Archive for category Disaster Response

Disaster Response: Hurricane Sandy–Some Tools To Track The Damage And Response

Man, this storm has done some serious damage and my thoughts and prayers go out to those on the East coast. Luckily the death toll has not been higher, but this thing is not over yet.

So for the response to this storm, it is important that folks who are involved with that have the tools necessary to track the disaster, and the response to the storm seems to be pretty good so far. But like the articles suggest below, folks were not expecting the storm surge to be this high and that will factor into the mix for the response. 13 to 14 ft is amazing.

One thing that is concerning is that this winter, and power is out. Hopefully the cold related injuries and deaths can be reduced to a minimum through an effective response. Neighbors helping neighbors.

The other thing is the main cause of deaths in this storm so far is falling trees. For first responders, definitely keep an eye on the trees in the areas you are responding too, because ‘widow makers’ are all over the place. Couple that with snow or ice forming on these precarious trees damaged by wind, and you can see why this is something to think about while going in these places.

Paul from the Facebook page asked if anyone has created an Ushahidi for this storm, and after some digging around, someone has. Here is a link to this storm tracking tool and you can click on the graphic below as well. The blog at Ushahidi is also posting about all of the various crowd mapping projects across the web that are trying to help out and that is useful for folks trying to find stuff that is relevant. FEMA and the Red Cross has resources as well. Good luck to everyone that is involved. -Matt



Sandy: Five Latest Developments
Published: Oct 31, 2012
Sandy continues to weaken over the interior Northeast, however gusty winds, snow and rain will linger into Wednesday.
Below are some of the latest developments as we continue to track Superstorm Sandy.
1: Millions Still Without Power
• As of 1 p.m. Eastern time Wednesday, over 5.9 million customers were without power due to Sandy.
• On Tuesday morning, a peak total of over 8 million customers were in the dark. Obviously the Northeast was hardest hit, but significant outages occurred in northern Ohio, and sporadic outages occurred as far away as northwest Indiana and northern Georgia.
• In some regions, power failures were nearly total. Governor Andrew Cuomo said 90% of Long Island families were without power Tuesday. One of New Jersey’s utilities reported 86% of its 1.1 million customers were without power Tuesday morning, and that figure was still 86% early Wednesday.
2: Numerous Fatalities Reported
• As of mid-morning Wednesday, the total number of fatalities blamed on Sandy is 47 in the mainland United States plus one in Puerto Rico.
• Many of the victims were killed by falling trees.
• Sandy also killed 69 people in the Caribbean. Click here for a complete roundup of Sandy’s aftermath in the Caribbean.
3: Staggering Damage
• Very early damage estimates suggest Sandy caused at least $10 billion in damage, and possibly as much as $50 billion in total damage and lost business. The higher number would make Sandy the second-costliest storm in U.S. history, behind Katrina.
• Damage ranged from storm surge flooding to direct wind damage to devastating fires fueled by high winds and the difficulties fire departments faced in navigating flooded or blocked roads. We have more than 200 images of the devastation at this link.
• For video of the damage and aftermath, check out our video player at the top of this page.
• We also have a by-the-numbers breakdown of Sandy’s top winds, worst surge and heaviest snow.
4: Chilly Weather in the Blackout Zone
Behind the storm, cold air has moved into areas where power is out.
Wednesday morning temperatures were in the 30s and 40s across most areas without power, except for New England where 50s and lower 60s prevailed.
New England will lose the mild advantage Thursday morning and 30s and 40s will prevail across the power outage regions for the next several mornings.
Daytime highs will only rise into the 40s and 50s over most of the areas that are without power, with no warm-up expected through the next five days.
5: Three Feet of Snow!
• Three feet — 36 inches — of snow fell near Richwood, W.Va. by late Wednesday morning.
• Mount Le Conte, Tenn., reported a whopping 34 inches of snow by Wednesday morning.
• 33 inches of snow fell near Clayton, W.V., ironically located in Summers County.
• Up to 29 inches of snow was reported in Redhouse, Md.
• Several other locations in the mountains of West Virginia and western Maryland received 2 feet or more. Even the high elevations of East Tennessee received as much as 22″ of snowfall.
• The heavy wet snow and high winds led to numerous power outages in communities throughout the central Appalachians, posing hardships especially for elderly residents coping with outdoor temperatures in the 20s and lower 30s.
• You can read more about Sandy’s snowy side and check out impressive Sandy snow photos here on
Story here.
NYC utility prepped for big storm, got bigger one
October, 2012
Consolidated Edison figured any surge would not surpass the 11-foot record set nearly two centuries ago. Or the design limit of 12.5 feet for a key substation in lower Manhattan.
But the wall of seawater reached 14 feet.
The surge that swamped the substation cut power to about 250,000 customers. It was the signature event in a series of electrical failures from winds and floods that at one point left almost 1 million Con Ed customers in the dark – a record storm outage for the utility.

