HSFA Ready Roadmap kicking off preparedness campaign at HALO Counter-Terrorism Summit

July 27, 2012

The Homeland Security Foundation of America is planning to kickoff Ready Roadmap San Diego from Paradise Point Resort (“HALO Island”) this fall, sponsored by the HALO Corporation and Fedhealth.

HSFA’s Ready Roadmap USA incorporates a grassroots public awareness campaign, safety day events and other community activities to help people understand the hazards in their local area and mitigate those hazards, hoping for the best, but planning for the worst. This is a high priority and one that’s ongoing – America needs ALL hands on deck on this one.

Tornadoes, wildfires and storms like hurricanes Katrina, Gustav and Ike have devastated entire states, including mission critical areas that produce fuel, energy, food and other important goods for Americans. Crimes against our youths are on the rise, and years after 9/11, we still face the growing threat of terrorism. The awesome power of nature cannot be controlled and no one knows when criminals will strike, but we can work together to help prepare families to survive disasters and keep their communities safe.

HSFA will conduct its annual meeting of the board October 29, 2012 from “HALO Island”, made possible by generous donations from the HALO Corporation. The next day, HSFA will kickoff Ready Roadmap in the city of San Diego delivering life-saving public safety and disaster preparedness resources and information to more than 1,000 attendees at the HALO Counter-Terrorism Summit and more than 5,000 families in San Diego County between October 30 and November 3, 2012.

Be a part of this extraordinary public safety evolution…

Be a Sponsor

Public Safety is one of HSFA’s primary Areas of Operation using a single resource — our disaster preparedness and first aid manual — customized for each target location. This handy reference book is the ideal resource to help families stop just thinking about preparedness and start taking definitive steps to get ready.

Even though people throw the average flyer away, HSFA has never seen a single one of these substantial preparedness manuals in the trash–they get passed around from family to family, from friend to friend and from one concerned citizen to another.

This means thousands of people will have the chance to see just how much you care about their well-being for years to come. With life-saving resources and safety information on hand and a serious show of concern from businesses they trust, families will be empowered to get ready and stay prepared for disasters. This is what Ready Roadmap is all about, keeping families safe!

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to HSFA to support the Ready Roadmap USA program and get your business or cause highlighted with maximum sponsorship recognition in print, online and in the media by downloading HSFA’s Sponsorship package in PDF.


Make a difference by helping spread the word about Ready Roadmap in your area and telling the people in your community HSFA will be at the HALO Counter-Terrorism summit.

Discover the HALO Counterterrorism Summit

In a historic move, the HALO Counter-Terrorism Summit is transforming San Diego’s 44-acre Paradise Point Resort into a tactical battle lab. For five days, HALO will fully occupy this entire island paradise.

This Four-Diamond luxury resort is tucked away on Mission Bay, minutes from the heart of downtown San Diego, and features California beach bungalow-style guest rooms amidst lush, tropical gardens and meandering lagoons.

“HALO Island” will utilize over 36,000 square feet of indoor space and an additional 30,000 square feet of outdoor space with bay views, lagoons and tropical gardens for live-action demonstrations, training exercises and education. Dramatic waterfront spaces overlooking the marina and Mission Bay will also be leveraged for maritime demonstrations.

Keynote Speakers

HALO training summits draw the best and brightest minds from the counterterrorism and emergency response fields. This year’s keynote speakers currently include:

General Michael Hayden (ret.)– Mr. Hayden served as director of the National Security Agency (1999-2005), the first principal director of National Intelligence (2005-2008), and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (2006-2009). Following his 39-year career in the Air Force as a four-star general, he is now a principal at the Chertoff Group.

Deputy Chief Michael Downing – As commanding officer of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Counterterrorism and Special Operations Bureau, Mr. Downing leads five operational divisions: Major Crimes Division, Emergency Services Division, Metropolitan Division, Air Support Division and Emergency Operations Division. He also sits on the executive board of the Los Angeles Joint Regional Intelligence Center (JRIC).

Alejandro Poiré Romero – Mr. Romero is Secretary of the Interior for the country of Mexico. He previously served as the director-general of the Ministry of Public Safety and the Center for Research and National Security, a Mexican intelligence agency.

