Archive for June, 2011

Bioterrorism planning study focuses on traffic and public access to points of dispensing (PODs)

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Author: Dr. Sid Baccam, Senior Scientist – Computational Epidemiologist, IEM

IEM scientists, led by Computational Epidemiologist Dr. Sid Baccam, published a paper in the June issue of the journal Biosecurity and Bioterrorism entitled “Mass Prophylaxis Dispensing Concerns: Traffic and Public Access to PODs.” Points of Dispensing, or PODs, are used by emergency responders to quickly dispense post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to the public following a bioterrorism event. Any failure in PEP dispensing could have serious public health consequences, which is why IEM has focused study efforts on issues related to POD access. The project described in the paper was partially funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a larger study on PEP dispensing logistics and medical consequences.

Below is a video interview with the lead author of the paper, Dr. Sid Baccam.


Enrst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, US Airways Flight 1549 and 2011 Gold Cup: a Triple Celebration in the Queen City

Monday, June 20th, 2011

Author: David Willauer, Manager, Transportation & Geospatial Technologies Division, IEM

Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the YearEarlier this month I was on my way to the Queen City (Charlotte, NC) to celebrate the accomplishments of our company’s founder and CEO, Madhu Beriwal, a finalist in the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards for the Carolinas region. Another 15 of my colleagues and IEM partners were also converging on North Carolina’s largest city to join in the festivities. It turned out the Ernst & Young award ceremony was not the only celebration in the Queen City. US Airways Flight 1549 was on its last journey from the dramatic landing in the Hudson River to its final destination on display at Charlotte’s Douglas International Airport.

2011 Gold Cup: Cuba vs Mexico

Mexico's Javier Hernanadez kicks the ball past Cuba goalkeeper Odelin Molina for the team's fifth goal.

Nearby, fans from Cuba and Mexico were flocking to the Bank of America Stadium to cheer on their respective teams battling for soccer’s coveted 2011 Gold Cup. And 23 distinguished entrepreneurs from around the Carolinas were attending the prestigious Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award Ceremony at the Westin Hotel. This group of outstanding entrepreneurs from the Carolinas region was selected by an independent judging panel made up of previous winners of the award, leading CEOs, private capital investors and other regional business leaders. (more…)

Disaster Commodity Donation to Alabama from Japan

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Report from the Field: Maxwell AFB, ISB, Alabama Tornado Disaster, DR – 1971

Author: Eston Spain, Emergency Planning Associate, IEM

Figure 1 Before the media event, Kye took time to pose for a few candid pictures with me in front of some of the goods donated by the people of Japan.

After the recent tornado disaster in Alabama, IEM supported federal disaster logistics operations as a member of the disaster response teams stationed at Maxwell AFB, Montgomery, AL, ISB (Incident Support Base). The process during this mission involved tracking over 500, 53 foot semi-trailer loads of relief goods, such as water, MREs, ice, and tarps. As part of the mission, at a local trucking facility near Maxwell AFB emergency relief supplies to support the response efforts were cross-docked from private carriers to DHS/FEMA trailers. Two of the private carrier trailers loaded with emergency relief supplies from Japan were backed into the dock and being unloaded. A representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, Mr. Keiichiro Nakazawa, Chief Representative for the Washington, DC based agency was on hand to oversee the transfer of donated goods from the people of Japan to the people of Alabama who had suffered from devastating tornadoes on April 27th. Kye, as he prefers to go by, said, “Japan was grateful for the outpouring of relief efforts and compassion shown by the United States,” referring to their recent earthquake and tsunami disasters and the subsequent radiation release. We discussed how the relief efforts demonstrated by both nations are seen as positive goodwill gestures, and how that in times such as these, despite our cultural and geographic differences, we are all we are all human beings who may need help from their neighbors and friends from time to time. Mr. Nakazwa arrived ahead of another member of the Japanese delegation, Mr. Takuji Hanatani, Consul General of Japan in Atlanta, GA, who was there to officially present the donations to the State of Alabama. (more…)

Ethanol: A Growing Market with New Firefighting Challenges

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Author: David Willauer, Manager, Transportation & Geospatial Technologies Division, IEM

Ethanol, also known as “grain alcohol” and derived primarily from a corn fermentation process, is being embraced by federal and state governments through numerous subsidies as a viable bio-fuel. Today, ethanol joins biodiesel in a growing demand for reduced emissions nationwide, resulting in increased ethanol production, distribution and transportation. One consequence of increasing ethanol blends is that the volume of bulk ethanol transported, handled and stored continues to increase, creating new risks and challenges for firefighters worldwide.

The impetus for this and previous blogs (see Ethanol, The New Hazmat; and Emerging Ethanol Regulations) was concerns from county officials regarding increasing ethanol shipments and the cost of stockpiling alcohol resistant firefighting foam (one example is AR-AFFF). This is a local response to a national issue: which counties need the most foam, where should we put it and how are we going to pay for it?

As part of a statewide regional hazardous materials study, IEM is helping officials and emergency responders in one state answer these questions in addition to figuring out what other chemicals are being transported through their backyard.

Rail providers are also getting into the act, as bulk ethanol is now the #1 commodity for some Class I railroads. To help local emergency responders, railroads are positioning AR-AFFF Trailers at strategic locations throughout their railroad system to be ready in the event of unforeseen ethanol fire incidents.

Another good example of an ethanol public/private partnership includes an example where multiple petroleum companies have joined forces  to ensure requirements for sufficient supplies of alcohol-resistant foam were written into the local ordinance. In this example, the petroleum companies, not the municipality, helped pay for foam and the foam trailers from which the foam would be deployed. (more…)

Photos and commentary from the Mississippi Tornadoes April 2011

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Author: Eston Spain, Emergency Planning Associate, IEM

The following photos were taken during a recent deployment to Mississippi. IEM team members ventured into the storm damaged areas and often meeting with the people who were directly affected by the twisters.  The pictures below capture some of the tornado’s fury and devastating power in what the storms of late April brought to Mississippi and left in their wake.

One of the first things we noticed as we entered the storm ravaged counties was the trees. At first the drive seemed scenic and relaxing as we headed south on the Natchez Trace Parkway…

Natchez Trace in Choctaw County, MS

Natchez Trace in Choctaw County, missed by the recent tornadoes.

Tornadoes had crossed this part of the Natchez Trace Parkway. The forests along the parkway were virtually obliterated by the force of the winds and flying debris.

Tornado damage on Natchez Trace in Mississippi