In the fire service, it is time for leaders to think strategically, challenge long-held assumptions, and move beyond the "norm," to ensure that their communities are fully prepared for any emergency or incident they may encounter. This can be achieved through careful planning, effective communication, and extensive training.
The United States has built a solid foundation for emergency preparedness, which is based on the whole community concept of bringing together all levels of government, the private and nonprofit sectors, and the public. By working together and building strong leaders, the nation can withstand the many natural and human-caused incidents that may occur.
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.
by National Emergency Management Executive Academy Cohort III -
Many emergency management agencies provide valuable information to assist individuals within their communities to prepare for a variety of disasters. However, a method for measuring the success of such programs is needed to determine their effectiveness and to develop new programs to ensure community resilience.
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.