Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
The Web-based Mass Evacuation Transportation Planning Model is designed to be used prior to an emergency to help answer such questions as:
How long will it take to move patients from one facility to another?
How many transport vehicles, such as ambulances, wheelchair vans and buses, are required to complete the evacuation within a certain time period?
How might the location and other attributes of the evacuating and receiving facilities affect evacuation plans?
Emergency planners can enter into the model any number of evacuating and receiving facilities and specific conditions that could affect transportation plans. The model will estimate the resources and hours needed to move patients from evacuating facilities to receiving facilities, based on assumptions that the planner specifies. The model was pilot tested in New York City and Los Angeles and is available for use at http://massevacmodel.ahrq.gov/ (if the URL does not work, please copy and paste it into a browser window).
Development of the model was led by AHRQ and the Department of Defense with funding from the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Health and Human Service’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. The model helps communities move one step closer to an integrated emergency response system that can track, move and regulate patients and evacuees during a mass casualty or evacuation.
More than 60 Public Health Emergency Preparedness tools and resources are available on the AHRQ Web site at: http://www.ahrq.gov/prep/.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
The mobile device will be the primary connection tool to the Internet for most people in the world in 2020.
The transparency of people and organizations will increase, but that will not necessarily yield more personal integrity, social tolerance or forgiveness.
Voice recognition and touch user-interfaces with the Internet will be more prevalent and accepted by 2020.
Those working to enforce intellectual property law and copyright protection will remain in a continuing "arms race," with the "crackers" who will find ways to copy and share content without payment.
The divisions between personal time and work time and between physical and virtual reality will be further erased for everyone who is connected, and the results will be mixed in their impact on basic social relations.
"Next-generation" engineering of the network to improve the current Internet architecture is more likely than an effort to rebuild the architecture from scratch.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Heat is more likely to kill an American than an earthquake, and thunderstorms kill more than hurricanes do, according to a "death map" published on Tuesday.
Researchers who compiled the county-by-county look at what natural disasters kill Americans said they hope their study will help emergency preparedness officials plan better.
a good read about building and maintaining a brand - in this case, they are talking about the individual - but it carries our to building a bread for an agency or program.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs ) are space rocks larger than approximately 100m that can come closer to Earth than 0.05 AU. None of the known PHAs is on a collision course with our planet, although astronomers are finding new ones all the time. http://www.spaceweather.com/
On December 12, 2008 there were 1010 potentially hazardous asteroids.
for more information on Near Earth Objects - http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/neo/
EXTENDED RANGE FORECAST OF ATLANTIC SEASONAL HURRICANE ACTIVITY AND U.S. LANDFALL STRIKE PROBABILITY FOR 2009
(as of 10 December 2008)
By Philip J. Klotzbach1 and William M. Gray
Thursday, December 11, 2008
By William Broad
The New York Times
In 1945, after the atomic destruction of two Japanese cities, J. Robert Oppenheimer expressed foreboding about the spread of nuclear arms.
"They are not too hard to make," he told his colleagues on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, N.M. "They will be universal if people wish to make them universal."
That sensibility, born where the atomic bomb itself was born, grew into a theory of technological inevitability. Because the laws of physics are universal, the theory went, it was just a matter of time before other bright minds and determined states joined the club. A corollary was that trying to stop proliferation was quite difficult if not futile.
But nothing, it seems, could be further from the truth. In the six decades since Oppenheimer's warning, the nuclear club has grown to only nine members. What accounts for the slow spread? Can anything be done to reduce it further? Is there a chance for an atomic future that is brighter than the one Oppenheimer foresaw?
Obama's homeland chief to tackle disaster housing
By EILEEN SULLIVAN – 20 hours ago
WASHINGTON (AP) — As homeland security head, Janet Napolitano wants to establish a long-term plan for housing disaster victims, said a senator who spoke with the Arizona governor.
Such housing is an important issue for Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Louisiana Democrat whose state was battered by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Landrieu said Wednesday she spoke with Napolitano for 15 minutes by telephone last Friday and was pleased to hear that President-elect Barack Obama's nominee also backs a strong housing plan."
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
"New Report: Florida Earns Grade of 5 out of 10 on Disaster Preparedness
Economic Crisis Hurting U.S. Preparedness for Health Emergencies; More Than Half of States Score 7 or Lower out of 10 in Readiness Rankings
Washington, D.C., December 9, 2008 - Trust for America's Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) today released the sixth annual Ready or Not? Protecting the Public's Health from Diseases, Disasters, and Bioterrorism report, which finds that progress made to better protect the country from disease outbreaks, natural disasters, and bioterrorism is now at risk, due to budget cuts and the economic crisis. In addition, the report concludes that major gaps remain in many critical areas of preparedness, including surge capacity, rapid disease detection, and food safety.
