COMMENTARY ARCHIVES

Getting Ready for the Next Emergency

During an emergency, it is common for communities – comprising private citizens to large agencies – to come to the aid of others. It is imperative to be prepared now because emergencies will not wait for us to get ready.

You’re the Leader. Now What?

  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that, as of May 8, the United States had experienced seven confirmed $1-billion weather/climate-related disasters in 2023. Three more storms that occurred in April may soon be added to that list. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 35 major

Making Planning Documents More Than Words on Paper

President Harry S. Truman once said, “I believe in plans big enough to meet a situation which we can’t possibly foresee now.” However, terms like big and comprehensive do not always equate to size. Something that is laborious and unread adds no value for those tasked with managing emergencies and disasters. However,

Planning for Future Events Requires Updated Plans

Threats, hazards, and risks change over time as numerous variables change. This means preparedness professionals must be forward-thinking when planning for emergencies and disasters. Past events can teach valuable lessons for the future, and sometimes those lessons include adapting old plans to meet new or emerging challenges. The authors in

Information Sharing – A Powerful Life-Saving Tool

Information sharing is a valuable tool used for various purposes. However, this tool’s power in preparing for and responding to emergencies should not be underestimated. Unfortunately, critical information and data can sometimes be misused, not effectively leveraged, not shared, or simply ignored. In these scenarios, it is more difficult to

Technological Strategies for Organizational Leadership

Article Out Loud Integrating information technology (IT) into emergency management and public safety agencies involves balancing technological limitations with the organizational mindset. Finding this balance has been discussed in practice, academia, and across multiple disciplines, with friction sometimes emerging between the leadership mindset, staff, data, training, and implementation. For example,

Threat Awareness – Actions Now Mitigate Disasters Later

  Reducing or eliminating the long-term risks associated with natural, human-caused, or technological disasters begins with an awareness that specific threats exist. For example, a Chinese spy balloon crossed the United States and was shot down on February 4, 2023. The exact level of threat that it posed and the

Strong Foundations – What Every Disaster Plan Needs

The initial goal of a disaster plan should be to avoid the disaster. The secondary goal should be to respond effectively when a disaster cannot be avoided. To be clear, the disaster here is not a hurricane, earthquake, flood, wildfire, tornado, or even human attacker. These are simply examples of

How One Town Stood Up to a Category 4 Storm

When Category 4 Hurricane Ian crossed Florida in September 2022, more than 4 million Florida homes and businesses lost power. However, one town kept the lights on and was spared the devastation the cities surrounding it faced. With resilience and sustainability in mind, this author shares the planning involved in

Beachie Creek Fire – A Practitioner’s Firsthand Account

When disaster strikes, sometimes those trained to respond find themselves and their families fleeing from the fire. Once their families are safe, they jump back in to assist wherever needed. This scenario happened to one emergency manager when the Beachie Creek wildfire engulfed surrounding Oregon communities with little warning.

Publisher’s Note: Auld Lang Syne (A Chance to Recollect and Restore)

As we come to the end of a challenging year and a tumultuous period, please know that your efforts are appreciated, and the sacrifices of you and your families have a significant and positive impact on all of our communities. On behalf of the Domestic Preparedness Journal, its staff, and

The Importance of Strong Leadership for a Unique Discipline

A transformational leadership style can help bridge relationship and communication gaps between leaders and other community stakeholders. Learn how one young deputy fire chief learned from his past leadership missteps and honed his meta-leadership skills, which were essential in reconnecting communities when he became a state emergency manager.

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