People, communities, businesses, and governments around the world are already experiencing the devastating human, economic, and environmental consequences of a changing climate. Many have been impacted by “acute climate shocks” such as wildfires, hurricanes, floods, heatwaves, and severe winter storms – resulting in the loss of lives, livelihoods, and infrastructure. These five steps can help emergency managers build a path to enhance their climate resilience.
by The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ Interoperable Communications Regional Programmatic Working Group -
During complex and large-scale incidents, first responders in the multi-jurisdictional National Capital Region (NCR) must be able to deploy and integrate with other public safety agencies in a timely and efficient manner. The NCR, for the purposes of this document, is defined as the District of Columbia and surrounding Virginia and Maryland metropolitan areas. Successful integration is contingent on first responders’ ability to communicate seamlessly outside the normal coverage area of their home radio systems.
Underground rail transit systems in the United States can be dangerous places. Not only for their riders and employees, but also for emergency responders, who may be called to help evacuate people from the area safely or to stop a blaze. The confined spaces, tight stairwells, and potential for the emergency evacuation of hundreds – if not thousands – of riders means that a project must be well-designed, thought-out, and constructed of materials that do not burn.
In September 2017, the National Tribal Amateur Radio Association (NTARA) – in conjunction with the Fresno Amateur Radio Emergency Services Group and Tulare County Amateur Radio Club – set up and operated Amateur Radio Special Event Station W7NTV during the National Tribal Emergency Management Council (NTEMC) annual conference. Held at the Tachi Palace Casino Resort in Lemoore, California, this was the second year that NTEMC and NTARA set up and operated the special event station.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) implemented a comprehensive emergency preparedness rule in 2016 that applies to nearly every healthcare provider in the nation, and outlines steps those providers must take to improve their preparedness and ensure sustainability in the face of a disaster. The rule compels healthcare providers to devote resources – human and fiscal – to emergency planning. This may be seen as burdensome by some but should effectively improve their levels of readiness and improve the quality of healthcare for all. This rule will make providers – from general hospitals to transplant centers and long-term care facilities – safer for patients and visitors.
Between late August and the end of 2017, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) deployed to six states and the U.S. Virgin Islands in response to four disasters: Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and the wildfires in Northern California. In all, the ASPCA assisted nearly 37,000 animals affected by these disasters. Although each response required a unique approach, one particular objective was consistent throughout, which likely saved thousands of animal lives – animal relocation.
Numerous incidents occur every day in the United States, from simple/frequent events like automobile accidents, train derailments, and severe weather, to catastrophic/infrequent events like the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Hurricanes Harvey and Maria, and the Keystone pipeline leak to name just a few. By examining factors related to the incident and factors related to a specific entity, information needs and resource requirements can be better aligned to create operational resilience during any incident.
In the civil defense era of emergency management, the federal, state, and local civil defense authorities were presented with the mission to protect the civilian population from an attack on the U.S. mainland. Shelter programs, coordinated public warning systems, emergency assistance provisions, and other protective measures were developed. Today, these measures need to be revisited and adapted in accord with current threats, timing, and resources.
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.