Florida achieved 5 out of 10 possible indicators for health emergency preparedness capabilities. More than half of states and D.C. achieved a score of seven or less out of 10 key indicators. Louisiana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin scored highest with 10 out of 10. Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Montana, and Nebraska tied for the lowest score with five out of 10."
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
By Noah Shachtman
December 09, 2008 10:44:00
The New York Times makes it sound like something brand new, because the Mumbai terrorists did it. But for years, bad actors have been using Skype, Vonage, and other Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone services to keep their communications private.
By Patrick Marshall
Pitney Bowes Software Inc., the maker of MapInfo, has launched a beta version of a new Web application that alerts visitors with up-to-the-minute information about wildfires. FireLocator – which can be accessed at www.firelocator.net – was built using MapInfo analytic tools and Microsoft Silverlight on top of Microsoft Virtual Earth. The application doesn’t support data analysis. Instead, it is designed for information delivery. Users can enter an address to search for or can pan, zoom in and zoom out on the Virtual Earth globe. You can also turn the provided data layers on and off.
Current data layers include:
Fire boundaries from Geospatial Multi-Agency Coordination (GeoMAC).
NASA thermal satellite data.
California wildfire risk zones.
U.S. Department of Agriculture aerial thermal images.
Data from the Incident Information System.
Local news from the San Bernardino Sun.
Citizen provided information from Flikr.
FireLocator allows site visitors to enter a location such as a street address, neighborhood or even area of interest and view on the map any data about nearby wildfires. With wildfire data from Pitney Bowes’ Insurance Risk Data Suite, FireLocator creates a thematic map that rates areas of California as low, medium or high for potential wildfire risk. Users can get information about specific current or previous fires, including amount of containment and causes, if known.
Monday, December 8, 2008
"by Phil Leggiere
Monday, 08 December 2008
Panel outlines blueprint for more prominent role for homeland security in the national security structure.
A blue ribbon bipartisan panel of foreign policy experts last week issued a study proposing sweeping changes in the organization of the US national security system which it says “would constitute the most far-reaching governmental design innovation in national security since the passage of the National Security Act in 1947.”
The changes outlined by the Project on National Security Reform in their mammoth 843 page report titled Forging a New Shield include a far more prominent role for homeland security in national security strategy formation, decision making and execution, putting the Department of Homeland Security on a more coequal footing with the Departments of Defense and State.
Specifically the report recommends replacing the current National Security Council (NSC) and Homeland Security Council (HSC) and merging the two into a new entity called President‘s Security Council (PSC)."
Sunday, December 7, 2008
"The next generation of weather observation satellites for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will be built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. of Denver. A separate contract for the ground system that will distribute data to users on Earth is expected to be announced in 2009.
The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R (GOES-R) will produce up to 50 times as much data on weather and climate in the Western Hemisphere than the current generation of GOES-N satellites scheduled for replacement beginning in 2015. The data will be gathered, processed and distributed directly to other NOAA systems, including the National Weather Service’s Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS)."
Friday, December 5, 2008
While being prepared for disasters and emergencies is important for all individuals, it is even more critical for those with functional needs who may need assistance during an emergency. The following information provides emergency preparedness tips for individuals with functional needs and their caregivers.
Download a complete copy of Emergency Preparedness Tips for Those with Functional Needs
Thursday, December 4, 2008
"Dec 1, 2008, By Scot Phelps
By definition, emergency managers serve as the coordination focal point during disasters and catastrophes and engage in the four phases of disaster management: preparation, response, recovery and mitigation.
But given the rarity of disasters, particularly catastrophes, government cannot justify expending significant effort on the preparation phase, except in environments where disaster-scale events occur with reasonable frequency, such as hurricanes in Florida.
As a result, emergency managers are usually isolated with no real authority to direct significant funding for preparedness projects; have no real role in coordinating response; don't manage global aspects of community recovery; and have a limited ability to secure funding for large-scale mitigation projects."
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Bruce Schneier is making sense, as usual. First, he draws some early lessons from the Mumbai attacks.
Low-tech is very effective. Movie-plot threats -- terrorists with crop dusters, terrorists with biological agents, terrorists targeting our water supplies -- might be what people worry about, but a bunch of trained (we don't really know yet what sort of training they had, but it's clear that they had some) men with guns and grenades is all they needed. [Well, plus some Radio Shack tech -- ed.]
Then, Schneier slaps sense into worrywarts who complain that all the talk on Twitter somehow helped the Mumbai terrorists.
