Atlanta, GA, United States
Atlanta, GA, United States

Time filter

Source Type

News Article | May 9, 2017
Site: www.businesswire.com

ST. MARTINVILLE, La.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Join representatives from the offices of U.S. Senator John Kennedy (R-LA), U.S. Representative Clay Higgins (R-LA), the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) and St. Martin Bank & Trust at two community events to recognize Louisiana flood relief efforts. Following the Great Flood of 2016, St. Martin Bank & Trust received $117,000 in Special Disaster Relief Program grants from FHLB Dallas that assisted residents of Lafayette and surrounding communities. Local homeowners and community leaders will share stories of recovery. Members of the media are encouraged to attend. Photo and interview opportunities will be available. The first event will be held at noon, Monday, May 15, 2017, at St. Martin Bank & Trust, 301 S. Main Street, St. Martinville, Louisiana. The second event will be held at 3:00 p.m., at St. Martin Bank & Trust, 114 N. Main Street, Church Point, Louisiana. The Special Disaster Relief Program provided recovery assistance to help members’ employees and citizens whose homes had been damaged or destroyed as a result of the August 2016 floods in Louisiana. Grants were available for owner-occupied housing in parishes designated for Individual Assistance by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and were intended to assist with reasonable and necessary expenses that were not otherwise compensated for by insurance or other reimbursement. For more information about FHLB Dallas, visit fhlb.com.


News Article | May 10, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

Increased flooding caused by sea-level rise is a growing threat to coastal communities in the United States. In response to the issue, Jason M. Evans, Ph.D., assistant professor of environmental science and studies at Stetson University is working with Sea Grant programs and several communities in the southeast including St. Marys, Georgia, and Satellite Beach, Florida, to discover ways to adapt to sea-level rise. Evans will present research findings and address community concerns at several events throughout Florida and Georgia in the coming weeks. Evans’ research focuses on discovering vulnerabilities of public facilities such as stormwater drainage systems, fire stations and wastewater treatment plants, and finding ways to help communities adapt to sea-level rise and become more resilient to coastal hazards. His research is in collaboration with Sea Grant programs in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina. On May 11, Evans will participate in this Florida Sea Grant workshop geared towards local government managers, attorneys, engineers, floodplain managers and planners focusing on the legal and policy challenges confronted by local governments as they face increased flooding and sea-level rise. The workshop will provide a brief overview of sea-level rise and flooding projections, showcase regional efforts to evaluate vulnerability and reduce flood risk, discuss state law requiring planning for flood and sea-level rise, and review the changing landscape of flood insurance. At the annual meeting on May 16 Evans will discuss the City of Satellite Beach Community Resilience Campaign. This program builds on past research to measure, map and assess areas of vulnerability to sea-level rise. The goal of the Florida Coastal Management Program is to coordinate local, state and federal agency activities using existing laws to ensure that Florida’s coast is as valuable to future generations as it is today. This event brings together stakeholders and partners to discuss local coastal management issues. St. Marys, Georgia, Flood Resiliency Project On May 15, Evans and many of the authors and researchers that were part of the St. Marys Flood Resiliency Project will present their findings from a three-year study on the rising risks of flooding to the City of St. Marys Mayor and Council. A collaboration between St. Marys, Georgia Sea Grant, Stetson University and North Carolina Sea Grant, the project began with a series of stakeholder interviews, town hall public meetings and facilitated discussion sessions to form the heart of an innovative Vulnerability, Consequences and Adaptation Planning Scenarios (VCAPS) structural modeling approach. Results from the VCAPS process were then used to inform a series of custom geo-spatial vulnerability assessments that analyzed current and future flood risks to property and infrastructure under different sea-level rise scenarios. The VCAPS process and geo-spatial assessments both indicated the high vulnerability of historic downtown St. Marys, on the banks of the St. Marys River estuary, to current and future coastal flooding. While the most serious and acute flood risks in St. Marys are associated with storm surges from tropical cyclones, there are increasing concerns about more chronic flood events associated with intense rain storms that occur at or near high tide. Detailed analysis of the city’s infrastructure indicates that the configuration of the stormwater drainage system, which was built decades ago without any knowledge of long-term sea-level rise, is a major source of flood vulnerability. This vulnerability is expected to worsen as a direct function of sea-level rise unless the local stormwater infrastructure system is upgraded over time. Although there are substantial challenges, much of St. Marys’ flood vulnerability likely can be managed with appropriate planning and investments over the next several decades. “It has been a wonderful opportunity to work with the people of St. Marys on this project over the past few years,” said Evans. “We believe that the final report provides a base amount of information and data that will assist the continuing efforts of city officials to reduce flood risks for the benefit of current and future residents, while at the same time maintaining the unique historic character that has long made St. Marys one of the crown jewels of the Georgia coast.” A complementary objective of this project was for Georgia Sea Grant personnel to assist the City of St. Marys with its application to join the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Community Rating System (CRS). Last May, St. Marys successfully joined CRS with a Class 7 score. This translates into a 15 percent reduction in National Flood Insurance Program premiums for properties within the Special Flood Hazard Area. In the first year following this successful CRS application, it is estimated that St. Marys residents saved over $87,000 on their flood insurance premiums. About Stetson University Founded in 1883, Stetson University is the oldest private university in Central Florida, providing a transforming education in the liberal arts tradition. Stetson stresses academic excellence and community-engaged learning, and consistently earns high marks in national rankings. Stetson encourages its students to go beyond success to significance in their lives, the lives of others and their communities. Stay connected with Stetson on social media.


