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October 2016 –Police, Public Safety & Computing: Reflections of A Trailblazer

The Christian Regenhard center is proud to co-sponsor the Scott Hovey memorial lecture on 10/19/2016 at 130pm in Room 9.64N. To honor the memory of Scott Hovey, an innovator behind the development of Enhanced 9-1-1 services, his mentor Rob Shumate will deliver an address. The topic is on the history of computing in the police and public safety field. Shumate, a well-known innovator, has a long career spanning law enforcement, the development of the first police real-time computing center, computer aided dispatch systems, and interoperability and data sharing technologies. Public Police Safety Computing Liturature.pdf

April 2016 –RaCERS Faculty Groner publishes paper building on RaCERS research

Norman Groner has had his paper on high-rise evacuation strategy published in Fire Safety Journal. The paper can be found here:

January 2016 –RaCERS Senior Fellow presents High-Rise Evacuation Strategies

Norman Groner presented on "A Simple Decision Model for Managing the Movement of Building Occupants During Fire Emergencies" to the Annual Joint Meeting of the Fire Safety Director's Association of Greater New York,and the Metro New York Chapter of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers The meeting was held at the New York City Fire Museum on January 12, 2016. Click here for a copy of the presentation.

October 2015 –RaCERS organizes, chairs panel on law enforcement technology transfer at IACP 2015

RaCERS organized and moderated a panel on technology transfer designed to explain the process and challenges on moving new technologies “from the lab to the street.” The panel used advances in video analytics as an example of emerging technologies that hold the potential to transform police operations. The panel included William Pottenger and Michael Tobia of the US Department of Homeland Security’s University Center of Excellence for Command, Control, Interoperability, Center for Advanced Data Analytics (CCICADA) at Rutgers University, and Frank Straub, RaCERS Advisory Board member.

September 2015 –RaCERS supports FEMA Region II in Continuity of Operations (COOP) Tabletop Exercise (TTX)

RaCERS staff developed and helped facilitate a fire service COOP exercise for fire services in Western New York. The event was sponsored by the Erie County Department of Emergency Services, and had attendance from local, State, and federal agencies. FEMA staff, New York State Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, and Erie County Emergency Services Commissioner Daniel Neaverth, Jr. participated.

April 2015 –RaCERS Director present finding of pipeline safety research at the Fire Department Instructor’s Conference

Charles Jennings presented results of the Transportation Research Board-sponsored research study on planning pipeline emergency communications as to an international fire service audience as part of the Fire Department Instructor’s Conference (FDIC). The FDIC is the largest fire service conference in North America, with over 30,000 attendees.

RaCERS joins “Smart Cities Smart Government Research Practice Consortium.” – the Consortium, organized by the Center for Technology in Government at University at Albany (NY). RaCERS is the first institutional partner dedicated representing public safety interests among the Consortium, which includes representatives from across the world.

January 2015 –RaCERS-authored Guide on Pipeline Emergency Communications Released The Transportation Research Board of the National Academies releases report on planning communications for emergency responders and pipeline operators. The Guide, written by led by RaCERS research faculty and partners Mike Hildebrand and Greg Noll of Hildebrand Noll Associates and Rae Zimmerman.

Emergency responders and local public officials must be provided information about the location of transmissionAdvisory Board pipelines to enhance emergency response and community growth planning. Affected municipalities, school districts, businesses, and residents must be advised of pipeline locations. However, the procedures that pipeline operators follow are not consistent and the quality of the plans varies. In addition, these emergency response plans sometimes are not shared appropriately with local emergency responders. Pipeline operators and emergency responders need a guide to aid them in how to share appropriate content in advance of a pipeline emergency so that the plan can be quickly and effectively put into operation with assurance that the best steps are taken in correct sequence to bring optimum resolution to the pipeline emergency.

"This project, which brought together a diverse group of pipeline operators, environmental officials, and public safetyemergency responders, will help fill a void for the broad group of agencies that must respond to pipeline emergencies. These are complex, high-consequence incidents, but many agencies have limited awareness of the need to plan for communications in advance. We are very pleased that is completed, and thank our collaborators and graduate research assistants who helped through the preliminary research and development of this document." The Guide was developed following research supplemented with Workshops held in Houston, Texas and Bergen County, New Jersey. The Guide, and a report on methodology and appendices, are available online at

January 2015 – RacERS welcomes new Fellow.
RaCERS welcomes Arvind Karunakran, a doctoral student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), as a Fellow. His research topic concerns human factors in public safety dispatch operations.

