Emergency Response & Preparedness

Latest Headlines

Latest Headlines

After Boston bombing, first responders rethink need for secure perimeter before treating victims

The Boston Marathon bombing led to a rethinking of the notion that law enforcement must secure a perimeter after a violent incident before emergency medical services can enter and treat victims.

Wildfire strategy sees varied challenges across nation

Accumulated vegetation, the proximity of communities to wildfire-prone areas, human-caused ignitions and the high cost of response emerge as the four national challenges identified in wildfire strategy the Obama administration released earlier this month.

Lawmakers: DoD, HHS bioterror programs redundant

Last October, the DoD began construction of a 30 acre complex for medical countermeasure manufacturing in Alachua, Fla., near Gainesville. It expects to complete the facility by the end of fiscal 2015.  But HHS already runs three manufacturing facilities for medical countermeasures, which are vaccines and medicines for possible pandemics or bioterror attacks.

Study seeks to understand rumor-mongering during emergencies

Tweets that propagated rumors during crises often contained ambiguous sources and mentioned direct experience with the event, says a study published in the journal  Management Information Systems Quarterly.

Extreme drought portends active wildfire season

Drought expanded last month to cover 38.4 percent of the continental United States as of April 1, having increased by about 2.5 percentage points over four weeks.  California has faced especially dire conditions this year, and drought worsened there during March as well. NOAA  expects drought to continue – or intensify – this spring in California, west Texas, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and portions of other western states.

NIST calls for tornado-resistant design in building codes

A review of the buildings that withstood the deadly 2011 tornado in Joplin, Mo., and those that collapsed has led the National Institute of Standards and Technology to recommend new building code standards. Safe rooms, storm shelters and nuclear power plants have tornado-resistant design standards, but no such standards exist for ordinary buildings. 

Sole source Forest Service airtanker contract voided by GAO

A sole source contract the Forest Service made with a firefighting airtanker leasing company fell short of the criteria needed to justify it, says a federal contracting oversight agency. The Forest Service should attempt to properly re-award the contract, or simply terminate it, says the Government Accountability Office in a March 31  decision.

Senators press FEMA to prepare for oil-carrying train explosions

Funding to prepare for accidents involving trains that transport crude oil has not matched the recent, intense growth in rail cars moving crude oil, senators said at a March 25 hearing. An estimated 400,000 carloads of crude oil traveled along railroad tracks in the United States last year, up from about 10,000 in 2009.

Large disaster responses derive authority from state constitutions, says Fugate

Constitutional arguments figured heavily in FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate's latest push to convince skeptical appropriators that state and local preparedness grants should be consolidated into a single, state-controlled program.

LAX needs better mass notification system to respond to incidents, report says

The Los Angeles International Airport needs to update its public mass notification system and adhere to basic incident command structures to better respond to events such as last year's shooting that resulted in the death of a Transportation Security Administration officer, according to a new report.