In 2014, the United States was directly exposed to the Ebola virus, which was at that time relatively unknown on domestic soil. The nation was underprepared to manage the public relations issues associated with this scenario. Since that time, roundtables have been conducted, responder trainings have been created, and information has been disseminated to better prepare responders and inform the public. However, there is a delicate balance when informing the public of potential threats: provide enough information to mitigate new exposure risks, but do not overhype the threat.
Coordination between the public and private sectors are essential for communicating effectively to the public during emergencies. It is important for government agencies to build relationships with private partners during “blue skies” to ensure that proper plans and messaging are in place in the event of an actual emergency. New York City (NYC) Emergency Management has worked extensively to build a robust network of private partners from various industries that can assist with the dissemination of critical information to the public before, during, and after emergencies. In 2017, NYC Emergency Management conducted a communication drill with private sector partners to test the potential reach of New York City’s emergency messaging.
Disaster plans of previous generations do not adequately reflect the risks, threats, and needs of modern society. Changing demographics, aging populations, and increasing natural and human-caused disasters each reinforce the need for emergency and disaster preparedness professionals to gain the knowledge and training needed to make informed decisions to mitigate threats and execute effective responses when mitigation is not enough.
The United States is in the midst of an epidemic of addiction to opioids and fentanyl. On 18 September 2018, DomPrep hosted a roundtable discussion at MedStar NRH Rehabilitation Network in Washington, DC, to discuss this threat. The three-hour conversation led by Craig DeAtley, PA-C, emergency manager for MedStar System, examined the extent of the problem, including the harmful risks to operational responders – people who are in physical contact with people as part of their daily work – from fentanyl/opioid exposure. Key discussion points summarized in this article included: impacts on public safety, data collection, best practices, personnel protection, and whole community collaboration.
September always seems to be a very busy month, not just because it is preparedness month but also considering the large number of meetings, conferences, contract/budget/procurement cycles, and so on. This is true for Team DomPrep too. Two important events happened last week that need to be shared with the readership.
National Preparedness Month is a time for each person to reflect on his or her level of preparedness for the next emergency. This article challenges those in the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to do the same. Whether training for Basic Life Support (BLS) or progressing to Advanced Life Support (ALS), all EMS personnel are created equal at their respective levels. They must learn the same skill sets and protocols and pass the same certification exams as all other EMS personnel within their jurisdictions. That, however, is where the “equality” ends.
Stakeholders in each discipline are tasked with protecting their industries’ assets and resources from potential risks and threats. However, each industry is interdependent on numerous other industries and their preparedness practices. The “whole community” concept encompasses the “all for one and one for all” motto. Together, communities can build strength and resilience. Apart, they may miss the warning signs and opportunities to mitigate disaster.
A clandestine drug lab is a health and safety nightmare for first responders. The chemicals are almost never labelled. The initial on-site team is normally followed by several hazardous materials technicians. These experts need to make sure the crime scene is safe and dangerous items are properly handled before evidence technicians can fully process the scene.
#SafetyBeforeSelfie – Please make sure to exit the burning building before texting, tweeting, posting, or live streaming about it. Surprisingly, the current security and emergency management (EM) environment that exists both in the public and increasingly in the private sector may necessitate such emergency warning statements as part of EM organizations’ risk communication planning.
There is no quick fix for addressing all national security threats. Even if there were, it would still be challenging to keep up with the threat environment as it continually evolves at what seems to be exponential rates. The natural and manmade disasters of yesteryear are compounded with emerging cyber, technological, and other threats that once were only in the imagination of science fiction writers.