The Homeland Security Human Factors Institute™
The Homeland Security Human Factors Institute™ is dedicated to assisting professionals in security, emergency management, business continuity, and related disciplines in forming accurate behavioral assumptions about how people will most likely behave in a wide range of threat scenarios. This information can then be applied to the development of policies, plans, procedures, and exercises to ensure safe, effective, and defensible strategies and tactics in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from all manner of disasters, emergencies, and acts of violence.
Emergency Management & Business Continuity
Professionals involved in safety, security, emergency management, and business continuity have an obligation to stay current on research and trends that may influence the behavior of individuals and groups. While the topic of climate change and global warming can arouse strong reactions, including skepticism and outright denial, more than 99.9% of peer-reviewed scientific papers (n = 88,125) have concluded that climate change is real and human activity is the main cause of climate change. Advances in attribution science have also increased confidence in the role climate change is playing in intensifying extreme weather events, and the belief that the extreme heat experienced across the U.S. and around the world this summer shows the fingerprints of climate change. This July is thought to have been the hottest month experienced on Earth in the past 125,000 years.
In addition to contributing to the frequency, intensity, and duration of storms and floods, droughts and wildfires, and sea level rise, heat, in particular, can also result in serious physical and mental health problems. The effects of heat on human behavior are the most studied of the various impacts of climate change. These include increased suicide rates; increased hospitalizations and mortality for those with diagnosed mental health conditions; increased conflict and violence; and lower sleep quality leading to cognitive and emotional changes. Heat distorts human behavior and increases the risk of violence. This is something that should be on the mind of every professional and will necessarily lead to further development of models of “climate-informed” violence prevention and behavioral threat assessment.
The changing climate will affect every part of personal and professional life. It has direct, demonstrable impacts on human behavior that must be understood and factored into policies, plans, procedures, and even exercise. Leaders and decision-makers cannot afford to get behind the curve in preparing for this reality. Now is the time to adopt a climate-informed approach to managing the risks ahead.
The Fall 2023 Professional Development Series
The Fall Professional Development Series allows Behavioral Science Applications LLC to offer a focused set of training programs in a condensed 4-week format. The one-hour classes are offered individually and as a certificate program. Those who register for the entire series will receive the Homeland Security Human Factors: Climate-Informed Security & Emergency Management Certificate and can enjoy a 10% discount. For groups larger than 10, please call or email for pricing options.
Law Enforcement Professionals
Intelligence Analysts, Investigators, & Operators
EMS and Fire Personnel
Class Descriptions & Schedule
The 2023 Fall Professional Development Series is offering four new classes with a common theme: Climate-Informed Security and Emergency Management All classes are provided live online each Wednesday, from October 4th through the 25th from 1:00 to 2:00 PM ET, and recorded for convenient on-demand viewing.
Oct 4 | Foundations of Climate-Informed Security & Emergency Management
Summer 2023 in the northern hemisphere will be remembered as the hottest ever recorded on Earth, as a season of brutal heat raging wildfires, and severe floods that devastate communities worldwide. Researchers have also seen a rise in climate grief, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and depression, as well as rising interpersonal aggression and violence, and impaired cognitive and brain function. Decision-making and problem-solving suffer greatly in high-heat environments.
Climate change poses a multi-level threat to the global community, and business operations at home and abroad. It is vital for an organization's leaders and planners to understand how both the direct and indirect impacts of climate change will affect the workforce and community. Security, emergency management, and business continuity plans will require recalibration to meet the operational and behavioral challenges of a warming planet. Anyone involved in disciplines related to safety and security, emergency management, and business continuity must begin to anticipate the behavioral consequences of climate change; they will be some of the greatest challenges we will face.
