New COVID-19 Subvariants Emerge While Monkeypox Cases Grow, What Can You Do to Be Prepared?

With over 6,900 cases of monkeypox across 51 countries, and the emergence of new COVID-19 Omicron subvariants BA4 and BA5, we must continue to maintain heightened public health mitigation and preparedness measures through the coming summer months. 

COVID-19 cases in the United States (US) are at their highest levels since April and the increase comes as Americans have gathered for Independence Day celebrations amidst the emergence of the more transmissible, and potentially more serious, Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants. A preliminary study from the University of Tokyo shows that the new variants may have evolved to cause more serious infection of lung cells than previous Omicron variants which resulted in mostly mild cold-like symptoms. This may be the reason why countries with widespread BA4 and BA5 outbreaks, such as the United Kingdom (UK), Belgium, France, Germany, Portugal,and Israel, all with largely vaccinated populations and strong public health data tracking, are seeing sharp increases in hospitalizations. In addition to rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations from new emerging variants, monkeypox cases have tripled in the last two weeks.

What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in monkeys being used for research. While the origin of the virus remains unknown, it was given its name due to it first appearing in monkeys. The current 2022 monkeypox outbreak is the first time in 64 years since discovery that we have seen community spread from human to human on such a large scale outside the continent of Africa. 

Monkeypox presents with normal viral symptoms such as fever, malaise, headache, and weakness. This is followed by swelling of lymph nodes, rash, and the presentation of lesions. The illness typically lasts between two and four weeks and can be potentially fatal. Thus far, community spread of the virus appears to occur when another person comes in close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets, and/or contaminated materials, such as bedding from an infected person. There are limited quantities available of vaccines used to eradicate smallpox that appear effective against monkeypox; however, the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC) is not yet recommending widespread vaccination but rather a more heightened focus on educating communities on how monkeypox is contracted and steps to be taken to prevent further human to human transmission if monkeypox is in your community. These steps include avoiding the following with individuals with monkeypox: 

  • Avoid close, skin to skin contact.
  • Do not kiss, hug, or have sexual contact.
  • Do not share eating utensils or cups.
  • Do not handle or touch bedding, towels, or clothing of a sick person. 

While cases of monkeypox continue to rise, most public health experts believe it will not be as widespread as the COVID-19 pandemic as it does not appear to be as transmissible at this time.

What Can Communities Do to Stay Safe?

Whether it is monkeypox, new variants of COVID-19, or any future emerging infectious disease, the mitigation and preparedness measures with widespread viruses circulating in a community remain the same. Proven measures include: 

  • Masking. Wearing a well fitted N95 or KN95 mask when in an indoor crowded setting not only will continue to protect against COVID-19 but other respiratory viruses such as cold and flu.
  • Increase ventilation indoors. While outdoors is always better than indoors, creating air exchanges indoors to move any viral particles out of the air goes a long way. Open windows or doors to allow for fresh air to circulate inside the space. In spaces without windows, consider investing in an air purification system. There are many systems available, and you should look for one that creates air movement while utilizing high level HEPA filtration to clean the air. 
  • Wash your hands often. Frequent hand washing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19, monkeypox, and other viruses. Throughout the day, we all touch many common surfaces and then scratch our faces, eyes, or rub our noses without realizing. Viral particles spread from common surfaces to our hands. Hand washing or use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer when you cannot wash your hands must be done for 20 seconds to kill viruses. In addition, when washing your hands, it is important to clean all surfaces including palms, under nails, between fingers, the back of your hands, and even up to your wrists. Remember to wash your hands before you prepare food and eat, after using the bathroom, and after touching any common surfaces. 
  • Get Vaccinated. Three doses of a MRNA vaccine continue to show strong results keeping people out of hospitals and with only mild disease if they contract COVID-19. We must continue to develop our vaccines to better defend against emerging COVID-19 variants.
  • Isolate. When we get sick with any illness, we should isolate ourselves from others.

Communities should have strategies in place for: 

  • Community education: Outreach and education should focus on helping people make the best-informed decisions to protect their health and the health of their loved ones. This means putting out prevention strategies for avoiding viruses and disease as well as real time data on level of risks in one’s community.
  • Efficient testing capacity with minimal turnaround time: Lessons learned from early 2020 when COVID-19 first emerged taught us the importance of testing availability, capacity, and rapid results turnaround in being able to quickly identify individuals with COVID-19 and isolate them from others. Last week, the White House announced that commercial labs in communities can begin testing for monkeypox. This significantly expands testing capacity as up until last week, clinicians performing monkeypox testing had to send samples to a CDC laboratory which slowed results processing times. Communities should continue to promote the importance of testing for COVID-19 or monkeypox if one thinks they were potentially exposed to help stop the spread of further viruses. Continued federal funding will be needed for states to maintain testing capacity. 
  • Increase vaccination capacity: Plan now for administering new vaccines that may better neutralize emerging COVID-19 strains. We may not need to fully stand-up mass vaccination sites, but we will need to expand capacity come late summer, early fall when a new vaccine is scheduled to arrive. As it relates to vaccination for monkeypox, the US continues to order hundreds of thousands of vaccines but is not yet recommending widespread administration. This could change quickly and communities should plan now if mass administration of vaccines are recommended. 
  • Increased treatment capacity: Over the last year, the US has been a few weeks behind Western European countries, like the UK, when it comes to mirroring COVID-19 trends and surges. If this continues to be the case, we must be prepared now for a rise in hospitalizations week over week and maintain healthcare capacity to care for potentially more severe disease from the BA4 and BA5 Omicron subvariants.

