Disaster planners recognize the need to build interagency, interdisciplinary support to combat widespread disasters with far-reaching consequences. However, gaining such buy-in can be challenging – especially when stakeholders do not recognize the threat to their communities or do not understand the roles they can and should play in mitigating such threats. This is important considering that an international threat can quickly become a local problem and a local threat can transform into an international concern.
No matter where a mass casualty incident, a large natural disaster, or a cyberattack occur, such events can affect local communities in many ways – for example, they may need to get out of harm’s way, respond with mutual aid, or plan for a similar scenario should it occur closer to home. The U.S. Coast Guard, local law enforcement agencies, universities, and emergency managers are just a few of the stakeholder who are taking steps to close preparedness gaps.
For example, the U.S. Coast Guard conducts drug interdictions on the waterways. Without this partner, more drugs would be dispersed to numerous local jurisdictions. Local law enforcement identifies early signs of terrorism. Without this partner, many more terrorists would have the ability to launch their plans on the global stage. Universities educate stakeholders and prepare them for the “what ifs.” Without this partner, there would be fewer people equipped with the knowledge to recognize, mitigate, and respond to threats as they arise. Emergency managers bring together all the stakeholders. Without this partner, it would be more difficult to develop and execute disaster preparedness, response, and mitigation plans, thus hindering plans required across jurisdictions.
Everyone has a role to play in combating domestic and global threats. Whether formulating emergency plans for a large federal agency or simply using situational awareness to report suspicious activity at a school, no task or stakeholder is too small to overlook. Getting the buy-in and cooperation of all stakeholders is the challenge that emergency preparedness professionals must address. This edition of the DomPrep Journal provides a sampling of the successful efforts being made in various sectors – ranging from individual training opportunities to multimillion-dollar drug interdictions.