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Critical Infrastructure and Turkey Dinners: Bringing Americans Together

Critical Infrastructure and Turkey Dinners: Bringing Americans Together

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and although friends and family are rightfully at the top of many of our lists of what we’re thankful for, there is something else that is often taken for granted but is well-deserving of appreciation—our nation’s critical infrastructure.

William N. Bryan, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary for Science and TechnologyIn fact, Thanksgiving would be difficult to even celebrate without the farms that grow and raise our food, electricity, and transportation and communication systems to bring us all together. And in addition to making the turkey dinner possible, infrastructure also supports another beloved Thanksgiving tradition: football!

That’s why it’s particularly fitting that November, in addition to being a time of national festivity, is also Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) helps fortify our nation through numerous innovative solutions that make keeping our roads, bridges, power lines, and so much more, safe and reliable.  S&T works with industry, responders, and other stakeholders, before, during and after events happen to make sure the nation and critical infrastructure sectors are prepared. Below are a just a few of the way S&T impacts the security of our nation.

SAFETY Act

DHS S&T’s Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act (SAFETY Act) minimizes the risk of liability to new solutions. The SAFETY Act provides incentives for companies that have developed technologies to protect public venues from terror attacks. The National Football League, Major League Baseball, and National Basketball Association have all played a key role in significantly upgrading and strengthening security at stadiums and arenas throughout the country with the help of the SAFETY Act.

With more than 1,000 qualified anti-terrorism technologies – from metal detectors visitors walk through to risk mitigation modeling – SAFETY Act certification covers a broad range of layered security solutions to help stay ahead of evolving threats and ultimately save lives.

NGFR – Birmingham Shaken Fury Operational Experimentation

DHS S&T’s Next Generation First Responder Program (NGFR) recently partnered with public safety agencies from the City of Birmingham and Jefferson County, Alabama, for the NGFR – Birmingham Shaken Fury Operational Experimentation as part of preparations for the World Games 2021.

The training event was aimed at ensuring local emergency medical services, firefighters, and law enforcement would be ready if something terrible like a major earthquake happened at Legion Field Stadium. It addressed capability gaps through cutting-edge technologies such as wearable sensors that can monitor the vitals and location of individual responders or can identify potentially hazardous materials.

Flood Apex Program

Flooding is the most common type of natural disaster in the United States. DHS S&T developed the Flood Apex Program, in partnership with FEMA, to bring new technologies and new thinking to how we cope with America’s costliest disaster. The program aims to reduce fatalities and property losses, increase community resilience, and develop better investment strategies to prepare for, respond to, recover from, and mitigate against flood hazards.

The Emerging Private Residential Flood Insurance Market in the United States report, funded by the program, documented the current state of the private, residential flood insurance market across the U.S.—determining the main factors that influence the number and form of flood insurance policies offered by the private market and identifying policy options to ensure coverage for those who need it.

The program is also exploring smarter remote sensing capabilities for situational awareness, employing high-performance computing and artificial intelligence to analyze satellite data, and realigned economic incentives to bolster resiliency preparations.

Give Thanks

These examples are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to DHS S&T impacts on our critical infrastructure security and resiliency. This ongoing effort requires nationwide cooperation and collaboration every month of the year, with public and private partners working together toward a common goal. Learn more about S&T’s impact in this area.

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