December 2014 – RaCERS wins FEMA contract.
RaCERS secures contract to assist Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region II with Continuity of Operations workshops in Regions I, II, and III. The workshops are targeted at fire services and supporting organizations.
John Jay College's Criminal Justice matters program on 9/11 Ten Years Later

March 2014 -RaCERS-Affiliated Researcher co-authors ground-breaking manual on evidence-based practice for fire services. Fire Chief Len Garis, Affilated Research Faculty of the Regenhard Center, has co-written (with former RaCERS seminar presenter Darryl Plecas) “Make the Right Decision: Evidence-Based Decision Making for Fire Service Professionals.” The manual is the first of its kind targeting fire services. It was published by the Centre for Public Safety and Criminal Justice Research at the University of the Fraser Valley in British Columbia, Canada.
Chris Carver, Deputy Director of Dispatch Operations for FDNY (pictured below) opened the lecture series with an expansive perspective on public safety dispatch in the United States. He addressed challenges facing the field and discussed the rapid advances in technology coming that will change the industry dramatically. Carver also warned that the industry was not ready, and that a lack of professional standards, limited educational opportunities, and lack of interest from many public safety leaders threatens the future of the industry. Carver also discussed the historic number and duration of incidents handled by public safety dispatch during Sandy, and the benefits of the planning and technologies in place that kept the system operational during severe challenges.

February 2014 - "RaCERS Director Delivers Keynote to Los Angeles County Public Safety Leaders"
RaCERS Director Charles Jennings delivered a keynote address at the Los Angeles County Peer Agency Consortium on the topic "The Future of Public Safety and the Media." The event, attended by executives of Los Angeles City and County Fire, Police, and Sheriffs Departments. The event was live-tweeted by a panel of public safety PIOs to a national social media following. Photo captions

Chiefs officers from Los Angeles County Fire; Los Angeles City Fire; Los Angeles City Police; and Los AngelesCounty Sheriffs Departments.

Los Angeles County Fire Chief Osby (right) with Charles Jennings after the event.

November 2013 - "RaCERS Board Member Appointed by Philadelphia Mayor to Chair Commission"
Prof. Glenn Corbett has been named to Chair a Special Advisory Commission to review the City's Department of Licenses and Inspections following the June 2013 collapse of a building under demolition that to six fatalities in an adjoining building. Corbett's appointment was announced by Mayor Michael Nutter. Read More...

September 2013 – “John Jay College 9/11 Memorial Sculpture Dedication”
Lynn and Jules Kroll Atrium
We are proud to announce that the College will be formally dedicating its memorial to the 67 students, alumni, and faculty lost on 9/11. Please pass the word for those who may be interested in attending. Please join us in supporting this event. More details here

June 2013 - RaCERS Advisory Board member presents research on dealing with suicide bombing attacks to NYPD recruits.

Advisory Board

Donell Harvin, RaCERS Advisory Board member, is presenting his highly-sought-after presentation on suicide bombers and managing these events to the entire New York Police Department (NYPD) Academy class. After making presentations to the NYPD Counter-terrorism Division, his talk was selected for inclusion in the Police Academy curriculum for new police officers. It will be given several times to recruits over this summer.

August 2013 – “RaCERS Affiliated Faculty co-authors major study summarizing latest research on targeting Marijuana Grow Operations.”
The Christian Regenhard Center for Emergency Response Studies is pleased to publicize this important research by one of our collaborators. "Indoor marijuana cultivation is a major problem in many parts of Canada. As they have dealt so effectively with these dangerous and illegal hazards, I expect that we will see many more here in U.S., particularly in areas with large vacant building stocks and near major population centers," said Charles Jennings, RaCERS Director. Illegal large-scale indoor marijuana cultivation creates fire, environmental, and crime hazards wherever they are located. Read the full report.

May 2013 – “RaCERS Board Member Recognized with prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award”
Prof. Glenn Corbett, of the Regenhard center Board, and faculty member in the Department of Security, Fire, and Emergency Management, was recognized by Fire Glen CorbettEngineering magazine with its highest honor, the Tom Brenna  Lifetime Achievement Award. Prof. Corbett received the recognition for his years of service to the fire profession, including editing major texts in the field, advocacy for causes of fire safety, and his long history of serving as Technical Editor of Fire Engineering magazine.
   Charles Jennings, Director of the Christian Regenhard Center for Emergency Response Studies, said of the award: "Glenn Corbett is a selfless scholar and activist. His numerous ongoing contributions to the fundamental texts of our field help to improve firefighting practice and keep firefighters safe. His advocacy for numerous causes--most notably to document and learn from 9/11 in New York--has made enduring contributions to the safety of firefighters and of the public."
Click Here for the full story.

April 2011

Joe Flood, author of "The Fires: How a Computer Formula, Big Ideas, and the Best of Intentions Burned Down New York City - and Determined the Future of Cities" gave a reading, discussed his findings, and engaged the audience in a discussion of New York City, the FDNY, and the RAND project. The discussion was enlivened by the presence of some FDNY members who worked during the study, and concluded with a discussion on lessons for managing cities using complex quantitative models.