Emerging infectious diseases such as COVID-19 and monkeypox will continue to be with us for the foreseeable future. The faster we can adapt to basic virus mitigation measures being a part of our lives the faster we can drive down illnesses, help save lives, and keep our vulnerable populations protected. 


Jeff Bokseris Hagerty Consulting’s Vice President of Healthcare Programs with strategic expertise in all aspects of healthcare operations, finance, crisis management, and recovery. Jeff has over 20 years of experience as a senior leader at NewYork-Presbyterian and Yale New Haven Health and served as Incident Commander guiding 40,000+ employees through numerous internal and external emergency response and recovery operations.

Supply Chain Resilience: an Urgent Priority

The cascading impact of disruptions to international supply chains has emerged as a key threat to the nation’s resilience, undercutting the maintenance and repair schedules of critical infrastructure sites and limiting access to affordable healthy foods and consumer goods.

Though the public at large generally understands the problem as one of delay and inconvenience, producers and supply chain experts are acknowledging that these problems are worsening and could soon lead to outages, breakdowns, and increased resource insecurity.

In efforts to address this, state and local leaders should gain awareness of the evolving supply chain situation and develop mitigation plans. This solution is not easy; however, emergency management has a key role to play in the ongoing communication among stakeholders to increase visibility and the development of cross-sector strategy aimed at supporting the private sector and prioritizing corrective measures.

In Rochester, Minnesota, power utility operators recently reported that the lead time on securing a fiber-optic cable has gone from four months to more than a year. Earlier this year, the United States (US) Department of Commerce (DOC) released a report warning that the semiconductor supply chain was in a “fragile” state with manufacturing fabrication plants operating at more than 90 percent capacity given the high-demand for computer chips for a number of products – from your cell phone to your car, to critical medical devices. To solve these issues, private sector leadership is also critical – the supply chain is almost entirely composed of private sector relationships that are invisible to other sectors. 

Inflation of materials for critical infrastructure has forced several states to reassess road and bridge repairs for 2022. For example, the Michigan Department of Transportation regularly plans for a four percent inflation in its budgets, but is now charting a six to seven percent increase above the original budget. Additionally, a number of pressures on food markets – from geo-political crises to the COVID-19 pandemic – have also continued to increase prices and lower access. 

Understanding the 21st Century Supply Chain

A supply chain is the network of production and enterprise that unify to create a product and deliver it for sale to the end user. The chain can include a truck driver who transports a product across state lines. Increasingly, it has included online distribution agents who may rely on multiple delivery agents like Amazon.

Based on our experience, once disorganization sets in – the compounded impact of missed delivery and production dates – products can sit in a warehouse due to a delivery backlog, and because no single actor is working to mitigate the impact of the disruption, prioritization is market-driven and can take time, causing gaps in service. In efforts to confront this challenge, the US House of Representatives passed The America Competes Act, providing over $100 billion to strengthen domestic supply chains. 

However, at this time, it is unclear how comprehensive federal action will be and it will likely take time to have a meaningful impact on immediate circumstances.

Supply Chain Resilience at Regional and Local Levels

Even though addressing supply chain issues takes time, there are things regional and local leaders can do to help strengthen their supply chain mitigation efforts. Here are three ways local and regional leaders can build solutions and prepare to make the best use of any new incoming resources.

1. Leverage regional/multi-jurisdiction organizations to develop supply chain resilience work teams or work groups that include both private sector leaders and non-governmental organizations. 

Regional planning, governance, and coordinating institutions were designed to confront complex, cross sector challenges and have established many of the key relationships necessary to gain situational awareness. Developing a cross-sector supply chain work group to better understand your region’s unique challenges is a strong first step.

The Centralina Council of Governments, an organization of more than 70 municipalities located in the Central Piedmont of North Carolina, partnered with the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC) to analyze which industries are connected to one another through supply and distribution.Partnering with a regional Council of Government to approach the problem of situational awareness could be a key strategy to gain research capacity, convening power, and regional understanding.. 

This approach can also synergize efforts to identify and secure resources. For example, the recently restarted Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Grant Program (RCPGP) is a federal grant program to close known capability gaps and support local actors in developing solutions.

2. Identify key infrastructure owners/operators and proactively support dynamic private sector continuity planning for all elements of production.

Regional trade organizations, industry groups, and private sector stakeholders can show leadership by proactively mapping their supply chains and identifying key pressure points. This does not have to be a novel effort, but built on the existing capability of partner organizations to ensure they are able to continue their essential services and have an avenue to create awareness of actual or potential disruption. Private sector actors can collaborate to develop data dashboards that chart shortages of key resources, changes in suppliers, increasing demand, and anticipated downstream impacts.

Increased situational awareness and an active forum for information exchange and advocacy allows a more coordinated community-level response. Supply chain experts are exploring how public-private partnerships could be developed to support and finance these measures, even while acknowledging the risks of introducing top-down approaches.

Based on our experience working through similar challenges with our clients, there are limitations of approaching this task solely as an exercise in documenting corporate relationships and business practices. One of these limitations is that relationships must be understood in the context of shock (disasters and unanticipated events) and community stress (the challenges experienced by communities due to specific characteristics and local economies). 

3. Create regional, cross-state compacts for the sharing of key and critical goods and services, supported by government coordination and communication.

Developing policies that promote resource sharing and resource re-routing could extend the viability of existing products and maximize current resource levels. We assert that government can play an important role in communicating to the public to prevent and limit hoarding and over-buying. Typically, disaster responders have worked with state and federal government officials to shift resources after a shock and to restore the functionality of the private sector. Prep-planning and policy support for these maneuvers would increase efficiency. 

