Each disaster a community faces must be effectively managed. By viewing each crisis as a project and each emergency manager as a project manager, communities will be better prepared to mitigate future threats, manage special events, and respond to emergencies and disasters. This article describes how traditional models converge to create a comprehensive project management approach.
Experience required. Many jobs require wide-ranging qualifications and expertise to be able to apply and interview. However, people often ask, “How can I get the experience if I cannot get a job?” A great way to get “a foot in the door” is through internships, which can be vital in the emergency management field. Multifaceted and sometimes fast-paced, this is the type of profession where one must have the drive and passion for helping others and serving the community. Despite some public misconceptions that emergency management is only active during an event (which is often the only time an agency receives media attention), it is a 24-hour-a-day, 7-days-a-week, 365-days-a-year profession. Therefore, exposure to what happens in the field on “blue sky days” and during an emergency or disaster is paramount for someone new to the profession to experience.
Several national critical functions and all 16 critical infrastructure sectors rely either directly or indirectly on functional and consistent position, navigation, and timing (PNT) signals. As such, fragility of weak and easily imitated global positioning system (GPS) signals could lead to catastrophic impacts on dependent and interdependent critical infrastructure systems. Designating PNT-signal-emanating assets as a standalone national critical function would bring resources, awareness, research, additional risk mitigation measures, and new solutions to help keep consistent and resilient PNT signals operational if threatened by natural and human-caused threats.
Shootings, acts of violence, crimes, abuse, suicides, overdoses, and other incidents and tragedies are increasing nationwide. Cities across the nation saw a surge of homicides in 2020 and many cities were at or near record levels for homicides in 2021. Cities also saw spikes in 2020 and 2021 with crimes, abuse, suicides, overdoses, and other incidents. Organizations, schools, and communities have continued to add more security solutions as well as more hotlines, safety/threat assessment teams, policies, trainings, and laws. However, violence and crime statistics do not reflect better safety.
Responding to outbreaks of transboundary animal diseases is just one of the many challenges emergency planners and responders in rural localities face. Unfortunately, the infrequent nature of these events makes it easy to put off the planning, training, and research needed to fully prepare for animal disease outbreaks.
Traditional definitions of domestic preparedness have been influenced by the Cold War and international terrorism. As the 20-year milestone of the 9/11 attack on the United States passed, domestic terrorism also has made its mark on the interpretation of domestic preparedness. It is time for a fresh look, considering pandemics, local human-caused and natural catastrophes, reoccurring threats (like wildfires, earthquakes, and cyberattacks), and crumbling domestic infrastructure. The landscape of emergency response actions and readiness of public and private agencies in a globally interconnected world has left a deep scar on domestic preparedness and how risk is evaluated both nationally and internationally.
On 5 November 2021, an apparent crowd crush at the Astroworld music festival in Houston, Texas resulted in ten deaths and untold injuries. While the criminal investigation is in its early stages at the time of this article, the music festival undoubtably represents some failures of safety and security planning and execution. The death count and reported injuries are too high to be the normal cost of holding events. Disturbing videos from the event, in addition to statements from concert goers and first responders, belie assertions that initial observations by subject matter experts are impossible until the completion of the investigation. The events at Astroworld are a reminder of the need to “protect the 3Ps” at concerts and special events, and the fact that these activities must be balanced.
Planning for the emergency management needs of space aliens on Earth, in terms of their well-being before, during, and after disasters could be the plot of a science fiction movie script. The movie District 9 has a similar premise: the aliens that arrived on Planet Earth were not warriors, but rather sentient beings totally reliant on help instead. The reality is there are beings like this in every community. They are called “children.”
The increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters coupled with the reemergence of military threats from peer and near-peer adversaries overseas will greatly reduce the ability of emergency managers to meet the needs of disaster survivors. This will necessitate a paradigm shift in the primary role of emergency management from the delivery of resources to managing the scarcity of resources and making better use of them.
Many of the previous stories and after-action reviews conducted for the 2017 Las Vegas shootings have focused on organizers’ and public safety officials’ responses in the aftermath of the attack. In contrast, this article focuses on the events’ security strengths and weaknesses and then offers recommendations for other event planners and public safety officials to improve their plans for future events.