IAEM Dispatch
Mar. 5, 2015

IAEM Think Tanks launched with Feb. 18 event; inaugural webinar recording now available
Based on the idea behind FEMA Think Tanks, IAEM has launched a medium to engage our partners, promote innovation, and facilitate discussions in the field of emergency management. Visit the members-only IAEM Think Tanks web page. The webinar recording from the Feb. 18, 2015, IAEM Think Tank inaugural event is now available. Watch for news of more events coming soon.More

India's 'smart cities' would be stupid without disaster strategy
After Cyclone Hudhud pounded India's southern port city of Visakhapatnam last October, snapping bridges, swamping farmland and wrecking fishing boats, many breathed a sigh of relief. The lives of tens of thousands of residents had been spared as a result of a well-rehearsed mass evacuation to shelters — a lesson learned from long experience with floods, sea surges and strong winds from storms whipped up in the Bay of Bengal. But as the city of 2 million people, commonly known as Vizag, gears up to become one of India's first "smart cities", officials admit much more must be done to help it cope with increasingly extreme weather — a challenge being recognized in many fast-growing metropolises worldwide.More

IAEM-Canada Partners with The Conference Board of Canada on Resilience Canada 2015
IAEM-Canada has partnered with The Conference Board of Canada for a premier event — Resilience Canada 2015! As part of our partnership, IAEM-Canada is able to extend a savings of $400 off of the registration fee for our valued members. Resilience Canada 2015 will take place on Apr. 27-28, 2015, at the Hyatt Regency in Calgary, and will bring together experts, local government leaders and managers with expertise in the areas of urban management, business continuity and resilience. Attendees will learn from renowned experts on business resilience and emergency management, including: Tom Sampson, deputy chief of the Calgary Emergency Management Agency, who will be co-chairing the event; Francis Bradley, vice president, policy development at the Canadian Electricity Association; David Kaufman, associate administrator, policy, program analysis and international affairs at the Federal Emergency Management Agency; and Ivan M. Kusal, director, corporate business continuity and property risk governance with TELUS Communications Inc. View the preliminary agenda here. Learn about IAEM member discounts to this event.More

House passes bill to fully fund Homeland Security
The Washington Post
The House passed a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security for the rest of the fiscal year, sending it to President Obama for his expected signature. The measure will not target Obama's executive actions on immigration, giving Democrats what they have long demanded and potentially enraging conservatives bent on fighting the president on immigration. The vote was 257-167, with some Republicans joining all Democrats who voted to pass the bill, which had already cleared the Senate.More

GAO publishes report on DHS progress in strengthening management functions
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) on Feb. 26 released GAO-15-388T, “Department of Homeland Security: Progress Made, but More Work Remains.” The report can be viewed online or downloaded here. GAO regularly reports on government operations identified as high risk because of their increased vulnerability to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement, or the need for transformation to address economy, efficiency, or effectiveness challenges. In 2003, GAO designated implementing and transforming DHS as high risk because DHS had to transform 22 agencies into one department, and failure to address associated risks could have serious consequences for U.S. national and economic security. While challenges remain for DHS across its range of missions, the report details that the agency has made considerable progress, has implemented more than 69% of GAO recommendations, and has actions underway to implement others.More

Verizon's 2015 Powerful Answers Award Challenge will launch on Mar. 18
Honoring its ongoing commitment to innovation and social responsibility, Verizon is offering $6 million in prizes to innovators who propose the most innovative solutions to help develop and empower three core areas: (1) Transportation: How technology can find better, more efficient ways to reduce the complexities of transport and distribution in the physical world; (2) Emergency Response: How technology can help solve real world issues that plague our first responders and advance the effectiveness of long term relief; and (3) Internet of Things: how connecting things can make the world smarter and more efficient. How can your solution impact how cities operate, or change big industries like healthcare and agriculture? As demonstrated by last year's winners, the award encourages innovators, developers and entrepreneurs to create ideas that leverage Verizon's cutting-edge technology to deliver ground breaking solutions and social good. Enter your idea here, starting on Mar. 18, 2015.More