In this non-traditional disaster environment, we need to best understand how the government can best support and restore conventional systems to meet community needs.


Mitigating disruptions begins with building relationships, gaining strategic awareness and collaborating across sectors.Global supply chains have been disrupted now for more than two years and, given continued geopolitical impacts, there is seemingly no end in sight. Leaders at every level – even those whose portfolio does not traditionally include commerce – will need to quickly plan and prepare for these impacts.

Harrison Newton is a Senior Managing Associate at Hagerty Consulting. Prior to joining Hagerty, he spent nearly a decade in public service with Washington, DC. During his tenure with DC, he was responsible for establishing the District’s first Resilience Office, where he ultimately served as the Deputy Chief Resilience Officer responsible for promoting resiliency programs across various District departments and agencies. 

Tory Littlefield is a Managing Associate within the Preparedness Division at Hagerty Consulting. Prior to joining Hagerty, Mrs. Littlefield spent seven years as an emergency management planner in Vermont with a regional planning commission. 

Individual Impacts of the Cyber Threat

Throughout Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we have explored key topics related to the dynamic, global cyber threats our nation faces today and how to manage the growing intersection between cyber and physical threat management. We have discussed how the cyber threat environment has evolved and become more sophisticated and increasingly impactful over time, exposing vulnerabilities in systems, platforms, and infrastructure. To conclude this month, we will be discussing how the cyber threat landscape has expanded and how it can impact individuals, families, and communities as well as private and public sector organizations.

As the scope of the cyber threat broadens, individuals are increasingly facing impacts from cyber incidents: Source


Cybersecurity has gained attention as a threat to infrastructure and systems in recent years, with several high-profile cyber attacks against major businesses, local governments, and federal agencies. The United States alone suffered an estimated 65,000 ransomware attacks in 2020. This onslaught of attacks has led private and public sector organizations to increase their system hardening measures and enhance cyber preparedness. However, as bad actors in the cyber field become more sophisticated, the scope of their attacks has expanded to include attacks with more direct impacts to everyday citizens and individuals, in addition to those against companies or governments.

Recent cyber incidents have shown the capacity of the cyber threat to create devastating consequences for individuals, both by targeting individuals directly, and by targeting systems critical to life safety and security. Following a recent ransomware attack on a hospital, a lawsuit alleges that the hospital’s failure to contain and report the incident adequately led to the death of a patient. In addition to attacks on hospitals, hackers have exploited medical technology vulnerabilities by using malware and ransomware to threaten data and systems connected directly to users’ medical devices (e.g., insulin pumps).

Impacts on individuals have also been seen in telecommunications, with cyber attacks limiting phone service in communities and in schools. The Wake County Public School System experienced a partial phone system outage following a cyber attack. The City of Walla Walla, Washington also experienced a disruption in phone service following a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack. The potential downstream impacts of telecommunications outages, such as limitations on contacting emergency or other essential services, are severe. 

Attacks on school networks have become increasingly common as well, with attackers targeting students’ data for identity theft. This challenge is often exacerbated by limited reporting requirements for schools, meaning that parents may not be aware if their student’s information was exploited. The potential for outages related to cyber attacks also poses a risk to educational systems, as classes and other educational resources are increasingly provided online as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.


As we experience an increase in the frequency and severity of cyber attacks targeting or impacting individuals, private and public sector organizations will need to reconsider the meaning of cybersecurity and cyber preparedness to include not only the protection of their services, but also the protection of individuals who rely on them. Hagerty can support the implementation of promising practices and emerging solutions that are protecting users from the evolving cyber threats. 

  • Cyber Assessments: Enhancing your application of promising practices and emerging solutions should begin with a cyber assessment that includes an inventory of what resides on your network and identifies the level of protection and preparedness currently established by the organization or individual. It is important to understand the different levels of security that home and work devices may have and the cyber hygiene best practices that can enhance your protection. While the value of impenetrable passwords is clear, two-factor identification continues to see amplified importance after incidents such the Colonial Pipeline attack. Hagerty applies a comprehensive approach towards cyber assessments, ensuring data collection efforts that involve stakeholders and a thorough review of relevant documentation.
  • Cyber Policies: Individuals and organizations should ensure that they have developed cyber policies that assert responsibilities and principles associated with cybersecurity. With the growing threat from ransomware, it is critical to maintain and regularly test offline backups of data, as this measure can help ensure continued access to data and eliminate the need to pay ransom in the first place. Strong cyber policies help to reinforce cultural values for cyber threat awareness and prevention as well as supporting the implementation of cyber preparedness and response plans.
  • Cyber Plans: Hagerty supports the development of cyber plans with distinct focus areas, whether that be preparedness or response. Individuals and organizations should ensure a collaborative approach to planning that brings staff representing emergency management, business continuity, information technology/operational technology (IT/OT), and executive leadership together to determine which other partners must be engaged to maintain a coordinated approach to implementing action throughout the jurisdiction. With the increasing number of individuals who are also made victims by cyber attacks, the practice of planning is not restricted to organizations, and when a similar framework is followed, individuals can significantly increase their protection.
  • Cyber Training and Exercises: With cyber threats targeting individuals through increasingly frequent and sophisticated spear phishing attempts and individual vulnerabilities being exploited to target and disrupt organizations, the value of cybersecurity training and exercises is greater than ever. Hagerty has supported clients in building upon previous preparedness efforts to enhance organizational capabilities for cyber preparedness and response. Both bottom-up and top-down approaches offer value to building readiness against cyber threats. For instance, top-down efforts that focus on organizational leadership offer a unique opportunity for leadership to demonstrate that cyber is a strategic priority.


