Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Chief Jarrod Burguan - Press Conference

San Bernardino shootings news coverage

Los Angeles radio reporter Steve Gregory (iHeartMedia/KFI AM 640) got his first tips of a possible shooting at the San Bernardino Inland Regional Center about 10 minutes after the shooting occurred. He started to drive toward the area, making calls and texting to verify that an incident was happening.

His calls to the San Bernardino police were unanswered. In the meantime people were calling into the talk show at his station and the social media was a buzz. He arrived north of the Center and got out looking for the staging area for reporters. As he stood there with other journalists, behind a California State Police line, people started walking by toward buses. "Don't talk to reporters," they were told by police escorts.

In the meantime, Jarrod Burguan, chief of the San Bernardino police department, and every available police officer were at the conference rooms of the Inland Regional Center. What they saw was a scene of carnage with  14 dead and 22 wounded county government employees who had been attending a training and early Christmas party. The perpetrators, two hooded people, had fired 100 rounds from two guns in three minutes. 

At about 11 a.m. 9-1-1 calls started coming into the police dispatch center saying people had been shot. Because of the absence of the regular PIO, Chief Burguan assigned the deputy PIO, a traffic sergeant to handle the press. They established a staging area for reporters south of the Inland Regional Center. 

The sergeant starting taking reporter questions, most of which she couldn't answer. As she got radio reports and phone calls, she was able to provide sketchy details of the incident. More details about the incident were made available at a press conference held about 1 p.m., attended by Chief Burguan, the county sheriff, and representatives of the FBI and ATF. Burguan patiently answered reporter questions, repeating details several times as new reporters arrived on the scene. Regular press conferences were held throughout the day. 

When Steve Gregory discovered he had gone to the wrong end of the crime scene, he worked his way around the area arriving just in time for the first press conference. 

In the first hours of the shooting, police dispatchers received 300 calls an hour.  Two were answering phone calls and two others were handling the police radio. One of the calls led to the identification of the suspects car, a dark SUV rental with Utah plates. 

Thirty to 40 police had responded to the scene. In cooperation with other agencies, they searched the buildings associated with the center and helped vacate some 200 county employees who worked there. Firefighters and paramedics and other health care treated and transported the wounded. 

Buses were called and employees were moved to a central location for questioning and family reunion.

The suspects were soon identified. One was Syed Farook was a county employee who had attended the training, but left at about 10:30 a.m. A SWAT team went to his home in Redlands, using cell phones so that their movements couldn't be traced on police radios.  

Case Study: Journalists invade home of terrorist suspects

LA Times photo of journalists inside the home of Syed Farook
Scott Collins of the Los Angeles Times describes how on Friday, December 4, 2015, over 100 journalists invaded the home of Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, the suspected perpetrators of the San Bernardino terrorist attack.

The invasion was seen on live television. And was soon criticized.

"You have a contaminated crime scene now," CNN legal analyst Paul Callan told host Wolf Blitzer. "They've turned a crime scene in a terrorist mass murder into a garage sale." In a suitably weird twist, states Collins, at the moment of the criticism CNN was airing a split screen with footage from inside the home, showing laundry baskets, documents, toys and other personal effects.

Questions for study: As the police department PIO, what would you do in this situation? How can you provide journalists coverage while protecting the integrity of the crime scene?

Source: Collins, Scott. (2015, December 4). Media criticized for live TV coverage from home of San Bernardino shooters. Los Angeles Times online. Retrieved from 

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Managing Life-and-Death Situations

With an emergency management plan in place, Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack was prepared when tornadoes hit in 1999. (AP)
When former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack was about to take office in 1999, he went to the National Governors Association’s New Governor’s School, and sat next to then-Gov. Zell Miller of Georgia. Vilsack had one big question to ask his seatmate: “What are the one or two things I should focus on? Should it be health care? Jobs? Education?”

As Vilsack recalls, “Gov. Miller said, ‘Son, emergency management. I guarantee you that within six months something is going to happen in your state and if you don’t handle it well, it won’t make any damn difference what you do in health care or jobs or education.”  Read the rest of the article. 

The stunning fall of Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Cyber Terrorism Roles Clarified

Members of the Democratic Party are accusing the Russians of hacking into DNC party emails and releasing them in order to discredit candidate Clinton in support of Trump.

Clinton’s campaign chief, Robby Mook, told ABC News that “experts are telling us that Russian state actors broke in to the DNC, took all these emails and now are leaking them out through these Web sites. . . . It’s troubling that some experts are now telling us that this was done by the Russians for the purpose of helping Donald Trump.”

