Friday, December 19, 2008

Web-based Mass Evacuation Transportation Planning Model

A model to help federal, state, and local emergency planners estimate the vehicles, drivers, road capacity and other resources they will need to evacuate patients and others from health care facilities in disaster areas was released today by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

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 (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:

New York City Now Officially Looks Awesome in Google Earth

New York City Now Officially Looks Awesome in Google Earth

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Future of the Internet III

Here are the key findings in a new report -- The Future of the Internet III --- based on the survey of experts by the Pew Internet & American Life Project that asked respondents to assess predictions about technology and its roles in the year 2020:

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.


"Death map" shows heat a big hazard to Americans

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

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.


Twitter, Facebook, Digg: Can You Join Too Many Networks?

Twitter, Facebook, Digg: Can You Join Too Many Networks?

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.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Forecasting the future of hurricanes : Nature News

Forecasting the future of hurricanes : Nature News: "Forecasting the future of hurricanes"

Near-Earth Asteroids -

All Hazards

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.

On December 12, 2008 there were 1010 potentially hazardous asteroids.

for more information on Near Earth Objects -


We foresee a somewhat above-average Atlantic basin tropical cyclone season in 2009. We anticipate an above-average probability of United States major hurricane landfall.

(as of 10 December 2008)

By Philip J. Klotzbach1 and William M. Gray


Gartner Says HR Organizations Must Adopt and Exploit Social Networking - Government Technology

Gartner Says HR Organizations Must Adopt and Exploit Social Networking - Government Technology

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Florida's 5P's of cold weather preparedness

Florida's 5P's of cold weather preparedness -


exPosed pipes,
and Practice fire safety

Hidden travels of the atomic bomb - CNET News

Hidden travels of the atomic bomb - CNET News

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?


The Associated Press: Obama's homeland chief to tackle disaster housing

The Associated Press: Obama's homeland chief to tackle disaster housing: "

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

Ready or Not? 2007 Florida Press Release

Ready or Not? 2007 Florida Press Release:

"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

Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System

The Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System provides near real-time alerts about natural disasters around the world and tools to facilitate response coordination, including media monitoring, map catalogues and Virtual On-Site Operations Coordination Centre.

Mumbai Attackers, Taliban Used VOIP Phones | Danger Room from

Mumbai Attackers, Taliban Used VOIP Phones Danger Room from

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.


FireLocator demos geospatial public outreach

FireLocator demos geospatial public outreach

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 – 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

Empowering DHS

Homeland Security Today - news and analysis - Empowering DHS:

"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

NOAA NASA award contract for next generation of weather satellites

NOAA NASA award contract for next generation of weather satellites:

"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

Emergency Preparedness Tips for Those with Functional Needs


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

Emergency Managers' Roles Need Revision - Government Technology

Emergency Managers' Roles Need Revision - Government Technology:
"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

GovTwit Directory « New Thinking

GovTwit Directory « New Thinking

Sorting Fact From Fiction in Mumbai Attacks | Danger Room from

Sorting Fact From Fiction in Mumbai Attacks Danger Room from

Bruce Schneier is making sense, as usual. First, he draws some early lessons from the Mumbai attacks.

Here's one:

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.


Study: Tornadoes deadlier during night | | The Times Daily | Florence, AL

Study: Tornadoes deadlier during night The Times Daily Florence, AL

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Biological terror attack likely by 2013, panel says -

Biological terror attack likely by 2013, panel says -

State Department unveils social networking site

By Kellie Lunney

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,, 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...