Texas Emergency Management ONLINE 2013 Vol. 60 No. 12

Texas Emergency Management Briefs, Tips and Links

2014 Leadership Development Symposium begins Jan. 6
The 2014 Leadership Development Symposium will be presented on Jan. 6-8 in Frisco, Texas, by the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) Emergency Services Training Institute.

A cadre of top-notch speakers will provide up-to-date information on leadership, management, safety, budgeting and other relevant topics, centered on the theme “Power of Influence.”

Featured speakers at the symposium this year include world champion adventure racer and New York Times best-selling author Robyn Benincasa, Next Generation speaker and blogger Ryan Jenkins, and Mike Lipkin, president of Environics/Lipkin.


The symposium is coordinated by the TEEX Leadership Development Program and funded, in part, by Texas general revenue. There is no registration fee for Texas resident firefighters, and sessions are geared to meet continuing education requirements for Texas fire officers and EMS personnel.

Last year, the conference drew a record attendance of more than 800 from Texas as well as 14 other states and two countries. The conference is popular with Texas fire chiefs as well as administrators from a wide spectrum of emergency services.

For registration information, visit: TEEX Leadership Development Symposium

FEMA and NPR Team for Emergencies
The Department of Homeland Security announced a pilot project with NPR Labs, to demonstrate the delivery of the first-ever, real-time emergency alert messages to people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing in five Gulf states. 25 NPR affiliates in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas agreed to participate in the pilot project to transmit emergency alert messages, such as weather alerts, to 475 individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing in the stations’ listening areas to determine how effectively the messages are being sent and received.

NPR Labs Executive Director Mike Starling said, “This demonstration project is a crucial first step in improving the technology for people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing during emergencies. I want to sincerely thank the 25 stations for agreeing to participate in this demonstration project that is working to test the latest technology to ensure that all individuals, including those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, can be informed of emergencies when electricity, the Internet and other communications channels are unavailable.”

The public radio stations participating in the pilot will receive emergency alert messages from FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, where the network operations center of the Public Radio Satellite System will uplink the warnings to the participating stations. The stations will then broadcast the emergency alerts to specially designed FM Radio Data System radio receivers that alert the participants with a flashing indicator. The receivers can display the alert message through the receiver’s display, and the participants can connect a strobe light or bed-shaker alerting device to the receiver, helping ensure alerts are noticed day and night.

Nokero launches $6 solar bulb.
The N180-Start is designed to replace kerosene as a light source. The high-end N222 solar bulb, meanwhile, can also charge your phone.

The N180-Start has an LED that shines a low light for four hours.

Solar bulb     Solar bulb 

Lighting startup Nokero has launched what it calls the world's most affordable solar bulb, the N180-Start, which sells for $6 on its Web site.

The bulb has a 5-lumen LED that can shine for about four hours on a full charge after hanging outside in the sun.

Nokero, which is short for "no kerosene," says the light can pay for itself in 15 days to two months depending on the user's income and use of kerosene.

The startup, which launched its first solar bulb in 2010, has also announced a high-end solar bulb and phone charger combo, the N222.

With its lithium ion phosphate battery, it can shine a bright light at 50 lumens for 6 hours and charge cell phones or other devices via USB.

It can also be run for 15 hours at a lower-intensity setting of 25 lumens. It has a five-year battery life, weatherproof housing, interchangeable color lenses, and grid-charging capability.

It's selling for $45 at the Nokero shop here; there's a demo of both the N180-Start and N222 bulbs here.

Learn more here:  Nokero and CNET

Science Fair Winner Creates a Life-saving App
Kumar.jpgFourteen-year-old, Viney Kumar of Australia won in the 13 to 14 age group for developing an Android app that warns drivers nearly 70 seconds before the approach of an ambulance or other emergency response vehicle.

Dubbed "PART," the app uses GPS data to give motorists plenty of time to get out of the way, reducing the possibility of responders getting stuck in traffic.

Signaling systems on ambulances are inaudible greater than 100 meters, and sirens are non-directional — meaning that only one in four drivers can identify an approaching emergency vehicle’s direction.

Kumar’s invention plugs all the inherent holes in the age-old blaring sirens, while individually motivating motorists by giving every driver intermittent, in-car, dashboard-based audio and visual warnings when an emergency vehicle is near. With tests proving Kumar’s invention is nine times more effective than an emergency siren alone, patients can expect better outcomes; fires can be attended to more quickly, saving property and lives; and police can move unhindered through traffic, giving them a crime-fighting edge.

How does PART work? “An emergency vehicle sends its current location and the route it will take to a web server,” says Viney. “The GPS device in the target vehicle obtains that data by polling the same web server periodically and translates that data into an audio-visual format. PART alerts drivers with audio and visual warnings when the emergency vehicle is 800 meters away, and again at 500 meters, giving them time to pull over.”

Kumar’s visual element uses Google Maps to show the driver’s position in relation to an approaching emergency vehicle – both depicted inside an 800-meter radius by colored, moving icons. At intervals, an audio alert sounds with: “Emergency vehicle within <Range> meters. Please pull over.”

Kumar used Java programming and two Android phones to test the prototype, conducted unit and simulation testing and then modified his design. He deployed his parents in separate cars to test his hypotheses that drivers would have more time to pull over using PART, and that the emergency vehicle’s location – on-screen, in-car – would be pinpoint accurate. Tests showed drivers now had 67 seconds to respond, instead of the current seven to 14 seconds.

See the full article here:  Knowledge @ Wharton High School

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