Archive for the ‘Emergency Preparedness’ Category

House passes bill to boost DHS use of social media in emergencies

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Legislation to establish Department of Homeland Security standards for emergency responses on social media during terrorist attacks passed in the House on Tuesday.Passed 375-19, the bill would create a working group within DHS to provide guidance on the use of social media before, during and after terrorist attacks.

Rep. Susan Brooks R-Ind., the bill’s sponsor, said it was necessary for the federal government to determine how to use social media, like Twitter and Facebook, most effectively to communicate with citizens.”Social media is transforming the way the nation responds before, during and after a terrorist attack,” Brooks said.

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FBI — National Cyber Security Awareness Month 2013

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

October marks the 10th anniversary of National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Established by presidential directive in 2004, the initiative—administered by the Department of Homeland Security—raises cyber security awareness across the nation by engaging and educating public and private sector partners through a variety of events and programs. The ultimate goal is to protect the country from cyber incidents and respond to them effectively if they do occur.

The FBI is heavily invested in protecting the country’s cyber interests. We lead the national effort to investigate high-tech crimes, including cyber-based terrorism, espionage, computer intrusions, and major cyber fraud. To stay in front of current and emerging trends, we gather and share information and intelligence with public and private-sector partners worldwide.

But cyber security is a job for everyone. Every American who uses digital technologies at home or in the office needs to play a part in cyber security. If you open a virus-laden e-mail attachment at work, for example, you could infect your entire company’s computer network.

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Homeland Security Developing Systems to Detect Concealed Person-Borne Bombs at a Distance

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

A favored tactic due to its simplicity and low cost, these bombings creates maximum fear because the victims are randomly chosen, and in public areas such as schools, churches, hospitals, sporting events, bus or train stations, or other populated areas.

Unfortunately, person-borne IEDS are often shaped from a variety of metals and concealed under clothing or in backpacks so they are extremely difficult to detect.  At the Boston Marathon two pressure cookers loaded with shrapnel were placed inside backpacks and left near the finish line.

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DHS Launches New Active Shooter Preparedness Webpage

Sunday, January 20th, 2013


DHS has launched a new webpage dedicated to Active Shooter Preparedness. (more…)

Department Of Homeland Security Wants You To Disable Your Java

Saturday, January 12th, 2013


We’ve been concerned about the security of Java for a while now. There was that vulnerability that affected like a billion computers, and Apple went so far as to remove Java plugins from all OSX browsers.  Now even the Department of Homeland Security is in on the act with a special message: “Yo, shut off that Java jazz”.

The Java exploits can make your computer (Mac or PC) vulnerable to all kinds of nasty stuff from ransomeware to assorted other virus-y goodness. There are plenty of “exploit kits” out there to help script kiddies get their jollies by messing with your stuff. As such, the Department of Homeland Security’s Emergency Readiness Team put out a notice saying “Due to the number and severity of this and prior Java vulnerabilities, it is recommended that Java be disabled temporarily in web browsers.”

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Using Social Media to Enhance Situational Awareness

Saturday, January 5th, 2013

Social media has amply demonstrated its abilities as an outbound tool, a means for government to push information out to its constituents. Municipalities tweet emergency information during crises. Politicians rally friends on Facebook.

Even as these active uses of social media come into their own, newer passive uses are evolving. Rather than shout, government agencies listen: They harvest the chatter, sifting for relevant mentions that might help them to better respond to crises and emergencies.

During the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Tulane University students used Ushahidi, an open source software platform, to aid in the massive cleanup effort. Participants in the Oil Spill Crisis Map project helped visualize data on maps by harvesting reports generated through email, text messaging, Twitter and other social media platforms.

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Active Shooter: What You Can Do

Monday, December 17th, 2012

From the people at Ready Houston: a six minute video suggesting what to do if you’re at work, or church or elsewhere and someone starts shooting. (more…)

National Geographic and CDC offer preparedness tips on Doomsday Preppers

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Although National Geographic channel admits that some of the families in the show “Doomsday Preppers” take things a little too far, the channel is teaming up with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to provide viewers with disaster preparedness tips beginning Dec. 11, just 10 days before the predicted end of the world, says a Dec. 4 news release published on TV by the Numbers.

According to the release, the purpose of the disaster preparedness tips is to encourage viewers to create a plan in the event that disaster strikes.

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‘Local Planning for Terror and Disaster’: One of the most important books of the year

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Hurricane Sandy was far worse than most people expected, but that should have been no surprise. One of the key lessons we’ve learned from natural disasters, as well as terrorist attacks, is that you should “expect the unexpected.” Anticipate the unusual. Black swans are rare, but they exist.

That’s one message of a fine new book, “Local Planning for Terror and Disaster: From Bioterrorism to Earthquakes,” edited by Leonard A. Cole and Nancy D. Connell (Wiley-Blackwell, Hoboken, 2012).