IAEM-USA Board approves adjustments to certification program requirements
During its Jan. 20, 2015 meeting, the IAEM-USA Board approved adjustments to the CEM®/AEM program requirements, to recognize the accomplishments already documented by those in the following special circumstances. Adjustments go into effect immediately. Individuals who recertify within six months of upgrading their AEM credential AEM to a CEM® no longer need to satisfy the Professional Contributions requirement as part of the recertification application. The Professional Contributions requirements are waived for those who have converted their AEM to a CEM® within the last six months. AEMs who apply for a CEM® upgrade within six months of recertifying as an AEM may use the Professional Contributions submitted as part of their recent recertification toward fulfillment of the CEM®. They also must submit additional Contributions, in categories not already approved, to satisfy the total of six required for the initial CEM®.More

Earthquake simulator aims to prevent future devastation
NBC News
Earthquake-prone Japan is shaking, but in a good way. A construction firm has unveiled a new earthquake simulator it hopes will help prevent the sort of death and devastation caused by mega-quakes like the one that struck the country in March 2011.More

This startup raised $10 million to make disaster relief smarter, cheaper and safer
In developing the prototypes for its 80-square-foot Exo shelters, Reaction Housing, a startup based in Austin, Texas, realized that the available materials and vendors didn't meet its performance criteria. The units needed to last five to 10 years, but early dives into the supply chain didn't look promising. So the company found itself inventing new materials and manufacturing processes, CEO Michael McDaniel says. Today, Reaction Housing has pre-sold hundreds of its Exo units. It projects that it will sell thousands of units this year.More

Cyborg roaches could be used to find disaster survivors
Live Science
Fleets of cyborg cockroaches could someday roam into damaged nuclear power plants or collapsed mines to carry out reconnaissance or locate survivors. A team of researchers implanted live cockroaches with electrodes that stimulate the nerves in the insects' antennae, enabling the scientists to steer the creatures around like remote-controlled toys.More

ASPR releases new National Health Security Strategy, US roadmap to protecting health in disasters
The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness & Response (ASPR), US Department of Health & Human Services has announced the release of the National Health Security Strategy and Implementation Plan, 2015-2018. The goal of the strategy is to strengthen and sustain communities’ abilities to prevent, protect against, mitigate the effects of, respond to, and recover from disasters and emergencies. The NHSS Implementation Plan lists activities will help to achieve the goal of national health security. Creation of the plan included broad participation of stakeholders who helped to make actions realistic and achievable. In addition, ASPR released the National Health Security Review, 2010-2014, which describes progress that the United States has made, along with persistent challenges, in strengthening national health security over the past four years.More

USFA provides new Fire Safety Toolkit
The U.S. Fire Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released the new Fire Safety Program Toolkit, a comprehensive resource for fire safety educators of all levels. The toolkit covers the five basic steps to create or enhance a fire safety education program for the community, including how to develop tools that will help assess program effectiveness.More

Taylor Baldwin Kiland will speak at the IAEM 2015 Annual Conference & EMEX
Author and motivational speaker Taylor Baldwin Kiland will talk about the human side of being resilient and the growing body of research on the phenomenon of post-traumatic growth (PTG) — the opposite of PTSD at the IAEM 2015 Annual Conference & EMEX, Nov. 13-18, 2015, Clark County, Nevada. She draws on extensive research from the experiences and long-term health of the American POWs held in the infamous Hanoi Hilton during the Vietnam War. They were and still are the longest-held group of POWs in our nation’s history, yet have the lowest average rate of PTSD of any group of combat veterans. The key to their success was their strong organizational culture that was hyper-focused on their mission to return home with their reputations intact and their individual and collective optimism, a learned trait. Kiland stresses the importance of teamwork, communication, and working hard for success, along with the continual need to learn and not to be afraid to make mistakes. In her book Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton: Six Characteristics of High-Performance Teams, she states, "If you put mission ahead of personal interests, the chances are that your culture will remain relevant no matter what the future holds." Read more.More

Participation requested in study on critical success factors in EM projects
Emergency managers are asked to participate in a study on critical success factors in emergency management projects by completing a 10-15 minute online survey to provide input about how you perceive 10 project management critical success factors in relation to one of your emergency management projects. Project managers use 10 factors, such as top management support, communication and personnel management, to determine the success of a project. Do emergency managers use these factors to manage their projects? Is there a relationship between the use of these factors and emergency management project success? Provide your valuable input by responding to this online survey request, and direct any questions to researcher Stephan Kaser, PMP.More

