Typhoon Haiyan

November 14, 2013

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

On Friday November 8th,  super-typhoon Haiyan swept through Tacloban, the provincial capital of the island of Leyte, leaving the city in ruins and its population of more than 200,000 in desperate conditions.  Typhoon Haiyan, known as Yolanda in the Philippines, devastated a massive central portion of the Philippines and continued its destructive and deadly path, also making landfall in Vietnam and inflicting more damage and suffering.

SDMI is monitoring the response and will provide updates on response and recovery efforts, as well as contribution information, on our website. You can visit the page here: http://www.sdmi.lsu.edu/typhoon-haiyan/

To date, over 11.8 million people have been affected by Haiyan, including an estimated 2,344 fatalities. President Benigno Aquini III estimates the number could climb as search and rescue operations continue. Those surviving the super-typhoon are currently in desperate need of food, water, and shelter. Of these 11 million, over 900,000 have been displaced in the storms aftermath, some relying on evacuation centers set up for temporary housing. While massive relief efforts are currently underway, blocked roads and poor conditions at some airports have made delivering aid to those in need an extremely difficult proposition.

One of the world’s most massive relief efforts is currently underway to help this area in desperate need. This effort will require support from across the globe to assist in both immediate and long-term recovery. As experts in Disaster Management, with direct experience in catastrophic events, SDMI recognizes that every effort helps in these times of need. To assist and spread the word in the response and recovery mission, SDMI encourages you to consider making any contribution you can, large or small, to any of the international agencies that are providing support to the recovery process.

We encourage you to continue to check back for the latest information on response and ways you can support the recovery from Haiyan.… Read the rest

Stephenson Disaster Management Institute Releases Report Outlining Research from Gothenburg, Sweden-New Orleans City-to-City Exchange

August 6, 2015

Learn more – Resilient Cities

Resilient Cities

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Stephenson Disaster Management Institute at Louisiana State University today released its final report on making cities more resilient as part of a United Nations program that focuses on reducing loss from disasters.

As part of the United Nations’ International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, the “Making Cities Resilient” campaign, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency planned and financed an international exchange of knowledge for five practitioners from Gothenburg and five Swedish researchers as well as five practitioners from the City of New Orleans and five researchers from Louisiana State University.

Following a February 2015 meeting in Sweden and a May 2015 meeting in New Orleans, SDMI has compiled a report supporting the UN’s 10 essentials for resilient cities and published comprehensive information about the trip, including presentations, photos and biographies of participating researchers. To view the report and learn more about the project, visit SDMI’s project website, designed by Baton Rouge-based Covalent Logic and located online at http://www.sdmi-resilient-cities.com.
Brant Mitchell, SDMI’s Director of Research and Operations, said, “The New Orleans-Gothenburg City-to-City exchange proved to be a tremendously valuable experience for all parties involved. The City of Gothenburg has some of the most advanced city planning that I have had an opportunity to observe. As a coastal port city, they are very concerned about the predicted rate of sea level rise and are incorporating planning measures now to ensure their city is prepared. To help prepare for the anticipated impacts they have develop advanced models and also utilize advanced visualizing techniques to communicate anticipated changes to the public. Spending a week in Gothenburg was very helpful in seeing how the communicate risk and I hope to include some of their techniques on research SDMI is currently conducting to benefit the Port of New Orleans and coastal cities along the Gulf of Mexico.”
The researchers said that spending time with the Swedish officials in the field helped them see how a city with a progressive approach to mitigation and resiliency approaches the same problems that affect communities along the Gulf Coast.… Read the rest

SDMIs Col. Joseph Booth, participates in Homeland Security Planner’s Course at U.S. Coast Guard

May 8, 2015

Dr. Julie Pullen, Director MSC, and MSC research primary investigator, Col. Joseph “Joey” Booth, Executive Director, Stephenson Disaster Management Institute (SDMI), at Louisiana State University, recently participated in the Joint Forces Staff College (JFSC) Homeland Security Planner’s Course (HLSPC), held at the U.S. Coast Guard Base New Orleans in New Orleans, LA.