Cole, a Ph.D. and DDS, is an adjunct professor of political science at Rutgers University-Newark and director of the program on terror medicine and security at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of the New Jersey Center for Biodefense. A resident of Ridgewood, he is a former president of the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey. Connell, a Ph.D., is a professor of infectious disease at the Medical School of UMDNJ.

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Red Cross, FEMA and Verizon Stress the Importance of Disaster Preparedness, Emergency Communications

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

To mark the end of National Preparedness Month, representatives from the American Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency FEMA and Verizon gathered on Thursday Sept. 27 to stress the importance of disaster preparedness and to highlight the tips and technological tools available to help people prepare for emergencies or disasters.

“Disasters can strike quickly and without warning, so its vital to always be prepared,” said Mathieu Nelessen, regional CEO, American Red Cross North Jersey Region, at a news conference at the organizations office in Fairfield. “If you havent done so already, now is the time to assess local disaster risks and make or update your family disaster plan.”

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Zombie Alert issued by Homeland Security

Saturday, September 8th, 2012

If zombies take over, the government wants you to be prepared.

The Homeland Security Department warned citizens on Thursday that the “zombies are coming,” and urged them to be ready for a walking-dead apocalypse, The Associated Press reported.

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Reality TV – New Show Will Have Families Competing for Spot in Underground Bunker

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

The Last Family On Earth – Spike TV. New One-Hour Competition Reality Series Features Families Competing for a Spot in an Underground Bunker (more…)

U.S. Remains Vulnerable to an EMP

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

An article recently published by the Los Angeles Times discusses how solar storms pose a grave threat to Earth. Mike Hapgood, a space weather scientist in England, says that the world is unprepared for such a storm, and one is likely to occur soon.

The Heritage Foundation has led a vital campaign aimed at informing the American public about the seriousness of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attacks. An EMP is typically described as occurring when a nuclear weapon is detonated at a high altitude, resulting in a high-intensity burst of electromagnetic energy caused by the rapid acceleration of charged particles. The second scenario involves massive explosions on the sun’s surface (“space weather”).

via U.S. Remains Vulnerable to an EMP.

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Emergency In Your Area? Public Alerts On Google Maps Shows Warnings

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Google announced a new layer of data being added to Google Maps for public alerts. (more…)

Local Cops Ready for War With Homeland Security-Funded Military Weapons

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

A decade of billions in spending in the name of homeland security has armed local police departments with military-style equipment and a new commando mentality. But has it gone too far? Andrew Becker and G.W. Schulz of the Center for Investigative Reporting report.

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The threat of Electro Magnetic Pulse

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

A businessman man in Elma is leading the fight against a major threat to the nation’s electrical grid. WBFO news contributor Rich Kelmman and senior correspondent for WGRZ-TV tells us about Electro Magnetic Pulse or EMP.

Have you ever considered what would happen if one day all electricity just stopped. Local businessman Henry Schwartz thinks about it a lot.

“You’d get up and none of the lights would work. Your radio wouldn’t work, the car wouldn’t start, your water system would stop. Go to the food store and there wouldn’t be any. Everything that we know in the modern world would grind to a halt,” said Schwartz.

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New Nanosensor Sniffs Bombs One Molecule at a Time

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Imagine a piece of metal 30,000 times thinner than one of the hairs on your head. Mixed with a little protein from bee venom, that microscopic filament becomes the most powerful explosives-detection system in history, able to detect a single molecule of dangerous chemicals.

Now imagine having that in an airport. No need for taking a pornographic photograph or having your genitals massaged by the Transportation Security Agency. And a nanotechnology specialist may have hastened that happy day for homeland security.

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Army orders radios for bio-threat system

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Harris Corp. of New York is providing the U.S. Army with high-frequency radios for use with a biological threat detection system under a $9 million order.

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Bio-threat system being showcased

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

The North Carolina Bio-Preparedness Collaborative is showcasing a bio-surveillance system for early outbreak threat detection.

When complete, the NCB-Prepared system will integrate data from sources as disparate as the environment, animal and human clinical services and food production, processing and distribution to detect emerging health threats more quickly and effectively.

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FEMA To Use Social Media For Emergency Response

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

The Federal Emergency Management Agency plans to engage the public more in disaster response by sharing data and leveraging reports from mobile phones and social media, FEMA administrator Craig Fugate said today.

People are increasingly connected in disaster areas, and FEMA needs to factor that into its disaster planning, Fugate said in a keynote speech at ESRI’s government user conference in Washington, D.C. As an example, Fugate pointed to the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, where rescue workers and survivors used text messages, e-mail, and social media to communicate amid chaotic and dangerous conditions.

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