In addition to these promising practices and emerging solutions, contributing to a culture of cyber threat readiness is a key way to engage stakeholders and make progress toward reducing the impacts of cyber threats on individuals. Communicating the value and impact of cyber hygiene and other preparedness measures plays a critical role in establishing education and investments related to cybersecurity as a priority. 

Hagerty’s solution to cyber program management utilizes the Cyber Nexus Approach, which integrates existing practices and cultural values with the latest practices that build readiness against cyber threats. Whether your organization’s executive leadership is seeking support with building this culture, or you are seeking assistance with leveraging improvements in the maturity of your culture’s regard for cybersecurity, Hagerty is ready to help you strengthen your posture and reduce the impacts of cyber threats on your organization and those who rely on it.

Erin Bajema is Hagerty’s cyber sector co-lead and an emergency management professional with experience supporting several areas of emergency preparedness as an analyst, planner, evaluator, and instructional systems designer. Ms. Bajema has served on projects in a diverse range of subjects, including disaster recovery planning, housing, continuity of operations, hazard mitigation, active threat, evacuation, damage assessment, and cybersecurity.

Austin Barlow is Hagerty’s cyber sector co-lead as well as a planning, training, and exercise project manager with a background that includes disaster fieldwork, employment in support of all levels of government, and formal training and education in the development and implementation of emergency management policy. Mr. Barlow has led and supported national-scale projects, programs, and technologies, with a focus on strengthening whole community partnerships, addressing vulnerabilities, and building critical capabilities.

KNP Complex Fire Grows Closer to Sequoia National Park, Prompting Closers, Evacuations

The 2021 incident overview for California to date has included 7,377 incidents, with fires that have burned more than 2.24 million acres and destroyed 3,285 structures. The country has remained at Preparedness Level 5 for 63 straight days, with the National Interagency Fire Center reporting 78 large fires and complexes actively burning across the country as of Wednesday. The fires have already burned 3.17 million acres with over 19,000 wildland firefighting personnel across federal, state, Tribal, and local agencies — including the United States [US] Army, National Guard, and their Canadian counterparts — working to contain fires across the country. 

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park Service: Instagram

The KNP Complex Fire, composed of the Paradise and Colony fires, has grown to 8,940 acres as of Wednesday, with a blaze that is approximately one mile from Sequoia National Park in Tulare County, California, home to the Giant Forest and 275-foot General Sherman tree (also referred to as the largest tree on Earth), according to the Los Angeles Times. The National Park Service has closed the park due to the threat, with Fire Information Officer Mark Ruggiero stating in a news conference that there was no “imminent” threat to the forest, “but that is a potential,” according to The Washington Post. InciWeb reported the fire was ignited by lightning on September 9 before growing significantly on Tuesday and merging with the Paradise and Colony fires. The fire is currently zero-percent contained; having more than quintupled in size from Monday to Tuesday afternoon, prompting the Tulare County Sheriff to issue a mandatory evacuation order for part of Three Rivers in California, while the rest of the community is under evacuation warning.

Other active fires include the Dixie Fire in the California counties of Butte, Tehama, Plumas, Lassen, and Shasta. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) reported the blaze has already burned 960,470 acres and is 86-percent contained, while the Caldor Fire in the counties of El Dorado, Alpine, and Amador has spread across 219,267 acres and is only 71-percent contained. 

Issy Bailey: Unsplash

The KNP Complex, alongside other fires in and around California, grew significantly on Tuesday night and continues to create unsafe air conditions due to heavy smoke and particulate matter (PM) in the air, according to the Sequoia and Kings National Parks Service. Air Quality Now’s Real Time Air Quality Index (AQI) reports that the Sequoia National Park’s Ash Mountain is currently experiencing a PM AQI of 649, which is extremely hazardous for residents. Typically, the AQI does not exceed 500, with AQI 500 being the most dangerous air quality conditions. Sierra News Online reported that all residents, regardless of health, should move to filtered, air-conditioned environments with closed windows. Additionally, individuals with existing respiratory conditions or vulnerable populations, such as young children and the elderly, are encouraged to remain indoors and monitor pollution levels if they absolutely must exit the home. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District manages AQI sensors and provides recommendations regionally based on fire and smoke dangers, and encourages impacted areas to sign up to receive hourly air quality information through the Real-Time Air Advisory Network (RAAN)

Interactive Map of Air Quality: AirNow

President Joe Biden visited California earlier this week to discuss fire mitigation strategies with California Governor Gavin Newsom as the Caldor Fire and KNP complex threatened communities across the state. In response to the growing frequency and intensity of fire events, Governor Newsom announced that CAL FIRE will direct roughly $138 million to local fire prevention projects across the state. Grants will allow local organizations to take action to reduce fire risk under the Governor’s Wildlife and Forest Resilience Action Plan and the State’s Strategic Fire Plan. In accordance with those plans, the California 2020-21 budget advanced $1.5 billion in wildfire resiliency programming that increased on-site fire personnel and built on forest stewardship approaches in the state. As the state builds capacity for reducing and responding to major fires, residents are encouraged to make plans in case of evacuation or destruction in the meantime. 