FEMA to host March webinars to discuss guidance changes for FY2015 Hazard Mitigation Assistance Program
Significant changes have been made to the Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) Guidance, a comprehensive document that details the specific criteria of the three HMA programs: the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) and Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) programs. The Fiscal Year 2015 HMA Guidance provides stakeholders with updates and refinements of program policies and practices. These enhancements will promote resilience, and streamline application review, eligibility requirements, project cost estimates and implementation. The changes to the program include the areas of: climate change/resilience; adoption of the federal government framework for grants management; mitigation planning changes; new benefit-cost analysis methodologies; various environmental planning and historic presentation clarifications; and resources and job aids to assist in program delivery. More information is posted here, and questions may be addressed to FEMA-IGA@fema.dhs.gov. FEMA will host three webinars to discuss the new guidance: Mar. 12, 1:30-2:45 p.m. ET; Mar. 18, 10:30-11:45 a.m. ET; and Mar. 19, 1:30-2:45 p.m. ET. Participants can dial-in using conference number 1 (800) 320-4330 and 031-155 for the conference PIN and join the webinar via Adobe Connect.More

EPA to sponsor free one-day cyber threat workshops for water utilities
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is sponsoring free, one-day workshops and response exercise training to teach water utilities about: cyber threats; ways to manage cyber threats; available tools to help utilities; and lessons learned from utility cyber assessments. The workshops are scheduled for: Apr. 10, Monroe, New Jersey; Apr. 30, Washington, D.C.; May 14, Lexington, South Carolina; May 19, Santa Rosa, California; and May 28, Orlando, Florida. Register online.More

2015 Emergency Management Symposium set for Apr. 17 in Dallas, Texas
The 2015 Emergency Management Symposium, scheduled for Apr. 17, 2015, in Dallas, Texas, is presented by Baylor Scott & White Health, Center for Emergency Management Collaboration, with the goal of providing an educational forum that will enhance the collaboration of ideas and begin to identify solutions for the complex problems we face in mitigating, preparing, responding, and recovering from disasters. This year's symposium offers multiple options for students to participate, with 13 speakers who will share their best practices and lessons learned from a variety of incidents across the country. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Dave Snowden, who will present his research on the Cynefin Framework; a decision-making model designed to more accurately arrive at sound decisions during austere circumstances. Dr. Snowden has been a guest lecture for the Homeland Security Program at the Naval Post Graduate Academy as well as numerous other academic institutions.More

Volcano Villarrica erupts in southern Chile, more than 3,000 people evacuated from nearby villages
Southern Chile's Volcano Villarrica has erupted, sending a plume of ash and lava high into the sky, and forcing the evacuation of nearby communities. The volcano is South America's most active, located near the popular tourist resort of Pucon, around 750 kilometers south of the capital Santiago.More

Dozens feared dead after Donetsk mine explosion
The Guardian
Dozens of miners are trapped underground and feared dead after a blast at a coal mine in the eastern Ukrainian rebel stronghold of Donetsk, with rescuers saying the chance of finding many survivors was slim. Mine officials said the explosion was not linked to nearby fighting in the war between Moscow-backed rebels and Ukrainian government forces. Kiev accused the separatists of holding up the rescue effort by restricting access.More

Death toll in Afghanistan avalanches reaches 285
Los Angeles Times
The death toll from a series of avalanches and flash floods across northern Afghanistan has reached 285, officials said. Most of the fatalities were centered in the northeastern province of Panjshir, where at least 196 people have been killed after a week of heavy snow and avalanches across much of the region.More

Snow, ice, floods to pummel US in final winter storm
Around 47 million Americans were under a severe weather watch as a winter storm threatened to pelt Kentucky, the Ohio Valley and southern Plains with ice and record-setting snow before moving toward New York City and Washington, D.C. More

Ebola death toll in west Africa 'could be much higher than initial estimates'
The Guardian
Regional and world leaders have called on the international community to scale up their efforts to rebuild the nations devastated by Ebola amid fears the death toll from the outbreak could be even higher than previously thought. Although the epidemic, which has ravaged Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, appears to be drawing to a close, the secretary general of the Red Cross warned that the true number of victims could be substantially greater than official estimates.More