Updates on S&T programs and technologies that are helping stakeholders prepare for, and recover from, severe weather events
It’s been a matter of weeks since the 2022 hurricane season kicked off, and in that time, we have already seen one named tropical storm. Experts predict that this will be a busier-than-usual season, which means that getting resources to those on the front lines in our coastal communities, or inland cities and towns potentially in storms’ paths, is of the utmost importance.
At the Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), we make it our mission to arm first responders, emergency managers, businesses, non-government organizations, and others with knowledge, tools and technologies that will serve them before, during, and after storms come ashore. We continue to seek out the strongest partnerships and invest in cutting-edge solutions that save time and spur action when every second counts. Here are three recent updates on S&T hurricane-related efforts that are sure to play an important role this season.
Single Automated Business Exchange for Reporting (SABER)
This month, the S&T-funded SABER platform transitioned to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Corporate Citizenship Center. SABER provides users with a means to upload and share real-time data—particularly with government aid entities like FEMA—during an emergency or crisis. The data, which could include a company’s operational status, obstructions like blocked roads, building damage or power outages, or resources needed to resume normal operations, can effectively help businesses (and, in turn, private citizens) recover and get back on their feet. As the Chamber mentioned in a recent email announcing the transition, “adding SABER to [their] portfolio of disaster response tools will enhance operational coordination across both public and private sectors.” The platform has been used in the aftermath of earthquakes, in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in previous storms like Hurricane Dorian. We have no doubt it will continue to serve as an invaluable resource under the stewardship of the Chamber Foundation.
Chemical Security Analysis Center (CSAC) Technical Assistance Hotline
Our national lab offers a 24/7 hotline staffed by CSAC chemical security experts who can execute crucial modeling and analysis on a variety of chemical hazards, vulnerabilities, and incidents—including tropical storms, hurricanes and other severe weather conditions. CSAC arms emergency managers and first responders with science-based data that can inform planning and preparedness before a storm hits. For instance, the lab identifies chemical facilities in a storm’s predicted path and analyzes which infrastructure could be particularly susceptible to chemical release resulting from building damage or loss of power. The data can also inform response efforts, particularly in areas near industrial facilities or where chemicals are transported by road and rail. Learn more about the six vital steps CSAC takes to support preparedness and resiliency in the face of extreme weather.
Post-storm, we’re rethinking how relief is delivered to areas impacted by disasters. During these chaotic times, first responders and civilians need crucial support, and one of the most essential requirements is a stable power supply. S&T is working alongside the Department of Energy, Army Corps of Engineers, Army Ground Vehicle Systems Center, and Cummins Inc. to design and prototype an innovative emergency response vehicle, known as H2Rescue—a hydrogen fuel cell-powered truck that will serve as a lifeline to responders and community members during response and recovery efforts. The zero-emission vehicle will soon be able to deliver lifesaving medical, food, and water supplies; establish a mobile command center; and generate a significant amount of external power to support field operations. S&T and the H2Rescue team will demonstrate this cutting-edge technology to FEMA and response agencies in California and Colorado later this year.
We remain committed to ensuring that science and technology in general, and the Science and Technology Directorate especially, have a lasting impact on our nation’s disaster resilience. Emergency managers and planners across the U.S., we want to hear from you—how are you leveraging science and technology to make your community hurricane-resilient? Tell us: @DHSSciTech on all major social media platforms or CIR_STMCS@hq.dhs.gov.