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Public Safety Column
The IPSA's Public Safety Column is an opportunity for our members and corporate sponsors to provide thought leadership articles about all topics facing public safety.
The articles we publish are not necessarily the views of the IPSA, rather they are opinions shared by each contributor.
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We depend on critical infrastructure every day. Our ability to travel, to communicate with friends and family, to conduct business, to handle our finances, and even our ability to access clean, safe food and water are all reliant upon our Nation’s critical infrastructure networks and systems.
These essential services that underlie daily life in American society are increasingly being run on digital networks. Every day, people connect to the national grid without even realizing it from their smart phones, computers, and tablets. As a result, these critical systems are prime targets for cyber attacks from those seeking to cause our country harm. Seventy percent of companies responsible for the world’s power, water, and other critical functions reported at least one security breach, throughout a 12-month period, that led to disruption of service or loss of confidential information, according to the Ponemon Institute in 2014. Resilience of essential systems and assets, from power grids to banking systems, is vital to our national security, economy as well as our public health and safety.
As the Department of Homeland Security transitions from October’s National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) into November’s Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience Month (CISR), we focus on the critical mission of defending our Nation’s critical infrastructure from cyber threats. Each November, DHS highlights the efforts between federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal governments and private sector partners to protect and secure the infrastructure Americans rely on every day to communicate, power, transport, and otherwise support our way of life.
Every day, DHS works with critical infrastructure owners and operators to better secure our systems from cyber threats. The Department’s C3 Voluntary Program supports industry in increasing cyber resilience, promotes awareness and use of the Cybersecurity Framework, and encourages organizations to manage cybersecurity as part of an all hazards approach to enterprise risk management. For more information, please visit https://www.us-cert.gov/ccubedvp.
Just as we all rely on critical infrastructure, we all play a role in keeping it strong, secure, and resilient. We can do our part at home, at work, and in our community by being vigilant, incorporating basic cyber safety practices into our daily routines, and making sure that if we see something, we say something by reporting suspicious activities to local law enforcement. The Stop.Think.Connect.™ encourages all Americans to take the following steps to play their part in securing our critical infrastructure.
Originally published by https://www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect-campaign-blog
The Super Bowl is the most-watched television program in America, with more than 100 million people tuning in annually. Cyber criminals, hackers, and other malicious actors may take advantage of people’s enthusiasm for the game to gain access to information or commit fraud. While fans of opposing teams may not agree on much, everyone can agree that practicing safe online behavior is a smart play. Follow these tips to protect yourself and your family:
The Stop.Think.Connect. Campaign encourages everyone to be cyber safe every day. For more tips and resources, visit www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect. Originally published on https://www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect-campaign-blog
Executive Director and IPSA Founder, Heather R. Cotter answers some FAQs.
Why did you start the IPSA?
Since 9/11, we have all talked about the need to work together and integrate our efforts as first responders. But as of the year 2014, everything for public safety was still being done in silos at a national level. While the U.S. DHS offers multidiscipline programs, this is at the federal government level. No non-profit existed to unite the public safety community.
I saw a need to form a non-profit organization that would bring together all public safety disciplines to provide cross-training and networking opportunities.
I'm very proud of what IPSA has accomplished in less than three years.
What are your thoughts about President Trump?
As with any new President, you have to take a step back, wait and see. There is a ton of media coverage right now (as to be expected). Every story has an angle so it's important to understand that and take it into perspective as you take the information in that's being shared.
I hope President Trump offers the public safety community funding and policy that will keep our first responders and communities safe.
I also want to see the IPSA get the opportunity to have a seat at the table to help shape policy and decisions that are being made by the White House that impact public safety - whether it's law enforcement, fire, EMS or any of the disciplines.
What opportunities exist for IPSA Members?
IPSA Members have the opportunity to serve on our Board, serve as Officers, serve as Committee Chairs or Committee Members. They also have the opportunity to submit to our Blog, submit manuscripts to the IPSA Journal and attend trainings (web-based and in-person).
Members have the opportunity to represent us on working groups. The IPSA serves as Vice-Chair of the U.S. DHS Emergency Services Sector Coordinating Council and a current IPSA Member represents us at those meetings. We've also extended oppourtinites to our Members to inform the Presidential Cybersecurity Commission Report and other notable efforts.
How can individuals help IPSA?
Help us build awareness by telling others about us, encouraging individuals to become Members, sharing or liking our posts on social media, registering for our 2018 conference, signing-up for our web-trainings and joining our committees.