Joe Flood


Joe Flood


March 2011 - RaCERS staff observe RDD Exercise held at Meadowlands Complex

RaCERS staff spent two days observing a large-scale exercise involving New Jersey, New York, and federal agencies. The event was designed to test mass casualty/fatality management and communications capabilities.

RDD Exercise

RaCERS staffer Paul Kearns confers with other observers from the Applied Science Foundation for Homeland Security at the exercise.

RDD Exercise


March 2011 - RaCERS Board member to present at National Emergency Medical Services Conference

D. Harvin, RaCERS Advisory Board Member, will be presenting at the EMS Expo Conference to be held in Las Vegas, Nevada in August 29-September 2, 2011.

February 2011 - Harvin tapped by RaCERS Board for Executive Committee.

At the February 18 meeting of the Center's Advisory Board, D. Harvin was selected to join the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee exercises day-to-day fiscal and programmatic oversight of the Center. Glenn Corbett, our founding Executive Committee member, will continue as a member of the Advisory Board.

October 2010 - RaCERS Board Members, Director attend Long Island fundraiser
The Christian Regenhard

Center for Emergency Response Studies (RaCERS) shared the stage with the New York Firefighter’s Burn Center Foundation  in a fundraiser held at the Marine Corps League Clubhouse in Massapequa, NY. The event, organized by our friend Audrey MacMillan, honored the US Marine Corps. The event paid posthumous tribute to 1st Lt. Michael Li Calzi of Garden City, who was killed serving in the Marines in Iraq, and Christian Regenhard of the FDNY, killed on 9/11.

August 2010 - 2010 RaCERS Director appointed to steering committee of DHS-funded study

RaCERS Center Director Charles Jennings was appointed to a steering committee of a DHS-funded gap analysis of software programs for developing situation awareness. The Common Operating Picture (COP) software assessment, which was led by the Applied Science Foundation for Homeland Security [] in Bethpage, NY, included site visits to evaluate programs in use around the US, and interact with emergency responder stakeholders. 

March 2010 - Applied Science Center of Innovation and Excellence in Homeland Security

RaCERS staff attend christening of the Applied Science Center of Innovation and Excellence in Homeland Security (now named Morrelly Homeland Security Center) in Bethpage, New York. The Center, which will include City University of New York as a partner institution, will bring together industry, government, and academic researchers. The ceremony was attended by numerous elected officials, and Emergency Management Commissioners or Directors from the State of New York, Nassau, Suffolk, and New York City. Commissioner Sal Cassano, FDNY, gave the keynote address. The Center will be headed by John Jay alum Richard Rotanz.

July 2009 – RaCERS Hosts Inaugural Visiting Scholar

RaCERS hosted its first visiting scholar. Erika de Guttry, (shown with James Manahan, Chief of Operations, FDNY) a post-graduate of the University of Pisa, holds a position sponsored by RaCERS, John Jay College. Her position is being hosted by the Fire Department of New York, where she is studying emergency incident planning. Ms. De Guttry studied legal and administrative aspects of response to disasters in Italy. She will be resident through October 2009.

Fire Chief

Erika de Guttry and James Manahan, Chief of Operations, FDNY

June 2009 – RaCERS Representative Visits US Army Lessons Learned Center

RaCERS Director Charles Jennings attended briefings on the Center for Army Lessons Learned at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in June 2009. These briefings and discussions with CALL staff are being used to help refine RaCERS methodology for developing lessons learned for civil first responders.

Call Logo

June 3, 2009 – RaCERS faculty observe Empire '09, a full-scale exercise involving a radiological dispersal device in the Albany, NY area. The exercise, overseen by the New York State Disaster Preparedness Commission, involved local, State, and federal assets including the Federal Radiological Monitoring and Assessment Center (FRMAC) and US Department of Energy.


May 17, 2009 – RaCERS faculty observe PATH Drill held at World Trade Center

This exercise was designed to simulate a bomb attack on a PATH train in the tunnel between the World Trade Center and Exchange Place stations. The exercise was jointly organized by Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and New York City officials. Numerous supporting agencies participated.

People at Port Authority

March 2009 – RaCERS received donation of artwork at its inaugural Advisory Board meeting.

Audrey McMillan, a friend of the Center, donates “A Prayer for My Brother” by renowned aviation artist William S. Phillips.

Ms McMillian

Ms. McMillan, shown on the left, presents the artwork to Prof. Glenn Corbett (center) and Sally Regenhard, mother of Christian Regenhard.

March 19-20, 2009 – First Advisory Board meeting held

The meeting included a dinner and all-day meeting the following day

Advisory Board

Advisory Board members and RaCERS staff take notes during a presentation at the Board meeting.

Attendees at a Meeting

Attendees at the close of meeting.