Tailored to U.S. government and military personnel, the objectives of the course is to provide participants with an understanding of national level policy, strategy and plans for homeland security, insight into the Joint Operations Planning Process (JOPP), and an overview of the Department of Defense (DoD) policy, strategy, and plans for homeland security defense and civil support. The 40 hour certificate course included lectures, guided discussions, case studies and guest speakers. The course was led by Joint Forces Staff College Assistant Dean, Glenn Jones.

Participants in the April course included representatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), the Department of Transportation (DOT), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HSS), among others.

In addition to participating in the class, Dr. Pullen and Col. Booth each provided presentations on their respective areas of research. Following completion of the course, Col. Booth engaged in an operational tabletop exercise, coordinated by Dr. Joseph DiRenzo, Senior Advisor to the Atlantic Area Commander for Science, Research, Technology and Innovation and Coast Guard Chair, Joint Forces Staff College, and Mr David Boyd, Operations Analysis Branch Chief Coast Guard Pacific Area, to test national response plans to a crisis event.

International workshop facilitates discussion and inspires academic study and research in Resilience Engineering. Dr. Michael Bruno, Dean, Charles V. Schaefer, Jr., School of Engineering and Science, recently led a three-day workshop focused on resilience engineering research and education. Sponsored by Lloyd’s Register Foundation, the workshop was designed to define the emerging multi-disciplinary field of resilience engineering and its applications to global challenges in climate change, critical infrastructure protection, transportation systems, energy security, and food and water availability.… Read the rest

SDMI and Louisiana National Guard Begin New Cyber Security Initiative

March 18, 2015

BATON ROUGE – The potential of a cyber threat is an ongoing and pervasive one that could affect anyone. The LSU Stephenson Disaster Management Institute, or SDMI, works to protect the country’s systems and networks by teaming with partners from government and military, the private sector and academia to provide solutions. The most recent partnership has led to the Cyber Security Initiative, in conjunction with the Louisiana National Guard.

Training with the Louisiana National Guard has already begun using a newly constructed joint “Cyber Range” in Baton Rouge. SDMI is working with university-based experts in cyber security at LSU and other universities to create a cyber research and incident response capability to protect information security.

SDMI’s executive director Joseph Booth said the partnership with the Louisiana National Guard is designed to facilitate information sharing about cyber threats between military and civilian sectors.

“Partnering with the Louisiana National Guard and participating in their training is a big step in that direction,” he said. “We are proud to work with our National Guard in building a leading cyber defense program.”

According to Booth, the SDMI cyber security initiative is designed to utilize applied research expertise to the growing problem of cyber threats. Work is being focused on protecting information security and information assurance.

“As the state’s flagship institution, the problems of Louisiana are the problems of LSU, so it is a natural that our researchers help with the issue of cyber security and cyber threats,” said LSU President F. King Alexander. “We all rely on technology and mission critical systems to sustain businesses and our way of life. We have to be able to rely on the certainty of those systems operating without disruption, and our researchers have the expertise to help in those areas.”

Approximately 40 Louisiana National Guard Soldiers and Airmen with the state’s new Cyber Defense Incident Response Team, or CDIRT, have participated in the training.… Read the rest

Sid Fuchs, SDMI Senior Fellow and MacAulay-Brown President and CEO, is recognized for leadership and creating a top workplace.

December 17, 2014

Fuchs Official Executive Photo

Sid Fuchs, SDMI Senior Fellow and MacAulay-Brown President and CEO, is recognized for leadership and creating a top workplace.  Executive Director Joseph Booth adds “SDMI congratulates Sid Fuchs for this latest accomplishment and recognition.   This news brings no surprise, just proud delight to see Sid once again singled out for his strong corporate and personal strengths.” Read full article.… Read the rest

