The "things that keep me up at night" are much more numerous and remarkably different than emergency management 15 years ago. There is no time to rest. The nature of emergencies has changed, complicated by the fact that new threats of intentional incidents using chemical, biological, and other weapons must be considered in addition to accidental or natural incidents.
National policy and practice tend to focus efforts and resources on disaster response and recovery, rather than on disaster risk reduction. Understanding disaster risks and incentivizing sustainable risk reduction efforts could help reduce overall disaster costs and even save lives.
The Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD) is the oldest, continuously operating health department in the country - founded in 1793 to respond to a local yellow fever outbreak. BCHD is committed to the idea that health is critical to a community's ability to thrive and thus deserves to be incorporated in decision making in almost every sector.
For more than a century, the U.S. electrical power grid has dramatically improved the health, safety, and economic productivity of hundreds of millions of people. Although this grid stands as an ingenious accomplishment, experts fear that, as the 21st century progresses, the grid's ability to meet evolving U.S. energy needs may falter without dramatic modernization.
Among the many important, yet weak, satellite signals that can be disrupted by space weather, the Global Positioning System (GPS) is undoubtedly the most important and the weakest. Two recent public discussions have highlighted the challenges this poses for the national electrical grid, both today and going forward.
Today's disasters are more frequent and more complex than ever before. Although governments at all levels have risen to the occasion by training personnel and securing equipment and resources, there will always be a lack of manpower. This gap has been addressed using volunteers, who - despite having the best of intentions to help those in need - often lack the requisite knowledge, skills, and abilities.
The nation's critical infrastructure - loosely defined as the fundamental facilities, structures, and systems necessary for the basic functioning of daily life - is comprised of diverse components controlled and managed by a mixture of private sector and government organizations with varying levels of responsibility. Understanding the interconnectedness between sectors is key.
With a rich history of coordinated water supply planning, the National Capital Region has been conducting regional workshops and creating new study results to enhance its ability to address the region's water needs during a crisis. The resulting information will spur further discussion and assessment of drinking water system alternatives for the region.
When the decision was made to cancel classes on Monday, 16 November 2015, the week before the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday break, Public Safety Director Gerald (Jerry) Roderick drew upon his many years of experience and planning on how to deal with a possible threat to Washington College campus in Chestertown, Maryland.
Providing information to the public in times of crisis is so critical to disaster operations that it is included as one of the five major components of the National Incident Management System. Mass media is one of many tools available to help public information officers disseminate essential information and convey risks to the public before, during, and after a disaster.