Oct 11 | Climate-Informed Workplace Violence Prevention
There is a demonstrated causal relationship between heat and interpersonal aggression—as the temperature goes up, people’s behavior becomes more aggressive toward others. Heat affects arousal and irritability, with decreases in attention and self-regulation, as well as an increase in negative and hostile thoughts. Heat has a negative effect on cognitive function, which may reduce the ability to resolve a conflict without violence. Other studies have shown that in hot weather people are more likely to misread neutral signals as signs of hostility and less likely to avoid or condemn violence.
When people are overheated, they simply have trouble thinking straight; there is notable cognitive disruption and distortion that can lead to poor problem-solving and overreactions to perceived threats. People who are hot also perceive other people as behaving aggressively, which increases the odds of hostile confrontations. In the workplace, on campus, and in the community, elevated temperatures contribute to an elevated risk of violence. Those tasked with creating workplace violence prevention plans and programs must anticipate and adapt to the effects of climate change on human behavior. This program will address important action steps in developing climate-informed workplace violence prevention programs, plans, and exercises to help participants meet the challenges ahead.
Oct 18 | Climate-Informed Behavioral Threat Assessment & Management
Studies demonstrated a linear relationship that directly ties escalating temperatures to escalating violence with assault rates peaking at the highest temperatures. It has been calculated that between 2010 and 2099, climate change will cause an estimated additional 30,000 murders. Researchers at Boston University recently found that days of extreme heat were associated with higher rates of mental health-related Emergency Department visits. Those with mood disorders thought disorders, and substance abuse disorders often experience a significant exacerbation of their conditions as the temperature increases. The effect was more pronounced for men than women, and for those living in the U.S. Northeast, Northwest, and Mid-West, with the mental health impact of heat often lasting days after a heat wave.
Everyone participating in the behavioral threat assessment and management process must begin to develop an understanding of the effects of climate change on psychological functioning and violence potential. Changes in climate not only affect interpersonal violence but contribute to civil unrest and collective violence, as well as extremism and terrorism. This program will introduce participants to the Climate Change-Violence Model, as well as approaches to climate-informed threat assessment. The violence-risk landscape is evolving quickly. It is imperative that threat assessment professionals and those serving on threat assessment teams understand and can apply the concepts outlined in this program to their work. It is critical that practitioners prepare for this new risk environment.
Oct 25 | Climate-informed Operational Stress Control
The most direct and obvious climate change impact is the heat. As global average temperatures rise, the potential for extreme heat rises along with it — and this summer has demonstrated just how widespread the consequences will be. No one is immune from the effects of heat, although some individuals and groups may be more vulnerable. High temperatures cause the brain to divert resources to other parts of the body in an effort to cool down. Heat has a negative effect on cognitive function, which may reduce problem-solving and decision-making, even for those working in crisis management, security, emergency management, and business continuity roles.
Operational Stress Control involves recognizing and managing the effects of stress on performance under pressure. Those working in crisis and emergency-related roles must maintain the capability to deal with sudden challenges effectively, but under extreme conditions, they can become task-saturated and unable to perform any one task proficiently. Heat affects arousal and irritability, with decreases in attention and self-regulation. It can undermine performance in times of peak demand. Heat can contribute to cognitive overload; as task saturation increases, performance decreases, and as task saturation increases, executional errors increase. It will be increasingly important for everyone working in high-stress security and emergency management roles to understand and adjust for the effects of climate change on operations, especially in times of peak demand. Heat will be a critical element in all crisis-related activities. Now is the time to learn about operational stress control and the impact of climate change.
The fee for individual classes is $75.00 (USD). The complete four-class series is offered at a 10% discount for $270.00. Please call for special pricing for groups of over 10 participants. The programs can be completed live, online, or by viewing the recorded presentations before November 30, 2022. All major credit cards, as well as debit cards, are accepted for payment.
Please allow 24 hours to receive a return email after you have registered.
The Homeland Security Human Factors Institute™ is the training division of Behavioral Science Applications LLC. It is not associated with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security or any other governmental agency.
Business Continuity Planners
Health & Safety Professionals
Behavioral Health Professionals
Anyone involved in emergency preparedness, response and recovery