The devastating wildfires in Maui demonstrate the extreme dangers the wildland-urban interface (WUI) poses to lives and property. According to a Federal Emergency Management Agency and U.S. Fire Administration June 2022 report, about one-third of the U.S. population (99 million people in 46 million homes) live in the expanding WUI zone. As the frequency and intensity of natural threats increase, and urban areas expand, communities must plan for new and unexpected events.
In any community, many activities abound, such as children going to school, adults working, and families and friends attending sports games and other special activities. Some people are interactive, while others are less socially involved. The daily routines and activities can lull communities into a false sense of security about the risks, hazards, and threats they could encounter at any moment.
This August 2023 issue of the Domestic Preparedness Journal focuses on several ways disasters can suddenly hit close to home and suggestions for mitigating potentially devasting consequences. To protect the whole community, working with all key stakeholders on building awareness, expanding training, and responding effectively is critical:
- Be aware of the potential needs of anyone in the community and the evolving threats that may require new approaches to counter them.
- Recruit and train those who work in hazardous conditions or may find themselves in preparedness and response roles to protect schools, special events, and other daily activities.
- Plan to ensure resources are in place and responders are fully equipped to go into dangerous situations and rebuild communities when necessary.
The world is different than it was even five years ago. Naturally occurring events that used to happen elsewhere are now hitting closer to home – like a hurricane making landfall in Southern California coupled with a 5.1-magnitude earthquake. As such, whole community preparedness is more important than ever when protecting families, homes, and ways of life.
Catherine L. Feinman
Catherine L. Feinman, M.A., joined Domestic Preparedness in January 2010. She has more than 30 years of publishing experience and currently serves as editor of the Domestic Preparedness Journal, DomesticPreparedness.com, and the DPJ Weekly Brief, and works with writers and other contributors to build and create new content that is relevant to the emergency preparedness, response, and recovery communities. She received a bachelor’s degree in international business from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a master’s degree in emergency and disaster management from American Military University.