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Industry Talk: Live Tracking Protests In The Middle East And North Africa

Ever since this stupid movie came out, protests against western interest and embassies all over the Middle East and North Africa have been attacked. It is happening very fast and it is very difficult to keep up with–much like a large forest fire. In the smokejumpers, we called these fast, dangerous and large forest fires –‘gobblers’, or fires that gobbled up everything in their path. These protests are acting like a gobblers.

With that said, any sites that track it’s movement and can help to predict new protests will be very helpful to western interests and businesses overseas. It will also help out those who are just traveling over there so they can apply some OODA to their personal situation.

Analysis Intelligence is one such group that is live tracking the protests right now. They are also attempting to predict upcoming protests. Check it out. -Matt

Link to live tracking here.


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Funny Stuff: But I Thought These Vehicles Were Flood-proof?

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Jobs: Disaster Response Security Officers–Hurricane Irene, CONUS

I wanted to get this up so guys can jump on these opportunities. Wackenhut is an old hand at this disaster response security stuff. They also pay alright. The second company below is a new one to me, and if anyone has anything on them, I would be interested. With that one, apply at your own risk. Hopefully I can get some feedback on that company.

Please follow the links below to apply for these jobs, and I am not the POC or recruiter. Good luck out there, and if I find any more jobs I will make the edit and add them to this post. -Matt

Disaster Response Security Officer-NCR
Job ID:
US-MD-Oxon Hill
Security Services – Access Control
More information about this job: Overview: WSI, a national security firm, is recruiting for Armed Security Officers in support of our Federal Protective Services Disaster Response contracts. Applicants from all states are encouraged to apply. Areas of deployment include: Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida and Tennessee. Responsibilities: Provide armed security to FPS sites. Qualifications:
Basic Requirements for all applicants:
Must be at least 21 yrs old and U.S. Citizen or legally eligible to work in the United States.
Proficiency in English (Written or Spoken)
Must posses a high school diploma or GED
Must successfully pass a criminal and credit background investigation
3 years armed security experience (police and military acceptable)
Must successfully pass physical examination to include a drug screen
State and local law enforcement officers must provide training certificate and proof of current employment
Experience with Entry/Exit Access
Comfortable with Roving Patrol up to 12 hours per day across long distances
Familiarity with securing facilities and/or vehicles at a fixed location
Physically capable of standing a 12-hour post
Firearms training and firearms qualifications, and company certifications
Must pass DHS Public Trust suitability requirements
You will be *REQUIRED to supply the following items:
• 2 Fingerprint cards (FD-258’s) -Required
• Copy of passport (if available)
• Copy of Driver’s License – Required
• Copy of Birth certificate OR Naturalization Certificate – Required
• CPR & First Aid (if available)
• Baton Training (if available)
• Copy of Current Annual Firearms Training – Required
• Copy of Current Armed Security Guard License
• Copy of DD-214 (if available)
• Copy of High School Diploma or GED – Required
*If any of the required items are missing, then you will be unable to complete the recruitment process and your application will be forfeit.
To apply please go to
For more information please email or call 561-632-8837 or 561-275-8585.
Apply here.
All Pro Legal Investigations, PA d/b/a/ All Protection & Security is currently recruiting disaster security guards in support of our contract with a 3000+ location nationwide health care provider.
This client requires the following RAPID RESPONSE security personnel:
* ARMED Security Guard License from any of the East Coast states.*

