Medical and industrial facilities, universities and colleges, cargo containers, and floodwaters have something in common with nuclear power plants - all of them can be a source of nuclear radiation. Knowing where radiation might be "hiding" within a community is the first step that emergency managers should take to protect those who are most likely to be in contact with those sources.
Unsecured and non-declared nuclear and radiological materials make a deadly combination, particularly attractive to terrorists. Forestalling the threat of any attack using weapons of mass destruction requires careful consideration of not only the sources of the materials used and the technological capabilities of those building such weapons but also the security at facilities where the materials may be stored.
It takes special equipment, and specially trained people, to rescue anyone trapped in a massive silo containing thousands of bushels of grain. Knowing what to do and how to do it - safely and successfully - could prevent fatalities caused by suffocation, toxic inhalation, or even an explosion.
Subject matter experts play a key role in protecting both real and virtual space. Although they may not consider themselves to be "experts," many private sector stakeholders play a critical part in protecting the nation by sharing their specialized knowledge with the law enforcement community.
Emergency operation centers are no longer the exclusive property of government agencies. Various states are now incorporating centers that specifically focus on the private sector stakeholders the Business Emergency Management Operations Center in Washington, D.C., is one of the latest additions to a growing trend.
Emergency managers should not neglect their basic emergency management principles when faced with a cyber incident. Although information technology (IT) professionals have the technical expertise, emergency managers maintain responsibility for coordinating the response to cyber incidents. Therefore, by working together, emergency managers and IT professionals can provide a more effective response.
Providing food to the hungry entails gathering donations, distributing food, and tracking every step of the process to keep the supply chain safe and secure. To do this efficiently, public and private partnerships have been formed to create a robust distribution system that is not only reliable but also scalable in times of disaster when relief is most urgently needed.
Protecting a nation's food supply chain is a major concern in all political jurisdictions, but can be made less difficult by, among other actions: implementing mitigation controls; enforcing inspections, assessments, and compliance; ensuring international food safety; improving rapid-response capabilities; and developing preparedness partnerships.
When a bomb explodes, a biological or chemical agent is released, or an active shooter is at large, time is of the essence. In some situations, having residents shelter in place, although costly and inconvenient, may be the fastest and only way to stop the perpetrator and reduce the number of lives lost both during and following the incident.
As the southwest areas of the country face deadly tornadoes, other areas are preparing their communities and schools for the 2013 Hurricane season, which officially starts on the first day of June. Unlike tornadoes, hurricanes usually give advance warning - sometimes several days - before making landfall. Schools, though, must be fully prepared to cope with any and all disasters that might strike.