IAEM Dispatch
Jan. 8, 2015

IAEM-USA and the National Weather Service will host a webinar on 'NWS Storm Prediction Center: Services and Tools for Emergency Managers'
This 90-minute webinar, available to U.S. emergency managers on Friday, Jan. 23, 1:30-3 p.m. EST, will provide an overview of the NWS Storm Prediction Center, focusing on its mission and services related to severe thunderstorm and tornado forecasting, as well as fire weather forecast services. Speakers will focus on how emergency managers can use forecasts on the SPC website to make critical decisions for their area of responsibility. Attendees will review important changes to the SPC forecasts of severe thunderstorm and tornado potential, which are important for emergency managers to understand. Register online. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information on how to join the webinar.More

DHS to host one-day Unmanned Aircraft Systems Summit
To reduce the risk to the nation's critical infrastructure, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Critical Manufacturing Sector will be hosting a one-day Unmanned Aircraft Systems Summit on Jan. 16, 2015, in Arlington, Virginia. This event will cover a diverse set of topics concerning several key aspects of unmanned aircraft systems, to include: the illicit use of UAS, air traffic security, UAS detection technology, FAA enforcement, countering drones and law enforcement. The UAS Summit will be an onsite event. A webinar will be made available, but not all topics will be presented via webinar due to the sensitive (Unclassified/FOUO) nature of some materials. The agenda, speaker information and webinar link will be sent to all registered attendees in the near future. Online registration is available for U.S emergency managers involved in critical infrastructure and an interest in UAS.More

FEMA is saddened by death of National Program Manager for National Hurricane Program
David Allan Griffith, national program manager for the National Hurricane Program, and adjunct professor at The University of Maryland University College, died Jan. 2, 2015, at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, surrounded by his wife, all children, and Pastor Dave Sonnenberg. FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate wrote, "David was a well-respected colleague and friend, who was dedicated to his role as National Hurricane Program Manager in FEMA's Response Planning Division. I have personally known David from his days with the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, after first meeting him early in my emergency management career when I was with Florida's Alachua County. Throughout his career, Dave worked diligently to assist the Nation in preparing for and responding to hurricanes, and I am proud to have worked alongside such a dedicated public servant. His passing is a major loss to the hurricane preparedness community, and he will be missed." A Celebration of Life Service will be held at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church 16420 S. Westland Dr. Gaithersburg MD 20877 on Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015, at 2:30 p.m.More

FCC-DHS publish joint bulletin for first responders about signal jammers
The Federal Communications Commission and Department of Homeland Security have published a one-page bulletin for first responders, "Cellular, GPS, Wi-Fi, and Other Signal Jammers." The bulletin provides a quick look at indicators, applicable federal laws, items for inclusion in reports, and points of contact for assistance. Download here.More

FEMA introduces a new data visualization tool on FEMA.gov
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is committed to increasing the transparency and accessibility of its data. On Jan. 7, a new interactive tool came online that allows the public to explore currently-available FEMA grant data. The site provides a visual representation of federal grant data as it relates to fire, preparedness, mitigation, and public assistance. Also visualized are disaster declarations by state, hazard, and county. The tool is in the beta testing phase, and comments are welcomed at FEMA-IGA@fema.dhs.gov. New data and visual updates will be posted in the coming months based on public feedback. The OpenFEMA data used in the visualization were derived from the publicly available datasets on fema.gov and data.gov. FEMA is committed to updating these existing datasets in a timely manner and as feasible, to provide new datasets for our external partners to manipulate and use. View the visualization tool here. More

After Hurricane Sandy, climate scientists and architects explore how to co-exist with rising tides
After the wind, rain and waves of Hurricane Sandy subsided, many of the modest homes in the Chelsea Heights section of Atlantic City, New Jersey, were filled to their windows with murky water. Residents returned to find roads inundated by the storm surge. Some maneuvered through the streets by boat. More

Back from the holidays — IAEM Call for Speakers is open!
The theme for the 63rd IAEM Annual Conference is "Expanding the Spectrum of Emergency Management." Review the Speaker Guidance for all requirements and submit your presentation today. The IAEM 63rd Annual Conference & EMEX will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada, Nov. 13-18, 2015.More