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Disaster Response: Global Rescue–The Small Company With A Personal Touch

In 1985, a French doctor and businessman co-founded the first travel-assistance company, AEA International, specializing in risk mitigation and pre-trip advice for European and Australian corporations operating in Asia. The firm, which is based in London, Philadelphia, and Singapore, changed its name to International S.O.S. in 1998. As global tourism boomed, ISOS expanded into a force that grossed $850 million and handled 1.2 million cases in 2009. (By contrast, Global Rescue handled about 300 cases that year. The company, which is private, declined to reveal revenue.) Travel assistance and crisis response are now a global industry worth billions, and there are no fewer than eight American companies offering those services.

Great article and I really liked the comparisons between this company and the larger ones like ISOS.  All of these companies have been busy this year and last, and they have really shown their necessity in these very dangerous times.

The article also brings up a similar theme in business, that you see in war. That when it comes to competition between companies, the underdog companies compete with the larger ones by going after that behemoth’s weakness. That would be the personal touch. They also copy what works in the bigger companies, and find that one little difference in operations or technology that makes them just a little bit better than the bigger companies.

Global Rescue does not handle the same amount of business as the bigger guys, but what they do offer is a more personal service that is appealing to those that want that kind of thing. It is a small company taking advantage of their size and filling a niche within their market. You can have the homemade deluxe burger made by Marge at the local restaurant, or you can pay less for that burger at a major chain like McDonalds. I would also add that this company probably does a better job at customer service and satisfaction? Who knows, and we will see how their service evolves as they get bigger and more popular?

Although I am curious about their cost, versus the other company’s costs?  Obviously their clientele are the type that want the personal touch of some former Navy SEAL and his team coming directly to their rescue and saying, ‘we are here to get you out’.  Cool stuff and hopefully someone from the company can chime in. -Matt

Global Rescue Website here.

Hero Complex
A brash new company is revolutionizing crisis response by sending ex-military to rescue adventurers. So why all the enemies?
April 2011
By Devon O’Neil

Global Rescue CEO Dan Richards  (Photo by Michael Lewis)
“WHAT’S THE LATEST on the lion bite in Zimbabwe?”
Ted Muhlner’s commanding voice fills the room, a spacious seventh-floor office in Boston’s financial district decorated with ten flatscreen TVs and little else. The place looks like a stockbroker’s warren, but it’s not. The 37-year-old Muhlner, a former Navy SEAL with an M.B.A. from Harvard, is senior director of operations for Global Rescue, a seven-year-old company that assists adventure travelers and corporate employees who find themselves in dicey situations far from home. At the moment, surrounded by four paramedics and two ex–military personnel, Muhlner is conducting a 20-minute briefing on the day’s workload, a checklist of ongoing operations around the world.

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Disaster Response: The Radiation Network


This is cool. The Radiation Network is a crowd based and privately run radiation monitoring system that is free for everyone to check out.  Each yellow disk on the map indicates a reading. The map is updated every minute by it’s network members.  So with the news in Japan in regards to their nuclear disaster, a site like this will be able show exactly the impact on the US in the West Coast.

Now what would really be cool is to turn this into a mobile application?  hint hint.  I bet a radiation network mobile app would get thousands of downloads through iTunes.  We will probably see other networks pop up, or even a group like Google might get in on the action and help the Radiation Network soup up their product?

Also, I expect the number of citizen monitors to increase, just because this nuclear disaster in Japan is causing folks to buy up detectors and everything else dealing with radiation monitoring.  But a word of caution–because this is a crowd based deal, it is very difficult to insure that quality readings are being done.

All in all though, I think this is a great resource, and in the coming days and weeks and months of this nuclear disaster, we will see the global impact of the event.  (from what I understand, a global network version is being fired up, and the network is expanding internationally) Bravo to Tim Flanegin and his crew for putting this resource together, and I just hope his host’s servers can handle the traffic. -Matt

We have received a lot of feedback on our Radiation Network, including gratitude for this service, and we really appreciate the support.  A lot of suggestions and questions (and some complaints) have been forwarded as well, so I would like to address those here, because we do not have time to respond to your individual email messages.

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