Wizards of Oz

"Life is fraughtless ... when you're thoughtless."


Sensor Fusion in Baton Rouge

The Melton Valley-SensorNet project has come to Baton Rouge, Louisiana - home to the greatest concentration of chemical refineries, barge traffic and storage facilities in the United States. We showcased our project in conjunction with the Baton Rouge Area Mutual Aid System (BRAMAS) conference to the HazMat chief from Baton Rouge Fire Department, as well as representatives from Army Research Office's Chemical Sciences Division, regional FBI and other first-responder representatives.

Oak Ridge National Lab has developed an ingenious sensor mash-up that integrates real-time sensor data with response plans/policies, meteorological data, and predictive models in order to inform First Responders and other decision makers. The sensor package shown above is a chemical sensor developed by SeaCoast Science, Inc. of Carlsbad, Calif.

In this video, Magnus Oding of Scan Pacific Northwest, LLC of Mukilteo, Wash. launches the sensor via a pneumatic line thrower along the levee in downtown Baton Rouge. These sensors, when integrated with the communications architecture developed by Oak Ridge National Lab (that correlates space-time information with real-time sensor readings and predictive dispersion models), will provide enhanced situational awareness to any decision maker who has to make high-consequence, time-sensitive decisions to protect people and property.

Web 2.0 capabilities merged with sensing capabilities and predictive models create a next-generation "toolbox" for emergency management and disaster response.

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Be Prepared

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers a number of online courses related to Homeland Security and Civil Preparedness. Anyone with an interest in the National Response Plan, and the soon-to-be-mandatory-for-communities National Incident Management System (NIMS), can take self-paced courses online through FEMA's Emergency Management Institute. The courses are free, short (no more than two or three hours each), and passing the online final exam gets you a certificate with "Continuing Education Units" (CEUs).

I'm spending my evenings this week at the Anderson County Emergency Operations Center for their in-residence offering of "ICS-300" (Intermediate Level Incident Command System). It might be interesting to someday pursue formal "certification" in Emergency Management through the International Association of Emergency Managers.

On the topic of community preparedness and protection of "intellectual property" and symbols, there is an interesting legal battle brewing between the American Red Cross and Johnson & Johnson over the "red cross" symbol. On August 8th, Johnson & Johnson filed a civil complaint against American Red Cross over the licensing of products bearing the Red Cross symbol to third parties. Read the respective press releases here (Red Cross) and here (J&J). Personally, why an $11B (yep, that's a "B") company cares about a couple million dollars in retail sales by a predominantly volunteer and philanthropic organization is beyond me ...

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