News Article | May 8, 2017
Site: co.newswire.com

TerrorMate, a pioneer in mass notification, announced that it is now a verified Alert Distributor of FEMA's (Federal Emergency Management Agency) IPAWS EAS (emergency alert system) alert feed. TerrorMate's notification system has been rigorously tested and successfully meets FEMA's requirements for receiving IPAWS EAS alerts. TerrorMate, coupled with IPAWS, simplifies service configuration by providing a single, secure source for receiving government-issued alerts. This helps emergency management officials and system administrators by streamlining public safety, situational awareness, and emergency preparedness initiatives to protect their people and assets. FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) is an internet-based capability Federal, State, territorial, tribal, and local authorities can use to issue critical public alerts and warnings. During an emergency, alert and warning officials need to provide the public with life-saving information quickly. The Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) is a modernization and integration of the nation’s alert and warning infrastructure and will save time when time matters most, protecting life and property. Federal, State, local, tribal, and territorial alerting authorities can use IPAWS and integrate local systems that use Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) standards with the IPAWS infrastructure. IPAWS provides public safety officials with an effective way to alert and warn the public about serious emergencies using the Emergency Alert System (EAS), Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio, and other public alerting systems from a single interface. "We are really proud to have this partnership with FEMA. It gives the public access to a broader scope of alerts and keeps them safe during terror attacks by getting real-time, verifiable intelligence of the incident in a very short time, on their mobile device," said Barry Oberholzer, founder of TerrorMate. TerrorMate is due to launch on Apple and Android devices by June 15, 2017. TerrorMate™ is a proprietary mobile application developed by TerrorTech, which creates a structured mobile, real time, intelligence system that sends informative and factual terror alerts and safety guides during a terror attack/alert. TerrorMate™ alerts users to both possible and actual terror attacks and provides information on how to stay safe in the affected area. Real-time advisories and intelligence are sent in short format updating the user on events as they happen. It utilizes the users’ geolocation to deliver information tailored to each users’ location, with alerts appearing within minutes of an attack or alert. In addition, users are able to upload real-time media of the attack or suspicious activity and send anonymous tips as well as share information with their friends and family with the TerrorMate trusted contacts feature.


