of compounding shocks.

  • System to Locate Rescue Forces in Distress

    In the event of fires, earthquakes, or in other emergency situations, rescue forces are often called to free persons caught in buildings. These rescue missions are very risky: Dangers are difficult to assess in advance and the helpers themselves may suddenly need help. To support them as quickly as possible, researchers have developed a system to locate injured or buried rescue forces in buildings. For positioning, no GPS signal is needed.

  • Tools to Help Volunteers Do the Most Good after a Disaster

    In the wake of a disaster, many people want to help. Researchers have developed tools to help emergency response and relief managers coordinate volunteer efforts in order to do the most good. The researchers used advanced computational models to address these areas of uncertainty in order to develop guidelines, or rules of thumb, that emergency relief managers can use to help volunteers make the biggest difference.

  • Cloud-Based Electronic System: Helping First Responders Better React to Natural Disasters

    Every year natural disasters kill around 90,000 people and affect close to 160 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Such disasters also result in the destruction of the physical environment of the affected people. Now, researchers have developed a new tool to help first responders and disaster relief organizations better provide assistance to developing countries. The researchers created a cloud-based supply chain management system for emergency response to track inventory and distribution in countries struck by disasters.

  • Bolstering 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.

  • Next 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.

  • Emulating 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.

  • Safe, 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.

  • Ways 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.

  • New 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.

  • DARPA 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.

  • Rapid 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.

  • Data Science Could Help Californians Battle Future Wildfires

    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.

  • Preparing 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.