DUPONT, Wash. – Washington suffered its worst wildfire season in state history in 2015. Raging fires burned more than one million acres of public and private lands. After two straight years of record-breaking wildfires, vast areas of the state face a much greater risk of flash flooding, debris flow and mudslides. But a team effort by all levels of government aims to reduce those threats to public safety.
The team—called the Erosion Threat Assessment/Reduction Team (ETART)—was formed by the Washington Military Department’s Emergency Management Division (EMD) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) after the Carlton Complex Fire of 2014. A new ETART was formed in October 2015 following the federal disaster declaration for the 2015 wildfires.
ETART participants include EMD, FEMA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the National Weather Service, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, the Washington State Conservation Commission, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources, the Spokane, Okanagan and Whatcom conservation districts, and many others.
Led by the Okanogan Conservation District, ETART members measured soil quality, assessed watershed changes, identified downstream risks and developed recommendations to treat burned state, tribal and private lands.
“Without vegetation to soak up rainwater on charred mountainsides, flash floods and debris flows may occur after a drizzle or a downpour,” said Anna Daggett, FEMA’s ETART coordinator. “ETART brings together partners to collaborate on ways to reduce the vulnerability of those downstream homes, businesses and communities.”
Besides seeding, erosion control measures may include debris racks, temporary berms, low-water crossings and sediment retention basins. Other suggestions may include bigger culverts, more rain gauges and warning signs, and improved road drainage systems.
While public health and safety remains the top priority, other values at risk include property, natural resources, fish and wildlife habitats, as well as cultural and heritage sites.
“ETART addresses post-fire dangers and promotes collective action,” said Gary Urbas, EMD’s ETART coordinator. “With experienced partners at the table, we can assess and prioritize projects, then identify potential funding streams to fit each project based on scale, location and other criteria, which may lead to a faster and more cost-effective solution.”
Since the major disaster declaration resulting from wildfire and mudslide damages that occurred Aug. 9 to Sept. 10, 2015, FEMA has obligated more than $2.9 million in Public Assistance grants to
Washington. Those funds reimburse eligible applicants in Chelan, Ferry, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Whatcom and Yakima counties, as well as the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, for at least 75 percent of the costs for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and the repair or restoration of disaster-damaged infrastructure.
After the 2014 Carlton Complex Fire, FEMA provided $2.4 million in Public Assistance grants specifically for ETART-identified projects. Those grants funded erosion control measures that reduced the effects of the 2015 wildfires—such as installing straw wattles, clearing culverts and ditches of debris, shoring up breached pond dams, and seeding and mulching burned lands.
FEMA also offers fire suppression grants, firefighter assistance grants, Hazard Mitigation Grants and National Fire Academy Educational Programs.
Affected jurisdictions, landowners and business owners continue to submit requests for grants, disaster loans, goods, services and technical assistance from local, state and federal sources to recover from the wildfires, protect the watersheds or reduce the risks associated with flooding and other natural hazards.
ETART recently issued its final report, which details its methodology, assessments, debris-flow model maps, activities and recommendations. Completed activities include:
Compiled and shared multi-agency risk assessments across jurisdictions through a public file-sharing site.
Developed and disseminated an interagency program guide to assist jurisdictions seeking assistance.
Transitioned ETART to a long-term standing committee to address threats, improve planning, and resolve policy and coordination issues that may thwart successful response and recovery efforts related to past fires and potential future events.
The “2015 Washington Wildfires Erosion Threat Assessment/Reduction Team Final Report” is available at https://data.femadata.com/Region10/Disasters/DR4243/ETART/Reports/. Visitors to this site may also access “Before, During and After a Wildfire Coordination Guide” developed by ETART.
More information about the PA program is available at www.fema.gov/public-assistance-local-state-tribal-and-non-profit and on the Washington EMD website at http://mil.wa.gov/emergency-management-division/disaster-assistance/public-assistance.
Additional information regarding the federal response to the 2015 wildfire disaster, including funds obligated, is available at www.fema.gov/disaster/4243.
A breach a day is the new norm. In the past 12 months there have been a number of high profile breaches. Take Sony for example, they lost control of their entire network. The hackers were releasing feature length movies onto torrent sites for people to freely download. This was very high profile at the time and it was incredibly damaging. TalkTalk, had all of their customer information dumped onto the internet for everybody to use. XBOX Game Network was hacked over the Christmas period. They had a Distributed Denial of Service – the hackers just wanted to do it for the fun of it! Famous political figures have also had their public profiles very notably defamed.
