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.
On 2 January 2019, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission (MSDHSPSC) released its initial report. The commission report addressed many critical issues and lessons learned within its 15 chapters. The chapter on information sharing discussed the actual or perceived restrictions from privacy laws such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The discussion addressed several areas where there is significant confusion and dispute that continues until today, and directly impacts safety and security planning, preparedness, and collaboration.
At the end of the school day on 14 February 2018, a former student entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (MSDHS) in Parkland, Florida, and committed a mass murder on the campus that forever changed numerous lives and an entire community. During the attack, 17 students and staff were killed and another 17 were injured. Approximately 3,500 students and staff were not physically injured, but most definitely affected by the active shooter attack.
Emergency management is a complex, collaborative network of agencies, levels of government, nonprofit organizations, and volunteers coming together following a disaster. In addition to general plans and practices that can be applied to many emergency responses, some emergencies require more specialized training that may not be available in every jurisdiction. Swift water rescue teams are assets that may be needed now more than ever.
In today’s emergency service professions, it is essential to master the core knowledge necessary to understand the research and emerging technology that guide incident response. To become truly prepared to respond, each emergency professional must take the time to develop the knowledge to manage the threat and initiate response operations. Training and education are critical in helping a responder master the competencies needed for response efforts.
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.