EMHS Receives NSF Grant

21 September 2017

The Emergency Management and Homeland Security program was awarded its first National Science Foundation grant for the project: "RAPID: Collaborative Research: Unmanned Aerial System Datasets from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma" under the direction of David Merrick and in collaboration with a separate proposal from Texas A&M Center for Robot-Assisted Search and Rescue (CRASAR) under the direction of Dr. Robin Murphy. This grant will help fund research aimed at organizing and cataloging digital media collected by the EMHS/CDRP UAS Team, CRASAR and others during their deployments for hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

The year-long RAPID project will organize unmanned aerial system (UAS) data from 119 flights taken after Hurricane Harvey and 247 flights post Hurricane Irma. Initial tasks to be completed as part of this project include screening for personal privacy identification and compliance with applicable state laws. Other activities will include hosting a virtual workshop to introduce the dataset and access procedures for researchers that wish to work with this data. A follow up workshop will be held at the 2018 IEEE International Symposium on Safety Security and Rescue Robotics to discuss the results of the research using these datasets and how to acquire datasets in the future.

EMHS Hurricane Irma Activations

19 September 2017

The FSU Emergency Management and Homeland Security (EMHS) Program was activated by the Florida Division of Emergency Management to support the statewide Hurricane Irma preparations.

The Irma activation included recruiting student volunteers as part of the Student Disaster Corps (SDC) run by EMHS. Nearly 40 EMHS students were placed as disaster volunteers with the Florida Division of Emergency Management (DEM), the Florida Department of Health (DOH), and Volunteer Florida. Student volunteers worked around the clock supporting organization hotlines and helping enter shelter management data.

FSU EMHS also runs the critically important Virtual Operations Support TEAM (VOST) which tracks trends and rumors about Hurricane Irma on social media. The VOST team flags potentially dangerous or erroneous information and passes it to officials who can address any misinformation. Supervised by EMHS staff, students also monitor social media reports concerning gas shortages, traffic problems, power outages, and individuals needing assistance. The information is compiled to DEM in situation reports, providing a citizen level perspective. EMHS faculty, staff, and students worked directly with DEM officials in many capacities at the State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee.

The small drones, or Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Team, just returned from Texas where they were mapping Houston after Hurricane Harvey. Now back in Florida, the EMHS UAS team was activated to assist with the State Emergency Response Team Air Operations mission in order to facilitate airspace coordination, communication, and integration.

Finally, the EMHS UAS Team deployed to South Florida following landfall of Hurricane Irma. The UAS team was tasked with supporting urban search and rescue operations, as well as working directly with FEMA to conduct damage assessments of impacted areas.

Student Disaster Corps (SDC)

05 September 2017

The EMHS Program is seeking out current FSU EMHS students to participate in a new volunteer opportunity to assist the State of Florida Division of Emergency Management in its Hurricane Irma activation. This opportunity is known as the Student Disaster Corps (SDC).

Student volunteers will be asked to join DEM officials in the State Emergency Operations Center and assist in any ways necessary. If you are looking for real-world experience in emergency management, it really doesn't get any better than this.

If interested, please e-mail disastercorps@em.fsu.edu 

EMHS Internships with JIATFS

6 June 2017

The Emergency Management and Homeland Security (EMHS) program at Florida State University is excited to announce a unique internship opportunity with the U.S. Southern Command’s Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATFS) in Key West, Florida. A critical Department of Defense organization, JIATFS is a U.S. led joint, interagency and multinational task force that executes detection and monitoring of illicit trafficking across all domains, and facilitates international and interagency interdiction to enable the disrupting and dismantling of converging threat networks in support of national and hemispheric security. Florida State’s EMHS program has solidified an agreement with the task force to embed a student intern within the command on a continuing basis throughout each academic year. Our first student intern, Ms. Kristina Le Blanc, arrived at the command on September 19, 2016, and will serve there through June of 2017. Kristina is working in the directorate for International Affairs, capitalizing on her diplomatic and Spanish language skills while facilitating visits and senior level meetings between the Latin American partners and U.S. officials. Students beginning their summer internships have just arrived in Key West, and are acclimating to their new positions within the command. EMHS is currently working on future additional internship opportunities at JIATFS for our students and is extremely enthusiastic for what is becoming a wonderful partnership between Florida State University and JIATFS. Students interested in internship opportunities should read about our Internship Program.

New Website

11 May 2017

Our primary web presence - em.fsu.edu - has gotten a new look and new content. Designed to work on a variety of devices, the new site looks and functions great on your laptop, your iPad, and your phone.

The new site is cleaner and easier to navigate, and help current and prospective students find the information they need to be successful.

As we continue to roll out new features, let us know what you like and what you don't. You can reach us at emcertinfo@em.feu.edu or via Facebook.

Dogs and Drones

1 May 2017

This Spring, FSU EMHS worked with Scent Evidence K9 to conduct the second annual Canine and UAS search workshop. This unique event combined tracking and trailing canines from all over the southeast with small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) from EMHS's Disaster Incident Research Team to exercise and develop techniques for combining these tools.

Through training seminars, live tracking in the field, and workshops to develop tactics, EMHS and Scent Evidence delivered a valuable experience for teams. The training event culminated in a real-world search, working with the Leon County Sheriff's Office and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

This program gave over a dozen EMHS students a taste of this unique skill - and again provided opportunities for students to Get More than a Degree.