On 27 June 2017, the Urban Assembly School for Emergency Management (UASEM), the first high school in the United States dedicated to the field, graduated its first cohort of students. Over the past four years, UASEM has engaged students in exploring careers in first response through trips to the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) training headquarters, logistics at the New York City Emergency Management Emergency Operations Center, and internships in emergency management organizations across the region.
As the next generation enters the emergency management field, it is time to think about the impact experienced generations can have on their younger counterparts. In emergency management, experienced professionals have knowledge that younger generations cannot gain until they are in the field, but they can share that field experience in the classroom and bring textbooks to life.
On 22 May 2017, DomPrep held a panel discussion on “Responders of the Future” at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. In concert with that event, Secure Schools Alliance Research and Education (the Alliance) released its brief, “Securing Our Schools: Partner Roles and Responsibilities.” Together, these offerings provide significant insight on the power that students can play in the safety and security of their schools.
The success or failure of an emergency response depends on many factors: planning, capabilities, training, tools, funding, public trust, and the list goes on. This edition of the DomPrep Journal examines potential points of failure as well as formulas for success when responding to a crisis.
President Donald Trump’s proposed fiscal year 2018 budget would eliminate a Department of Homeland Security laboratory dedicated to countering bioterrorism and providing the science behind response and recovery efforts should an attack occur. The proposal to eliminate this lab without creating replacement capabilities elsewhere could place the U.S. at risk at a time when biotechnology proliferation is increasing access to the knowledge and capabilities for developing bioterror weapons.
All disasters may begin locally, but their effects and resource needs can span jurisdictions and can even have national implications. This edition of the DomPrep Journal examines ways to protect critical infrastructure and communities from widespread catastrophe.
A top-down approach provides guidance and support from federal agencies to local jurisdictions. A bottom-up approach ensures that local needs are being heard at the top. However, when local agencies are tasked with national security efforts, more guidance and support may be needed from above. It is time to prioritize resources, measure preparedness and response capabilities, and build and support national capabilities locally by redefining homeland security in today’s environment.
“Emergency management” is a term broadly defining a field that includes federal, state, and local government agencies, voluntary organizations active in disasters, and private sector stakeholders that conduct a variety of activities to prepare for, mitigate against, respond to, and recover from incidents. However, “emergency management” does not accurately describe the discipline or represent the most valuable skillset of emergency managers and their agencies: complex problem solving.
Valuable leadership principles learned in military operations can be effectively applied to leaders in the civilian world. However, complacency and comfort zones are often the barriers to such success. Being moved to join the military after watching the towers fall on 9/11 was a turning point that broke these barriers for this Navy SEAL.
The recent release of the 2017 Infrastructure Report Card is notable – not simply because it gave U.S. public schools a D+ grade on their overall condition, but due to its failure to address upgrades needed to the security infrastructure, security technology, and life safety systems of schools. As the new administration and Congress consider a major national infrastructure bill, it is time to invest in upgrading the security infrastructure of K-12 public schools.