Protect Yourself and Your Community: US Fire Administration

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urges individuals to plan ahead for wildfire events that can strike a community on short notice and spread quickly. FEMA encourages individuals to stay on top of the latest alerts in their area, including monitoring of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric (NOAA) National Weather Services (NWS) “Red Flag Warnings,” which indicate when critical fire weather conditions are occuring or will occur shortly; and taking advantage of real-time alerts available via the FEMA Mobile App and other local and national communication systems. It is also critical that households dedicate time together well in advance of a wildfire to create a wildfire action plan; inclusive of emergency meeting locations and evacuation routes, a communication plan, and an emergency supply kit, according to CAL FIRE. FEMA implores individuals to heed the warnings of local authorities and immediately adhere to evacuation orders in order to stay safe during a wildfire.

The Hagerty Blog Team will continue providing information and updates on current events and disasters impacting the nation. Visit Disaster Discourse for the latest information.


  • Remember,  provides information on how to prepare for Wildfire and how to keep you and your family safe.
  • FEMA America’s PrepareAthon: How to Prepare for a Wildfire
  • The Los Angeles Times regularly updated tracking of California Wildfires: California Wildfires Map
  • The National Fire Protection Association provides wildfire preparedness tips: link
  • Marin County provides a wildfire evacuation checklist: link
  • FEMA provides an information video about how to be prepared for wildfires: link

Keep track of Hagerty’s incident coverage here:


Search and Rescue for Champlain Towers South Condominium Continue, with Assistance from Local, Federal Sources

At 1:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on Thursday, June 24, the Champlain Towers South condominium, a 12-story building located in Surfside, Florida, partially collapsed with a section of units detaching and falling. Emergency crews were onsite within minutes and continue to actively search and rescue, utilizing dogs and technology to assist in identifying missing persons. As of 9:00 a.m. on Friday, June 25, the city confirmed 120 individuals have now been accounted for; however, search and rescue continue to look for 159 unaccounted for individuals. According to the BBC, Paraguayan officials declared relatives of Silvana López Moreira, the first lady of Paraguay, were among those missing. Among those accounted for, 37 were drawn directly from the rubble, and 11 of those individuals are currently hospitalized. Additionally, there are four confirmed deaths, resulting from the collapse. Surfside Vice Mayor Tina Paul told The Washington Post the condominium had just passed a roof inspection on Wednesday.

Twitter: Miami-Dade Fire Rescue 

The County has issued evacuation notices for the surrounding buildings to minimize risk of future injuries at the site. Following the incident, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava issued a local State of Emergency, with support from President Biden, immediately deploying resources for housing assistance and recovery efforts. The following day, June 25, federal assistance to supplement state and local response was authorized in a Disaster Declaration by President Joe Biden. This declaration gives the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) authority to “identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.”

Mayor Levine Cava noted that Miami-Dade Fire Rescue leads efforts on the scene, with over 80 Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department units currently supporting the response and recovery efforts, with assistance from municipal fire departments. Miami-Dade Police Director Freddy Ramirez said rescue groups “have the dogs, have the equipment coming, and they’re going to work through the night.” ABC-affiliated WPLG Local 10 reported groups of 10 to 12 from the Urban Search and Rescue Teams are hunting for any air pockets to locate trapped individuals. However, local news reports that rescue operations are hindered as debris from the structure continues to fall.

Twitter: Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava

In emergency situations, Hagerty encourages individuals to follow the guidance of state and local authorities. The Mayor’s office is closely coordinating with Miami-Dade County Police and Fire Rescue, as well as partnering with the American Red Cross and local civil service agencies to assist with injuries and displaced family members. 


  • Missing persons hotline: 305-614-1819 
  • Free bilingual emotional support services: 833-848-1762 
  • Family Assistance Center at Surfside Recreation Center 9301 Collins Ave for people who cannot locate family members who live in the building
  • Miami-Dade Fire Rescue encouraging anyone who lives at the collapsed condo (8777 Collins Ave) to complete this Wellness Check Form to ensure all tenants are accounted for

Above Average Hurricane Season Expected, While Wildfires Could Pose Significant Challenges in the West

On Thursday, May 20, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Hurricane Center (NHC) released its initial 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook, marking the second consecutive season to begin amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. While this year likely won’t surpass the record-breaking 2020 season that resulted in 30 named storms, the most in recorded history, scientists have indicated another above-average season is brewing; citing a combination of warmer sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, weaker Atlantic trade winds, and an enhanced West African monsoon. 

In terms of activity, NOAA predicted a total of six to 10 hurricanes, with a potential for three to five storms reaching a major Category 3 or higher. Earlier this week, NOAA also released their predictions for the Central Pacific, pointing to a below-normal season with two to five named tropical cyclones expected through November.

News & Features: NOAA

If the past two years have taught us anything in emergency management, it’s that the days of focusing on a single incident response are over. Weather-related events are increasing in frequency and strength, the Nation’s critical infrastructure is in a dire state, and the need to address cascading impacts is becoming more and more prominent. 

Last year, the disaster workforce assembled to address new challenges associated with hurricane and wildfire season during a pandemic ‒ most notably the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) declaration of “Evacuation & Sheltering Assistance under an Emergency Declaration in a COVID-19 Environment,” and addressing disaster fatigue and burnout amongst the emergency management workforce and public. While there is hope on the horizon, emergency managers, elected officials, and the public must now be prepared to address the threat of natural disasters while ensuring vaccination efforts continue to move forward. 

