In some ways, communities are well prepared for emergencies. However, it is critical to assess systems, structures, models, and procedures to identify even small weaknesses and gaps that can become significant in effectively responding to threats, hazards, and risks. The authors in this March edition of the Domestic Preparedness Journal identify gaps and share possible solutions for various critical infrastructure, public health, and physical safety vulnerabilities and threats.
The common phrase “timing is everything” takes on even greater significance when preparing for and mitigating future threats. For example, position, navigation, and timing signals are a necessary component for critical infrastructure sectors to function effectively. Any breakdowns in critical infrastructure can lead to negative cascading effects for daily lives throughout communities. Robust planning with built-in contingencies can help close gaps that would otherwise exacerbate scenarios.
Being prepared for an emergency or disaster means having pre-incident plans in place to ensure incident response is effective and post-incident recovery is expedited. When communities are not prepared for known or emerging threats, it is difficult to coordinate efforts, allocate resources, and clearly communicate to all stakeholders when a disaster occurs. One type of threat that the United States is currently unprepared for is a biological event. The nation needs to be more prepared for the next pandemic or other biological event than it was for COVID-19.
Regardless the type of incident, gaps can be identified and addressed by regularly assessing emergency plans and procedures, expanding learning opportunities, and applying lessons learned and best practices. Creating new models to proactively prevent incidents from occurring, training to address responses to medical challenges, and strengthening supply chain procurement processes are just three ways described in this issue to build resilience. There are so many ways that leaders are preparing for the next incident. The Domestic Preparedness Journal will continue to share best practices, lessons learned, emerging technologies, and other tips to better prepare communities today. Timing is everything, and the best time to prepare is now.
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.