DHS S&T releases new incident management planning tool for first responders
The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Explosives Division (EXD) announced on December 16 that it has funded research at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory to continue development of the Incident Management Preparedness and Coordination Toolkit (IMPACT), a geospatial tool designed to enhance situational awareness, communication, and collaboration during and for security events. This tool was originally funded by the DHS Office of Bombing Prevention to help bomb squads assess impacts from improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Since its original release, IMPACT has expanded its capabilities to provide tools to assist in active shooter planning, downwind hazards from the release of dangerous chemicals, large stadium evacuation and casualty simulations, security surveys, and monitoring large event social networks for emergency response support.
“IMPACT is a free, all-hazards planning tool for first responders, emergency managers, and other security professionals. It combines simulation, visualization, and mapping into an integrated user interface similar to a smart phone or tablet,” explained S&T Program Manager Elizabeth Obregon. “First responders can use it for planning, situation awareness, and response to natural and man-made disasters. It uses common data formats to easily exchange data with other map-based tools.”
IMPACT is currently being used and evaluated by more than 400 agencies at the federal, state, and local levels including the Transportation Security Administration, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and police departments at the state and local levels.
The only Geographic Information System tool specifically tailored for counter-improvised explosive devices, homemade explosives, active shooter responses, and first responder use, IMPACT allows responders to conduct both live and table top exercises for simulated active shooter and IED attacks, Obregon explained.