Coastal communities are enduring growing flood risks from rising seas, with places like Atlantic City, sandwiched between a bay and the ocean, facing some of the greatest threats. Guided by new research by Climate Central’s Scott Kulp and Benjamin Strauss, reporter John Upton and photographer Ted Blanco chronicled the plight of this city’s residents as they struggle to deal with the impacts. Upton spent months investigating how the city is adapting, revealing vast inequity between the rich and the poor. A driver plowed a sedan forcefully up Arizona Avenue, which had flooded to knee height during a winter storm as high tide approached. The wake from the passing Honda buffeted low brick fences lining the tidy homes of working-class residents of this failing casino city, pushing floodwaters into Eileen DeDomenicis’s living room. “It wasn’t bad when we first moved in here — the flooding wasn’t bad,” DeDomenicis said on a stormy morning in March, after helping her husband put furniture on blocks. She counted down until the tide would start to ebb, using a yardstick to measure the height of floodwaters climbing her patio stairs. She was tracking how many more inches it would take to inundate the ground floor. “When somebody comes by in a car, it splashes up. It hits the door.” DeDomenicis has lived in this house since 1982, a few hundred feet from a bay. She used to work as a restaurant server; now she’s a school crossing guard. Her husband walked a mile to his job at Bally’s Casino until he retired in January. They’ve seen floods worsen as the seas have risen, as the land beneath them has sunk, and as local infrastructure has rotted away. “It comes in the front door, the back door, and then from the bottom of the house, in through the sides,” DeDomenicis said. “You watch it come in and it meets in the middle of the house — and there’s nothing you can do.” Two miles east of Arizona Avenue, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is spending tens of millions of dollars building a seawall to reduce storm surge and flooding risks for Atlantic City’s downtown and its towering casinos, five of which have closed in the past four years. A few miles in the other direction, it’s preparing to spend tens of millions more on sand dunes to protect million-dollar oceanfront homes. But the federal government has done little to protect the residents of Arizona Avenue, or the millions of other working class and poor Americans who live near bays up and down the East Coast, from a worsening flooding crisis. Seas are rising as pollution from fossil fuel burning, forest losses, and farming fuels global warming, melting ice, and expanding ocean water. With municipal budgets stretched thin, lower-income neighborhoods built on low-lying land are enduring some of the worst impacts. Climate Central scientists analyzed hundreds of coastal American cities and, in 90 of them, projected rapid escalation in the number of roads and homes facing routine inundation. The flooding can destroy vehicles, damage homes, block roads and freeways, hamper emergency operations, foster disease spread by mosquitoes, and cause profound inconveniences for coastal communities. Atlantic City is among those facing the greatest risks, yet much of the high-value property that the Army Corps is working to protect was built on a higher elevation and faces less frequent flooding than neighborhoods occupied by working class and unemployed residents — an increasing number of whom are living in poverty. Earthen mounds called bulkheads built along Atlantic City’s shores to block floods have washed away, or were never built in the first place. Flap valves in aging storm drains have stopped working, allowing water to flow backward from the bay into the street when tides are high. At high tide, stormwater pools in Arizona Avenue, unable to drain to the bay. The flooding is getting worse because seas have been rising along the mid-Atlantic coast faster than in most other regions, and the land here is sinking because of groundwater pumping and natural processes. High tides in Atlantic City reach more than a foot higher than they did a century ago, and sea-level rise is accelerating. New Jersey has done little to address the problem, aside from administering federal grants that have helped a limited number of residents abandon or elevate vulnerable houses. “We expect each town to focus on planning and budgeting for mitigating flooding,” said New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection spokesperson Bob Considine. Atlantic City can nary afford the kinds of capital improvements needed to provide meaningful relief. The Army Corps last year began a study of bay flooding in a sweeping stretch of New Jersey covering Atlantic City and 88 other municipalities, home to an estimated 700,000. The study was authorized by Congress in 1987, but it wasn’t kickstarted until federal research identified widespread risks following Superstorm Sandy. The bay flooding study is “fairly early in the process,” said Joseph Forcina, a senior Army Corps official who is overseeing more than $4 billion worth of post-Sandy recovery work by the agency, including construction of a $34 million seawall in downtown Atlantic City and tens of millions of dollars worth of sand dune construction and replenishment nearby. The study is expected to take more than two years. “We really are in the data-gathering mode.” The study will help the agency propose a plan, which Congress could consider funding, to ease flood risks when high tides and storms push seawater from bays into streets and homes. It will consider the effects of sea-level rise, but it won’t directly address flooding from poor drainage of rainwater, meaning any fixes spurred by the study are likely to be partial at best. “The Corps is not the agency that deals with interior drainage,” Forcina said. “That’s a local responsibility.” Floods are driving up insurance rates, while routinely causing property damage and inconveniences. Federal flood insurance promotes coastal living in high-risk areas, and the program is more than $20 billion in arrears following Hurricane Katrina and Sandy. Arizona Avenue residents received Federal Emergency Management Agency letters in March warning of insurance rate increases ahead of 5 to 18 percent a year, which “makes us want to leave even more,” said Tom Gitto. Raising three children on Arizona Avenue, Gitto and his wife have been unemployed since the closure last year of Trump Taj Mahal, where they worked. He said the flooding has become unbearable but property prices are so low that they feel trapped. Two houses on Arizona Avenue recently sold for less than $35,000. Gitto paid a similar price for his fixer-upper in the 1990s, then spent more than the purchase price on renovations. Flood insurance provided $36,000 for another refurbishment after Sandy ravaged their home. Flooding strikes the Jersey Shore so often now that the National Weather Service’s office in Mount Holly, New Jersey, raised the threshold at