Training Courses and Education

The Summit’s multi-track training environment will offer over 30 courses on current and relevant security issues ranging from border and maritime security to cyber terrorism and modern warfare. Many of the courses taught are eligible for continuing education credits. The schedule includes courses such as:

  • Emergency Response & Disaster Management: First-Person Account of the Floods of the Midwest
  • Domestic Counter-Insurgency Operations
  • Basic iPhone Forensics and Exploitation for Law Enforcement
  • Social Engineering: The Art of Human Hacking
  • Drug Cartels: An American View from Mexico
  • Islamic Literalist Ideology
  • Foreign Weapons Identification + more

Video preview of 2012 HALO Counter-Terrorism Summit

Register for 2012 HALO Counter-Terrorism Summit

The HALO Counter-Terrorism Summit runs Monday, October 29, 2012 8:00 AM – Friday, November 02, 2012 3:30 PM (Pacific) at Paradise Point Resort & Spa in San Diego CA. To learn more or to register, visit The HALO Corporation 

Sponsorship Opportunity

Please join the HALO Corp and Fedhealth in supporting HSFA’s campaign to make families safer in San Diego and around the nation. Visit HSFA to learn more.

Happy Independence Day

July 4, 2012

Independence Day is normally associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues and sales .. but today celebrates our country’s adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.


Drafted by Thomas Jefferson between June 11 and June 28, 1776, the Declaration of Independence is at once the nation’s most cherished symbol of liberty and Jefferson’s most enduring monument. Here, in exalted and unforgettable phrases, Jefferson expressed the convictions in the minds and hearts of the American people.

The political philosophy of the Declaration was not new; its ideals of individual liberty had already been expressed by John Locke and the Continental philosophers. What Jefferson did was to summarize this philosophy in “self-evident truths” and set forth a list of grievances against the King in order to justify before the world the breaking of ties between the colonies and the mother country.

We invite you to read a transcription of the complete text of the Declaration and share it with others.

Today is also a great day to reflect on the service and sacrifices of our military men and women (and their families) who continue to give so much each and every day to protect our freedoms.

Happy birthday America and hope you and yours have a fun, safe holiday! j & B

Source: Archives.gov

IT’S A DISASTER!!! Now what…?

July 1, 2012

Colorado wildfiresMillions of Americans are affected by wildfires, violent storms, flooding, power outages, evacuations and other incidents across the country every year.

After any type of emergency or disaster strikes, families and businesses are faced with many questions including … now what?

This post is not intended to replace local officials’ instructions, but contains tips and resources about disaster response, assistance and recovery.

During the response phase of any major disaster, people must keep in mind First Responders will do everything in their power to help those in need, but it may take hours, days or possibly even weeks before the cavalry arrives.

In addition to locating survivors and the wounded, officials’ primary objective is to get utilities up and running, roads cleared, and confirm structural integrity of commercial and personal properties as quickly as possible. The partnerships and coordination of government, faith-based organizations and the private sector will also help alleviate some of the stress for citizens and businesses during the recovery mode.

Declaration Process:

Photo: FEMA

Governors and mayors have the option to declare a state of emergency before, during or after an event which basically allows access to emergency funds to help with response and recovery efforts. If an incident is widespread, local, state and federal officials will begin assessing the damage to determine if a federal disaster declaration request will be submitted.

Quite often survivors get frustrated with delays and red tape, but there is a process officials must go through to seek Federal assistance.

For example, the following explanation of the process for individual assistance appeared in an Indiana Department of Homeland Security 2011 press release and is similar to the “Disaster Sequence of Events” overview an Ohio agency included in a custom book we printed recently…

  • An emergency or disaster incident occurs.
  • Local emergency and public safety personnel, volunteers, humanitarian organizations and other private groups provide emergency assistance.
  • A local disaster or emergency is declared.
  • Preliminary damage and impact information is reported to the State office by citizens and local emergency management entities.
  • The state determines whether to request joint preliminary damage assessments be conducted by federal, state and local officials.
  • Personnel from FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration are deployed and join state and local representatives to conduct joint damage assessments.
  • State provides the findings of the joint damage assessments to the Governor’s Office.
  • Based on the magnitude and scope of the disaster, and results of the preliminary damage assessment, the Governor will determine whether to declare a state of disaster or emergency.
  • If a state of disaster emergency is declared, and if the Governor determines the extent of damage indicates full recovery is beyond the capabilities of the state and local governments, the Governor submits a written request to the President asking that federal assistance be provided under a major disaster or emergency declaration.
  • FEMA reviews the request and findings of the joint damage assessments and advises the President whether a disaster or emergency declaration should be granted.
  • Federal assistance is granted or denied.
  • If FEMA Individual Assistance is granted, SBA loans will also be available. If FEMA Individual Assistance is denied, the Governor may file a supplementary request for SBA assistance.