Amplifying the dual threat of hurricane season and COVID-19, this year’s recent La Niña period has presented warmer, drier-than-normal conditions throughout the West and Southwest United States (US), leading to severe drought, dry vegetation, and below-average snowpack across many states and across the different regions. According to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) and the National Interagency Fire Center, four Southwest states experienced their driest April-to-March period in over a century. All of these signs point to significant wildfire potential throughout these regions in the coming months.

Although the Atlantic hurricane season does not officially begin until June 1, tropical depression, flooding, and wildfire activity has already begun in the Southern and Western regions of the US.

Hurricanes and Tropical Storms

The first tropical storm of 2021, Tropical Storm Andres, developed in the Pacific in early May. The US NHC routinely starts naming storms on June 10, but Pacific storms sometimes emerge on or before the official start of the Pacific hurricane season on May 15. This is the third time in the last five years that a tropical storm has emerged before the official start of the season. 

Despite the early start this year, NOAA predicted the Central Pacific region will experience near- or below-normal activity in 2021. The season will be followed by NOAA’s newly upgraded Global Forecast System (GFS), which uses updated weather models to advance understanding of hurricane genesis forecasting and heavy rainfall.

Tropical Storm Andres forming in the Pacific: Earth Observatory

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA’s) Aqua Satellite acquired a natural-color image of Tropical Storm Andres in the early afternoon of May 9. For most of the day and stretching into May 10, the storm sustained winds of 40 miles per hour (mph), with gusts reaching up to 50 mph. The storm weakened by the afternoon of May 10, retreating west-northwest from the edge of Baja, California. 


Given the ongoing drought throughout much of the Western US, wildfire activity has already started to accelerate. According to incident information released by the Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACFD), the Palisades Fire started impacting Los Angeles County on Friday, May 14. At present, the Palisades Fire is currently 72 percent contained and is expected to be fully contained by May 26. To date, the fire has burned roughly 1,158 acres of the Palisades region. The LACFD said the current focus is containment, with firefighters on the scene noting the fire could potentially spread into vegetation that hasn’t burned in over 60 years. At present, there are no reports of civilian injuries or fatalities, and no damaged or destroyed structures. 

Public Fire Information Website: National Interagency Wildfire Center


In addition to the US facing risks from hurricanes, tropical storms, and wildfires, the NOAA National Weather Service (NWS) has reported major and moderate flooding throughout coastal Louisiana and Texas since May 17. Heavy rains are forecast to continue through the evening of May 21, with 2 to 3 inches of rainfall expected.

Nazrin B-va: Unsplash 

The NWS issued a Flash Flood Watch for Louisiana and Southeast Texas through Friday evening. The NWS New Orleans extended their Flash Flood Warning for the Louisiana parishes of Southern Ascension, Northeastern Assumption, Southeastern Iberville, Southwest Livingston, and St. James until Friday evening, indicating that flooding is ongoing. Additionally, overnight, the NHC announced a 40 percent chance of development within the next five days for a tropical disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico ‒ potentially bringing more rain to the already saturated Gulf Coast region.

NWS New Orleans : Twitter

Are you prepared?

Many of the challenges we faced during last year’s hurricane and wildfire season will remain prominent throughout 2021, but there are activities the whole community can undertake to prepare for this season. So, as citizens and public servants what can you do to play your part?



  • Plan your evacuation route;
  • Visit to make a plan for a variety of disasters, including hurricanes, flooding, and wildfires;
  • Review your insurance policies and gather insurance documents to determine if you’re covered under region-specific emergencies, such as flooding or hurricanes;
  • Take an inventory of your personal property;
  • Keep non-perishable emergency supplies on hand; and
  • Take steps to protect your home or business.

Hagerty Can Help

As the emergency management workforce and the Nation as a whole are continuously confronted with billion-dollar weather and climate events and cascading impacts of other unforeseen crises, we must continue to adapt and prepare for multiple hazards, using the recent lessons learned to improve our dual and multi response capabilities. Not sure where to start? Whether it’s related to preparedness, response, recovery, or mitigation, Hagerty Consulting is able to provide expertise and tailored solutions for your community or organization’s needs before, during, and after disasters. 

Caleb Smith is a managing associate with Hagerty’s Washington, D.C. office, where he supports various workforce development initiatives for FEMA. Prior to joining Hagerty, Caleb served in roles with FEMA both as a consultant and public servant where he focused on National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) outreach, and supported individual assistance and stakeholder engagement in response to hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Florence. He is also a new member of Hagerty’s Situational Status (SitStat) Team.

OUR PEOPLE: Veterans Day – Honoring Hagerty’s Heroes

Each year on November 11, the Nation pauses to honor those who serve and have served in the United States (US) Armed Forces. Veterans Day is a time to thank them for the sacrifices they have made on our country’s behalf. Here at Hagerty, we are proud to work alongside veterans who lend their talent and energy to the ever-important task of helping our clients prepare for, respond to, recover from, and mitigate against disasters.

This year, a few of our veteran service team members paused to reflect on their personal experience in the military and how it prepared them for a career in emergency management.

Meet Hagerty’s Heroes

Rich Carney | Army

What did you learn about yourself by serving in the military?

Teamwork, compassion, humility, and innovation. The military provided the opportunity to have and honor brilliant mentors, who demonstrated the importance of taking care of others. Additionally, the importance of passing along these attributes has been inspiring and instrumental in my career.

How did your military career prepare you for a career in emergency management?

The US Army has taught me the significance of planning, the value of innovation, and the importance of flexibility. These essential tenets translate well into emergency management. The ability to “plan your work and work your plan” and swiftly respond with the changing environment are critical to the safety and security our nation’s citizens and infrastructure.

