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Science and Technology

Science and Technology

Solving the Preparedness Puzzle

Between December 1811 and February 1812, the central U.S. experienced three major earthquakes, each having a magnitude of 7.0 or greater. The United States Geographic Survey indicates the probability of a similar quake of magnitude 6.0 or greater occurring during the next fifty years is somewhere between 28 and 46 percent. In today’s context, it is almost impossible to imagine the full impact of such a catastrophic event. So how do we, as a society, prepare for something William N. Bryan; Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary for Science and Technology.that is almost unimaginable? The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is focused on ensuring that we are all ready for whatever comes our way and that our communities are able to remain resilient in the aftermath.

In the coming weeks, you will hear more from DHS S&T and our colleagues at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) about an exercise called Shaken Fury, which will assemble several key puzzle pieces—government (federal, state, and local), first responders of all disciplines, the private sector, academia, non-governmental organizations, media, and the general public—to evaluate the bigger preparedness picture. We want to make sure we have everything fine-tuned so when a disaster does occur, the proper plans and courses of action are in place, and our stakeholders have every resource readily available.

Scheduled to take place over a week at the beginning of June, Shaken Fury will simulate response and recovery to a 7.7 magnitude earthquake near Memphis, Tennessee. Over the past 18 months, DHS S&T has been working with planners and practitioners in preparation for this exercise to enable regional resilience through the introduction and adoption of new innovations, technologies and tools. We are partnering with FEMA and the Central United States Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC) to enhance information sharing and decision support, including mechanisms to assist with the uptake of FEMA’s new Community Lifelines doctrine. As well, our partnership with FEMA’s Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) program will expose first responders to emerging and developed technologies and advance their ability to save lives at disaster sites. With teams from Canada and Australia participating, this USAR exercise offers DHS S&T the unique opportunity to showcase technologies on an international stage.

FEMA’s Shaken Fury response and recovery plans will focus on events in the New Madrid seismic zone, and DHS S&T will take this a step further, leveraging the opportunity to introduce and transition new and established technologies that will elevate regional resilience across a whole spectrum of potential threats and hazards. The work directly aligns to FEMA’s Strategic plan and the agency’s seven Community Lifelines. DHS S&T looks forward to continuing this work after Shaken Fury, to further entrench the necessary protocols and practices that will help communities sustain their elevated posture of resilience. We will work together to transition these technologies and use lessons learned to help ready communities for everyday emergencies and large-scale disasters.

It takes great vision and many hands to assemble a puzzle of the size and scope of Shaken Fury. DHS S&T will continue to keep you posted about how planning is coming together and why a partnership and exercise of this magnitude is so vital to the safety of our communities and our nation.

We are excited to embark on this endeavor and look forward to seeing each piece of the Shaken Fury framework develop. What strategies are working in your agency or community? What are the technologies missing from your preparedness puzzle? Tell us at first.responder@hq.dhs.gov.

 

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