Human management

Develop your emergency management program

I left the King County Emergency Management Office 15 years ago—yuck!

Today I listened to a four hour webinar on the dangers and preparedness of summer. Nothing we ever considered doing when I was there. It reminded me of a number of things.

The dangers increase

Back “in the day”, heat waves were not a problem. The western Washington wildfires weren’t really on the “actively considered list.” July 4, a dry vacation period, made the fire chiefs sweat.

The impacts increase

People affected by episodes of drought and heat are put at risk. Both people with underlying illnesses, but also healthy people who have to work in high heat conditions when they have not been acclimatized to those temperatures.

The health impacts of wildfire smoke are another national concern as we have seen smoke from the West affect places as far away as New York.

There was a discussion about creating playbooks and what they will accomplish. Personally, I’m still working to figure it all out. Watch for a future Disaster Zone podcast on this topic.

My other observation was that the baton has been passed to a whole new generation of professional emergency managers who will be leading programs for the next 20 to 30 and even 40 years.

Although we’re “never ready”, it’s a great example of how much progress has been made and how you can’t rest on your laurels.

My congratulations to Brenden McCluskey and all the staff at the King County Emergency Management Office who keep the ball rolling!

Eric Holdman

Eric Holdeman is a contributing editor to Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Washington, Office of Emergency Management.

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