Show off your community emergency management communications tools and enter the annual Blue Pencil & Gold Screen Awards Competition by Jan. 16
Be recognized! Enter your emergency management communications project in the Blue Pencil & Gold Screen Awards competition. The final deadline for entry is just one week away. As a special offer, National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC) is extending membership fee discounts to IAEM members. Download the brochure with payment schedule. NAGC continues to seek judges for the BP&GS Awards Competition. Non-members are welcome to apply. Learn more.More

The deadliest natural disasters in the world
Billionaires Australia
This Boxing Day marked the 10th anniversary of one of the deadliest natural disasters in the world: the Indian Ocean earthquake and subsequent tsunamis that ravaged Thailand and many other coastal regions. It's one of the most destructive natural events the world has seen in recent years, and it made an indelible thumbprint on our collective imaginations. In commemoration, Billionaires explores some of the most devastating natural disasters to have ever struck humanity.More

The 5 most expensive natural disasters in the world
Insider Monkey
Want to know which are the most expensive natural disasters in the world? Floods, cyclones, earthquakes, tsunamis, wildfires, heat waves, avalanches, lightning strikes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, blizzards. Mother Nature can strike humankind in a variety of forms, all of them very destructive in their own way. Some disasters are well-known for their ferocity, others for their death toll, like the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.More

Looking back to 2014, ahead to 2015 at natural disaster activity
Insurance Journal
Fewer tornadoes, a mild hurricane season, lower acreage lost to wildfires, overall less flood and other damage — all in all, 2014 was not as bad as it could have been for natural disasters in the U.S. That's according to global property information and analytics firm CoreLogic, which released its annual "Natural Hazard Risk Summary and Analysis" detailing the most significant natural disasters of 2014 and providing several projections for 2015.More

Australia's emergency funding is another disaster waiting to happen
The Conversation
The fires that have swept through South Australia over the past few days have destroyed at least 12,000 hectares and up to 38 homes, in what have been described as the worst South Australian conditions since Ash Wednesday in 1983. With the fires still burning, we don't yet know the full toll.More

Can birds predict tornadoes?
A group of golden-winged warblers in Tennessee apparently knew in advance that a storm was coming — well before any local signs of troubling weather — and left the scene. The birds fled one to two days ahead of the April 2014 supercell that spawned 84 confirmed tornadoes and killed at least 35 people, according to a report in the Cell Press journal Current Biology. More

Most states not prepared for infectious diseases
U.S. News & World Report
Are Americans getting smug about controlling infectious diseases? Some researchers seem to think so. Though the U.S. has taken significant strides during the last decade in its ability to harness infections, the lack of preparation for Ebola this year should serve as a major wake-up call, experts say. More

IAEM-Global Communications Work Group announces 2015 IAEM Bulletin special focus issue topics and issues call for articles on 'Consequence Management and Public Health Implications'
The IAEM-Global Communications Work Group has announced the 2015 IAEM Bulletin special focus issue topics, with a complete listing now available online. The first special focus issue for 2015 will be on the topic of "Consequence Management and Public Health Implications," with article submissions due by Feb. 10, 2015, via email to Editor Karen Thompson. Articles (750-1,500 words) might include: what emergency managers need to know about the difference between infectious diseases and contagious diseases; public health implications for emergency management programs; responding to pandemics; lessons learned; and international public health vs. emergency management issues. Please read the author's guidelines prior to submitting your article.More

'Tech must address disasters at 3 levels'
The Asian Age
Technology needs to address natural or man-made disasters at three levels and not just be restricted to predicting/warning about them. Speakers at the symposium on disaster management at the ongoing 102nd Indian Science Congress elaborated on the three levels saying that technology needs to warn about disasters, deal with disaster-related situations and have an interface for people to be in touch in times of calamities. More

NASA designs apelike robot for disasters
When we imagine the robots of the future, they often look and move like humans, standing up on two legs and using a pair of arms to grab and move objects. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory is working on a different kind of robot for disaster response that's designed to move like an ape. More