which it issues flood advisories by more than three inches in 2012 “to avoid creating warning fatigue,” flooding program manager Dean Iovino said. Such advisories were being issued nearly every month in Atlantic City before the policy change, up from an average of four months a year in the 1980s. One out of 10 of the 20,000 homes in Atlantic City are at elevations that put them at risk of flooding each year on average, Climate Central found, though some are protected by bulkheads and other infrastructure that help keep floods at bay. The research was published Wednesday in the journal Climatic Change. The proportion of the city’s streets and homes affected by flooding is projected to quickly rise. Within about 30 years — the typical life of a mortgage — one out of three homes in Atlantic City could be inundated in a typical year. That would be the case even if aggressive efforts to slow climate change are put in place, such as a rapid global switch from fossil fuels to clean energy. The worsening woes aren’t confined to Atlantic City, though risks here are among the greatest in America. Neighborhoods near bays can experience rapid increases in the number of streets and homes exposed to regular floods, with small additional sea level capable of reaching far into flat cityscapes and suburbs. Elsewhere at the Jersey Shore, in Ocean City, New Jersey, the analysis showed one out of five homes are built on land expected to flood in typical years, a figure that could rise to nearly half by 2050. Other cities facing rapid increases in risks include San Mateo along San Francisco Bay in Silicon Valley, the lumber town of Aberdeen at Grays Harbor in Washington state, and Poquoson, Virginia, which has a population of 12,000 and juts into the Chesapeake Bay. The greenhouse gas pollution that’s already been pumped into the atmosphere makes it too late to prevent coastal flooding from getting worse. It’s simply a matter of how much worse. The benefits of acting now to slow the effects of warming later would become clearest in the second half of this century. In Atlantic City, if global pollution trends continue and defenses are not improved, 80 percent of current homes risk being inundated in typical years by the end of the century, the analysis showed. By contrast, if greenhouse gas pollution is aggressively reduced almost immediately, the number of homes expected to be exposed to that risk in 2100 would fall to 60 percent. As efforts to protect the climate flounder in the U.S. and elsewhere, unleashing higher temperatures and seas, communities like the DeDomenicises’ have three basic options for adapting. They can defend against floods with infrastructure that keeps tidal waters at bay, such as bulkheads, pumps, and marsh and dune restorations. They can accommodate the water using measures such as elevating existing houses and building new ones on stilts. And they can relocate altogether, an option that’s expected to lead to mass migrations inland during the decades ahead. Modeling by University of Georgia demographer Mathew Hauer projects 250,000 being forced by rising seas from New Jersey by century’s end if pollution levels remain high, with nearly 1.5 million refugees fleeing to Texas from U.S. coasts elsewhere. And from Florida — the poster child for sea-level dangers in the U.S. — 2.5 million may be driven to other states. All three strategies are being pursued to some extent in Atlantic City. All of them are expensive, limiting the options available for a city in decline. “Cities boom and bust,” said Benjamin Strauss, coauthor of the new study and vice president for sea level and climate impacts at Climate Central, which researches and reports on climate change. “Neighborhoods can thrive, and fall into decay. Those are, to some extent, natural cycles of economic life. But now, superimposed onto that for Atlantic City at just the wrong time is this awful existential sea-level threat.” Barrier islands like Absecon Island, upon which Atlantic City grew as a gaming and vacation mecca, line the East Coast, from New York to Florida, natural features associated with the coastline’s wide continental shelf and shallow waters. Until barrier islands were developed and armored with seawalls, roads, and building foundations, low-lying shores facing the mainland could keep up with rising seas. Wind and waves washed sand and mud over growing marshes, helping to build up the land. Now, a century of development has locked down the shape and position of the islands, blocking natural processes. “It’s a huge problem for the U.S.,” said Benjamin Horton, a professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey, which is a global leader in researching sea rise. “These barrier islands are important for so many things — important for housing, important for the economy. They’re important for a variety of industries. They’re especially important for ecosystems. And the barriers protect the mainland from hurricanes; they’re a first line of defense. You lose the barrier islands and where do you think the big waves are going to hit?” As barrier islands and mainland coastlines were developed, wealthy neighborhoods clustered near ocean shores, where the elevations tend to be higher — which reduces flood risks — and where views are considered the best. Lower-income neighborhoods and industrial zones grew over former marshlands near bays and rivers, where swampy smells are strongest and where flooding occurs most frequently. That divide between rich and poor is clearly on display on Absecon Island, where stately houses built on higher land facing the ocean are often occupied only during summer — when risks of storms are lowest. The vacation homes and downtown Atlantic City casinos will be protected from storm surges by a new seawall and sand dunes built by the Army Corps, despite lawsuits filed by homeowners angry that dunes will block ocean views. Poorer neighborhoods are exemplified by Arizona Avenue, a block-long street between a bay and a minor thoroughfare. Bricks in fences and walls are stained by floodwaters and decaying beneath the effects of wakes from passing cars. The century-old, two-story houses have concrete patios and little landscaping — plants are hard to grow in the flood-prone conditions. During high tides that accompany new and full moons, the street can flood on sunny days. Rubber trash cans can be buoyant in floodwaters, tip over and foul the street with spoiled food and bathroom waste, which residents sweep away after floods recede. Cars are frequently destroyed. Many of the houses along Arizona Avenue had to be stripped and renovated after Sandy filled them with floodwaters and coated walls and ceilings with mold. The winter storm that inundated Arizona Avenue in March was a typical one for the region. The nor’easter struck during a full moon, meaning it coincided with some of the highest tides of the month. Floodwaters stopped rising a few inches beneath the DeDomenicises’ front door. Emergency crews patrolled in vehicles built to