The Emergency Management and Response-Information Sharing and Analysis Center (EMR-ISAC) is tasked with providing information services that support the critical infrastructure protection and resilience activities of emergency services sector (ESS) departments and agencies.
So, what are the critical infrastructures of the ESS? They are the personnel, physical assets and communication/cyber systems that must be intact and operational 24-7 in order to ensure survivability, continuity of operations and mission success. In other words, they are the essential people, equipment and systems to prevent or mitigate the catastrophic results of all man-made and natural disasters.
Generally, critical infrastructure protection (CIP) consists of the proactive activities to protect indispensable people, physical assets and communication/cyber systems from all hazards. More formally, it is an analytical process to guide the systematic protection of critical infrastructures by the application of a reliable decision sequence that assists leaders to determine exactly what needs protection and when security measures must occur.
As a time-efficient and resource-restrained practice, the process ensures the protection of only those infrastructures upon which survivability and mission success actually depend. The process involves the following steps: identifying the organization’s critical infrastructures; determining the threats against those infrastructures; analyzing the vulnerabilities of threatened infrastructures; assessing the risks of degradation or loss of a critical infrastructure; and applying countermeasures where risk is unacceptable.
Community leaders, including those of emergency response organizations, have the responsibility to determine which infrastructures must be protected from attacks by people, nature or hazmat accidents.
EMR-ISAC assists by collecting critical infrastructure protection and resilience information having potential relevance for ESS departments and agencies; analyzes all collected information to ascertain the importance and applicability to ESS organizations; and synthesizes and disseminates emergent and consequential infrastructure protection and resilience information to the leaders, owners and operators of the emergency services.
The EMR-ISAC provides no-cost CIP consultation services to ESS leaders by a variety of convenient methods. To assist the implementation of CIP, the EMR-ISAC published a CIP Process Job Aid and Homeland Security Advisory System Guide, which are posted on the U.S. Fire Administration website at: www.usfa.fema.gov/emr-isac. Additionally, the EMR-ISAC offers the following information to ESS personnel who are subscribed at: www.usfa.fema.gov/fireservice/subjects/emr-isac/infograms/index.shtm.
- INFOGRAMs: Contain four very short articles about the protection of the critical infrastructures of communities and their emergency responders issued weekly.
- CIP Bulletins: Contain timely, consequential homeland security information affecting the CIP of emergency response agencies published as needed.
One such bulletin recently issued concerned commercially available personal accessory products manufactured under the brand name Powerbag™.
The bulletin says the bags are equipped with a complete charging system—battery, Apple® connector, Micro- and Mini-USB connectors and an on-board USB port. The Powerbag™ is equipped to charge up to four devices at once.