This fear is exactly backwards. During a terrorist attack -- during any crisis situation, actually -- the one thing people can do is exchange information. It helps people, calms people, and actually reduces the thing the terrorists are trying to achieve: terror. Yes, there are specific movie-plot scenarios where certain public pronouncements might help the terrorists, but those are rare. I would much rather err on the side of more information, more openness, and more communication.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
December 1, 2008
The State Department has launched a social networking site to promote international exchanges and enhance the United States' image abroad, particularly among young people.
ExchangesConnect, administered by the department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, includes blog postings, photos and videos from users across the world interested in trading information on culture, language and global education programs. A newly designed Web site, exchanges.state.gov, is a portal to the social network and the agency's Facebook page. ExchangesConnect is free, but requires users to fill out a brief online registration. more...
Monday, December 1, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
People with Disabilities Will Benefit
The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is pleased to partner with the Community Emergency Preparedness Information Network (CEPIN) to develop an emergency management web-based training program. AAPD, the largest cross-disability membership organization in the U.S., will provide technical assistance to CEPIN on content and usability for the training program.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Government Interoperability: Center for Technology in Government Releases Two White Papers - Government Technology
The Center for Technology in Government (CTG) at the University at Albany-SUNY recently released two white papers on government interoperability. Interoperability is a key component of government reform and requires investments that involve complex policy, management, and technology changes that government leaders are often hesitant or unprepared to undertake.
Both papers, Government Worth Having and Improving Government Interoperability, address these issues and propose a new framework to help governments identify and then start building the capabilities needed to improve interoperability. The two papers were written with support from Microsoft Corp.
Monday, November 24, 2008
NOAA - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - NOAA’s U.S. Winter Outlook Calls for Variability
In announcing the 2008-2009 U.S. Winter Outlook for meteorological winter from December through February, forecasters at the NOAA Climate Prediction Center are calling for warmer-than-normal temperatures for much of the central part of the nation, and a continuation of drier-than-normal conditions across the Southeast.
With the absence of La Niña and El Niño in the equatorial Pacific Ocean this season (climate patterns that give forecasters clues about potential weather events months in advance), predicting weather patterns on seasonal timescales becomes increasingly challenging. Instead, other climate patterns over the Arctic and North Atlantic regions may play a significant role in influencing U.S. winter weather.
“These patterns are only predictable a week or two in advance and could persist for weeks at a time,” said Michael Halpert, deputy director, Climate Prediction Center. “Therefore, we expect variability, or substantial changes in temperature and precipitation across much of the country.”
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Do you twitter? Built a wiki lately? To avoid looking old at the office, maybe it's time you started.
Well - back to another real world issue
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Securing the Bomb: : "Securing the Bomb 2008, commissioned by the Nuclear Threat Initiative, finds that the world still faces a 'very real' risk that terrorists could get a nuclear bomb. The Obama Administration must make reducing that risk a top priority of U.S. security policy and diplomacy, according to the report, which is accompanied by a paper offering a specific agenda for the presidential transition and the opening weeks of the new administration."
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
older article, but relevant to the current thread of Government 2.0 examples with applications to emergency management
Monday, November 17, 2008
When it comes to being alerted about an impending or recent disaster — such as a hurricane or terrorist strike — most Americans still get their government information from early 20th-century technologies. Only about 11 percent of the population get word of national emergencies through new technologies such as Web sites or text messages. Meanwhile, 82 percent get the news from either TV or radio, according to a recent survey CDW Government conducted of 1,448 citizens in the top 20 metro areas. The Federal Emergency Management Agency should take note: Fewer people are watching TV — 2.5 million fewer in 2007 than in 2006, according to Nielsen Media Research. And there are now more than 250 million wireless subscribers in the country, according to the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association. Eventually, text messaging might prove to be the most effective way to reach those mobile citizens.
Question: In an emergency situation, what information source do you turn to first for gathering information and instructions from authorities?
Friends and family: 5%
Local media Web sites: 5%
National media Web sites: 2%
E-mail alerts: 2%
Local government Web sites: 1%
Text message alerts: 1%
Other channels: 2%
More news on related topics: Communications / Networks, Homeland Security
Transition project outlines action plan for Obama team on homeland security.
The Homeland Security Transition Initiative (HSTI), a joint project of Washington DC think tanks Third Way and the Center for American Progress, has publically released Protecting the Homeland From Day One: A Transition Plan, a set of recommendations and timetable for the president-elect’s homeland security transition team.
Though not an official document of the Obama transition team, the report was based on contributions from several prominent Democrats like Gary Hart, Jamie Gorelick, a partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr and a member of the 9/11 Commission, PJ Crowley and Barack Obama’s transition chief John Podesta, former Chief of Staff under Bill Clinton.
