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Homeland Security Researchers Discuss New Strategies

By Daniel Cherry | Published 25 Jul 2012 06:38pm | comments
Homeland Security researchers from across the nation are meeting in Mississippi to find new ways to protect citizens and property from manmade and natural disasters. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports...
Benetta Robinson is a researcher at Jackson State University who helped develop a program for the Jackson Fire Department that maps out property lines, most efficient response areas for fire trucks, and even tracks uninhabitable structures. 
"You don't want to put a firefighter's life in danger or exert time and effort into an uninhabitable structure, and there's a different response as opposed to structures that actually house people."
It's projects like this researchers with the Department of Homeland Security's Centers for Excellence hope to get into the real world. Mississippi is home to one of a dozen such centers in the nation. Researchers from across the country met yesterday in Jackson  to discuss how to put ideas developed at leading universities into practice. Tom Richardson is with the Coastal Hazards Center managed by Jackson State. 
"We don't want to do research for the sake of doing research and publishing papers. We want to make a difference in society. We would like to see the ideas that we come up with make a difference in people's lives."
Researchers at the centers develop technology to defend against a variety of disasters, but the centers don't necessarily work together. Erroll Southers with the University of Southern California wants to see more of this research put into practice.
"Millions of dollars are being invested into these centers, and I like to say, we're not on scholarship, we're an investment. So we have to make America safer and more secure and prove our worth for all the dollars that are being invested into our research."
The workshop yesterday in Jackson was the first ever collaborative meeting of Homeland Security researchers. 




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