The overall goal of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), emergency management programs, and the profession of emergency management is to have the disaster system be federally supported, state managed, and locally executed. FEMA maintains a delicate and fragile balance between leading and nurturing this enormous system and this exciting profession. At the same time, disasters are becoming more frequent, more intense, and more expensive. Nevertheless, as the U.S. Department of Defense has said it can fight three wars at once, FEMA and its partners could handle three disasters at once. Currently, though, FEMA is clearly faced with handling much more than three major disasters at once.
There is no shortage of crisis management tools and concepts, yet individuals and organizations often still struggle to respond effectively when a crisis occurs. There are likely numerous reasons for this, but one challenge stems from an inability to operationalize the key concepts during a crisis. It can be helpful to establish frameworks that can serve as “mental cues” to organize, guide, and prompt action. This article examines one such framework.
On 25-26 January 2016, many first responder radio systems across North America reported faults. The U.S. government received similar reports from cellular networks and digital broadcast companies around the world. A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight safety system called ADS-B was also out of service for several hours. Some systems failed, some services were degraded, others just alarmed. All required human intervention and caused concern for the better part of a day.
Animal populations will be uniquely impacted by the increasing, changing, and compounding disasters attributed to the rapidly advancing effects of climate change. Companion animals will face displacement, livestock will suffer from physiological stressors, and wildlife may face localized extinctions. Animals from all sectors may experience increased instances of negative health outcomes such as infectious diseases. Emergency and disaster planners must take steps to proactively assess the impact of climate changes on animals within their communities as they work to improve their climate resilience.
The United States abolished slavery nearly 150 years ago. However, human exploitation through sex and forced labor remains a growing human rights violation and national security issue. Human trafficking is not prejudicial to nationality, age, gender, or socioeconomic status and is closer to home than most would like to consider. The exploitation and violation of human rights knows no boundaries and requires preparedness and response efforts from every country, every state, and every city.
Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS/drones) offer great value for public safety, with support and guidance needed at the local, state, and national levels when considering such systems. UAS offer a profound new view and situational awareness of significant incidents, events, and disasters. This article describes the value of UAS and provides guidance for jurisdictions considering implementing UAS programs.
Counterinsurgency and emergency management are two seemingly unrelated concepts, yet they have a lot in common in terms of the strategies necessary to succeed. In each case, empowerment is the ultimate key to success. For counterinsurgency, it is about empowering the host country and, for emergency management, it is about empowering local jurisdictions. Although empowerment is the central theme, the strategies to achieve empowerment include diplomacy, relationship building, and trust.
If there were a prolonged nationwide, multi-week or multi-month power failure, neither the federal government nor any state, local, tribal, or territorial government – acting alone or in concert – would be able to execute an effective response. This bleak outlook results from understanding that so many critical infrastructures depend on electricity. As such, effective recovery cannot be expected through top-down assistance alone. Without electric power, the goods and services essential to protect life and property would be at risk by day three or perhaps longer depending on preparedness levels. Consequently, it is vital that citizens, households, communities, businesses, and governments be as informed and prepared as possible.
The recent developments concerning the nerve agent attack in the United Kingdom and their alleged country of origin, Russia, have raised fears in the international community. The ease of the attack raises concerns about terrorists utilizing similar methods. This raises questions about the likelihood of a similar attack against the West.
The increased reliance on emergency text alerts to receive warnings of natural or manmade disasters is a capability that most people have come to expect. Listening to broadcast radio warnings of severe weather happening miles away has transformed into more precise, geo-located alerts that target specific locations. The benefits of this technology are profound and should lead to people taking action when an alert comes in because they know that the threat is timely and accurate to their locations. New technologies could save many lives during future disasters.