Monday, November 10, 2008
What happens when Web 2.0 meets the “official version?”
The world has gone a-Twitter. And a-Flickr. And you- Tube’n.
Micromedia, new social media, Web 2.0 – call it what you like. Peer-to-peer information and communication technologies are changing the way information is shared in a disaster. These new technologies, both online and mobile, include such things as social networks ike Facebook and MySpace, photo sharing through Flickr, video sharing through YouTube, and microblogging with Twitter. In this article, we discuss how new social media have been used in recent crises and disasters, and the ways that public information officers monitored information online during the Democratic National Convention in Denver. more
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Tools provide updates on shelters, food and distribution centers and other critical data
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
more Web 2.0 in Disasters
Web 2.0 - The Next Frontier! By Dagne Fulcher Monday, November 3, 2008 5:54 PM
From last month’s pronouncement by Commandant Thad Allen, Coast Guard, that Coasties need to get with it and embrace Facebook, YouTube and other social networking tools, to this week’s discussion at the Executive Leadership Conference, Web 2.0 is here and now, front and center - an important set of tools to move forward to encourage and enhance and discussion with the public.
Looking for GovExec.com on microblogging site Twitter? Now, you can follow the GovExec.com Twitter feed. Get up-to-the-minute news, story information and links via our Twitter feed. Updated regularly, the feed is available here.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Oct 22, 2008, By Matt Williams, Assistant Editor
Twitter messages are used for everything from traffic alerts to ferry route changes
Government is slowly finding real-world purposes for Twitter, a free short messaging service that allows users to post updates (or "tweets") to twitter.com subscribers via Web browsers, mobile phones and instant messaging clients. more
Friday, October 31, 2008
Published on October 25, 2008
Slowly but surely Web 2.0 is moving from fun and games to serious business in the federal government. The government’s still in the experimental stages, but the experiments are getting more interesting. more
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Newswise — Despite post-Hurricane Katrina calls for improved communication, state emergency management agencies across the United States have been slow to adopt Internet-based resources to reach the public during emergencies, a new University of Kansas study concludes.
According to Untapped Potential: Evaluating State Emergency Management Web Sites 2008, state emergency management agency Web sites appear to place greater emphasis on reaching first responders than they do citizens of their state or the news outlets. The study urges state emergency planners to recognize that Internet and emerging social media are important public outreach tools.
Funded by KU’s Transportation Research Institute, the study analyzed 51 state emergency management agency Web sites (including the District of Columbia) and results of an online survey of state public information officers. The report outlined 13 findings of the research and made six recommendations to the nation’s emergency managers.
“I hope this report will spark serious discussions nationwide about the role of Internet communication before, during and following crisis situations,” said David W. Guth, associate professor of journalism, who wrote the study. “The purpose of this research is not so much to criticize state EMA officials as it is to shed light upon practices that can help them fulfill the public safety mission to which they have dedicated themselves.”
Local, state and federal emergency managers came under intense criticism for their flawed response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. A February 2006 White House report found a need to “develop an integrated public communications plan to better inform, guide and reassure the American public before, during and after a catastrophe.” In March 2006, a U.S. House of Representatives select bipartisan committee investigation of the Katrina response said, “The preparation for and response to Hurricane Katrina show we are still an analog government in a digital age. We must recognize that we are woefully incapable of storing, moving, and accessing information — especially in times of crisis.”
Although 80 percent of online survey respondents indicated that residents of their state were the primary audiences of emergency management agency Web sites, the most-frequently found feature on their Web sites was first responder/emergency manager training information. According to Untapped Potential, less than half of the Web sites provided the identity of the agency’s public information officer and his/her direct telephone number or direct e-mail address.
The report said Web site designers appear to have more influence on their content than do the emergency managers who supervise them. While survey respondents said they see moderate value in using the Internet during emergencies, they also said they do not see the Internet as the equal to more traditional communications media, such as radio and television.
“The implications of these and other findings of this study are that our nation’s emergency managers do not fully appreciate the potential of the Internet and emerging social media,” Guth said. “In an era when mass communications channels are becoming more and more diffused with passage of time, the need to reach the public through media they prefer will continue to play a vital role in the future.
“While traditional mass communication media will continue to play a vital role in the near future, the evidence suggests that emergency planners should place the Internet and emerging social media on an equal footing.”
Guth, associate dean of the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, has been a KU faculty member since 1991. His professional experience includes broadcast journalism and government public relations. In the latter role, he served seven years as a member of North Carolina’s State Emergency Response Team.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008