Community lifelines ensure that businesses and the government can continue functioning and society can thrive. However, a breakdown in daily operations is inevitable when one or more lifeline is lost. In communications, this means a disruption in technology that has become interwoven into societal norms – talking, texting, data transfer, social media, etc. This article shares possible solutions to the predictable loss of the communications lifeline.
Low-frequency, high-consequence events are rare, emergency responders still need to be able to evaluate these complex problems and determine initial actions. To avoid being overwhelmed and increasing the risks to both responders and civilians, emergency responders need to be able to quickly identify all potential hazards, then predict the outcome when a hazardous material or weapon of mass destruction¬ (WMD) incident occurs. This article explains how a risk-based approach will better prepare responders for future situations.
Japan is more prepared for future disasters due to communications and annual investments into exercises and drills with local and international partners. Tokyo Disney Resort leveraged private-public partnerships to increase preparedness in employees, guests, business services, critical infrastructure facilities, and government stakeholders to manage future disruptions caused by natural disasters. A private-public partnership helped align business needs and supported risk-information decision-making during a complex, large-scale disaster.
Law enforcement agencies are tasked with protecting life and safety as well as the civil liberties of those within their jurisdictions. Crowds present even more complex and dynamic scenarios. However, this research on crowd psychology can help law enforcement officers navigate these complexities on an operational level. Being able to gauge crowd behavior would help officers make more informed planning and response decisions and reduce the risk of civil unrest.
From small fire companies covering large areas of rural land to large fire departments covering highly populated urban cities, suburban fire departments are tasked with a mixture of both. One firefighter who has spent his career in a suburban fire department shares the five key lessons he has learned throughout his career.
There are moments during a disaster that something needs to be purchased. Depending on the nature of the purchase, it could be something small, perhaps something that can be purchased with a company credit card. On the other hand, it could be a purchase for millions of dollars and, not only do procurement laws come into play, but so could federal procurement laws if the organization is going to seek Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reimbursement after the disaster closes. In the moments of needing to spend large dollar amounts, the procurement office should be consulted, not because all purchases need to go through that office, but because they work year-round to establish relationships, contracts, and price lists with suppliers that could save time, money, and allow focus to be on the disaster at hand.
With communities around the globe feeling the effects of climate change, society must continue to prioritize initiatives that address its causes and impacts. For example, in mid-December 2021, 61 tornadoes formed in the central U.S. when such intense events are unusual, and Texas and Oklahoma saw a winter storm and freezing temperatures in February 2021. Additionally, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. experienced 20 major disasters in 2021 totaling $145 billion in damages and resulting in 688 deaths – ranking as the second-highest number of events, the third-highest cost, and the sixth highest deaths. Coupled with the continuation of high-powered storms with the rising costs of construction, labor, and materials, communities run the risk of entering an endless cycle of destruction and rebuilding.
School crisis response plans come in a variety of formats. Although the structure may vary, the content must include the essentials for the plan to be usable and effective. A basic school-based crisis response plan has seven key elements: organizing structure, communications system, accountability system, parent/student reunification, alternative location, equipment and supplies, and aftermath/recovery plan.
Collaboration between public entities and private companies is essential to prepare for disasters. However, current partnerships can be formal and cumbersome to the point of detriment, or impromptu and do little to achieve their goals. This unmet need to find appropriate partnership mechanisms could be addressed by the Harvard National Preparedness Leadership Initiative (NPLI)’s Predictable Surge framework, a model presented in Domestic Preparedness Journal in August 2019. It aims to inform an emergency manager’s understanding of the response ecosystem and productively engage potential private partners. This model has been further developed through a pilot with the Providence Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), located in Providence, Rhode Island, in the summer of 2021.
The proliferation of climate change, political strife, and general societal divisiveness is changing the nature of the work of emergency managers. The (ongoing) COVID-19 global pandemic, devastating hurricane and wildfire seasons, tenuous political situations, and broad unrest impact local communities in significant ways. Emergency managers are those who officials trust to lead response and recovery to this growing list of emergencies and disasters. They facilitate multi-agency responses to complex incidents, often serving in silence while providing critical backbone services.