Posts Tagged Disaster Response

Disaster Response: Private Security Answers The Call For Dealing With Ebola

I believe this is the first incident of ebola in the US where a PMSC has been called up to guard the quarantine site? I mentioned how important security is to the response to this epidemic, that is quickly moving towards a pandemic, and I think we will see more of this. The CDC gave a worst case scenario of upwards of around 1.4 million people in Africa to be infected with ebola by January of next year.

Back to the main story, and that is the PMSC response to this outbreak. The company tasked with guarding the apartment and family quarantined in this particular incident is called Heartland Patrol, and the location is Dallas, Texas. I noticed that they have some pretty nice patrol vehicles? In the photo below, the vehicle being used is a Dodge Charger, and I know some police departments would love to have that thing.

Another point to bring up with this event is preparation for a security job that deals with infectious diseases and viruses. This kind of security work is new territory for security professionals that are involved with disaster response like this. My advice for anyone getting involved with this response is to update your insurance, and check if they will cover you if you actually work in such an environment.

Your best piece of equipment for a security gig like this is your mind. Get educated on everything to do with ebola, and increase your orientation on working in that environment so you can make good decisions. Work closely with the on site medical professionals and stay disciplined once you have a good plan for working around a quarantine site or treatment center. If you do not have access to that kind of resource, then seek it out. Go online, find local medical professionals who specialize in ebola, and become a student of this virus. Knowledge is your best weapon to counter it. And of course, your security mission is your primary reason for being there, so understand everything that it takes to do that job properly.

Another thing to brush up on is incident command. For large disaster responses, incident command is the primary tool for managing such things. So if your private security detail is a part of that kind of operation, then it behooves you to understand how that system works.

I have also seen jobs dealing with the medical response. Medical staff are in high demand in Africa and they are getting swamped. So if you have a medical background and a security contracting background, you would be perfect for these types of contracts. Especially in places like Africa, where the fear component is very high, which makes people act irrationally. Aid groups would be wise to have some kind of security professional tagging along, just so they can pick up on any of the signs of that type of thing. -Matt

 

The private security company called Heartland Patrol, on duty in front of the ebola patient’s apartment, which contains four members of the patient’s family who are in quarantine.

 

Ebola family under armed guard after trying to leave quarantine
October 3, 2014
A woman who has been confined to her Dallas apartment under armed guard after a man infected with Ebola stayed at her home said she never imagined this could happen to her so far from disease-ravaged West Africa.
Louise Troh said Thursday that she is tired of being locked up and wants health authorities to decontaminate her home.
Authorities say the circle of people in the US possibly exposed to Ebola widened after the man, who arrived from Liberia last month, was discharged from a hospital without being tested for the deadly virus.
The confinement order, which also bans visitors, was imposed after the family failed to comply with a request to stay home, according to Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. Texas Health Commissioner David Lakey said the order would ensure that Troh, her 13-year-old son and two nephews can be closely monitored for signs of the disease.
The first Ebola diagnosis in the nation has raised concerns about whether the disease that has killed 3,300 people in West Africa could spread in the US. Federal health officials say they are confident they can keep it in check.
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Disaster Response: Ebola And The Need For Security

I wanted to put this one out there because of the recent news about Ebola and it’s spread. According to the CDC, their worst-case scenario is that we will see over 500,000 cases of Ebola infection in Africa by January of next year. This is by far a greater projection than others have given, and this should give pause. The current death toll according the WHO is 2630 people as of  last thursday.

With that said, an increase in casualties will further push the fear and panic element of this disaster. That, and with poor education and rumors being spread, horrible consequences can happen. A specific example is the killing of Ebola response workers in Guinea. Because there was a rumor within the village that these workers were the ones infecting the village, a riot ensued and these poor folks were killed with sticks and stones by an angry and fearful mob.

A couple things that come to mind when it comes to the security side of this disaster response. When people panic, they will do what they can to survive. They will either destroy that in which is a threat, or they will run away.  Fight or flight. Most will try to escape those areas that have high numbers of Ebola cases. When they see the bodies or hear on the grape vine of what is happening, they will want to leave these areas and that is a natural response.

Why is this important to note? Because those who want to leave these areas, could very well have Ebola and not even know it. They will want to survive, and they will do what they can to bypass quarantines and borders and blocking forces, all so they don’t get stuck in these virus zones. If they are fearful of aid workers or are not educated on the causes of Ebola, then fear will absolutely cloud their thinking and rationality.

Another example of the security problem vs the spread of the virus, is what happened in a slum in Liberia back in August. Police were tasked by the government to seal off a slum that had 50,000 people in it so they could contain an outbreak. You can only imagine the kind of fear and anger that these police had to deal with in such a situation?

So how do you prevent the spread of a virus like this, with a panicked population hell bent on getting away from the thing? Or how do you prevent these people from killing aid workers? Education of course. But it takes something else, which will give the aid workers comfort to do this dangerous work.

That is where private security, and of course law enforcement and military comes in. Someone has to protect these aid workers as they fight to educate locals or sift through these local populations to find infected people. Someone has to guard the quarantine centers so infected folks do not leave, or terrorists do not come in to steal infected bodies. Someone has to help secure the refugee centers or the disaster response centers?