withstand high water. These kinds of floods are called “nuisance floods” by experts. Nuisance floods are becoming routine features of coastal living around America, and their impacts are difficult to assess. Washington and other major cities could experience an average of one flood caused by tides and storm surges every three days within 30 years, according to a study published by researchers with the nonprofit Union of Concerned Scientists in the journal PLOS One in February. Rain and snow that fall during storms increase flood risks. Residents of Arizona Avenue describe anxiety when tides and storms bring floods, especially if they aren’t home to help protect their possessions. The rising floodwaters can be emotional triggers — reminders of the upheaving effects of floods wrought by major storms like Sandy in late 2012 and Winter Storm Jonas in early 2016. Some of the residents have spent months living in hotels while their homes were repaired following storms. One of Tom Gitto’s children was born while the family was living in a hotel room paid for by the federal government after Sandy. Susan Clayton, a psychology and environmental studies professor who researches psychological responses to climate change at the College of Wooster, a liberal arts college in Ohio, said such triggers can lead to sleeping difficulties, “profound anxiety” and other symptoms. The frequent risk of flooding may also make people constantly fear for their homes and for the security their homes provide. “It tends to be very important to everybody that they have some place that they feel they can relax, where they can be in control,” Clayton said. “Your home is your castle. When your home is threatened, that can really undermine a sense of stability and security. It’s not just the flooding, it’s the idea that it’s your home itself that’s being threatened.” The economic impacts of nuisance floods can also be far-reaching — researchers say they’re more impactful than most government officials assume. “Since they don’t get a lot of attention, we don’t have a data record of nuisance flooding costs,” said Amir AghaKouchak, a University of California, Irvine, scientist who studies hydrology and climatology. AghaKouchak led a study published in the journal Earth’s Future in February that attempted to quantify the economic impacts in large coastal cities. The researchers were hamstrung by the dearth of data. Their preliminary findings, however, suggested that the cumulative economic impacts of nuisance floods might already exceed those of occasional disaster floods in some areas. “There’s a lot of cost associated with this minor event,” AghaKouchak said. “Cities and counties have to send out people with trucks, pumps and so forth, they have to close down streets, build temporary berms.” On Arizona Avenue, residents say they feel abandoned by all levels of government. Like an Appalachian coal town, many here depend upon a single industry — an entertainment sector that’s in decline, anchored by casinos that draw visitors to hotels, arcades, restaurants, gas stations and strip clubs. “They forget about us,” said Christopher Macaluso, a 30-year-old poker dealer who owns a house on Arizona Avenue and grew up nearby. “We’re the city. If they didn’t have the dealers, the dishwashers, the valet guys, the cooks and the housemaids, what have you got? We definitely feel left out.” With casinos operating in nearby Pennsylvania and elsewhere following the lifting of gambling bans, the flow of visitors to Atlantic City has slowed over a decade from a gush to a trickle. Some towering casino buildings stand abandoned, like empty storefronts in a dying downtown. Others are filled well below capacity with gamers and vacationers; their gaudy interiors faded and gloomy. One out of every six jobs in Atlantic City was lost between 2010 and 2016 as nearly 5 percent of the population left, according to the latest regional economic report by New Jersey’s Stockton University, which is building a campus in the city. The number of Atlantic City residents using food stamps rose to 15 percent in 2015, and more than one out of every five children here is now officially living in poverty. President Trump’s construction of two ill-fated casinos in a saturated industry intensified the Atlantic City gaming bubble that began its spectacular burst a decade ago. (As president, Trump is dismantling regulations designed to slow sea rise and other effects of warming.) The city is so broke that its government operations are being overseen by New Jersey. “From the moment they started pulling handles in Pennsylvania, the cash that was pouring into slot machines in Atlantic City started to fall,” said Stockton University’s Oliver Cooke, who compares the city’s economic plight to that of Detroit. “As the economy melted down and the land valuations in the city headed south, the tax base just completely melted away.” Unable to pay for far-reaching measures taken by wealthier waterfront regions, like road-raising in Miami Beach and sweeping marsh restorations in the San Francisco Bay Area, Atlantic City has taken only modest steps to ease flooding. Using funds from a bond sale and state and federal grants, the city has been refurbishing sluice gates in a canal that were built to control floodwaters but haven’t worked in more than half a century. It plans to replace flap valves in two stormwater drains near Arizona Avenue for $16,000 apiece. “We’re treating that money like gold,” said Elizabeth Terenik, who was Atlantic City’s planning director until last month, when she left its shrinking workforce for a job with a flood-prone township nearby. That’s far shy of the tens of millions of dollars being spent just blocks away. The Army Corps is using Sandy recovery money to alleviate hazards in wealthier parts of the city and elsewhere on Absecon Island and in New York and other nearby states, while flooding affecting low-income residents of Arizona Avenue and similar neighborhoods is overlooked. “The Corps does not say, ‘Here’s a problem, and we’re going to fix it’ — somebody has to ask them to help,” said Gerald Galloway, a University of Maryland engineering professor and former Army Corps official. “It depends on a very solid citizen push to get it done. The Corps of Engineers has a backlog of construction awaiting money. You need very strong organizations competing for it.” Coastal New Jersey’s working class have little power in Washington and their cities manage modest budgets. The divide in Atlantic City reflects a grand injustice of global warming — one that’s familiar to Pacific nations facing obliteration from rising seas, and to Alaskan tribes settled by the government on shrinking coasts. While the wealthy may be able to adapt to the effects of climate change, the poor oftentimes cannot. “In some cases, the most vulnerable populations will not be able to move,” said Miyuki Hino, a Stanford PhD candidate who has studied coastal resettlements around the world. “In other cases, they’ll be forced to.”


