Disaster response involves the whole community. To support a united effort, leaders must build a network of trust, establish a history and habit of cooperation, and learn the goals and vulnerabilities of stakeholders. By asking a few key questions, leaders can expand the sphere of their preparedness, response, and recovery efforts.
The whole community concept has come a long way over the past five years, but it is time for the mission focus and community outreach to change with the changing needs of the target populations. To effectively make these changes, the effort will require establishing measurable benchmarks and creatively collaborating with the private sector.
Animal issues are people issues. As such, all species household pets, service and assistance animals, agricultural animals/livestock, wildlife, and other animals (including zoo animals, shelter animals, and animals used in medical research) - must be an integral part of a community's disaster plan at the local, state, and federal levels.
Managing spontaneous volunteers following a disaster can be challenging, but may prove beneficial for a community's response and recovery efforts. A new project is being conducted throughout 2016 to create an outreach and education strategy for harnessing this valuable resource.
Over the years, communities developed a dependence on the federal government for assistance following a disaster. However, such actions are not sustainable and require the support of partners throughout each community. In the modern threat environment, the need for a whole community approach is more important than ever.
The smallest members of a community have the potential to make the biggest changes. Smokey Bear was created in the 1940s to help prevent forest fires. "Duck and Cover" was created in 1951 to teach personal protection in case of a nuclear explosion. The 2010s need a new campaign to help families prepare for a broad range of potential disasters.
Emergency response, information technology, and healthcare communications are three scenarios in which notification systems play a critical role. Recent disasters have demonstrated the benefits of crowdsourcing during response efforts, so notification systems are leveraging this responsiveness through two-way communication technology that can both disseminate and receive information.
In the first week of December 2015, professionals involved in epidemic preparedness at the national level participated in a forum convened by graduate students from Emerging Leaders in Science and Society (ELISS), a leadership development program hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), in Washington, D.C.
Recent advances in genetics, genomics, and biotechnology could have devastating implications for bioweapons and genetically engineered diseases. As such, these developments raise the question of whether it makes sense to pull attention away from "classic" biothreat targets, in favor of more technologically advanced options. Immediacy and ease of use may be determining factors.
Despite ongoing political controversy about climate change, one leading organization released a position statement that supports scientific research on weather extremes, which are some of the visible indicators of a changing climate. Changes in weather and habitats need to be addressed to mitigate the potential negative consequences to health and critical resources.