Individuals can also help by donating and becoming a 2017 IPSA Supporter. Or, by telling a company they work with to become an IPSA Supporter.
Personally, I would love to see all of our Members help IPSA's fundraising and outreach efforts. As a grassroots organization, everyone has the opportunity to help us advance our mission and achieve our vision.
I believe our Members join to be a part of something important and needed in public safety. Joining IPSA is more than a resume builder. Joining IPSA is about being forward thinking and making a difference in the global public safety community.
Goodyear, AZ, January 24, 2017
The International Public Safety Association’s Board of Directors' appointed a new Vice Chair on January 21, 2017. Assistant Chief Chris DeChant with Glendale (Arizona) Fire Department was unanimously voted in by the Board of Directors during its first Board meeting of 2017.
“What’s unique about this new, appointed leadership position within the IPSA is that the Vice Chair represents the fire service and our Chair, Chief Scott D. Edson of Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, represents law enforcement. Bringing law enforcement and fire together, to build a collaborative and integrated public safety community, is what my vision was when I founded the IPSA in 2014,” said Executive Director Heather R. Cotter.
DeChant has expertise in executive level fire department management with a demonstrated record of accomplishment. He was originally elected to serve on the IPSA’s Board of Directors in 2015. His new role as Vice Chair will give the IPSA more opportunities to expand its reach to the global public safety community. His extensive leadership background will help shape IPSA policy, programs and services provided to its membership.
The IPSA Vice Chair of the Board of Directors serves in partnership with the Chair of the Board of Directors in achieving the organization’s mission. This position is the successor to the Chair position. In addition, the Vice Chair shall:
About the International Public Safety Association
The International Public Safety Association, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, was established in July 2014 in the State of Arizona to bring the public safety community closer together by offering opportunities to network, cross-train, and build a stronger public safety community capable of an effective joint response to all incidents.
Press Contact: Heather R. Cotter, Direct: 866-535-8825 ext 1, firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: International Public Safety Association
Starting from a young age, our teachers and parents teach us about crime. We learn to lock the doors at night, to say no to drugs, and to avoid talking to strangers. As we get older, we take safety measures to protect our money, our valuables, and our physical safety.
However, when it comes to our online lives, many of us frequently put these same things at risk.
Recognizing and combating cybercrime presents a unique challenge. In a world filled with technical jargon and complicated concepts, the average person may feel overwhelmed with the idea of protecting themselves from cybercrime.
However, there are quick, easy steps everyone can take – no matter their level of technical expertise – to protect themselves online. The first step in protecting yourself against cybercrime is knowing how to recognize it. Below are two common types of cybercrime and how to spot them:
Phishing attacks. Cybercriminals use legitimate-looking emails that encourage people to click on a link or open an attachment. The email they send can look like it is from an authentic financial institution, e-commerce site, government agency, or any other service or business. The email may also request personal information like account numbers, passwords, or Social Security numbers. Once you click on the link or open the attachment, the cybercriminal has access to your personal information, including your Social Security number, bank account information, and credit card number.
Identity Theft. The illegal use of someone else's personal information in order to obtain money or credit. As we all move towards online banking and shopping, we share a startling amount of personal information online. Cybercriminals are constantly looking to steal this information online. How will you know if you’ve been a victim of identity theft? You might get bills for products or services you did not purchase. Your bank account might have withdrawals you didn’t expect. You may see unauthorized charges on your credit cards. You may be unexpectedly denied for a credit application (when you believe you should qualify).
Protecting yourself from cybercrime may seem like a daunting task, but in reality it’s not. The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) “Identity Theft and Internet Scams Tip Card” and “Phishing Tip Card” provides easy steps you can take to protect yourself online. You can find these tip cards, along with other online safety resources, in the Stop.Think.Connect.TM Campaign’s Toolkit at www.dhs.gov/StopThinkConnect-Toolkit.
All individuals have a responsibility to protect against cybercrime, but no one can do it alone. DHS is committed to building partnerships and providing the right resources needed to fight against cybercrime through the following components.
Originally published on https://www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect-campaign-blog
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Every year on January 9, we celebrate National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. The IPSA would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our law enforcement members for supporting us and for the work you do to keep your communities safe. Law enforcement is more than a job, it's a lifestyle and it takes dedicated and brave individuals with great integrity to wear the badge.
Thank you for all that you do to deter and combat crime. Thank you for assisting us when we're in need. Thank you for making the choice to wear the badge with honor and integrity.