These hacks happen everyday. A breach a day is the new norm.
It’s a common phrase you have probably heard throughout your career: A crisis management plan is a living document. It’s a reminder that any crisis plan should be updated continually to reflect a business, its employees and the threats that might impact normal operations.
However, in practice, ensuring your plan is current, and your team is up-to-date, requires a significant investment in time and patience, and can be downright challenging. But if your company makes crisis management a priority, it is possible.
Here are three key ways to ensure your plan and team are always up to date:
Active shooter incidents have become an increasingly significant threat in healthcare and hospital environments. According to a study conducted by the FBI titled Workplace Violence: Issues in Response, healthcare employees experience the largest number of Type 2 active shooter assaults (assaults on an employee by a customer, patient, or someone else receiving a service).  Also, in a 12 year study conducted by Johns Hopkins, hospital-based active shooter incidents in the United States increased from 9 per year in the first half of the study to 16.7 per year in the second half. 
Because of the increased active shooter risk that healthcare and hospital facilities face, it is crucial for decision-makers to integrate active shooter preparedness into their workplace violence prevention policy and to provide reality-based training and resources for their staff. Of equal importance is an emergency response procedure and communication strategy. Shooting incidents are unique in hospitals and healthcare settings and they require a clear, concise communication action plan.
With escalating risks and uncertainty around the globe, cities are challenged with understanding and circumventing those risks to stay vital. Much as in the business world, municipalities are moving towards resilience—the capability to survive, adapt and grow no matter what types of stresses are experienced.
Recognizing that they have much to offer each other, communities and businesses are often working together to pool their experience and knowledge. Helping to foster this is a project called the 100 Resilient Cities Challenge, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. The project has selected 100 cities around the world and provided funding for them to hire a chief resilience officer.
“Resilience is a study of complex systems,” said Charles Rath, president and CEO of Resilient Solutons 21. He spoke about resilience and his experiences with the 100 Resilient Cities Challenge at the recent forum, “Pathways to Resilience,” hosted by the American Security Project and Lloyd’s in Washington, D.C. “To me, resilience is a mechanism that allows us to look at our cities, communities, governments and businesses almost as living organisms—economic systems that are connected to social systems, that are connected to environmental systems and fiscal systems. One area we need to work on is understanding those connections and how these systems work.”
The enterprise has been sitting on a goldmine of valuable information for several decades now, but only recently has it had access to the technology to pull it all together and make sense of it. This is leading to a shift in the way organizations value both data and infrastructure – data becoming increasingly important to the business model while distributed cloud architectures and commodity hardware are diminishing the significance of infrastructure.
But raw data is like unrefined ore: There is potential there, but first it must be retrieved, cleaned, refined and then delivered to those who find it most desirable. For that, you need a top-notch data management platform.
According to a recent study by Veritas, many organizations are still squandering the value of data simply by not having a full understanding of what they have and how it can be utilized. More than 40 percent of data, in fact, hasn’t been accessed in three years. In some instances, this is due to compliance and regulatory issues, but in many cases it can be traced to improper management. Once data enters the archives, it tends to be lost forever even though it may still have value to present-day processes. As well, developer files and compressed files make up about a third of all stored data, even though the projects they supported are long gone. There is also a significant amount of orphaned data, unowned and unclaimed by anyone in the organization, and this is becoming increasingly populated with rich media files like video chats and graphics-heavy presentations.
As demonstrated in events like the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic and the Ebola response of 2014, children can be particularly vulnerable in emergency situations. Children are still developing physically, emotionally, and socially and often require different responses to events than adults. With children ages 0 to 17 representing nearly a quarter of the US population, the specific needs of children during planning for natural, accidental, and intentional disasters has become a national priority.
Collaboration is Key
To practice preparedness among first responders, CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) joined forces to host a tabletop exercise on responding to an infectious disease threat at the federal, state, and local levels. Pediatric clinicians and public health representatives within federal region VI, (i.e. the “TALON” states of Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and New Mexico) worked in teams to develop responses to a simulated outbreak of pediatric smallpox. Representatives collaborated to identify potential disease contacts, develop plans for Strategic National Stockpile countermeasure distribution, and communicate effectively with other health leaders to meet pediatric care needs. Children tend to have different exposure risks, need different doses of medications, and have more diverse physical and emotional needs than adults during a public health emergency. This training exercise served as a model to increase the focus on the unique needs of children in emergency preparedness and response activities.
