This week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) co-hosted an outreach event with the Congressional Smart Cities Caucus to highlight how new technology can support hurricane resilience and save lives. The event was particularly poignant given the ongoing response and recovery efforts in the Carolinas following Hurricane Florence. My heart goes out to those whose lives have been turned upside down by the storm and subsequent flooding.
It is a sobering reminder of the ongoing threat hurricanes pose to the U.S., and how important it is to ensure communities have the tools they need to respond and recover to these disasters.
Given the size and scope of this challenge, S&T partners with innovators across government, industry and academia to develop new technologies and knowledge solutions that can improve the nation’s ability to prepare for, respond to and recover from hurricanes. This week’s event brought together members of Congress, DHS components, public safety stakeholders and S&T experts to showcase solutions already having an impact, as well as ongoing efforts that will build on this success.
Before a hurricane makes landfall, officials can use Hurricane Evacuation (HURREVAC) eXtended (HV-X), Advanced CIRCulation (ADCRIC), and Simulation-Based Decision Support System for Water Infrastructure Safety (DSS-WISE) Lite™ tools to simulate and visualize the potential impacts of storm surge and flooding on local communities. This insight can inform evacuation and resource-staging decisions, which save lives. S&T is also developing a specific Port Disruption Assessment Tool to help decision maker minimize the economic impacts of hurricanes, as well as an Internet Outage Detection resource that visualizes internet outages to guide response efforts.
To make communication easier and more effective during response, public safety can use the Android Team Awareness Kit (ATAK), datacasting technology, ResponderCQ, and Incident Management Preparedness and Coordination Toolkit (IMPACT). These resources allow teams to share real-time location information, track assets and securely send large data packages when cellular networks are overwhelmed or knocked out due to the storm. We’ve also developed a Digital Volunteer Guide and the ability to analyze open source and social media data streams to provide surge support when response agencies resources are stretched thin, which helps turn vast amounts of social media posts into actionable insight.
Finally, S&T is developing new ways to equip communities with resources and knowledge to improve flood protection. The Port and Waterway Resiliency, Historical Flood Extents, Internet of Things Low-Cost Flood Inundation Sensors, and National Resilience Standards for Flood Proofing Products efforts will provide analytical tools and evaluation methods that officials can use to better mitigate hurricane damage to important waterways and critical infrastructure systems. These resources will also provide more accurate information about floods to inform alerts and warnings.
I encourage you to learn more about how these technologies are making an impact by exploring the latest installment of the S&T Impact series on Disaster Resilience. Also, remember to follow S&T on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for the latest updates on resilience technology and opportunities to partner with us.