-Heather R. Cotter, Executive Director
Anything can happen when there are thousands of spectators attending a large event. With over 150,000 spectators expected to attend the 2016 MCAS Cherry Point Air Show, planning and preparations began months prior to the event. In preparation for the Air Show, numerous exercises were conducted. Air Show staff were guided through several table top exercises, communications exercises and a full scale mass casualty exercise.
After the initial viewing of the webcast, Mr. James Riemer, Director of Operations, MCAS Cherry Point, and Air Show Director, recommended the webcast be shown for the entire Air Show staff and highly recommended that staff join the association in order to participate in future webcasts. That being said, I joined the IPSA as a Member in order to be part of an organization that unites all public safety groups.
Mass casualty training and exercising are important when planning mass gatherings because emergencies can happen at any time. In an effort to understand how others have dealt with Air Crash mass casualty events and through the assistance of Ms. Heather Cotter, Executive Director, International Public Safety Association (IPSA), the MCAS Cherry Point Operations staff was able to review the Reno Air Races: Responding to "A Plane in the Stands" webcast.
Many webcasts have since been viewed; however the Reno Race webinar provided our staff the opportunity to see how other agencies operate and it reinforced how important it is to collaborate with outside agencies. Our participants saw further evidence that pre-planning for events of this magnitude is important in order to define roles and responsibilities, identify and properly deploy resources, and to discuss contingency plans with our partnering agencies.
Although we have our Pre-Air Show Mishap Plans and an All Hazards Plan that includes Mass Casualty Incidents; the Reno Air Race webcast provided our staff valuable information regarding Emergency Evacuation on a large scale. Prior to viewing the webcast, Ms. Cotter provided contact information and introduced our staff to Mr. Kevin Romero, Director, Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority and the Reno Race guest presenter. Mr. Romero was very helpful in providing additional information and planning tools and flow charts.
After reviewing the webcast and discussing the Reno Race Mass Evacuation Plan, our staff met with local police and the North Carolina State Highway Patrol to discuss our Emergency Mass Evacuation Plan. Our Evacuation Plan was reviewed and roles and responsibilities defined. We discussed egress routes for emergency and non-emergency traffic, the importance of which was clearly stated during the Reno Race webcast.
Fortunately, we were untested by a major mishap during our Air Show. However, an unanticipated record number of visitors to the Air Show on the second day of the event created a 10-mile gridlock on eastbound Hwy US 70, the only major traffic corridor through the local area. This resulted in the potential for significant problems in the event of a major mishap.
In retrospect, we realized that we had not sufficiently discussed mass gathering ingress during our planning meetings. We are now re-writing our plans to include ingress and egress, as MCAS Cherry Point relies on one of eastern North Carolina’s major east-west highways (US 70). With our closest Trauma Center located approximately 112 miles to the west, and our closest hospitals 20 miles in either direction (east and west) on US 70, the main artery to and from our base is a four-lane highway that we cannot afford to have closed in either direction. We believe lessons learned from the Reno Air Race seminar will continue to help us mitigate future traffic challenges for emergencies … or for perfect Air Show days.
Story by Etta Lucas, Installation Emergency Manager, Mission Assurance, MCAS Cherry Point
Although different by design, acts of terrorism, active shooter incidents, and complex, coordinated attacks exist and we need to do everything possible to make sure we are as prepared as we can be to respond quickly and strategically.
Attacks like 9/11, Beslan in 2004, Mumbai in 2008, Sandy Hook in 2012, Boston in 2013, Navy Yard in 2013, Nairobi in 2013, LAX in 2013, and the recent event in Paris in 2015 have no jurisdictional boundaries. These attacks evolve quickly and they often occur with little to no warning. Victims can be anyone, any age or any gender. We know that the M/O will vary. We know that weaponry will vary. We know there is a wide-range of planning tactics from impulsively acting to extensive planning. Given all of these things, how prepared is your city to respond?
In order to be truly prepared, city government, dispatch, law enforcement, fire, and EMS need to begin communicating regularly. Stakeholders from each of these disciplines need to have a seat at the table during planning, and they should also participate in training drills. The International Public Safety Association's new Rescue Task Force (RTF) Committee will be at the forefront of addressing these issues and assisting agencies.
While funding remains scarce and departmental resources are spread thin, starting the necessary conversations with the key stakeholders is not expensive. Taking time to meet and strategize and document about what your town, city, or region would do is critical for the safety of our first responders and our communities.
The International Public Safety Association recognizes there are gaps to bridge and it is our vision is for a stronger, more integrated public safety community capable of an effective joint response to all public safety incidents. We are actively working on bringing together all stakeholders to have these conversations and making sure the conversations continue as planning and tactics evolve.
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