Travis Biggar | Air Force

What did you learn about yourself by serving in the military?

Integrity and sacrifice. I like structure and order of things. I would do anything for my comrades – you make lifelong friendships, no matter where you came from.

How did your military career prepare you for a career in emergency management?

In the military, I learned to be flexible. Throughout my career, I’ve been put in positions from being a manager/ supervisor to working in broad areas of financial management; I’ve processed the vouchers, forecasted multi-million dollar programs, managed execution of those programs, and briefed at the highest levels of the Pentagon. Be it strategic or tactical, in emergency management, you must be willing to adapt and work in any post needed to fulfill the mission – my military career certainly prepared me for that.

Dustin Zabokrtsky | Marine Corps

What did you learn about yourself by serving in the military?

Discipline, confidence, and the ability to achieve goals and overcome adversity.

How did your military career prepare you for a career in emergency management?

Working long hours in stressful environments, flexibility in uncertainty, achieving the mission, learning, and adapting to incorporating best practices.

Patrick Van Horne | Marine Corps

What did you learn about yourself by serving in the military?

During my time in the military, I learned that I am drawn to helping people prepare for the challenges that lie ahead. The future may be dynamic and constantly changing, but if you are surrounded by people who have committed themselves to being ready for anything that may happen, people are capable of doing some really remarkable things. Helping groups prepare and develop their abilities is something I really enjoy.

How did your military career prepare you for a career in emergency management?

My time in the Marines taught me about the need to make decisions even when perfect information is not available. Disasters, much like war, rarely provide a perfect and complete picture about the situation being faced, but if the lack of information prevents a decision from being made, it is hard to make any forward progress against your goals or objectives.

Walter Flores | Marine Corps

What did you learn about yourself by serving in the military?

I learned I valued an environment with control and structure. It showed me to have discipline in what I do and always strive to be the best at everything I do. My military experience enabled me to take those same values and skills and apply them throughout my career.

How did your military career prepare you for a career in emergency management?

Response mode is something we get used to in the Marine Corps, having to quickly mobilize and respond for deployments or missions; which has helped me prepare for EM/DR mobilizations. Also, in the military, we learn that having discipline and dedication is the key to success, and the same goes for recruiting for some of the positions we mobilize. It is essential to stay focused on the mission, by applying discipline and dedication to mission-critical functions such as sourcing and identifying the right candidates for our organization.

Today, we thank our colleagues, all those who have served, and their families for their bravery, courage, and service to our Nation.



Currently, Tropical Storm Eta is approximately 210 miles north-northeast of the western tip of Cuba, moving southwest at 14 miles per hour (mph). Eta made landfall in the Florida Keys yesterday, resulting in a number of power outages. Upon impact, more than 46,000 power outages were reported across Florida, with Miami-Dade and Broward County experiencing 14,896 and 9,512 outages, respectively. As of this afternoon, nearly 30,000 customers remain without power.

The storm is now moving in a southwesterwardly direction with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph. Heavy rainfall is anticipated for parts of Cuba, the Bahamas, and southern and central Florida. The Florida Keys, south and central Florida, and northwestern Bahamas are expected to continue facing gusty wind conditions throughout the day today — the NHC forecasting potential for tornadic activity over areas of south Florida and the Florida Keys. Additionally, the storm could produce an additional one to three inches of rain for the Bahamas, while parts of Cuba could experience an additional three to five inches of rain through Saturday.

Eta, decreasing in forward speed, has made an expected southwestward turn, moving back into the Gulf of Mexico for the next 24 to 36 hours. Over the next several days, a large mid-latitude trough across the Rocky Mountains is expected to migrate eastward and slowly erode, enabling Eta to switch direction and move northward to north-northeastward.

TS Eta Satellite Imagery: NOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS)

The NHC has projected that the storm will continue up the west Florida coast, traveling between 40 and 73 mph through Friday, November 13. Areas of central and southern Florida peninsula (including the Florida Keys) could face two to four extra inches of rain as well, with isolated maximum rainfall expected to be near 18 inches in South Florida.

TS Eta Advisory: Twitter

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the NHC provide guidance and awareness to those preparing for, experiencing, or who are affected by hurricanes and tropical storms. Eta could bring strong winds and rain surge to Florida’s southern coast, which is expected to create flash flooding. Twitter reminds individuals to start making a plan now and to get the most up-to-date information from local weather sources if you are in an area that could be affected by Eta.


Keep track of Hagerty’s coverage here:




To-date, the United States (US) has had 9.49 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the death toll across the country has reached 233,767. Currently, the US is leading countries across the world in active COVID-19 cases. Globally, the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reports that there are 48.25 million confirmed cases of COVID-19; with India ranked second in total confirmed cases (8.36 million) and Brazil ranked third with 5.59 million total confirmed cases.

On Wednesday, the US reported 100,000 new COVID-19 cases in a single day — the highest number of new cases recorded in a single day since the pandemic began. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) COVID Data Tracker, Illinois is leading the country in COVID-19 cases in the past seven days, with a total of 48,579 new cases. Additionally, 23 states have documented more active cases in the past week than in any other week-long period prior — with Nebraska, Maine, Indiana, Minnesota, and Colorado also setting single-day case records on Wednesday, November 4. 

As cases continue to climb, applications for unemployment benefits have reached a historic high. The US Department of Labor (DOL) reported 751,000 citizens applied for unemployment in the past week, adding that 21.5 million people in total were still receiving some type of unemployment assistance. 