News Article | May 23, 2017
Site: marketersmedia.com

— Billions of people worldwide lack accessibility to fresh water because there is no way to transport it. Atlanta-based Ratio Product Lab has joined the effort to find a creative solution. The product design and development firm assisted in the further design and development of WaterVest, a wearable vessel that allows an individual to carry up to 32 liters of water per trip. It’s believed by many that there is an abundance of potable water available. The catch is that there is no way to deliver it to the people who need it. For example, only 16 percent of Sub-Saharan Africa has access to clean drinking water at home while the remaining 84 percent spend an average of six hours per day making multiple trips. That adds up to about 40 billion hours each year retrieving water. The product may also prove valuable in disaster relief situations that may cut off residents’ access to water or make typical vessels unavailable, such as if they floated away or were contaminated with bacteria. “Logistics is the key in response to any disaster,” said R. David Paulson, former Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and Response and Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “Getting supplies from where they are to where they’re needed is one of the most challenging tasks to accomplish. Anything that solves the ‘last mile’ problem will be vital to any disaster response.” The WaterVest is a lightweight, inexpensive and ergonomically designed vessel that can be used to distribute the weight load. Fill and dispersal mechanisms reduce the risk of cross-contamination of the water while the water’s exposure to sunlight through the transparent plastic material mitigates bacteria growth. WaterVest is a superior solution to existing water transportation methods thanks to its hands-free design, inexpensive material and production, and self-sealing water sprouts as well as its carrying capacity. It can be used to transport water daily or in the wake of catastrophic events that cut off residents’ access to fresh water. WaterVest, LLC contracted with Ratio Product Lab to further design and develop its product. Ratio focused on readying the product design for production. “We were delighted to be part of a small team which could create a solution for so many who live with water insecurity,” said Jim Ferguson, principal of Ratio Product Lab. The development team worked on refining baffles seals that evenly distribute the water load and prevent counter-balanced shifts. It made adjustments that let the device fit the greatest range of users and made it intuitive and easy for anyone to use. Other steps taken including optimizing the size of the product and material thickness will help with cost and shipping efficiency. “Delivering anything in a remote location is difficult enough,” said WaterVest team leader Ben Fox. “We knew we needed to supply a vessel compact enough to serve as many people as possible with every deployment.” WaterVest, LLC is currently seeking crowd-funding to cover the cost of further test deployments and to assist with preliminary production costs and inventory. More information on WaterVest including a link to donate is available at http://watervest.org. About Ratio Product Lab Ratio Product Lab is an Atlanta-based product development, product design, manufacturing, consulting and engineering firm. It specializes in the design for manufacture of consumer, commercial and industrial products. The firm’s creative designers and problem solvers strive to take concepts and develop them into quality-end products. For more information, visit its website at https://www.ratio.com or call 678-772-7136. About the WaterVest Team The WaterVest Team, with its senior staff and personnel, are worldwide experts and leaders in the application of innovation, initiative, and aggressive creativity. Members of the team have supported FEMA, the World Health Organization and various other groups in assessment and deployment of technologies for solving strategic problems ranging from counter-terrorism to infectious disease. The WaterVest team has had extensive experience in the design, support, and analysis of acquisition programs, as well as program implementation. Further, they have specialized in the development and transition of innovative technical solutions to complex problems, primarily in the national security space. For more information, please visit https://www.ratio.com


News Article | May 15, 2017
Site: www.businesswire.com

ST. MARTINVILLE, La.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Join representatives from the offices of U.S. Senator John Kennedy (R-LA), U.S. Representative Clay Higgins (R-LA), the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas (FHLB Dallas) and St. Martin Bank & Trust at two community events to recognize Louisiana flood relief efforts. Following the Great Flood of 2016, St. Martin Bank & Trust received $117,000 in Special Disaster Relief Program grants from FHLB Dallas that assisted residents of Lafayette and surrounding communities. Local homeowners and community leaders will share stories of recovery. Members of the media are encouraged to attend. Photo and interview opportunities will be available. The first event will be held at noon, Monday, May 15, 2017, at St. Martin Bank & Trust, 301 S. Main Street, St. Martinville, Louisiana. The second event will be held at 3:00 p.m., at St. Martin Bank & Trust, 114 N. Main Street, Church Point, Louisiana. The Special Disaster Relief Program provided recovery assistance to help members’ employees and citizens whose homes had been damaged or destroyed as a result of the August 2016 floods in Louisiana. Grants were available for owner-occupied housing in parishes designated for Individual Assistance by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and were intended to assist with reasonable and necessary expenses that were not otherwise compensated for by insurance or other reimbursement. For more information about FHLB Dallas, visit fhlb.com.