Russians hack DNC emails? Do they favor Donald over Hillary?
The accusations appear on the surface to be wild and politically motivated. (Why would the Russians want Trump more than Hillary?) However, the real possibility exists that foreign governments could perform cyber attacks to interfere in U.S. politics. Other more serious threats would be hacking the U.S. Treasury payroll and government personnel records. (Oops! That has already happened.) Or worse attacks on U.S. infrastructure which would cause havoc or stoppage to transportation and utilities. (That may have already happened as well.)

On July 26, 2016 the White House issued Presidential Policy Directive PPD-41 on United States Cyber Incident Coordination to deal specifically with these kinds of threats. The directive indicates which agency handles what and reveals how the administration grades the severity of an event, determining what is significant.

The FBI will be the lead federal agency investigating criminal and national security hacks. The Department of Homeland Security will help organizations reduce the impact of an event and prevent its spread, mainly through preparedness and prevention. The Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center, or CTIIC, will gather intelligence to help identify who directed an intrusion or attack. Because the Defense Department does not play a primary role in domestic cybersecurity, it is not mentioned in the directive.

All this has potential for some great spy novels and action movies. It's good to have the roles clarified so we know who the actors will be.

See Presidential Policy Directive PPD-41.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Wildfire Evacuation Plans

WildfireIf a wildfire was headed your way, would you know what to do? According to America’s PrepareAthon! the best action to protect yourself and your family when a wildfire threatens your area is to evacuate.
To ensure you will be able to evacuate quickly, you need to plan ahead. America’s PrepareAthon! offers these tips for a safe evacuation, including:
·         Know your community’s local evacuation plan and identify several escape routes for your location in case roads are blocked; include plans to evacuate people with disabilities and others with access or functional needs, as well as pets, service animals, and livestock;
·         Make a list of items you need or want to take with you. Be sure to remember the Five P’s Of Evacuation: People, Prescriptions, Papers, Personal Needs, and Priceless Items; and
·         If you will evacuate by car, keep your car fueled and in good condition. Keep emergency supplies and a change of clothes in your car. 
When driving away from a fire:
·         Roll up windows and close air vents because smoke from a fire can irritate your eyes and respiratory system;
·         Drive slowly with your headlights on because smoke can reduce visibility;
·         Watch for other vehicles, pedestrians, and fleeing animals; and
·         Avoid driving through heavy smoke, if possible. 
For more information about preparing for wildfires, download the How to Prepare for a Wildfire guide from America’s PrepareAthon!
The FEMA app is another great resource to help you prepare for wildfires and other hazards.  Download the FEMA app today to receive safety reminders, alerts from the National Weather Service, and more!

From FEMA's Individual and Community Preparedness e-Brief, July 28, 2016. Provide other events and services for individual and community preparedness that could be included in future newsletters by contacting

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Sunday, July 10, 2016

FEMA Releases 2015 National Household Survey Results on PreparednessFindings

july 7, 2016

FEMA Releases Findings on Individual and Community Preparedness

Preparedness in America
Findings from a newly-released survey indicate that there are specific levers that government and private sector partners can use to influence and increase overall individual and community preparedness.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Individual and Community Preparedness Division (ICPD) released the findings from its 2015 National Household Survey of 5,000 Americans in June. The survey is designed to measure household and individual preparedness and awareness.

Among the most significant findings, the survey found a positive relationship between awareness of preparedness information and the action of taking steps to prepare for a disaster.

The survey also notes a relationship between experience and action, finding that individuals living in areas with a history of a specific hazard and who have experienced the impact of that hazard are significantly more likely to report they had taken basic steps to prepare themselves and their household.

"These are positive results and really help validate the work that FEMA and our partners across the country have been doing," said ICPD Director Helen Lowman, upon release of the survey. "Going forward, we will be able to use this data to include all populations as we continue to build a culture of preparedness."

When it comes to awareness of preparedness information, 66 percent of Americans living in areas with a history of hurricanes reported that they had read, seen, or heard information on how to better prepare for a hurricane within the past six months, the survey said. 
Individuals living in areas with a history of tornadoes were the next most aware of the pertinent preparedness information for their relevant hazard with 53 percent of respondents in those areas saying they had read, seen, or heard information on how to prepare for a tornado in the last six months.

The survey included a series of oversamples in U.S. counties where specific hazards, including: earthquakes, extreme heat, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and winter storms, present a risk to those populations.
ICPD will be going back into the field later this summer to administer the 2016 National Household Survey.

For more information and to review a summary of the 2015 findings, click here.

Alerts & Warnings

Receiving timely information about severe weather can help you know when to take action to be safe. FEMA, along with the National Weather Service (NWS) make it easy for you to receive alerts and warnings whether at home, work, or school. 
Do you know the types of alerts you can receive and how you will receive them? The Be Smart. Know Your Alerts and Warnings guide from America's PrepareAthon! highlights several notification systems, including:
  • Emergency Alert System (EAS): Used by authorities to send detailed warnings to broadcast, cable, satellite, and wireline pathways;
  • Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA): Free text messages sent by local authorities to equipped mobile devices within a range of cell towers broadcasting in the affected area.  You do not have to sign up for WEAs; and
  • The FEMA App: Get severe weather alerts from the NWS for up to five U.S. locations; learn how to stay safe before, during, and after disasters; and more. Download the app onto your Apple or Android mobile device.
Accessing these and other notification systems will help keep your family safe when seconds count!

