Bloodhounds in the Classroom
25 October 2017
Our Homeland Security course instructors hosted Find-M’ Friends, Inc., a nonprofit organization focused on the use of scent tracking dogs to assist in the return of lost or abducted children and adults with Alzheimer's, etc. Students learned about how bloodhounds are used in law enforcement and missing persons cases; some students even had the opportunity to participate in a practice exercise and run with the hounds in search of other students who were acting as “targets.” This was a fantastic learning opportunity for our students, and we look forward to the next time we can host Find-M’ Friends and their amazing dogs!
EMHS UAS Team Provide Aerial Support with ACFR at Spencer Event
19 October 2017
The EMHS/CDRP UAS Team was requested by Alachua County Fire Rescue to assist in providing aerial situational awareness support for medical response during the Richard Spencer event on the University of Florida campus. Recent events of a similar nature have sparked violent protests outside the venue. EMHS faculty, staff and students, in conjunction with ACFR's UAS team, jointly ran 34 continuous overflight missions that assisted decision makers in the unified command center. UAS teams communicated directly with manned aviation assets in the area to deconflict airspace and ensure the safety of everyone involved. At the height of activity, UAS teams were simultaneously flying four UAS assets with five manned rotary aircraft and two manned fixed wing aircraft over the same airspace. EMHS is very grateful for the opportunity to help ACFR and the handful of other public service agencies that contributed to promoting safety at this event.
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.
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.
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.