Public-private collaboration in disaster preparedness and response is currently sub-optimal in its organization and operational performance. This may be due to the perception of government entities that all collaboration must be formal in nature. As a consequence, small, medium, and even large private organizations may be reluctant to become involved in preparedness planning. However, reality suggests that organizations without existing contracts or partnerships are willing to participate in response efforts. This tension effectively limits the ability to anticipate the contributions that will come from entities outside of formal partnerships. “Predictable surge” is a new framework through which public and private entities, particularly at the state and local levels, may better work together to build preparedness and foster community resilience.
Imagine this scenario. A tornado watch has been in effect for the past six hours. The severe thunderstorm warning expires as the squall line passes over the area, which escaped significant severe weather. Although the Storm Prediction Center shows the area has been downgraded from enhanced to marginal, the Day 4-8 prediction indicates a 15% chance of severe weather in the area on Wednesday – today is Friday. Here comes another one.
The U.S. government published two landmark emergency management policies in March 2019. The first was the update of the 2015/2016 Space Weather Strategy and Action Plan released from the Office of the President. DomPrep published an article on 15 June 2016 describing how the strategy and action plan affected disaster and emergency operations planning. Then, on 26 March 2019, the Federal Register published the Executive Order of the President 13865 (EO 13865), entitled “Coordinating National Resilience to Electromagnetic Pulses,” which outlines the threats to the national (and global), economic, as well as health and safety security.
Birmingham, United Kingdom – Over the past few years, the term “asymmetry” has been applied many times to the emerging threat landscape to first responders and military personnel around the world. Asymmetrical means that two sides do not match or are uneven. Intelligence SEC’s 2019 European CBRNE Summit recently held in Birmingham, United Kingdom, highlighted two of the largest and most prominent chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, high-yield explosive (CBRNE) incidents in the world: The 2018 Salisbury nerve agent attack and the 2017 Manchester concert arena bombing. Intelligence-SEC will be presenting the 2019 Asian CBRNE Summit to be held 3-5 December 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand.
Communities are facing a wide variety of shocks and stresses. Whether it is a natural disaster threat (hurricane, earthquake, flood, wildfire), socioeconomic stressor (homelessness, poverty), or loss of a major employer, communities are looking for strategies to protect their citizens, tax base, and infrastructure (including buildings) from disaster. New tools and benchmarks provide the basis for developing these strategies.
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act (MSDHSPSA) was approved by the Florida governor on 9 March 2018. The act implemented numerous new, and at times controversial, laws and requirements for schools, law enforcement, mental health officials, and others. Included in the law was the new requirement for schools to conduct active shooter drills as often as other emergency drills. Since fire drills are usually conducted once a month, the new requirement greatly expanded the number of active shooter (or code red) drills from approximately one to ten per school year in Florida schools.
Homeland security is a complex and ever-evolving challenge whose mitigation necessitates the actions and collaboration of personnel across all branches of government and the private sector. This enhanced complexity presents law enforcement, homeland safety, and security professionals with a myriad of challenges due to an environment overflowing with existential and hybrid threats, technological innovation, interconnectivity, and limited resources.
The anthrax attacks in October 2001 were a wakeup call nationwide of America’s weakness to respond to a widespread biological terrorist incident. Since that time, local, state, and federal agencies have worked together to improve public health readiness to mass dispense medical countermeasures (MCM) at points-of-dispensing (PODs). Providing bulk dispensing to non-public (or “closed”) PODs is one methodology employed to expedite the distribution of MCM to the private sector. However, exercising bulk dispensing in a realistic environment can present numerous challenges. Finding non-traditional partners, such as the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland, provides a cost-effective and simple solution to reducing the artificialities of a functional exercise.
Florence, the first major hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane early on the morning of 14 September 2018 at Wrightsville Beach in the vicinity of Wilmington, North Carolina, with wind gusts of up to 105 mph. As the forecasted path of Florence indicated direct impacts to North Carolina – and a declaration of emergency was issued 7 days before landfall – the animal agriculture industry and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) began implementing emergency plans before the rain began. The NCDA&CS hurricane response structure was based on lessons learned during response to foreign animal disease outbreaks in the United States over the past several years, and was fine-tuned from experiences with Hurricane Matthew just two years prior.
Perhaps one of the biggest myths in emergency management is that the public will panic during a crisis. Instead of panicking, the public often pulls together and even puts themselves in harm’s way to help each other. Furthermore, the public, not first responders, are often first on-site during an emergency. The emergency management community must embrace these realties and provide the public with the knowledge and training necessary to save lives and prevent human suffering.