Everyone feared that Katrina was going to be big. A category-5 hurricane, bearing toward a major port city that sits below sea level, had been talked about for many years. As the story unfolded, the entire nation realized that this event wasn’t going to be “big”; it would be, and continues to be, huge. With over a million displaced people, the loss of many lives, and long-term medical consequence still unknown, the stories, studies, and fact-finding reports will unfold for a very long time to come as this newest war is fought. The combined efforts of those writing the stories and reports will help America be better prepared for the next battle.
DomPrep cannot begin to tell the complete story – and, of course, neither can any other publication. That is not our mission – which is, rather, to bring to our readers in the nation’s various domestic-preparedness communities expert reports, told by day-by-day practitioners, that will help them do their own jobs better. Another way of saying it is that each of the several reports carried in each issue is designed not only to keep DomPrep’s audience of preparedness professionals better informed but also better prepared to get ready for the next event, incident, or disaster they will be facing. In this issue, three such reports are being presented.
Adam McLaughlin, DomPrep’s Channel Master for State Homeland News, was among those mobilized to deploy to New Orleans to assist in the stricken city’s Emergency Management Office. His report focuses on how the state of Louisiana created a new 911 call center, how the state of New York helped in the multifaceted recovery effort, and how the disaster named Katrina helped the domestic-preparedness officials in Massachusetts realize that they should revisit their own preparedness plans–it can be taken for granted that their counterparts in other states will do the same thing.
John Morton interviewed Thomas W. Carr Jr., the fire chief of Montgomery County, Md., shortly after Carr returned from the Gulf Coast area. Their 41- minute conversation is a compelling one and a “must listen” for all first responders. In addition to focusing particular attention on the need for interoperability of communications, Chief Carr discusses such important related topics as the rescue-and-recovery operations, incident management, and the operational performance of the Army Reserve; he also addresses the complex issue of stress management of the first responders themselves.
Lastly, DomPrep is proud to have Michael Sohmer, the chief pharmacist of San Diego’s DMAT-CA-4 (DMAT stands for disaster medical assistance team) file his report – a heroic “can do” story that examines both the combination of frustration and fatigue that hindered much of the recovery operations and, of greater importance, the teamwork and dedicated professionalism that saved so many lives against unforeseen and unforeseeable odds. We hope that, after reading Sohmer’s article, you will forward it to any decision-making officials you know who can prevent similar breakdowns from happening in the future.
All three articles, we believe, are compelling reading, by and about real-life heroes as they return from the field of battle. At the same time that so many of our nation’s cities and states, as well as the federal government, have been re-evaluating their preparedness plans, this publisher has been doing the same thing. The first and most immediate effect of this internal reflection and re-evaluation process is a decision that DomesticPreparedness.com, Total Integrated Preparedness Solutions (T.I.P.S.), and the First Responder Network should be, and will be, merged into one unified publication, DomPrep Journal.
DomPrep Journal will be available in html and PDF formats. In addition, five or six issues a year – the number may vary from one year to the next – will be printed and delivered to specialized audiences. However, our editorial mission will remain the same: to provide highly relevant articles and features that integrate the nation’s first responders with the nation’s state, local, and federal preparedness communities and, more recently, building-facility managers, preparedness officials working in the critical-infrastructure, maritime, and borders and ports communities as well.
Consequence management of either a manmade or natural disaster event will continue to be our principal editorial theme. The lessons learned from 9/11, and now Katrina, underscore and make more relevant the DomPrep Channel Masters’ commitment to the providing of operational solutions to our growing audience of preparedness professionals who have the primary responsibility of planning for, preventing, and/or responding to disasters and catastrophes of all types affecting our nation.
Because our reader base has been growing significantly in recent months, DomPrep.com has invested in a significant upgrade to both server and connectivity capacity to handle the additional traffic and broadband requirements needed to implement our expansion.
Last, a personal note: the publisher’s family has also been affected by Hurricane Katrina – but on a much less traumatic way than so many others have been. One of his sons, a senior-graduate student at Tulane University’s A.B. Freeman School of Business, was accepted by the University of Maryland to attend that fine school as a “visiting” student for the fall semester. After considerable reflection, though, he instead decided to serve as an American Red Cross volunteer and do what that wonderful organization determines will be the best use of his skills to help in the ongoing recovery effort. His personal story, we know, will be like many others, and will have the same unifying theme: Americans coming together for a greater good. We are proud of them all.
Martin D. Masiuk
Martin (Marty) Masiuk is president and founder of International Media Representatives Inc. (IMR Group Inc.), which was established in 1986 as an American-based media representation firm for overseas, aerospace, and defense publications. In 1998, under the IMR Group, he established DomesticPreparedness.com, which has evolved into a highly trusted, and important information service for the multi-disclipline, multi-jurisdiction preparedness community. In 2014, he transitioned the DomPrep40 into the Preparedness Leadership Council to lessen the burden on and increase the effectiveness of operational preparedness professionals and help policy professionals make better-informed decisions. Prior to IMR Group, he served as an account representative for McGraw Hill’s Business Week and Aviation Week & Space Technology publications.