The increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters coupled with the reemergence of military threats from peer and near-peer adversaries overseas will greatly reduce the ability of emergency managers to meet the needs of disaster survivors. This will necessitate a paradigm shift in the primary role of emergency management from the delivery of resources to managing the scarcity of resources and making better use of them.
Many of the previous stories and after-action reviews conducted for the 2017 Las Vegas shootings have focused on organizers’ and public safety officials’ responses in the aftermath of the attack. In contrast, this article focuses on the events’ security strengths and weaknesses and then offers recommendations for other event planners and public safety officials to improve their plans for future events.
Acts of terrorism continue to affect communities worldwide. As the public tries to retain a semblance of everyday life by attending outdoor events, emergency planners must adapt to new intelligence and learn from past attacks. A review of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings identifies the event security plans’ strengths and shortcomings. Other event planners and public safety officials can use this review and recommendations to plan for large public gatherings within their jurisdictions.
The past 16 months have been challenging. COVID-19 left a trail of destruction and a tremendous loss of life. It has had an impact on almost every aspect of daily life. The economy, supply chains, social norms, schools, and places of worship were all affected. The pandemic also led to increased risk of financial fraud and cybercrime. The nation seems to be turning the corner on the pandemic, and people are gradually setting their sights on returning to a new normal way of life.
The COVID-19 pandemic put many projects on hold and stalled efforts to build the workforce and train the next generation. Now that agencies are revisiting pre-pandemic projects, the Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management in Virginia offers a best practices approach for introducing internship programs and filling critical operational and resource gaps.
Volunteer and community organizations active in disaster (VOADs/COADs) operate best by using their four C’s: cooperation, coordination, collaboration, and communication. Emergency managers can build or strengthen this whole community capability in their own jurisdictions through public-private partnerships (PPPs), by performing the four E’s – empower, endow, educate, and entrust.
For many years, large outdoor sporting events have requested government and nongovernment organization mobile command and communications trucks to support races. Although traditionally used by incident commanders, volunteer amateur radio groups have found various ways to collaborate during special events and use these resources in Minneapolis, Minnesota to support medical operations.
Domestic Preparedness published an article in 2016 discussing the uncertain impact of several biosecurity reports on national planning and preparedness for biosecurity and pandemic threats. The article focused on the consistent and repeated warnings of the consequences for failing to plan and prepare for a multitude of biosecurity threats. The identified inferior planning and preparedness concerns were as apparent and repetitive as the demonstrated lack of reaction to them in the past. The nation was vulnerable.
In February 2021, the Congressional Research Service released an evaluative nonpartisan report on the National Preparedness System (NPS). This report noted problems and difficulties experienced in 2020 during the Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic. For example, lack of personal protective equipment, disorganized logistical distribution, and other issues that demand attention. In essence, the report can be interpreted as revealing the NPS’s failure. The report’s summary states, “Congress may also consider mechanisms to strengthen the development of preparedness to ensure the National Preparedness Goal can be met.”
Emergency managers need actionable intelligence before, during, and after disasters. More than just situational awareness, the collection, analysis, and sharing of intelligence can provide an incident’s response and recovery command and general staff with much needed decision-making information.