Bringing health professionals from different backgrounds together demonstrated how building connections during public health emergencies can improve response efforts and save lives. The day-long exercise gave participants the opportunity to see different problem-solving skills and unique viewpoints that other responders brought to the scenario.
One participant in the exercise, Curtis Knoles, MD, FAAP, commented, “The exercise gave a good understanding of next steps we need to take; identify all the players involved with the pediatrics community and get them tied into the state department of health.”
Practice like the Pros at Home
While the tabletop exercise focused on emergency planning and response on a broad level, there are many ways you can practice keeping your children safe during an emergency, too. Check out some of the resources below for resources and ideas on how you can keep your family prepared!
- Make creating your emergency kit fun—let your kids pick out some snacks and games to include! Be sure to have a kit at home and in the car!
- Get your kids involved with emergency preparedness with Ready Wrigley games, coloring pages, and checklists
- Make and practice plans for where to go and how to communicate in case of an emergency
DURHAM, NC – Principled Technologies (PT) deployed a private cloud on Lenovo Performance Rack Servers powered by Intel with Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 7. PT created a deployment guide to show you how to prepare, deploy, provision, and manage this Red Hat cloud solution on the Lenovo servers.
About Principled Technologies, Inc.
Principled Technologies, Inc. is the leading provider of technology marketing and learning & development services.
Principled Technologies, Inc. is located in Durham, North Carolina, in NC's Research Triangle Park region. For more information, please visit www.PrincipledTechnologies.com.
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inSync Extends eDiscovery and Compliance Capabilities to Cloud Applications and Endpoint Data
SUNNYVALE, Calif. – Druva, the leader in converged data protection, today unveiled expanded data protection coverage for Druva inSync. inSync end-user data sources now include Box, Google Apps for Work (Google Drive, Google Docs and Gmail) and Office 365 (Exchange Online), providing for data collection, recoverability and governance to be managed via a single, integrated platform. Druva inSync efficiently aggregates end-user data, whether it resides on a laptop, mobile device or in cloud applications so that enterprises have better visibility and control of their data. With this new cloud application support, Druva is the only data protection provider enabling enterprises to have a comprehensive view of end-user data, regardless of its source.
Today's dispersed, decentralized and mobile work environment has resulted in data residing on laptops, mobile devices and in the cloud. As organizations' data continues to become more dispersed, the challenges of both data visibility and its security become even more demanding. In particular, data governance becomes a chief concern due to the difficulty of adhering to legal and compliance requirements such as those posed by new data privacy regulations. For instance, both the EU's new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Privacy Shield require visibility beyond what most organizations have in place today. Centralizing visibility of end-user data and its potential risk helps organizations comply.
"A user-centric approach to data protection and governance is key to a company's managing data throughout its entire lifecycle, and across, among and between various devices, endpoints and the cloud," said Jaspreet Singh, CEO of Druva. "Today's businesses need a single solution for data availability and corporate governance -- eDiscovery, audit, search and compliance management covering data on cloud apps and endpoints -- and that's what Druva is delivering. This expanded data protection follows the user, something that is imperative as enterprises make use of new cloud services while working to adhere to data availability and corporate governance policies."
Druva inSync offers a single access point for viewing, monitoring and managing end-user data without having to manually access separate data sources through disparate solutions. Druva now additionally automates and unifies backup, archival and governance capabilities across multiple cloud applications. inSync's new Microsoft Exchange Online support helps companies meet their hosted email and message-based governance needs. The new cloud applications support also protects data shared via online file sharing/content management service Box, which Druva has entered into a recent partnership with, and Google Apps, a suite of cloud computing productivity and collaboration software tools that includes Gmail, Google Drive and Google Docs.
"The long-expected surge in adoption of cloud office systems has been underway since mid-2014. Very soon, the question facing enterprise collaboration and communications leaders will not be whether to move these workloads to the cloud, but how painful will it be to remain on-premises?" wrote Jeffrey Mann, Research Vice President of Gartner. "Although penetration is far from universal, enterprise cloud office system adoption is becoming mainstream."*
Druva inSync is the top-rated industry analyst endpoint and cloud service data protection solution that integrates secure, scalable, high-performance data collection and recoverability, remote file access, data loss prevention, eDiscovery and automated compliance monitoring. With the addition of the new cloud application support, organizations now have the ability to incorporate their cloud-hosted data for:
- Automated compliance management powered by full text search capabilities and built-in compliance templates (e.g. HIPAA, GLBA, PHI / PII related) to monitor for potential data risks and easily meet data regulations
- Built-in legal hold workflow for eDiscovery to quickly collect and preserve data in place for any organization's investigative or litigation needs
- Federated search to quickly locate files across the organization and all services
- Tamper-proof Audit trails for providing full data and user tracking for investigation and compliance audits
- Automated compliance alerts based on identified policy infractions enable visibility into latent data risks so they can quickly remediate them
- Forensic-based collection and chain of custody reporting to ensure legal admissibility and remove the risk of spoliation
Pricing and Availability
Druva inSync for Box and Office 365, including OneDrive and Exchange Online, are available today. Google Apps is in limited availability with general availability next month. Cloud Application support is part of the Druva inSync Elite and Elite Plus subscription plans at additional charge.