Sept 8, 2008 – Press Conferences Announcing Formation of Center

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Chief of Department Sal Cassano, and others joined the Regenhard family and President Jeremy Travis of John Jay College for the announcement of the formation of the Christian Regenhard Center for Emergency Response Studies. The event was attended by friends and colleagues of Christian Regenhard, as well as members of the emergency services community in the New York area. Visitors came from as far as Oakland, California for the event. NY1 news network coverage of the event.

Jeremy Travis

Pres. Jeremy Travis, flanked by Chief Sal Cassano and FDNY members, announces the College's commitment to the new research center.


Members of the press in attendance for the press conference

Jerrold Nadler

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who with Senators Schumer and Clinton, were instrumental in getting initial funding for the Center, speaks to the press following the event.

Regenhard Family

Members of the Regenhard family pose with Pres. Jeremy Travis around a portrait of Christian Regenhard


March 2016 - "RaCERS coordinated a FEMA Region III-sponsored Tabletop Exercise"
RaCERS coordinated a FEMA Region III-sponsored Tabletop Exercise" (TTX) on Continuity of Operations (CCOP) for the fire service in Virginia Beach, VA. The event, held in Virginia Beach, was co-sponsored by the Tidewater Fire Chiefs’ Association in conjunction with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) and Virginia Department of Fire Programs (VDFP). The event was attended by Executive Director Melvin Carter, of VDFP , and Coordinator Dr. Jeffrey Stern of VDEM.

November 2015 - "Critical Incident Stress and Law Enforcement: Peer Response"
Critical Incident Stress and cumulative effects of trauma are increasingly recognized as a serious concern for first responder health. In this talk, Sgt. Brian Fleming (ret.) of the Boston Police Department and Bill Genet (former PBA Trustee and NYPD officer of POPPA (Police Organization Providing Peer Assistance) discussed the peer support model of mental health support for law enforcement. Aside from seeking external support, this approach calls for counseling among peers to cope with critical incident stress. In addition to discussing current trends and efforts, we also receive a presentation on the implementation of mental health support services for members of the Boston Police Department in the wake of the 2013 Marathon Bombing. Both speakers emphasized the significance of addressing physical as well as mental health for law enforcement.

October 2015 - "Dangerous Views: 21st Century Challenges in Tall Building Fire Safety"

The College organized a day-long event devoted to emerging fire safety challenges associated with the new generation of super-tell, and super-thin high-rise buildings. The Keynote address was delivered by Prof. Jose Torero of the University of Queensland, Australia. Other speakers included James Hodgens of FDNY, Prof. Norman Groner and Adjunct Faculty member Jack Murphy of John Jay College’s Department of Security, Fire, and Emergency Management, Fire Protection Engineer James Quintitere of the University of Maryland, and Jake Pauls, human egress expert. Among the highlights of the program was a demonstration of firefighting equipment by the FDNY’s High-Rise Unit. The Christian Regenhard Center organized and hosted the event. Drexel University was a supporting co-sponsor of the day-long event.

October 2015 - "Homeland Security Training in New York State"

Rick Mathews, Director of the National Center for Security and Preparedness (NCSP) at the University at Albany visited John Jay College to discuss recent investments made by the State in the Oriskany facilities. His discussion revealed the training vision of homeland security in New York as it looks to strengthen the terrorist response capability in the wake of increased threats to Homeland Security for the state of New York. The NCSP provides technical assistance, conducts research, develops and delivers training across the nation in the areas of homeland security, infrastructure protection, intelligence, counter-terrorism, and information sharing, Mathews also discussed the formation of a new College of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness at the University at Albany.

September 2015 - "Past, Present, and Future Roles of FEMA"
On September 18th, Jerome Hatfield, Regional Administrator (Region II) of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, discussed FEMA's evolving role in all phases of emergency management at John Jay College. As Regional Administrator he is responsible for managing all aspects of emergency management for the States of New York and New Jersey; the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; the Territory of the United States Virgin Islands; as well as the Native American Tribes in the Region. During his discussion, Mr. Hatfield emphasized the value of partnership and bridging the gap between communities and emergency response agencies. His new approach has actively engaged traditional and non-traditional stakeholders in seeking new and innovative approaches in addressing current and future crisis, risk and threat.

May 2015 - "Eye-Tracking for Public Safety"
Dominick Rerubbio, MS ’14 and Prof. Robert Till (Security, Fire, and Emergency Management) presented on their research on reliance of novice and experienced building occupants using exit signs to navigate egress for a commercial building. Using eye-tracking apparatus, he was able to monitor eye-movements as people navigated to not only determine where they looked while moving, but also quantify the number of times and duration of time spent looking at exit signs. The technology and research approach holds great promise for public safety generally.