"This new research tells us that Americans are aware that the public television system is an information source in crisis situations, which can be vital if other communication networks are taken down in a natural disaster or terror attack. Moreover, Americans see a growing safety role for the public television system – to educate children and underserved communities about responding to emergencies," McCoskey explained. America's public television stations are committed to three essential public service missions: education, public safety and civic leadership. As the last locally-controlled media in America, public television reaches nearly 97 percent of Americans. Public television stations are uniquely positioned to provide these services, not only on television but also in the classroom, online, as part of the emergency response network and in the community. "Public television stations are proud to partner with local law enforcement and first responder agencies to use the power of public television to ensure all Americans are safe," said Lonna Thompson, APTS executive vice president and chief operating officer. "Emergency management agencies can use public television's technology to communicate with one another and with the public during times of crisis. We are delighted that this new research shows the public's trust and value of public television's essential services, which they depend on every day." Public media has cultivated considerable expertise in public safety, emergency communications and spectrum management over the past decade, gaining a reputation as a trusted and reliable resource with federal agencies, commercial entities and the public. Public television and radio stations have created effective partnerships with state and local law enforcement and federal agencies like the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to communicate with the public in crises situations. In addition, public television stations have committed 1 Mbps of their spectrum data stream to support the new federal FirstNet public safety network built for first responders to improve communications coverage, reliability and redundancy, as well as to better serve rural and underserved communities. The public television station system will complement FirstNet by providing high-speed data broadcast services used for distribution of video, images, and blueprints in emergency situations. Both Vegas PBS and Houston Public Media are true pioneers in public safety. They have taken the decade-long promise of public safety datacasting and put it to work in their local communities. Vegas PBS has expanded and built partnerships with a wide variety of government entities to respond in emergency situations. The station also created a K-12 emergency data center that is regarded as the nation's most comprehensive school safety training, alerting and response system. Houston Public Media has created a powerful network of public safety and first responder organizations, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, that meets both high-profile security challenges like the recent Super Bowl and the everyday requirements of keeping millions of citizens of Houston safe. The new research findings will be discussed on Tuesday, April 25th as part of a National Association of Broadcasters panel on utilizing the public broadcast network for public safety. Moderated by Eagle Hill's John McCoskey, the session will feature Roger Stone Federal Emergency Management Agency Assistant Administrator, for National Continuity Programs; Lonna Thompson, America's Public Television Stations Executive Vice President, Chief Operations Officer & General Counsel; Tom Axtell, Vegas PBS General Manager; Lisa Trapani Shumate, Houston Public Media Associate Vice President and General Manager; and Dana Golub PBS Public Programs Senior Director. The research was conducted by Ipsos in April 2017 as an online survey of 1004 Americans. The results were weighted to reflect U.S. demographic factors, including age, income, the four national census regions, and gender. America's Public Television Stations is a nonprofit membership organization ensuring a strong and financially sound public television system and helping member stations provide essential public services in education, public safety and civic leadership to the American people. For more information, visit www.apts.org. Eagle Hill Consulting LLC is a woman-owned business that provides management consulting services in the areas of business strategy, organizational transformation, human capital transformation, process improvement, program management and change management. Eagle Hill works with a range of public, private and non-profit organizations. More information is available at www.eaglehillconsulting.com. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-research-finds-strong-support-for-public-television-as-a-resource-for-educating-children--underserved-populations-about-responding-to-emergencies-300445127.html


"Police, Fire, EMS across the United States have been overwhelmed by overdose deaths, with PTSD a focus of the National No One Gets Left Behind Campaign," said Stephen M. Apatow of HRI:H-II OPSEC. Reaching a new peak in 2014, the New York Times reported 47,055 people, or the equivalent of about 125 Americans every day, died from drug overdoses, climbing at a much faster pace than other causes of death. The trend is now similar to that of the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, epidemic in the late 1980s and early 1990s, said Robert Anderson, the CDC’s chief of mortality statistics. According to the "DEA Warning to Law Enforcement: Fentanyl and Carfentanil Exposure Kills," the largest risks for officers and detectives is coming in contact with fentanyl during the course of enforcement, such as a buy-walk, or buy-bust operation. Additionally, simply patting someone down, or searching their pockets, can put an officer at risk. The onset of adverse health effects, such as disorientation, coughing, sedation, respiratory distress or cardiac arrest is very rapid and profound, and can occur within seconds of exposure. Canines are also susceptible to immediate death from inhaling fentanyl. K-9 detection units are particularly at risk when sniffing potential contraband. According to DEA, Carfentanil is now on the streets, a synthetic opioid that is 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl, which itself is 50 times more potent than heroin. Redefining U.S. and Global Security Support: No One Gets Left Behind "Military member and emergency personnel; law enforcement and firefighters, et. al., and their plight with suicide do not get the appropriate level of attention - especially associated to PTSD, which resonates and impacts their lives over extended periods of time, and often leads to severe depression," said J. Mikulski, MSA. Humanitarian Resource Institute (HRI) and H-II OPSEC Expeditionary Operations focus on defense support for humanitarian and security emergencies, currently beyond the capabilities of governmental, UN, NGO and relief organizations. In 1994, HRI worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program to develop a 3,100-county network to assist with education and coordination of unmet needs administrators, to help frontline service programs "bridge unmet needs to untapped resources." In 1999, this work expanded to the development of the International Disaster Information Network (IDIN), to connect leaders in 193 UN member countries, supporting education and remediation for the Year 2000 Conversion. Today, HRI:H-II OPSEC supports Intelligence: Defense: Interpol: Law Enforcement Counterterrorism Fusion Task Force level operations in 190 countries, through the International Disaster Information Network. — H-II OPSEC: Redefining a Global Security Support System: Spotlight in Journal of Special Operations Medicine: JSOM ABC's, 15 April 2013.