SDMI Research Affiliate Fights Ebola in West Africa

December 10, 2014

Workers practice correct donning and doffing of PPE

The largest ever outbreak of the Ebola virus is an ongoing health crisis in the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.  Sierra Leone has been especially hard hit with over 7,000 cases since July.  SDMI Senior Fellow Dr. Christopher Mores is there to develop and deploy biocontainment strategies to mitigate this current outbreak, both in the community and at the Ebola Treatment Center (ETC) in Port Loko outside of Freetown.  Dr. Mores is serving as the lead epidemiologist, biocontainment specialist, and infection control officer in collaboration with the Irish NGO GOAL Aid Agency. He is providing critical leadership in addressing the ongoing Ebola outbreak.  Dr. Mores has previous experience in developing means to deal with outbreaks of the Ebola virus, having worked with the virus as a postdoc at USAMRIID.  His expertise and experience is being used to develop strategies to better understand the drivers of transmission in effort to eventually slow the transmission of Ebola. Especially important is his work in biosafety for healthcare workers, as over 200 healthcare workers have contracted Ebola since the start of the epidemic. Additionally, Dr. Mores and SDMI are providing advice and guidance to government and private sector entities to provide greater resiliency against Ebola virus outbreaks.

You can keep up with Dr. Mores and his Ebola response by following his blog: http://www.epiresponse.com/; or by following him through SDMI at http://sdmi.lsu.edu.… Read the rest

SDMI Develops Mobile App for Louisiana State Police

December 3, 2014

Mobile dashboard for HazFlow web application

Recognizing the important role that the Louisiana State Police (LSP) has during an emergency, SDMI has recently assisted the LSP in developing a responsive desktop and mobile web based application to assist first responders in planning and response to HAZMAT within their jurisdictions and organizing collected data efficiently.

The HazFlow application allows participating parties to collect information from vehicles carrying hazardous cargo traveling through various intersections, checkpoints, and other locations.

HazFlow utilizes a selected mobile device’s internal GPS to capture the hazardous cargo survey point and/or lets the user select the exact location on a map. The app records all of this data as well as dates and times of the survey, time-stamps of each vehicle that is recorded, the id of the user conducting the survey, and provides reference images of different types of hazardous cargo vehicles and placards. The app is available for the LSP and their Joint Emergency Training Center (JESTC) to use with IPad, IPhone, and Android devices.

Lieutenant Kelly Feet of the Louisiana State Police Department said the HazFlow app is simple, easy to use and timesaving.

“We can now get days worth of work done in a couple of hours,” Feet said. “It’s simple to record data and the way it is exported makes it even easier to analyze.”

The LSP and JESTC provide training and support to first responders for the application. SDMI is responsible for the support, storage, and maintenance of HazFlow data captured by users as well as long-term analytics and statistics to further part of SDMI’s mission to continuously improve disaster management.

Other emergency responders or disaster management personnel may obtain access to the Hazardous Commodity Flow Survey training and the HazFlow web application by contacting Richard Browning or Kelly Feet of JESTC at 225-658-2618.… Read the rest

SDMI Welcomes Dr. Christopher N. Mores as a Research Affiliate

December 1, 2014

Chris Mores image

SDMI is pleased to announce Dr. Christopher N. Mores as our newest Research Affiliate.  Dr. Mores is an arbovirologist whose research program focuses on the role of arthropod-borne viral characteristics on transmission and infection kinetics.

“When the Ebola crisis reached the U.S., it became apparent that the outbreak in West Africa had the potential to impact private and public enterprises here in significant ways,” said Mores. “I am pleased to join with the SDMI team to lend our expertise to our partners as we develop more resilient response plans at home, and assist with the task of eliminating the threat of emergent pathogens from abroad.”

According to SDMI Executive Director Joseph Booth, “The Ebola Virus is another example of the emergent state of disaster worldwide, as well as here at home.  SDMI quickly realized that traditional national information sources were not satisfying the demand for guidance from the disaster and emergency management community.  We were able to get leaders like Dr. Mores engaged to provide credible information to both public and private sector entities.  Dr. Mores is a tremendous asset to SDMI and we are happy to rely on his expertise.”

Mores is currently an Associate Professor of Pathobiological Sciences at Louisiana State University. He is the Associate Director of the Center for Experimental Infectious Disease Research at LSU, and the Director of the high containment (BSL-3/ABSL-3/ACL-3) laboratory at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, which serves as an experimental resource for researchers and collaborators.

Bridging containment techniques with theoretical approaches through the Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study program (NIH), Dr. Mores leads a consortium of researchers enhancing the computational methods for predicting and understanding arbovirus infection and transmission dynamics.