April 2015 - "Evidence Based Practice – the Future of Law Enforcement and Public Safety"
Len Garis, RaCERS Affiliated Faculty and University of the Fraser Valley, British Columbia, CANADA presented results of his work developing institutional capacity to perform evidence based research to inform public safety practice. Garis also presented on his two co-authored books, Making the Right Decision: Evidence-based Decision Making for Police and Fire Service Professionals.

April 2015 – RaCERS coordinates FEMA-sponsored Exercise in New Haven, CT. RaCERS staff and students helped support and organize a Continuity of Operations (COOP) tabletop exercise for fire service leaders across FMA Region I. The event, held at the New Haven Regional Fire Academy, was co-sponsored by the Connecticut Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, University of New Haven, and FEMA Region I. Featured speakers included William Hackett, Connecticut State Emergency Management Director; Wayne Sandford of the University of New Haven; Rick Fontana of the City of New Haven; and Deputy Chief Michael Puzziferri (FDNY, ret.) of RaCERS. Russ Webster, Federal Preparedness Coordinator for FEMA Region I, facilitated the event.

March 2015 - Public Health Preparedness for First Responders was the topic of our March 2015 event. Our own Donell Harvin of the Department of Security, Fire, and Emergency Management briefed attendees on the public health system, including laboratories, syndromic surveillance, legal issues, and protective equipment concerns for first responders.

February 2015 - “Leveraging Building Intelligence for First Responders”
RaCERS. Collaborator Jack Murphy updated the audience on recent developments in high-rise building safety. Jack emphasized his ongoing research on using technology within buildings to help inform emergency responders about incidents in progress.

December 2014 -“Pipeline Emergency Response: Understanding the Risk and Planning Communication Needs”
Researchers Norman Groner and Charles Jennings (John Jay College) and collaborator Rae Zimmerman (New York University) described their work in developing a Guide for Responders to Pipeline emergencies. The guide, sponsored by the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies is designed for use by both pipeline operators and emergency responders. The Guide was designed with feedback from a national panel of experts, and included reviews of National Transportation Safety Board reports, interviews, and original research. The presentation also included a discussion of oil trains, and the applicability of the planning framework to preparing for such events. .


November 2014 - "9-1-1 Recordings – To Release or Withhold: Journalistic, Legal, Public Safety, and Family Perspectives"
An unprecedented collection of legal experts, journalists, public safety researchers, and family members addressed the topic of policies and practices related to release of 9-1-1 call recordings and other documentary evidence from emergencies. The lack of guidance on this subject has created widely varying practices from State to State and even between agencies. The importance of releasing raw information to aid in public understanding, supply researchers, and help improve practice were stressed in this day-long event held at the College on November 14, 2014.
Proceedings of the conference can be downloaded here and videos of the entire conference are available by searching here

November 2014 -“Information Sharing, Big Data, and Public Safety”
Dr. Theresa Pardo of the Center for Technology in Government at the University at Albany spoke on the emerging issues of information sharing and government. She argued that as problems become more complex, the need for information sharing across organizations increases. She related these challenges to the public safety realm, and emphasized the importance of planning for technology procurements, and understanding the culture and operating environment of organizations in any efforts to adopt new technology or systems. She closed her talk with a discussion of “big data” and its potential for changing public safety.



October 2014 -“Grassroots Disaster Response During Superstorm Sandy: Successes, Failures and Opportunities”
Devin Balkind of the Serapis Foundation gave an intriguing talk on his role as a technologist working in the grassroots emergency response community following Hurricane Sandy. Balkind talked about the emergence of grassroots aid organizations such as Occupy Sandy, and the increasing role of social media in facilitating disaster relief. Balkind closed with a discussion on the need for common data standards to facilitate exchange of information between governmental and non-governmental organizations, including emergent grassroots entities following disaster.




September 2014 -“Protecting First Responders: Lessons Learned?"
Donell Harvin (John Jay College of Criminal Justice) provided a compelling presentation spanning his career as an emergency responder to events from the first World Trade Center attack through the Newtown (CT) School shootings. Harvin highlighted the difficulties of assuring health and safety for first responders in the early stages of large-scale events. Establishing threats, identifying exposure levels, and obtaining and enforcing protective equipment requirements were discussed. The mental health needs of responders was also discussed, as well as the limited capacity of most organizations to interact with industrial hygienists and other in the context of an ongoing emergency operation.

March 2014 -RaCERS-Affiliated Researcher co-authors ground-breaking manual on evidence-based practice for fire services. Fire Chief Len Garis, Affilated Research Faculty of the Regenhard Center, has co-written (with former RaCERS seminar presenter Darryl Plecas) “Make the Right Decision: Evidence-Based Decision Making for Fire Service Professionals.” The manual is the first of its kind targeting fire services. It was published by the Centre for Public Safety and Criminal Justice Research at the University of the Fraser Valley in British Columbia, Canada.