The White House strategy to improve disaster resilience: Leveraging open data
You might not be aware of that, but floods kill more people in the U.S. each year than hurricanes, tornadoes, or wind storms on average. Half of all flood deaths have occurred when vehicles are swept away due to moving water. More

Prepare to take the CEM®/AEMSM Exam
We hope to see you in 2015 for one of our CEM®/AEMSM Prep Courses! Upcoming opportunities and more information can be found on the IAEM website.More

DHS offers Jan. 14 webinar on building a cyber-risk management program
Join stakeholders from across the cybercommunity on Jan. 14, 2015, 1-2:30 p.m. EST, to learn about building a cyber-risk management program, using Department of Homeland Security resources, and to learn how organizations of all sizes are using the Cybersecurity Framework. Topics will include: C3 Voluntary Program Overview; Community Building in 2015; Updates on DHS's Cyber Resilience Review; Communications Sector and the C3 Voluntary Program; Energy Sector and the C3 Voluntary Program. Details are available here. Please RSVP by emailing your name and affiliation to CubedVP@hq.dhs.gov by Jan. 12, 2015.More

Disaster Information Management Research webinar on 'Disaster Preparedness in Libraries' set for Jan. 15, 1:30 p.m. EST
Join the Disaster Information Management Research Center's Specialized Information Services Division for a webinar addressing disaster readiness in libraries. Dan Wilson, Coordinator, National Network of Libraries of Medicine Emergency Preparedness & Response Initiative, will present about his experiences advocating for greater disaster readiness in our nation's libraries. In addition, he will talk about creating a disaster readiness culture at the library he works at (University of Virginia Health Sciences Library) and his role in establishing a Virtual Operations Support Team at the Charlottesville/Albemarle County Community Emergency Response Team. Wilson has been the Coordinator of the NN/LM Emergency Preparedness & Response Initiative since the summer of 2007. As coordinator, he advocates library disaster readiness by facilitating summit meetings for librarians and emergency planners. He is currently working with State Library of New Jersey and the State Library of Pennsylvania on improving disaster readiness in their public libraries, and is in the planning stages of a major initiative with the State Library of North Carolina set for this spring. He is also the co-author of Library as Safe Haven: Disaster Planning, Response, and Recovery; A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians.More

UN disaster conference scheduled for Sendai in March
The Japan Times
Tens of thousands of civil servants and representatives of nongovernmental organizations are to meet in the Tohoku region this spring to examine global approaches to disaster response. More

Major earthquake rattles New Zealand close to Christchurch
New Zealand's South Island was jolted awake after a severe earthquake struck near its west coast Jan. 6. The 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck close to Arthur's Pass, about 60 miles west of Christchurch, just before 7 a.m. local time, reports the BBC. It was recorded as one of the strongest seismic events in New Zealand since the 2011 Christchurch quake that killed 185 people.More

Storm causes power outages, flooding, mudslides
Police and firefighters in the Washington coast city of Aberdeen have rescued an elderly woman trapped in her house when a mudslide caused by torrential rain swept the house off its foundation. In nearby Hoquiam, a landslide in one neighborhood washed out the foundations of at least four homes and threatened others. More

City beats de Blasio's Hurricane Sandy reconstruction goals, starts rebuilding 1,002 homes
New York Daily News
The city has beat Mayor de Blasio's goals on Hurricane Sandy reconstruction — kicking off the rebuilding of 1,002 homes and sending 2,104 checks to reimburse homeowners. After shaking up the troubled Build It Back program, de Blasio had pledged to start construction on 1,000 homes and send 1,500 checks to reimburse storm victims who paid for repairs out of their own pockets. More

Paris terror attack: Huge manhunt under way after gunmen kill 12
The Guardian
A huge manhunt is under way in Paris for masked and hooded men armed with Kalashnikovs who stormed the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 people — including two policemen and eight journalists — before escaping in a car. François Hollande, the French president, described the attack as "an act of exceptional barbarism."More

Southern Greek towns still off bounds after snowfall
Greek Reporter
Most roads in Attica were restored resuming normal traffic on Friday, with exceptions around Mt. Penteli north of Athens and towns of western Attica that remained off bounds, while towns in southern Greece call for snow chains. More