Summer Heat Safety

Summer is in full swing and temperatures are on the rise. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), heat is one of the leading weather-related killers in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year from heat stroke and even more instances of heat-related illnesses such as heat cramps and heat exhaustion.

Heat stroke is potentially fatal and requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms include extremely high body temperature, red, hot, dry skin, without sweat; rapid, strong pulse; throbbing headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, and unconsciousness. If you believe someone may have heat stroke, call 911.  Familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms of heat stroke other heat related illnesses and treatment with the CDC Extreme Heat Prevention Guide.  

The best line of defense against these illnesses is prevention. The Ready Campaign offers the following tips to stay safe when the mercury rises:

  • Stay indoors, ideally in a location with air conditioning. If your home does not have air conditioning or if it fails, go to a public building with air conditioning such as a shopping mall or public library;
  • Avoid strenuous work or physical activity during the warmest part of the day (typically 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.);
  • Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, awnings, or louvers;
  • Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight, and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible; and
  • Eat well-balanced, light, and regular meals.
When necessary, NWS issues heat-related alerts to help you prepare for extreme weather conditions. To learn more about these alerts, visit:

Webinar: Emergency Response Training Options for Houses of Worship

FEMA's Individual and Community Preparedness Division (ICPD) invites you to a webinar on Tuesday, July 19, which will feature ways houses of worship and Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) can partner for emergency response training. The webinar will also highlight how these partnerships improve engagements with diverse communities and populations.
Date: Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Time: 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. EDT
Featured Speakers:                   
  • Judy Head - Northland Church, Longwood, FL
  • Charlotte Franklin - Office of Emergency Management, Arlington, VA
  • Alan Harris - Office of Emergency Management, Seminole County, FL
  • Marcus Coleman - DHS Center for Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships
  • Tyler Krska - National CERT and Citizen Corps Program, Individual and Community Preparedness Division, FEMA
How to Join the Webinar:
We hope that you will be able to join us on July 19!

Dates for Your Calendar

Disclaimer: The reader recognizes that the federal government provides links and informational data on various disaster preparedness resources and events and does not endorse any non-federal events, entities, organizations, services or products. Please let us know about other events and services for individual and community preparedness that could be included in future newsletters by contacting

Friday, July 01, 2016

Preparedness Kit Fit For Your Pet

Preparedness Kit Fit for Your Pet

Pet preparedness kit

Every member of your household should be prepared for disasters. That means pets, too!


Just as you would create a disaster supply kit for yourself, be sure to also assemble one for your pet. In addition to having enough food and water to last at least three days, the Ready Campaign recommends:

  • Medicines and medical records: Keep an extra supply of medicines your pet takes on a regular basis in a waterproof container as well as records with any instructions;
  • Collar with ID tag, harness or leash: Your pet should wear a collar with its rabies tag and identification at all times. Include a backup leash, collar, and ID tag in your pet’s emergency supply kit;
  • Crate or other pet carrier: If you need to evacuate in an emergency, take your pets and animals with you; and
  • Sanitation: Include pet litter and litter box if appropriate, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags, and household chlorine bleach to provide for your pet’s sanitation needs.  You can use bleach as a disinfectant (dilute nine parts water to one part bleach), or in an emergency you can also use it to purify water.

Note: Please store chlorine bleach safely! Keep products containing hazardous materials such as chlorine bleach in their original containers and never remove the labels; never store hazardous products in food containers; and never mix chlorine bleach with any other household cleaning products. Mixing may cause chemicals to react, ignite, explode, or release poisonous gases that will cause very serious breathing problems or death.  

For the full list of items you should include in your pet’s kit, download Preparing Makes Sense for Pet Owners today!

Keep your pet prepared while on the go using the American Red Cross Pet First Aid mobile app. Use this app to help your furry friends during emergencies until you can get to a veterinarian. It’s available for download on Apple and Android devices.

Leave the Fireworks to the Pros!

Leave the Fireworks to the Pros!

Stay safe this holiday. Fire and safety experts agree the best way to enjoy fireworks is from a distance. Leave the fireworks to the professionals!

Fireworks are often used to mark holidays and special events. While these displays may be visually appealing, they present dangers for consumer use. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), hundreds of people are injured each Fourth of July while using consumer fireworks, including sparklers and firecrackers.


Get the facts about fireworks safety to share with family and friends. Take a look at this fireworks safety video and visit the CPSC Fireworks Information Center.