February 2014 - "Dispatch During Hurricane Sandy kick's off RaCERS Spring 2014 Series of Lectures."
Chris Carver, Deputy Director of Dispatch Operations for FDNY (pictured below) opened the lecture series with an expansive perspective on public safety dispatch in the United States. He addressed challenges facing the field and discussed the rapid advances in technology coming that will change the industry dramatically. Carver also warned that the industry was not ready, and that a lack of professional standards, limited educational opportunities, and lack of interest from many public safety leaders threatens the future of the industry. Carver also discussed the historic number and duration of incidents handled by public safety dispatch during Sandy, and the benefits of the planning and technologies in place that kept the system operational during severe challenges.




December 2013 – “Learning from Hurricane Sandy: FEMA’s After-Action Report”
John Rabin, National Preparedness Assessments Branch (HQ); Terrence "Terra" Flynn and Kevin Malone, Preparedness and Analysis Branch (Region II); Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Three excellent speakers representing both FEMA Headquarters and Region II gave a comprehensive review of the methodology and findings of FEMA's publicly-released After Action Report on the federal response to Hurricane Sandy {}. The speakers addressed numerous questions from the audience, and discussed the historic effort that went into assembling this report.



November 2013 – “Hurricane Sandy: Its Impact and the Role of Private EMS in New York City"
Glen Youngblood, Director of Performance Excellence at TransCare”
Glen Youngblood of Transcare gave a riveting presentation on the experience of TransCare as both an ambulance service provider and survivor of Hurricane Sandy. The challenges of providing service from a business continuity standpoint, and their integral role in providing ambulances for evacuation of medical facilities was discussed. Mr. Youngblood also gave a thorough overview of the emergency medical service provision through mutual aid and the FEMA national ambulance contract.



October 2013 - “Building Hurricane-Resistant Public Safety Facilities: Lessons from Louisiana”
Roy Robichaux, Jr., Fire Chief Plaquemines Parish, LA and Jim Kirkpatrick, FAIA,  Kirkpatrick Architecture Studio (Denton, TX)
Architect Jim Kirkpatrick and Fire Chief Roy Robichaux described the design process for rebuilding public safety facilities in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. Facilities that were rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina were destroyed in Hurricane Isaac some seven years later. The new facility designs were explicitly designed to withstand severe weather and remain serviceable. The presentation reviewed wind loads, design issues, break away walls, and other features designed to minimize disruption in future severe weather. The speakers offered several lessons for rebuilding in New York following Hurricane Sandy.


May 2013 – “Evidence-Based Practice in Emergency Response? A Panel Discussion”

Speakers Dr. Theron Bowman, Deputy City Manager, Arlington, TX; Clark Kimerer, Deputy Chief, Seattle Police Department; Paul Maniscalco, Consultant and Author, Washington, DC; and John “Jack” Walsh of John Jay College of Criminal Justice had a discussion of the state of emergency response services in the United States. The panel discussed the cultural and organizational challenges to wider adoption of evidence-based practices, and reviewed recent examples of large-scale events and the public process of after-action reporting and learning as well as media oversight.



April 2013 – “Innovation in Local Public Safety: Adopting Cutting-Edge Radio
Accountability Technology in a Mid-Sized Agency”

Captain Barry Nechis of the New Rochelle (NY) Fire Department discussed the successful implementation of an advanced radio-based personnel accountability system across multiple regional fire services. The technical capabilities of the system were reviewed, along with the opportunities it permits for greater coordination and enhanced safety for responders.



February 2013 – “The Future of the Fire and Emergency Services”
Dr. Onieal, a native of the greater New York area, and the longest-serving Superintendent of the National Fire Academy, will speak on “The Future of the Fire and Emergency Services.” The changing social and economic structure of the United States will pose unprecedented challenges to public safety delivery systems – in this talk Dr. Onieal will offer his perspectives from his unique vantage point as the United States’ highest-ranking official charged with the “professional development of the fire and emergency response community and its allied professionals.”

Onieal, who had a distinguished career with the Jersey City (NJ) Fire Department, has a Doctorate in Education from New York University. Onieal is widely regarded as one of the leading thinkers in the American fire service and has received numerous academic and professional awards.




May 2012 – “Can Catastrophes Lead to Good Policy?”
Jeff SternMr. Jeff Stern has a career spanning the fire service, emergency management, federal policy, and research. Mr. Stern reflected on his experiences in the field at major disasters while working in the Office of the Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security during the Bush administration. His work is featured in the newly published Handbook of Critical Incident Analysis, Edited by Prof. Richard Schwester (Public Management) and published by M.E. Sharpe.




