Disaster preparedness and response professionals had a front-row seat for the turbulence in 2017. A historic hurricane season left first responders and the communities they serve struggling to keep up. Fires continue to ravage the west. Active shooter and terrorism incidents keep everyone on edge. Infectious disease outbreaks remain a constant worry. Cyberattacks open a new threat vector. Prolonged preparation, response, and recovery put stress on physical, emotional, financial, and infrastructure systems. Leaders must adapt to changing circumstances and needs.
Threats, whether natural or manmade, have the ability to negatively impact communities. Although government agencies serve communities before, during, and after disasters, emergency management officials understand the realities of gaps that exist in disaster management systems exclusively managed by government. There is a mounting cognizance of the need for effective communication and coordination from a broad range of stakeholders to reduce the negative effects of a given disaster.
Being resilient when faced with an emergency or catastrophic event requires preplanning to ensure that operations can continue with minimal interruption throughout the event or restart soon after the event. Business continuity software can help bridge the continuity gap during these times. Answering these 10 questions before purchasing will help ensure a good match between the software and the user.
During the second week of October 2017, the DomPrep Journal hosted and Draeger sponsored a series of presexxntations and discussions, which included most of the major federal agencies engaged in freight rail safety and security, as well as the American Association of Railroads. To add to that discussion, several states have made significant contributions to freight rail safety. Three major state and local emergency management agencies that have made these major strides in rail safety and security are described here.
A key early step for critical infrastructure protection (CIP) programs is to identify and prioritize the most important facilities and assets for maintaining community safety, normalcy, and quality of life. Within single jurisdictions, CIP program managers typically choose prioritization criteria to determine the most critical assets. However, developing customized prioritization criteria for multiple, closely interconnected jurisdictions in the National Capital Region (NCR) – where public safety authority is decentralized – recently proved much more challenging. Here is how they overcame this challenge.
When runners compete in their first marathon or triathlon, they often set goals such as, “I hope to break four hours,” or “I want to beat my brother’s time.” However, a different mindset should be taken for a first attempt at an endurance event. Rather than placing benchmarks or targets, the goal should be to simply finish the first event. This same advice applies to a first-time disaster deployment.
The Department of Homeland Security has acknowledged that the threat of “lone wolf” attacks continues to represent the greatest threat to national security. This acknowledgment is supported by the fact that the United States is experiencing an unprecedented number of active shooter events – whether ideologically or non-ideologically inspired. Two weeks following the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, details are no closer to being solidified and law enforcement continues to search for a motive.
Long before the invention of drones, emergency managers determined the overall scope of a crisis using information from emergency personnel on the ground, and from the chain of command created through the Incident Command System. Today, drones have many capabilities that could enhance response activities and change the way disasters are managed. Hurricane Harvey demonstrated how this technology is rapidly changing.
Studies show that children’s learning improves when they feel both physically and emotionally safe. As “National Safe Schools Week” (16-20 October 2017) approaches, it is an appropriate time to discuss how to create these environments through safe schools programs in local communities across the United States.
Throughout National Preparedness Month many communities’ preparedness plans have been tested. Hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, floods, and drought are just some of the threats faced this month. Although preparedness is highlighted during the month of September, recent events reinforce the need for preparedness to be a year-round effort – especially during months when daily operations are not being overshadowed by catastrophe, and agencies and organizations are not being tested in full public view.