Howard County CERN Meeting January 10, 2013
Resources in a Disaster:
Federal Emergency Management Agency: www.fema.gov
Maryland Emergency Management Agency: www.mema.state.md.us
United States Department of Homeland Security: www.ready.gov
U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration: www.osha.gov/SLTC/emergencyresponse/index.html
American Red Cross-ARC: www.redcross.org
Center for Disease Control and Prevention: www.bt.cdc.gov
Howard County Government: www.howardcountymd.gov
Howard County Health Department: www.hchealth.org
Maryland State Government: www.maryland.gov
Active Shooter Situations, Cyber-security, Flu Prevention tips Discussed
Over 40 representatives from organizations across the county (Howard County Public Schools, first responders, the nonprofit community, the Mall in Columbia, Howard County General Hospital, Howard County Community College and others) met to discuss preparedness as it relates to an active shooter situation, as well as precautions related to cyber-security.
First responders (Howard County Police, Fire and Office of Emergency Management) gave activity updates for the benefit of the group. In his report, Chief of Police, Bill McMahon mentioned the importance of flu prevention activities (see recommendations from the CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/preventing.htm) as well as the formation and first meeting of the County Executive Ken Ulman’s School Safety Task Force. Three sub-committees have been created, School Security, Emergency Response, and Safe and Nurturing Schools.
Active Shooter, presentation by Chief of Police, Bill McMahon
After showing this video:
Run, Hide, Fight
Chief McMahon emphasized that whatever you decide to do if you are involved in an active shooter situation, Run, Hide, Fight – commit to it. Always try to leave, do NOT be slowed down by indecision. Remember that first responders are there to STOP the shooter, not attend to victims at that point.
Make sure to silence your cell phone – even a vibration on silent mode can make noise. Raise your hands when law enforcement arrives (they need to ascertain who is the ‘bad guy’) and steer clear of the building (improvised explosive devices are a threat.)
For those in managerial or supervisory positions (i.e. an active shooter in a workplace, or a retail outlet), be aware that people are going to look to you in terms of what to do. Training and exercises are important to test assumptions and execute plans.
To prevent a situation, if you know something – do something. Parents need to “look over their children’s shoulder” when it comes to social media activity. When there is evidence that is concerning, call the police – they will work with the school system and follow up on credible information.
Cyber-security was also discussed, which was timely since the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), which falls under the National Cyber Security Division of the Department of Homeland Security just announced a major threat involving JAVA which is present on millions of computers around the world.
Jeff Thomas, Information Security Group Supervisor at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab gave a comprehensive presentation on the threats, the types of attach and what end-users and small businesses can do to mitigate risk.
At a high level, Jeff suggests:
- Updating software, including your operating system, as soon as new updates are released;
- Using caution in clicking on unfamiliar links or links in suspicious emails (suspicious defined as those asking for an email address or other personal information). Hackers can very easily spoof an ‘official’ looking email.
- Consider privacy settings while using social networks.
Posted by on Thursday, January 17th, 2013 @ 2:55PM
Categories: CERN Meeting