Emergency management is a dynamic field filled with numerous personalities managing ever-changing environments. Some emergency managers handle disastrous events on a yearly basis compared with others who go their entire careers without facing a single disaster. They maneuver unique political landscapes, manage robust emergency management offices, or work in offices of one. In any setting, one of the critical tools found within the emergency manager’s toolbox is maintaining situational awareness.
During a crisis, leaders must be able to adapt and operate in an uncertain environment. In doing so, leaders are required to make more consequential and challenging decisions with less information and less time to decide. They also have fewer options to consider and likely garner more scrutiny for their actions. This examination of key case studies provides current leaders with lessons learned from effective and ineffective leadership decisions in the past.
Conventional acts of terrorism will likely never fade away, and advancements in technology will continually raise concerns for governments and global security practitioners. The increasing threat and possibility of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive (CBRNE) use is evolving. Terrorist groups are actively seeking materials and the expertise to manufacture and utilize those materials in future operations. One of the frontiers in terrorism today involves a developing technology known as “gene drives.”
Throughout history, animals and pets have held varying degrees of importance to the people who care for them. They have been worshipped, raised for food, served as co-workers on farms, or just loved as companions. Regardless of their “worth,” when something disrupts the ability to care for those animals, outside help is needed. The outside help currently needed is limited when it comes to rescuing, caring for, and sheltering pets because it has not been fully integrated into emergency management’s planning activities.
In 2017, the Secure Schools Alliance (the Alliance) began a unique relationship with the DomPrep Journal. The goal was to raise awareness of the need to improve K-12 school security within the emergency preparedness community. This special reprint edition is a compilation of this effort, beginning with the macro argument of why school security needs to be improved and concluding with a call to recognize that schools are a critical part of the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, which has been ignored for way too long.
The U.S. electric grid, which was designed more than 100 years ago, consists of control systems and field equipment. The grid was originally designed with large central station generation – for example, coal, oil, nuclear, natural gas, hydro – with transmission and distribution substations to deliver electricity to the end customer. As central station power plants are being supplanted by renewable generation from sources such as solar and wind, control systems are becoming more complex and increasingly vulnerable to cyberthreats, especially as the control system networks are connected to the internet.
According to the National Weather Service, there were 107 fatalities across the United States related to heat in 2017 – more than the deaths related to tornados, hurricanes, and cold weather combined. Local emergency management agencies must work closely with the National Weather Service – as well as other agencies and organizations – to monitor extreme heat and related threats that can affect local communities.
Terrorist attacks and mass shootings have changed the threat landscape. In the old-world paradigm, planes were the target and metallic objects were the key concern. In the new-world paradigm, anything can be a target. Thus, the security response needs to shift from reactive to proactive. Artificial intelligence (AI) is the key to moving from a reactive to proactive security response. Three specific applications of AI in the physical security field enable organizations to prevent attacks, not just react to them.
The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting a near-normal 2018 Atlantic hurricane season: the formation of 10-16 named storms, with 5-9 becoming hurricanes (1-4 of these potentially becoming major hurricanes). For the past 10 years, the New York City (NYC) Emergency Management Department has been educating children in NYC schools through the Ready New York Kids Program. Each presentation focuses on three key messages: make a plan, get supplies, and prepare a Go Bag.
New York City has various disaster preparedness teams that are specially equipped to manage many types of threats. One such team involves canines trained to perform search and rescue tasks. Canines have helped save lives at critical times following disasters such as 9/11, when finding survivors among rubble and debris is especially challenging. A Dutch Shepherd named Diesel is one responder who currently works with New York City Police Department to prepare for the next disaster.