Welcome to “Disaster Discourse Monthly,” Hagerty Consulting, Inc’s e-newsletter that seeks to share updates on innovations, advancements in technology, and groundbreaking practices in emergency management. In this issue, we discuss FEMA’s 2017 hurricane season AAR, active threat mitigation, and this summer’s sweltering heat. We at Hagerty hope you learn something that can help you and your community become more resilient to whatever this summer brings. As always, we’ll only send this newsletter once a month, but if that’s still one more email than you’d like to receive, just click here to unsubscribe. Enjoy this issue (and any of our past issues), and we’ll see you next month.
If you haven’t read FEMA’s 2017 Hurricane Season After-Action Report, it’s a sobering look at our nation’s federal disaster response. From disorganization to a lack of supplies, FEMA details how unprepared they were for a hurricane season that has exceeded the requested assistance of the previous four major hurricanes combined. However, more than just an indictment of past failures, this report looks towards the future of FEMA at how they can improve and better support and empower local and state emergency managers to mitigate against the impact of future hurricanes.
Organizations, such as the Police Foundation, which recently founded the Center for Mass Violence Response Studies, are doing everything they can to prevent the next active threat event. Some schools are preparing for response, such as the Columbiana, OH, schools that plan on installing “Threat Extinguishers” this fall, while others are trying to mitigate against potentially at-risk students. But what if these schools, in their quest to protect students and teachers, actually create the problem? The Oregonian details one family’s struggle with student threat assessments.
A Breath of Fresh Leadership
What if the City Councils of the future are run by teens? In Maryland, a group of teens run the Takoma Park Youth Council, discussing everything from composting to policing to teen voting rights. While the majority of the group can’t vote, they’re bringing attention to issues that affect them and sharing their perspective, not unlike recent student activists after the Parkland shooting. Similarly, FEMA has recently selected a new class for their Youth Preparedness Council, who will be integral in helping to shape, as Administrator Brock Long emphasizes, “a true culture of preparedness.” In addition, the New York City Transit Authority has a new boss with big ideas: Andy Byford, an Englishman who has made his way up the ranks from his first gig as a station foreman on the London Underground. From delays to accessibility issues to politics, Byford has a lot to navigate, but coming from success with the public transit system in Toronto, he seems to have the enthusiasm and passion to make some important changes.
Things Are Heating Up
In South Asia, projected temperature increases could pose new threats for those exposed to direct sunlight for more than six hours. Meanwhile, in Santa Barbara County and other southern California communities, July has brought temperatures in the 100s and wildfires that have destroyed two dozen homes. Though temperatures may be rising and wildfires are bigger than ever, there’s still some hope; according to the Verge, 84 percent of accidental fires in the US are caused by humans, and as wildfire expert Mike Flannigan says, “Every human-caused fire is preventable.”
Netflix and Climate Change
Recently, climate change has been linked to the extinction of mason bees in Arizona and an increase in power outages in Pittsburgh. Similarly, as early as 2030, rising seas could sink more than 4,000 miles of fiber optic cable along the US, including in cities such as New York, Seattle, and Miami – and residents’ Internet connections could drown with them. Luckily, companies like Verizon, are taking mitigative actions, such as switching over to flood-resistant cables and elevating their power stations, to ensure you can continue to binge Netflix uninterrupted into the mid-century.