Additionally, approximately 56 million school-aged children resumed education programs in August and September, with many schools opting for online-only or hybrid programming with some online components. The CDC reported 277,285 COVID-19 cases in children between March and September — adolescents ages 12 to 17 accounting for almost double the number of cases than those ages five to 11. 

Unsplash: Thomas de Luze

Across Europe, countries have taken different measures to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. France has entered a second national lockdown, while Germany and the Netherlands have implemented partial lockdowns. Italy has scheduled sweeping new measures such as organizing the country into red, orange, and green zones – with red zones indicating the greatest level of infection and requiring shop closures. In the United Kingdom (UK), holiday traditions are showing signs of change as businesses organize virtual holiday gatherings for their employees. Additionally, British actor, James Bartlett, developed a website where young children can hold a Zoom call with Santa Claus before Christmas. 

In India, Union Territory (UT) Director of Health Services Amandeep Kaur Kang spoke with The Tribune India and cautioned about Diwali celebrations which could lead to a second COVID-19 surge in the country. 

Unsplash: SJ Objio

As the pandemic enters its eighth month, pharmaceutical companies rush to develop a vaccine. AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer signed on to the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations’ COVID-19 Vaccine Maker Pledge in September. The pledge commits manufacturers to “high ethical and sound scientific principles,” as determined by regulatory agencies around the world. In mid-October, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) called for holds on vaccine trials at AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson due to “adverse reactions” and “unexplained illnesses,” respectively. As of October 27, clinical trials have resumed globally for both companies under guidance from the FDA.

US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS): Twitter

Hagerty Consulting’s Vice President of Healthcare and University Programs, Jeff Bokser, provided further guidance on COVID-19 preventative measures: 

“As COVID-19 cases continue to spike across the country, hospitals are overwhelmed trying to create capacity to care for patients. We all play a role in protecting our own health to reduce the spread of the virus and the strain on our healthcare system by consistently doing the following:

  • Wear a mask when physical distancing is not possible; 
  • Remain vigilant and keep physical distance from others; 
  • Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and face; and 
  • Avoid gatherings and stay outdoors as much as possible. 

We are all feeling what is being called “COVID-19 fatigue” but following these measures will help get the virus under control, keep you and your families safe, and allow our communities and healthcare system to return to a sense of normalcy.” 

Additionally, the CDC and have issued general guidance and best practices to limit the spread of germs and the virus. All households should utilize the following best practices to limit virus spread and transmission: 

  • Avoid contact with individuals who are sick or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19; 
  • Stay home when you are sick to protect others; 
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing; 
  • Wash your hands frequently and after leaving any public environment; 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth; and 
  • Practice other good health habits, including managing sleep, getting physical exercise, managing stress, drinking fluids, and eating nutritious foods. 

Stay healthy and well this winter with Hagerty’s easy-to-use health and wellness checklist:

The World Health Organization (WHO) has also issued COVID-19-specific guidance that is especially applicable to the upcoming holiday season. The following practices should be utilized when attending or hosting a small holiday or public gathering: Avoid the “3 Cs,” spaces that are closed, crowded, or involve close contact. 

The Hagerty Team will continue providing information and updates on current events and disasters impacting the nation. For more precautionary information and guidance, please visit the CDC or WHO website. 


 Keep track of Hagerty’s Incident coverage here:



October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM), and, throughout the month, we are highlighting Hagerty employees working to support our cybersecurity needs. During this fifth and last week of NSCAM we highlight Rob Denaburg, a Senior Managing Associate on Hagerty’s Preparedness Team and a Hagerty’s Cyber Team Member.

Briefly tell us about yourself – how did your career path lead you to Hagerty Consulting?

I came to DC after graduate school without a job lined up because I knew I wanted to be in the nation’s capital. From there, my career took me down a few different paths – counterterrorism, management consulting, cybersecurity, and, most recently, a focus on critical infrastructure security and disaster response. For nearly the past four years, I examined threats to critical infrastructure resilience and the challenges associated with responding to complex catastrophes to help clients develop and implement solutions to them.

While I learned an incredible amount, worked closely with an outstanding mentor, and developed a genuine passion for resilience-related work, I’d been doing so from a very high-level, policy-focused perspective. I recently decided that I wanted to work with organizations on the ground and directly assist clients implement the policies and procedures I had been previously recommending to further improve their disaster preparedness. I came to Hagerty at the end of September to do just that.

What is something every individual or business should know about cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity is a constant and all-inclusive effort. There is no such thing as securing a system or network and being done with it. Adversaries will keep looking for new tactics and techniques to penetrate your defenses. Organizations must stay vigilant and keep looking for novel ways to counter innovative offensive strategies. Even as network security improves, attackers are increasingly targeting product supply chains and individual employees to try to gain a foothold. So, everyone within an organization must do their part to keep ahead of the bad guys.

What do you find most meaningful about the work you do here at Hagerty?

For many natural and manmade hazards, the question is not “if” but “when” an organization or government agency will be affected. As a member of Hagerty’s preparedness team, I know that we’re putting our clients in a position to succeed at a time when their ability to mitigate impacts and respond to a crisis are the most essential. In many cases, our work will help them save lives and minimize other societal and economic impacts when disaster strikes.

Rob Denaburg is an experienced consultant with a concentration in critical infrastructure security and disaster response. Mr. Denaburg has worked with public and private sector clients to minimize the societal, economic, and national security impacts of catastrophic infrastructure outages. He has advised policymakers and industry leaders on how to build resilience against severe natural and manmade hazards, and navigate cross-sector interdependencies in sustaining and restoring lifeline services.