* Gartner, "Cloud Office Questions Begin the Shift From 'If' to 'When,'" Jeffrey Mann, April 21, 2015
Druva is the leader in converged data protection, bringing data-center class availability and governance to the mobile and distributed enterprise. With a single dashboard for backup, availability and governance, Druva's award-winning solutions minimize network impact and are transparent to users. As the industry's fastest growing data protection provider, Druva is trusted by over 3,000 global organizations on over 3 million devices. Learn more at www.druva.com and join the conversation at twitter.com/druvainc.
Fully Virtualized Deployment Is Both Engineering Triumph and Business Accelerator
LONDON – Network software provider Metaswitch Networks® today announced that Broadvoice, a premier provider of hosted voice and data products and one of the earliest adopters of the Metaswitch virtualized platform, has gone live with a multi-state, geo-redundant configuration of Metaswitch's clustered MetaSphere Multiservice Telephony Application Server (MTAS) in the cloud.
"With this further investment in Metaswitch's world-class technology and support services, we are doubling-down on our success to ensure that we are best positioned for taking advantage of NFV while securing our network against potential disasters, including earthquakes," said Jim Murphy, CEO of Broadvoice. "We are committed to providing a best-in-class communication platform to our channel partners and customers. All of our hosted voice customers have been seamlessly migrated to the new platform, affording them unrivalled redundancy and reliability while giving us the ability to easily flex and scale our services to our customers' demands, at any location."
A leader in adopting forward-thinking technologies, Broadvoice believes that the new model of a fully-virtualized network from Metaswitch provides them with unmatched scalability, flexibility and cost-efficiency. Building on Metaswitch's leadership in virtual network functions, Broadvoice is able to offer carrier-grade real time services including Cloud PBX, and Business Unified Communications functions, alongside existing residential service offerings, with unparalleled multi-site redundancy and reliability.
Broadvoice has deployed the MetaSphere MTAS -- Metaswitch's complete call control, unified communications and contact center solution -- and the Metaswitch Service Assurance Server (SAS), which gives Broadvoice deep network visibility and continuous diagnostic capabilities. Each of these systems is split across multiple cloud locations, providing highly-available and geographically-redundant network service, ensuring business continuity.
"This deployment really shows that NFV is ready for prime time," said Al Mitchell, senior vice president of engineering at Metaswitch Networks. "Innovative network operators like Broadvoice are working with our market leading virtual network functions to maintain leadership in a highly competitive business, offering dependable, differentiated and profitable services in the most cost-efficient manner."
Headquartered in Los Angeles, CA, Broadvoice is a premier provider of hosted voice and data products. Utilizing the latest technology, Broadvoice helps consumers and businesses achieve higher call quality and faster internet speeds while reducing their overall costs and improving efficiency. The company continuously designs and implements new features and services that allow companies to focus on their business. Broadvoice has been ranked in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 and Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Private Companies in America. More information about the company can be found at www.broadvoice.com
About Metaswitch Networks
Metaswitch is powering the transition of communication networks into a cloud-based, software-centric, all-IP future. As the world's leading network software provider, we design, develop, deliver and support commercial and open-source software solutions for network operators and large enterprises. We are focused on delivering high-performance software that runs on commercial, off-the-shelf hardware, as appliances or in the cloud. Our IP Multimedia Communications Software has been adopted by more than 1,000 customers worldwide, while our Software-Defined Networking portfolio is adding intelligence to white box platforms, cost-effectively virtualizing network routing and hyperscaling the data center. For more information, please visit: http://www.metaswitch.com.
Copyright © 2016 Metaswitch Networks. "Metaswitch" and "Metaswitch Networks" are registered trademarks. Brands and products referenced herein are the trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.