News Article | May 1, 2017
Site: www.businesswire.com

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Homeland Security & Defense Business Council (Council) announced that four new companies joined its membership organization in the first quarter of 2017. The Council’s newest members, Blue Canopy Group, LLC; CACI International Inc; E3 Federal Solutions, LLC; and SureID, Inc.; all provide product, technology or service solutions to the government. “I am thrilled to add these four leading government contractors to our membership roster,” said Marc Pearl, President & CEO. “In addition to the Council’s robust first quarter, we are excited that our newest members have the opportunity to take advantage of all of the programs we have scheduled for the coming months. We look forward to adding the thought leadership perspectives of Blue Canopy, CACI, E3 Federal Solutions, and SureID into our initiatives.” The Council focuses on facilitating the vital exchange of ideas and perspectives between industry and government in the Homeland Security Enterprise. Since January, members of the Council have participated in numerous forums including roundtable discussions with leaders from U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Management Directorate, FBI, and Federal Emergency Management Agency; and presented at the DHS Reverse Industry Day III. The second-quarter programs will feature events with leadership from the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Congress; and two out-of-town Executive Tours at Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, FBI, Transportation Security Administration, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities. Large, mid-tier, and small member companies lend their senior executives and subject matter experts to participate in the Council’s range of programs and Thought Leadership Committee (TLC). The Council’s TLC brings together the best and brightest thought leaders from its membership to engage with administration officials, congressional leaders, and other stakeholders in a manner that allows them to share ideas and lessons learned, and to offer insightful points of view on the most pressing issues our country faces in accomplishing the homeland security mission. The Homeland Security & Defense Business Council is a not-for-profit, non-partisan membership organization comprised of senior executives and their subject matter experts from the leading large, mid-tier, and small companies that provide homeland security technology, product, and service solutions to our nation. Our mission is to bring government officials and their executive-level counterparts from industry together so that we can jointly discuss the best ways to solve mission challenges. https://www.homelandcouncil.org/.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: co.newswire.com

" Leadership development begins with a support system, that helps all team members reach their potential, focusing on their gifts, talents and capabilities. The purpose is not exploitation, but functional benefit for the mission of the team. This requires a fine balance between the need for tunnel vision during execution of a mission and capabilities that support stability, health, happiness and prosperity in the bigger picture of life. Though paradoxical, the objective is a team of leaders."  -- Stephen M. Apatow. From "Living On The Edge" to being the "Cutting Edge" In 1994, a small nonprofit organization named Humanitarian Resource Institute (HRI), was formed in Carson City, Nevada.  The mission was to address the cross section of needs defined during two national touch outreach projects, the first for substance abuse in 1990, and second for hunger, homelessness and poverty in 1993.  HRI's first project was named Focus On America.  Through the assistance of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Emergency Food and Shelter National Board Program (EFSNBP), the mission was to take lessons learned, and "bridge unmet needs to untapped resources."   This project reached front-line programs and EFSNBP directors in over 3100 U.S. counties, all 50 states and territories.  In 1999, the successful completion of United States networks, led to the development the International Disaster Information Network (IDIN), to assist FEMA with remediation for the Year 2000 Conversion, and then complex emergencies in 193 UN member countries. Formation of the Humanitarian University Consortium in 2002, helped connect subject matter experts at colleges and universities, public, private and defense organizations in every UN member country.  Through this consortium initiative, the worlds top reference points in medicine, veterinary medicine and law helped HRI be a global reference point for health care, education, agricultural and economic development. Shortly thereafter, HRI was recognized as one of nine leading educational and research institutions by the National Academy of Sciences, with the Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Columbia University: Center for Public Health Preparedness, Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Humanitarian Resource Institute, Johns Hopkins University: Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Center for International Studies, National Academy of Sciences, University of Maryland: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland,  University of Minnesota: Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. -- See:  Biological Threats and Terrorism, Assessing the Science and Response Capabilities: Workshop Summary:  Forum on Emerging Infections, Board on Global Health. "Front Matter, " Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2002.   In 2009, HRI formed the United Nations Arts Initiative to promote "Arts Integration Into Education," connecting educators, artists and entertainment industry, who have the innovation, creativity and intimate connection with the grassroots level, to impact prioritized humanitarian emergencies and relief operations. The United Nations Arts Initiative helps both artist and grassroots leaders with strategic planning, critical analysis, expert think tank development for background discussions, peer reviewed data compilation and communications that engage decision makers and audiences in a target demographic. In 2011, H-II OPSEC Expeditionary Operations was developed to assist defense support for humanitarian and security emergencies, currently beyond the capabilities of governmental, UN, NGO and relief organizations. Though functioning outside of the mainstream spotlight for 23 years, Humanitarian Resource Institute has been the reference point for unconventional asymmetric strategic planning. Today, Stephen M. Apatow, President, Director of Research and Development for HRI, is focused on helping young leaders and executive leadership teams understand how to operate in complex environments and strategic areas viewed as critical to the CEO level of operations.  Lead from the Front: Development Programs help the CEO level break down walls and barriers, establishing a focus on optimization of the mission objective, through:

Loading Federal Emergency Management Agency collaborators
Loading Federal Emergency Management Agency collaborators