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Disaster Preparedness

- Social networking Web resources, like Twitter, can help organizations and government expand their communication networks during emergencies, says blogger W. David Stephenson. Major organizations like the American Red Cross are giving it a try.

The Disaster Recovery Handbook.

- Disaster planning need not be merely a necessary administrative burden. It can be a marketing tool. As the authors of The Disaster Recovery Handbook shrewdly observe, disaster preparedness and recovery is really a service for the client. Customers in effect enter into a partnership with their suppliers for their business essentials, so a disruption in supply can be catastrophic to a customer. Thus, disaster planning can be sold to customers as a pledge that the provider will keep their businesses going even in adverse situations.


- A bill (H.R. 285) introduced by Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) would establish a national cybersecurity response team that could analyze threat information and provide early warning of attacks on the cybersecurity infrastructure. The team would also be tasked with providing information and assistance to restore the infrastructure after an attack.

Updated Disaster Directory Released.

- Even the most thorough disaster plan can't contemplate every possible contingency. In some cases the victimized company will need to procure unanticipated services or products such as water-purification equipment, microfilm drying, or cots and bedding. The publishers of the Disaster Recovery Yellow Pages have been positioning themselves as a one-stop shop for everything related to business continuity and disaster recovery in the United States. The 2005 version, the directory's 14th edition, is now perfect-bound. More than 3,000 product manufacturers and service providers are listed in the resource, in 355 categories ranging from computer equipment and training materials to cleanup services and file- and data-recovery software. Published by Edwards Information, the hard-copy version of the directory is available through ASIS International

Interim Goal is Published

- The Department of Homeland Security has released its Interim National Preparedness Goal, which “establishes readiness priorities, targets, and metrics.” For more information go to SM Online.


- In Connecticut and New Jersey, DHS conducted a simulated terrorist-attack exercise called TOPOFF.


- As in many sectors of the U.S. critical infrastructure, agriculture has made great strides in security since 9-11. A report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) documents some of these achievements, such as ongoing vulnerability analyses conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration to determine which agriculture products are most vulnerable to terrorist attacks. But efforts elsewhere are lagging. For instance, many U.S. veterinarians lack training to identify signs of foreign animal diseases, and the USDA does not use “rapid diagnostic tools” to test animals at the site of a disease outbreak. Also, while imports have increased, agricultural inspections at ports of entry have decreased over the last two years. In addition, states aren’t receiving enough technical federal assistance in developing emergency plans to prepare them to deal with terrorism, the GAO auditors write. The auditors recommend 11 courses of action to improve the U.S. preparedness for agroterrorism. For instance, they call for expediting a USDA draft rule that would require veterinarians to be trained to recognize foreign animal diseases. SM Online has the full report.

A Dash of Danger

- Find out how one of the largest healthcare systems in the country is preparing to face chemical and biological hazards.

Chaos Organization and Disaster Management

- Kirschenbaum will make readers question their own motivations and choices. With that in mind, he leads readers down an avenue of constant exploration, probing the considerations of various stakeholders, the plethora of constraints on effective disaster management, and the bureaucratic inertia that can all too quickly subsume disaster management.

First responders

- A bill (H.R. 1544) that would change the way that first-responder funds are allocated to state and local governments has been approved by the House Homeland Security Committee and must now be taken up by the full House of Representatives.

Emergency planning

- A wheelchair-bound person with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis was in a Los Angeles building when occupants were asked to evacuate because of a bomb threat. Other occupants scrambled down the stairs to safety, while the disabled youth waited for assistance. No one came, so the person struggled mightily to climb down three flights of stairs to evacuate. Fortunately, the threat was a hoax, but this type of situation is all too common for the disabled in disaster planning. The NCD report, Saving Lives: Including People with Disabilities in Emergency Planning, can be found on SM Online.

Protecting Liquid Assets

- Water utilities were ordered by Congress to conduct vulnerability assessments after 9-11. The results of those assessments have awakened many utilities to the need for water-contamination warning systems, but a series of challenges lie ahead, including which technology to choose, which contaminants to monitor, where to place sensors, and how to analyze monitoring data. @ Contamination Warning Systems for Water: An Approach for Providing Actionable Information to Decision-Makers

Preparing Fire Wardens

- Training fire wardens, who are typically nonsecurity staff, is key to safe evacuations

Beyond Print

SM Online

See all the latest links and resources that supplement the current issue of Security Management magazine.