Effectively Responding to Active Shooters in Healthcare Facilities

Active shooter incidents have been on the rise throughout the United States. The most recent FBI data has identified 250 healthcare active shooter incidents between 2000 and 2017, in which 799 people were killed and an additional 1,418 were wounded. In the first half of that period, there was an average of 6.7 incidents per year. That number has tripled to over 20 incidents per year in the second half of that period.

Additionally, the Annals of Emergency Medicine published a 2012 study that examined all U.S. hospital shootings between 2000 and 2011 in which there was at least one injured victim. It identified 154 incidents in 40 states causing death or injury to a staggering 235 people.

New method to determine how safe buildings are after an earthquake

Deciding when it's safe for a building's residents to move back in after an earthquake is a major challenge and responsibility for civil engineers. Not only do they have to evaluate whether the building could collapse, but also whether it could withstand aftershocks of the same magnitude. The good news is, some promising research is being carried out in this field.

Scientists at EPFL's Applied Computing and Mechanics Laboratory (IMAC) have come up with a new method that can increase the accuracy of these types of assessments. It is based on taking measurements of a building's ambient vibrations, and can be used to enhance existing methods and speed the process for determining which structures are too fragile to live in. The study – by Yves Reuland (lead author), Pierino Lestuzzi and Ian F.C. Smith – appears in the January issue of Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering.

‘It’s Making Us Less Prepared’: Shutdown Slows Planning for Hurricanes and Other Disasters

For experts who make a living forecasting hurricanes, storm season is a year-round worry. When the tropics are calm, as they are now, researchers dive into data, analyze results, improve scientific models and train state and local officials on the latest technology that can help them make lifesaving decisions.

But the partial government shutdown — the longest in United States history — has brought much of that fieldwork and instruction to a halt. Most researchers have been furloughed, and training academies and courses have been canceled, with no makeup dates in sight.

Los Angeles' Earthquake Early Warning System Could Save Lives, but What About the Rest of California?

(TNS) - With considerable fanfare, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti started the year by trumpeting a cellphone app that will instantly notify users in Los Angeles County when an earthquake of 5.0 or bigger begins to hit.

The pilot program, officially unveiled Jan. 3, can provide crucial seconds — even dozens of seconds — for people to duck and cover or otherwise take potentially lifesaving actions.

Dubbed ShakeAlertLA, it’s the first earthquake early warning system of its type in the country.

Updating California’s Fire Risk Maps Will Take Time, New Tech

(TNS) — State firefighters are taking on the colossal task this year of updating maps that highlight the most fire-prone areas in California.

Fire officials in Marin say the maps, last updated more than a decade ago, are a helpful planning resource. But in California’s current climate, some say, those projections aren’t as relevant as they once were — the whole state is susceptible to flames.

L.A.’s Long-Awaited Earthquake Warning App Is Ready for Download

(TNS) — Los Angeles has unveiled its long-anticipated earthquake early warning app for Android and Apple smartphones, which is now available for download.

ShakeAlertLA, an app created under the oversight of Mayor Eric Garcetti and the city, is designed to work with the U.S. Geological Survey’s earthquake early warning system, which has been under development for years. It’s designed to give users seconds — perhaps even tens of seconds — before shaking from a distant earthquake arrives at a user’s location.

Santa Barbara County, Calif., Knew Mudslides Were a Risk. It Did Little to Stop Them

(TNS) — During severe winter storms, Cold Springs Creek above Montecito turns into a torrent of mud, uprooted trees and shed-size boulders as it drains three square miles of sheer mountain front.

The only thing protecting the people, homes and businesses below is a low dam that the Army Corps of Engineers built in 1964 at the mouth of the creek's canyon, forming a basin between the steep banks to catch the crashing debris.

Over the decades, the basin filled up with sediment and grew thick with brush and trees.

New Public Safety Center Coming Together in San Rafael, California

(TNS) - Behind a chain-linked fence along Fifth Avenue between C and D streets in San Rafael, workers using a crane hoisted a bundle of steel beams that would be integrated into the framework of what will soon be a new $36 million public safety building.

“Right now we are erecting steel beams and columns for the first and second floor,” said Jorge Meza, the project manager with Kitchel CEM of Sacramento who is overseeing work.

Research Finds Fire-Resistant Building Codes Do Not Raise Home Prices

Homes in wildfire-prone areas around the U.S. could be built to better withstand blazes without increasing the cost of construction, according to a new report.

The research released Tuesday was sponsored in part by the insurance industry and marks the first attempt to quantify the expenses associated with building residences that meet stringent flame-resistant criteria. Few states have adopted such codes, often citing housing costs, but the new findings suggest fire-plagued communities could curb damage and save lives with minimal effect on home buyers.

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