Each day, there are opportunities to acquire new knowledge and skills as well as opportunities to share current knowledge and skills with others. This is especially true in the emergency preparedness realm, where changing circumstances and uncertainties are the norm. However, these opportunities do not require teaching degrees or enrollment in courses, but rather simply the desire to continuously fortify and expand the base upon which new ideas, concepts, and innovations may flourish. Whether providing formal instruction or leading by example, each person can and should teach others, thereby preparing themselves and those around them for a many potential emergencies and disasters.
As the eastern United States braces for the 2018 hurricane season, the 2017 season is still fresh in minds and recovery efforts of many who were affected. For those with firsthand knowledge of these events and the challenges they posed, sharing lessons learned can help others avoid previous pitfalls and develop better preparedness programs. Such outreach efforts need to reach all members of the community – from school-aged children to emergency preparedness peers in other jurisdictions. The disasters reported each year reinforce that the “it won’t happen here” thinking needs to change to “it could happen here and we need to be ready.”
As communities prepare for all hazards, there is much to learn about the constantly evolving threats, technologies, and environments surrounding them. Some technologies help detect and identify threats – for example, protecting responders from hazardous materials threats. Some technologies, like drones, are dual use. When used for nefarious reasons, they can create public safety and law enforcement concerns; however, when used by emergency responders, can also provide life-saving situational awareness. As the uses, laws, and regulations surrounding such technologies change, it is critical to seek and provide support and guidance as needed. From novice to well-seasoned preparedness professionals, each person has a lot to learn and each person has a lot they can teach others.