When the electric power infrastructure fails, it affects much more than just the electronic equipment that is powered by it. A lesson from Superstorm Sandy demonstrates how managing ground support, supplies, and facilities may differ when electrical power is gone. It may even require hundreds (or thousands) of orange traffic cones to maintain operations.
The Federal Communications Commission is considering changing the provider of the local number portability administrator. Emergency responders should be aware that this decision could affect responders' ability to identify 911 callers, to track suspects, and to transition, test, and validate telephone databases following a disaster.
There are immediate and long-term steps - planning, triaging, and shielding - that any organization can take to mitigate disasters related to electromagnetic pulse (EMP). Understanding how EMP works, benefits and types of protective actions, as well as standards and ratings will help simplify the process of protecting civilian critical infrastructure.
The Global Positioning System is an integral part of the U.S. critical infrastructure. However, its importance may not be realized until the system fails. It is important to examine the good and the bad of satellite navigation and timing when discussing: current systems, vulnerabilities, satellite signals, cost, implementation, and government efforts.
Government officials in Maine are taking steps to protect the electric grid from severe geomagnetic disturbances and manmade electromagnetic pulse weapons. However, ensuring that state agencies and electric utilities work together toward a common goal can be a challenge. The final task force report on emergency legislation passed on 11 June 2013 is expected later this month.
In the nation's capital, emergency managers identify hazards, consider location-specific elements, and implement lessons learned from past incidents in order to create a robust preparedness plan for critical infrastructures, including power and water. Efforts in neighboring jurisdictions and private sector cooperation also contribute to the regional resilience of the power grid.
Recovery, risk mitigation, and economic growth are the necessary elements that compose the concept of resilience. Building this resilience, however, requires being able to break out of operational and program silos at all levels of government and to work with nontraditional community groups to harness the power of social media.
School shootings draw a lot of attention from the media as well as from the public, but the number of school deaths is small compared to those that occur away from school property. Although "statistically safe," schools still must prepare for a broad range of possible incidents and could benefit from standardized safety and security efforts.
In July 2012, a disastrous solar storm could have crippled the country - and possibly the planet - for months had its occurrence not missed Earth by less than two weeks. New reports about that storm have reignited the discussion about the effects of an electromagnetic pulse and the impact on society.
Being a great leader requires much more than just a title. True leaders build a solid foundation on honor and respect, which includes building rapport with others and being aware that all actions have consequences. Emergency management and public safety officials all have the ability to be "leaders" and agents for change.