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Almost 15 Years after the September 11th Terrorist Attacks, DHS Still Has Not Achieved Interoperable Communications

June 10, 2015 Comments off

Almost 15 Years after the September 11th Terrorist Attacks, DHS Still Has Not Achieved Interoperable Communications (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General

In November 2012, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) published an audit, DHS’ Oversight of Interoperable Communications (OIG-13-06), concluding that DHS components could not talk to each other in the event of a terrorist event or other emergency. The DHS OIG has just completed a verification review and concluded that, two and a half years later, DHS components’ inability to communicate with each other persists.

+ Full Report (PDF)

DHS OIG — TSA Can Improve Aviation Worker Vetting (Redacted)

June 9, 2015 Comments off

TSA Can Improve Aviation Worker Vetting (Redacted) (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General

Why We Did This
We conducted this review to identify enhancements to the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) vetting of workers with access to secure areas of commercial airports for links to terrorism, criminal history, and lawful status. We also assessed the accuracy and reliability of data TSA uses for vetting.

Why We Did This
We conducted this review to identify enhancements to the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) vetting of workers with access to secure areas of commercial airports for links to terrorism, criminal history, and lawful status. We also assessed the accuracy and reliability of data TSA uses for vetting.

CRS — Assistance to Firefighters Program: Distribution of Fire Grant Funding (March 10, 2015)

June 4, 2015 Comments off

Assistance to Firefighters Program: Distribution of Fire Grant Funding (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program, also known as fire grants or the FIRE Act grant program, was established by Title XVII of the FY2001 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 106-398). Currently administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the program provides federal grants directly to local fire departments and unaffiliated Emergency Medical Services (EMS) organizations to help address a variety of equipment, training, and other firefighter-related and EMS needs. A related program is the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Firefighters (SAFER) program, which provides grants for hiring, recruiting, and retaining firefighters.

See also: Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response: The SAFER Grant Program (March 10, 2015) (PDF)

CRS — United States Fire Administration: An Overview (March 11, 2015)

June 4, 2015 Comments off

United States Fire Administration: An Overview (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The United States Fire Administration (USFA)—which includes the National Fire Academy (NFA)—is currently housed within the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The objective of the USFA is to significantly reduce the nation’s loss of life from fire, while also achieving a reduction in property loss and non-fatal injury due to fire.

USFA: Operational Lessons Learned in Disaster Response

June 3, 2015 Comments off

Operational Lessons Learned in Disaster Response (PDF)
Source: U.S. Fire Administrtation

While after action reviews produce valuable lessons, lessons alone are not the end of the story. In fact, lessons learned should rightly be the beginning of a new chapter in a fire department’s operational behaviors. Lessons without a corresponding change in operational behavior are not lessons learned.

This report identifies gaps and needs in first responder training and resources and presents solutions that serve to better prepare local-level fire services for all-hazard events and to interact with federal resources. The disasters studied were weather-related events that required responding firefighters to assume duties for which they were unprepared or for situations they never anticipated.

New topical fire report: Fire Risk in 2011

April 27, 2015 Comments off

New topical fire report: Fire Risk in 2011 (PDF)
Source: U.S. Fire Administration

The risk from fire is not the same for everyone. In 2011, 3,415 deaths and 17,500 injuries in the U.S. were caused by fires. These casualties were not equally distributed across the U.S. population and the resulting risk of death or injury from fire was more severe for some groups. This topical fire report explores why different segments of society are at a greater risk from fire.

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.
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