Which brings up another issue to think about. There are many terrorist organizations out there that would love to have a biowarfare agent like Ebola. With an infected martyr, they could literally spread their weapon called Ebola wherever they wanted to spread it. This reality alone should motivate authorities to do all they can to secure the bodies or secure quarantine areas.

So you have the fight or flight mechanism in play to spread the virus, and you have the criminal/terrorist angle that can spread the virus. The answer to prevent this spread, will require security in one form or the other. And it has to happen now! And if Ebola goes airborne, because it has genetically changed through all of these infections, then securing the infected really becomes important.

I should also note that I have been getting private messages from contractors involved with the security side of stopping this disease, and all of these concerns I am talking about are front and center. My response to these folks is that private security can certainly respond to a disaster like this,  but it needs information and incentive. The quality and quantity of that private security is also dependent upon the desire to properly screen and select individuals for the contracts, and they need assurances that if they get infected while on the job, that the will get the best treatment possible for survival.  One model of success for how fast private security can respond, was the 2005 Hurricane Katrina response.

As this disaster continues to unfold, we will see how the response goes. I imagine there will be an increase in demand for security and logistical services, and I am sure this industry will answer the call. If any jobs come up, I will post them. If you are an NGO or whomever that is in need of private security, please feel free to comment below this post and I will allow you to advertise. Or I can start a new post as a Job alert. I am also watching FBO because the US just dedicated 500 million dollars and 3,000 troops to help contain this. So there is some movement and concern here. -Matt

World Health Organization website here.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention website here.

 

Liberian security forces back in August blockade an area around the West Point slum as the government clamps down on the movement of people to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus in the city of Monrovia.

 

Ebola Worst-Case Scenario Has More Than 500,000 Cases
By Caroline Chen, Brendan Greeley and Kelly Gilblom
Sep 19, 2014
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa could spread to hundreds of thousands more people by the end of January, according to an estimate under development by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that puts one worst-case scenario at 550,000 or more infections.
The report, scheduled to be released next week, was described by two people familiar with its contents, who asked to remain anonymous because it isn’t yet public.
The projection, which vastly outstrips previous estimates, is under review by researchers and may change. It assumes no additional aid or intervention by governments and relief agencies, which are mobilizing to contain the Ebola outbreak before it spirals further out of control in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
“CDC is working on a dynamic modeling tool that allows for recalculations of projected Ebola cases over time,” Barbara Reynolds, a spokeswoman for the agency, said in an e-mail. “CDC expects to release this interactive tool and a description of its use soon.”
The World Health Organization said last month that the outbreak could reach 20,000 cases before being brought under control. That projection is already outdated, WHO spokesman Dan Epstein said today in a phone interview.
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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 weather.com.
Story here.
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NYC utility prepped for big storm, got bigger one
DAVE CARPENTER, JEFF DONN and JONATHAN FAHEY
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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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:
2011-2588
Location:
US-MD-Oxon Hill
Category:
Security Services – Access Control
Type:
REG
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 www.wsihq.com
For more information please email www.gctemp@wsihq.com or call 561-632-8837 or 561-275-8585.
EOE, M/F/D/V
Apply here.
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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: 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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Black Swan Events: Earthquake/Tsunami In Japan, Uprisings In The Middle East

     This is tragic, and my heart goes out to all those impacted by these disasters.  I was watching the tsunami in Japan on television and the footage was remarkable.  The tsunami was a result of an earthquake and it has pummeled Japan. There is a tsunami warning for Hawaii, other Pacific islands, and the entire West Coast in the US. To follow this stuff, definitely track the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center and your local news to get updates.

     A couple of things that come to mind on this.  This event, along with what is going on in Libya and potentially in Saudi Arabia, are all combining to make a Blackswan Event. Events that were not predicted, and change the dynamic dramatically. What I mean by that, is that the shock waves from both disasters, could have drastic consequence. The price of oil will rise, and all the business and economies that depend upon the stability of Japan will be negatively impacted. If Hawaii and the West Coast of the US are hit, that could have consequence as well. I will further update this post as events unfold and we will see how it goes…. -Matt

Update: 03/12/2011- Now the latest deal is the Nuclear Facilities in Japan are in dire straights. If they melt down, the fallout is of concern.  In the comments section, I have put up an article that discusses the fallout potential, and especially how it would impact North America via the Pacific Jet Stream.

Major Earthquake, Tsunami Hit Japan

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Major Earthquake, Tsunami Hit Japan

March 11, 2011

A massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake has struck off Japan’s northeastern coast, triggering a four meter tsunami that washed away cars along parts of the coastline.Video from national broadcaster NHK showed dozens of cars, large ferries and some buildings being swept out to sea in the port city of Kamaishi in the province of Iwate.The Japanese Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami warming for the entire Pacific coast of Japan following the quake that struck about 125 kilometers off the eastern coast, at a depth of 10 kilometers.  Residents in the coastal areas have been urged to immediately evacuate to higher ground.The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in the U.S. state of Hawaii said a tsunami warning was also in effect for Russia, Marcus Island and the Northern Marianas.  It said a tsunami watch was issued for Guam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia and Hawaii.

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