May 2012 – “FDNY’s Network Command Concept and Demonstration of Electronic Command”
Neil HintzeBattalion Chief Neil Hintze is a thirty-three year veteran with the FDNY; he is currently working on the pilot testing of the ECB by four battalions and two division commands in the FDNY. Developed in partnership with Raytheon, the Electronic Command Board promises to revolutionize scene accountability and transform of incident management. In his talk, Chief Hintze explained the process of developing the concept of operations for networked incident management and design and adoption of the electronic command board, which promises to transform incident management and accountability. He also described the function and capabilities of the command board and their significant improvement to situational awareness of operations, overall response coordination, and communication of any type during an emergency.



March 2012 – “First Responders and DHS S&T – What’s Next?”
Dr. Griffin is Director of First Responder Programs for the US Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate. Prior to coming to DHS, he had a twenty-plus year career in local government emergency services. He was brought to DHS S&T to head the newly created division devoted to first responder concerns. Dr. Griffin provided an overview of current and planned efforts to advance First Responder Programs at the US Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate.



February 2012 – “Hurricane Irene in New York City: Lessons Learned from the EOC and the Field”
Dina ManiotisMs. Dina Maniotis, assistant commissioner, New York City Office of Emergency Management (NYCOEM) and Mr. Andrew Boyarsky, City University of New York (CUNY) School of Professional Studies, discussed the process of sheltering residents during and after a disaster and the training of the city’s employees that is involved. The positives and negatives of virtual training were brought to light during the seminar. FDNY Board
The difficulties of real-world training for shelter management were discussed since many shelters are places of employment and education pre-disaster. The use of a software known as “Second Life” was discussed as being a new immersive virtual environment where shelter management officials are able to train within a highly effective simulation. The lessons learned were approached from two vantage points: one from the EOC Human Services side and the other on the ground at the evacuation center/shelter level. The seminar covered an overview of the sheltering system, preparations, response and highlights from the After Action Report (AAR).



March 2011 - “New Developments at FEMA”

Lynn Canton, FEMA Region II Administrator, provided an overview of ongoing changes at the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Also in attendance were several College alumni who are now employed in various capacities at FEMA.

Medical Services Conference

FEMA Regional Administrator Lynn Canton, speaking at John Jay College.




February 2011 - Management of Mass Fatalities

RaCERS Advisory Board member D. Harvin of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in New York City, provided a comprehensive presentation on mass fatality management, particularly following events involving weapons of mass destruction or environmental contamination.




December 2010 - “Evacuation of New Orleans in Hurricane Katrina”

David Heller, transportation planner with the South Jersey Metropolitan Planning Organization, presented his analysis of evacuation issues related to Hurricane Katrina. Mr. Heller's talk attracted numerous questions, and identified the importance of working with transportation planners in emergency planning.



November 2010 - Security at the 2010 Winter Olympics

RaCERS affiliated researcher Prof. Darryl Plecas, of the University of the Fraser Valley (BC, CANADA), presented findings of an evaluation of security for the Vancouver area Olympics event.  The evaluation, the first of its kind to be supervised by an academic institution, funded by the government, and released to the public, provided a fascinating view of the complexities and challenges of securing a truly global event. Equally interesting was a discussion by Plecas on the institutional arrangements that permitted the close cooperation of a team of academics with federal and local law enforcement in Canada and beyond to produce the study, which provided not only description, but evaluation of the strategies employed at the Games.



October 2010 - Lord Ian Blair Talks on "A UK Perspective on Counter Terrorism and Emergency Response:
Reflections on 9/11 and 7/7 attacks"

The Center was pleased to present Ian Blair, Lord of Boughton, former head of the London Metropolitan Police. Lord Blair spoke on his observations and findings form his extensive policing experience, including the transition of the London Metropolitan Police after 9/11 and through the challenges of the 7/7 attacks and their aftermath. Lord Blair offered remarks on the challenges of counter-terrorism in a multicultural environment and drew intriguing insights on the challenges facing the U.S. law enforcement community and civil society.

October 2010 - Acting Commissioner of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Addresses Plans

John Gibb, long-time Director of the New York State Emergency Management Office, gave an address shortly after being named as Acting Commissioner of the  New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. The newly-created agency unites several emergency response functions under one agency for the first time. Comm. Gibb provided an overview of the new agency and discussed areas of emphasis in the future. The event was co-sponsored by the Center on Terrorism.



May 2010 - "Recent Developments in High-Rise Building Evacuation"

A panel of speakers provided an overview of the latest developments in high-rise building safety and security.  Lieutenant Commander David Kelly of the NYPD Counter-terrorism Division provided an overview of security requirements and practices detailed in the NYPD's recently-published guidance manual for building designers, owners and managers. Jack Murphy, Adjunct Faculty member and representative of the Fire Safety Director's Association of Greater New York, spoke on new technologies and approaches for development and retrieval of critical building information for emergency responders.  Prof. Norman Groner discussed use of elevators in evacuating high-rise buildings, and his experience working with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) to develop policy for use of elevators during emergencies.