During his graduate studies, Mores directed the arbovirus surveillance program and zoonotic disease laboratories at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.… Read the rest

FBI New Orleans / InfraGard Louisiana / Stephenson Disaster Management Institute (SDMI) Joint Threat Briefing

October 7, 2014


SDMI, in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Louisiana InfraGard and the Louisiana-State Analytical & Fusion Exchange (LA-SAFE), will host a joint briefing with the Federal Bureau of Investigation that focuses on cyber and physical security threats and vulnerabilities to critical infrastructure. The briefing will include special sessions on effective use of cyber ranges, cyber scenarios, response and evidence handling, and electric power grid restoration. The briefing will take place on October 10 at the LSU Business Education Complex from 8am to 3pm. Participation is by invitation only due to limited seating. If you are interested in attending please send an email to Henry “Paco” Capello at SDMI@lsu.edu to request a formal invitation.… Read the rest

SDMI Welcomes Shell Pipeline LC as a Corporate Member

October 3, 2014


SDMI recently announced Shell Pipeline LC as an SDMI Corporate Member. Corporate members of the Stephenson Disaster Management Institute’s Center for Business Preparedness consist of corporations, foundations, and individuals whose passions are aligned with our pursuit of the improvement of emergency management, business continuity, and community resiliency. These organizations and individuals provide the private support needed to sustain these programs and continue to assist our communities in being better prepared and more resilient when disaster strikes.

Shell is a leading oil and gas producer in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, a recognized pioneer in oil and gas exploration and production technology and one of America’s leading oil and natural gas producers, gasoline and natural gas marketers and petrochemical manufacturers. Shell operate in 50 states and employs more than 22,000 people delivering energy in technically innovative ways.

Joseph Booth, Executive Director of SDMI, is happy to have Shell Pipeline as a member of the SDMI family. “SDMI welcomes Shell Pipeline as its latest corporate sponsor,” says Booth. “Shell Pipeline has a substantial presence in Louisiana and we are happy to partner with them to advance the science and practice of disaster management. I am looking forward to working closely with them on meaningful projects that will have lifesaving affects.”

Corporate Memberships make it possible for SDMI to research and develop current and relevant disaster knowledge, and to provide executive-level leadership education to the next generation of disaster managers, as well as business, volunteer, and government leaders. The memberships also ensure that SDMI will continue to be available to our University, state, and region as an international disaster resource center as we continuously improve disaster knowledge and education for our country.

For more information on how you can help support the mission of the Stephenson Disaster Management Insitute, contact Pat Santos at 225-578-7853 .… Read the rest

SDMI Welcomes Sid Fuchs as a Senior Fellow

September 18, 2014

Fuchs Official Executive Photo

SDMI is pleased to announce Sid Fuchs has joined SDMI as its newest Senior Fellow. Since 2011, Fuchs has been the President and Chief Executive Officer and a director of MacAulay-Brown, Inc., a leading National Security company that provides advanced engineering services and product solutions to Defense, Intelligence, Special Operations Forces, Homeland Security and Federal agencies. Fuchs is a nationally recognized business leader with over 25 years experience in a variety of markets, industries and business models that include government, commercial, international, investment, and academia with a history of developing exceptional teams, strategies, operations and results.

“As a native of Louisiana and graduate of LSU, it is truly an honor to join an Institute that was born out of the College’s outstanding response to those in need in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina,” said Fuchs. “I look forward to working closely with my colleagues at SDMI to help the Nation prepare for the next disaster.”

Although recently appointed at the Stephenson Disaster Management Institute, Fuchs is no stranger to Louisiana State University. He earned BS (1984) and MS (1987) degrees in Mechanical Engineering from LSU. In 2013, Fuchs was appointed by LSU to the position of Executive in Residence for the LSU College of Engineering and in 2012, was inducted into the Louisiana State University College of Engineering Hall of Distinction in recognition of his lifetime of achievements and contributions to the engineering profession. Fuchs is also the current Chairman of the LSU Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering Board of Advisors.

SDMI Executive Director Joseph Booth said of Fuchs joining the SDMI family, “Sid Fuchs is a wonderful addition to our Senior Fellows bench.  Sid has enjoyed enormous success as a result of hard work, a sharp mind, and willingness to take risks.  He is a respected leader and innovator who I will count on for thought leadership.… Read the rest