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EU — Radio Spectrum: A Key Resource For The Digital Single Market

April 20, 2015 Comments off

Radio Spectrum: A Key Resource For The Digital Single Market
Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

Radio spectrum refers to a specific range of frequencies of electromagnetic energy that is used to communicate information. Applications important for society such as radio and television broadcasting, civil aviation, satellites, defence and emergency services depend on specific allocations of radio frequency. Recently the demand for spectrum has increased dramatically, driven by growing quantities of data transmitted over the internet and rapidly increasing numbers of wireless devices, including smartphones and tablets, Wi-Fi networks and everyday objects connected to the internet.

Radio spectrum is a finite natural resource that needs to be managed to realise the maximum economic and social benefits. Countries have traditionally regulated radio spectrum within their territories. However despite the increasing involvement of the European Union (EU) in radio spectrum policy over the past 10 to 15 years, many observers feel that the management of radio spectrum in the EU is fragmented in ways which makes the internal market inefficient, restrains economic development, and hinders the achievement of certain goals of the Digital Agenda for Europe.

In 2013, the European Commission proposed legislation on electronic communications that among other measures, provided for greater coordination in spectrum management in the EU, but this has stalled in the face of opposition within the Council. In setting out his political priorities, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has indicated that ambitious telecommunication reforms, to break down national silos in the management of radio spectrum, are an important step in the creation of a Digital Single Market. The Commission plans to propose a Digital Single Market package in May 2015, which may again address this issue.

Fire and Emergency Services — National Safety Culture Change Initiative

April 10, 2015 Comments off

National Safety Culture Change Initiative (PDF)
Source: U.S. Fire Administration

The “National Safety Culture Change Initiative” report:

  • Provides a basic understanding of the fire and emergency service culture.
  • Identifies individual and organizational behaviors that positively and negatively impact health and safety.
  • Highlights focus areas for change by raising awareness about unsafe practices.

Medicinal products in the European Union: The legal framework for medicines for human use

April 6, 2015 Comments off

Medicinal products in the European Union: The legal framework for medicines for human use
Source: European Parliament Think Tank

EU legislation on human medicines goes back 50 years. Its twofold aim is to safeguard public health without hindering development of the European pharmaceutical industry or trade in medicinal products. The regulatory framework is complex and covers the entire lifecycle of a medicine, from manufacture, to clinical trials, to marketing authorisation, to pharmacovigilance and patient information. Added to that, the principles of good manufacturing, distribution and pharmacovigilance practice contribute to increasing medicines’ safety. An emerging approach to granting early access to medicines – adaptive pathways – could prove its future merits for patients with a medical condition not adequately addressed by an existing therapy.

DHS OIG Finds Notorious Felon Allowed to Use TSA PreCheck® Lanes

March 20, 2015 Comments off

DHS OIG Finds Notorious Felon Allowed to Use TSA PreCheck® Lanes (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General

A recent report by the DHS Inspector General determined that a convicted felon who had been involved in numerous felonious criminal activities and was also a former member of a domestic terrorist group was permitted to travel with expedited screening through Transportation Security Administration (TSA) PreCheck®. The report, OIG-15-45 “Allegation of Granting Expedited Screening Through TSA PreCheck® Improperly,” stemmed from a whistleblower disclosure which alleged that a notorious felon was improperly cleared for TSA PreCheck® screening and was allowed to use the PreCheck® lanes.

After an extensive investigation of the allegation and assessment of the TSA PreCheck® initiative, we determined that TSA provided a TSA PreCheck® indicator and barcode on the traveler’s boarding pass. After checking the traveler’s boarding pass and identification, an alert Transportation Security Officer (TSO) at the airport recognized the felon and alerted his supervisor. However, the supervisor directed the TSO to take no action and allow the traveler to continue through the TSA PreCheck® lane.

We determined that this traveler had not applied for TSA PreCheck® through the TSA PreCheck® Application Program, but that TSA granted TSA PreCheck® screening to this passenger through the risk assessment rules in the Secure Flight program.

+ Full Report (Redacted) (PDF)

CRS — The First Responder Network (FirstNet) and Next-Generation Communications for Public Safety: Issues for Congress (February 27, 2015)

March 18, 2015 Comments off

The First Responder Network (FirstNet) and Next-Generation Communications for Public Safety: Issues for Congress (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Congress included provisions in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-96) for planning, building, and managing a new, nationwide, broadband network for public safety communications, by creating the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet). The act assigned 10 MHz of additional radio frequency spectrum to accommodate the new network and required that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) assign a license to FirstNet, comprising the newly assigned frequencies and 10 MHz previously assigned to states by the FCC for public safety use. In addition, the act has designated federal appropriations of over $7 billion for the network and other public safety needs. These funds are provided through new revenue from the auction of spectrum licenses to the commercial sector.

One- and Two-Family, Multifamily Residential Building Fires (2010-2012)

March 7, 2015 Comments off

One- and Two-Family, Multifamily Residential Building Fires (2010-2012)
Source: U.S. Fire Administration

One- and Two-Family Residential Building Fires (PDF)

  • An estimated 239,100 one- and two-family residential building fires were reported to fire departments within the United States each year and caused an estimated 1,950 deaths, 8,575 injuries, and 5.4 billion dollars in property loss.
  • One- and two-family residential building fires accounted for 65 percent of all residential building fires.
  • Cooking, at 34 percent, was the leading reported cause of one- and two-family residential building fires reported to the fire service. Nearly all one- and two-family residential building cooking fires were small, confined fires (89 percent).
  • In 52 percent of nonconfined one- and two-family residential building fires, the fire extended beyond the room of fire origin. The leading reported causes of these larger fires were other unintentional, careless actions (16 percent); electrical malfunctions (15 percent); and intentional actions (12 percent).
  • Smoke alarms were not present in 23 percent of nonconfined fires in occupied one- and two-family residential buildings. This is a high percentage when compared to the 3 percent of households nationally lacking smoke alarms.

Multifamily Residential Building Fires (PDF)

  • An estimated 103,800 multifamily residential building fires were reported to fire departments within the United States each year and caused an estimated 405 deaths, 4,350 injuries, and 1.2 billion dollars in property loss.
  • Multifamily residential building fires accounted for 28 percent of all residential building fires.
  • Small, confined fires accounted for 70 percent of multifamily residential building fires.
  • Cooking was the leading reported cause of multifamily residential building fires (71 percent); nearly all multifamily residential building cooking fires were small, confined fires (95 percent).
  • In 31 percent of nonconfined multifamily residential building fires, the fire extended beyond the room of origin. The leading reported causes of these larger fires were exposures (12 percent); intentional actions (11 percent); other unintentional, careless actions (11 percent); and electrical malfunctions (11 percent). In contrast, 51 percent of all other nonconfined residential building (excluding multifamily building) fires extended beyond the room of origin.

Residential building fire fatalities and fire injuries (2010–2012)

March 2, 2015 Comments off

Residential building fire fatalities and fire injuries (2010–2012)
Source: U.S. Fire Administration

Residential fires are of great national importance, as they account for the vast majority of civilian casualties. National estimates for 2010-2012 show that 82 percent of all fire deaths and 78 percent of all fire injuries occurred in residential buildings.

+ Civilian Fire Fatalities in Residential Buildings (2010-2012) (PDF)
+ Civilian Fire Injuries in Residential Buildings (PDF)

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