    "Use of Elevators for High-Rise Evacuation"
  • Norman Groner, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Protection Management, John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY)
  • Member, American Society of Mechanical Engineers committee on Use of Elevators for Evacuation

    "New Code Provisions, Local Legislative Update, and New Technologies to Assist in Planning and Incident Response."
  • Jack Murphy, Consultant and Representative, Fire Safety Directors Association of New York
  • Charles Jennings, PhD, Director, Christian Regenhard Center for Emergency Response Studies, Moderator


April 2010 - "Achieving Homeland Security: The Promise of the Public Safety Model"

Dr. Frank Straub, Director of Public Safety of the City of Indianapolis, Indiana, spoke on the Public Safety Model.  The Public Safety Model, which ranges from a single official overseeing police and fire/EMS, through to full integration of the police and fire/EMS functions, has the potential to achieve better coordination and promote efficiency. Dr. Straub, formerly of the NYPD and City of White Plains Department of Public Safety, is recognized for the innovative strategies used to coordinate police and fire to achieve measurable results in crime reduction, public safety, and homeland security preparedness.

Gerard MacAleer of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (OHSP) moderated the session.

This event was co-sponsored by the Homeland Security Club and the Student Chapter of the International Association of Emergency Management.


March 2010 - "Report from Haiti: Through the Eyes of Urban Search and Rescue Teams"

The world has watched with concern as the people of Haiti cope with the unprecedented devastation of earthquake of January 12, 2010. This report was a first-hand account of one of America's most experienced Urban Search and Rescue responders. It was geared to the lay person, as well as those interested in emergency management and technical rescue. Battalion Chief Collins is also a member of the Advisory Board for the College's Christian Regenhard Center for Emergency Response Studies (RaCERS). A follow-up discussion was held and focused on a research agenda for urban search and rescue.

More than 50 John Jay students, faculty members, alumni and guests attended "Report from Haiti: Through the Eyes of Urban Search and Rescue Teams.". Other co-sponsors included the Office of Student Development, IAEM Student Chapter, and the Homeland Security Club. Outside attendees included representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); New York Police Department; and the NYS Senate.

Speakers included FDNY Battalion Chief Joe Downey, Special Operations Command, and Lt. Tom Donnelly, (FDNY Rescue 1), both of whom are part of NY-TF1, the City's urban search and rescue team.

The presentation was followed by a Question and Answer session lasted more than two hours, coming to a close shortly after noon. The moving presentation included many onsite photographs taken only hours following the massive 7.0 January 12 earthquake devastated Haiti’s capital city, Port-au-Prince, killing thousands and destroying thousands of buildings.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), under the authority of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, led the U.S. government’s response efforts. The Los Angeles (Calif.) and Fairfax County (Va.) US&R Task Forces were activated and deployed by USAID pursuant to existing agreements. In addition, four U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) US&R Task Forces, from Virginia Beach (Va.), New York (N.Y.), Miami-Dade (Fla.), and Miami (Fla.), were sent to Haiti. This was the first time that FEMA had sent US&R Task Forces outside the United States. Collectively, these six US&R teams rescued at least 47 people from underneath collapsed buildings, according to Gunnar J. Kuepper, IAEM-USA Region 9 President.

Prof. Charles Jennings and Lt. Tom Donnelly

Prof. Charles Jennings and Lt. Tom Donnelly.



November 2009 – RaCERS seminar on "Modeling First Response"

Prof. Robert Till presented his innovative research utilizing eye tracking technology to better understand and document first responder activity and decision aids under simulated emergency conditions. He also presented his work on agent-based models for simulating emergencies in subway, stadium, and campus environments.



October 2009 – Former Philadelphia Fire Commissioner, Arlington County (VA) Emergency Communications Director share observations and thoughts on MOVE Incident, Pentagon Attack

The October Conference, held in conjunction with an Advisory Board meeting, included presentations on incident management at the MOVE siege of 1985, and the Pentagon Attack of 9/11/01. Former Philadelphia Fire Commissioner William Richmond, and Steve Souder, then-Director of Emergency Communications for Arlington County, Virginia offered their first-hand experiences in these events. The audience enjoyed a moving and thoughtful discussion on elements of police and fire coordination in these two milestone events in American public safety history.



September 2009 – Seminar by visiting researcher Erika de Guttry, "Coordination of Emergency Services In Italy and the European Union – Reflections on NIMS and CIMS"

Ms. de Guttry presented the findings of her joint research-in-residence at John Jay College's Christian Regenhard Center and the FDNY. The research described Italian and European Union approaches to disaster management, and made comparisons with the National Incident Management System and New York City's Citywide Incident Management System. Her presentation is also posted under our publications page.



May 7, 2009 – Battalion Chief Michael Buckheit, FDNY Marine Division, presents an overview of rescue efforts or the crash of USAirways Flight 1549 into the Hudson River.

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