Now… here’s the kicker. According to FEMA, less than 10% of all weather emergencies in the U.S. are actually declared. But during the above process, impacted communities and victims will be helped by many organizations and agencies including FEMA.

Getting Assistance:

FEMA suggests survivors do the following steps to receive assistance:

First, call your insurance agent. Insurance usually provides the largest amount of repair or rebuilding funding for many survivors.

Second, apply for disaster assistance with FEMA. This starts the process for federal assistance that you may be eligible for, such as temporary housing and home repairs. Renters also need to apply. If they are eligible, money is available for their personal property losses.

Ways to register for disaster assistance:

  • By phone, call 800-621-FEMA (3362) from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., local time. Operators are multilingual. For the speech or hearing impaired, the number is TTY 800-462-7585.
  • By visiting a disaster recovery center. Survivors can find the closest center by using the online disaster recovery center locator at go.usa.gov/CDc

When you register with FEMA, you start the disaster assistance process. Additional information is available at any of the disaster recovery centers that open up in the disaster area. At the centers you can ask recovery specialists questions about your application or learn about available local, state and federal programs.

You may also receive a disaster loan application from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Homeowners and renters must complete and return it to be referred to other FEMA programs. Applicants are not required to accept the SBA loan.

FEMA assistance is limited to essential needs and can’t duplicate funds received from other sources. By registering, you will have access to the SBA and may be able to receive a low-interest disaster loan to cover residential or business losses. Survivors may apply to the SBA before insurance claims are settled.

A short FEMA video shares the story of a disaster survivor going through various stations at a disaster recovery center.

Learn more at disasterassistance.gov

If denied Assistance but have damage:

Sometimes victims receive denial letters from FEMA stating there was insufficient or no damage yet homes were partially or completely destroyed, as in some Alabama cases back in 2011. FEMA officials encourage those who believe they were wrongly declared “ineligible” to file for an appeal through a local disaster recovery center.

A study of 2011 Alabama claims revealed few disaster victims follow through after receiving a denial letter. It showed less than 1% of the 25,081 applicants initially declared ineligible for any reason had appealed, leaving the potential for millions of dollars in federal aid to go unclaimed. An applicant has 60 days from the date of the determination letter to appeal.

Some DOs and DON’Ts for the rest of us:

The images of disasters pull on people’s heartstrings causing those outside of the impacted area to want to do something to help. However, those good intentions can create nightmare scenarios for officials, volunteers and victims.

Some things you CAN do

  • Donate money to a recognized voluntary agency since it is the single best way to help disaster survivors. Cash doesn’t need to be sorted, stored or distributed, and it allows the voluntary agency to use the donation towards the needs that most urgently need addressing. The funds can also help stimulate the local economy.
  • If you need help in determining who to give to, National Voluntary Organization Active in Disaster website has a list of major nonprofits active in disaster work at www.nvoad.org
  • Learn what to say (and not say) to victims of disaster. Check out “Loss: What to Say After the Flood, Earthquake, or Disaster from Grief Expert Aurora Winter” on PRnewswire

Some things you DON’T want to do

  • Don’t show up unannounced with unsolicited goods (things like clothing, miscellaneous household items, mixed or perishable foodstuffs, diapers, etc). Critical resources will be redirected from the important work of response and relief to managing what often becomes a crush of unneeded donated items.
  • Always work with a relief agency to confirm what items are needed. Do not begin collecting, packing or shipping until you have a known recipient who will accept the donation.
  • Don’t drive down to a disaster site to gawk. People who go into areas to see the destruction make it harder for everyone working to clean it up and for the people who live there.

For information on other ways to help visit www.fema.gov

Also download a free ebook portion of our IT’S A DISASTER! book and share this with others.

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