Insight by American Military University

Disaster mitigation tactics are evolving

Whether it’s hurricanes on the east coast or wildfires and earthquakes out west, emergency disaster mitigation (EDM) tactics and strategies in the U.S. are being put to the test in a variety of ways.

“Every part of the country, regionally, has a disaster ‘du jour’, so to speak, where they have greater threats than others”, said Dr. Chris Reynolds, Dean and Vice President of Academic Outreach and Program Development at American Military University, on the Academic Insights show “Preparing for Disaster”.

Whether natural or man-made, he said, today’s disasters require well planned responses driven by up to date information, that’s shared with all stakeholders.

But with each new day comes a new challenge for EDM professionals.

“There’s always room for improvement no matter what. That’s a concept I think that has put us where we are in terms of our preparedness levels now. Mitigation is ongoing. It never stops,” Reynolds said.

The rapid pace of global change, which includes the proliferation of technology, has created new cyber threats that cut across almost every sector of human activity and by extension, emergency response.

“Everything’s tied into cyber. The entire emergency disaster management community relies on cyber, relies on computer infrastructure, and relies on networks,” said Reynolds.

But he added social media, a true by-product of today’s fast-paced high-tech culture has produced a key disaster mitigation tool.

It’s called the “Masters of Disaster” which is a collaborative group made up of more than 3,000 members, from all strata of experience, from high level officials at FEMA, and within the disaster management world, to brand new students. They all   share in disaster mitigation responses -often during real time events.

Central to responding to any disaster, Reynolds suggested, is knowing how to respond to each unique situation.

“One is only as good as one’s education, particularly in a field as diverse as disaster management. One of the things that separates American Military University in our emergency management program is that we have what we call faculty practitioners”, said Reynolds.

Faculty practitioners are individuals who have what he called, “the boots on the ground experience who’s managed to go on to get the education whether it be at the bachelors, or the master’s or doctoral level, and they bring that (experience) to the classroom.”

Emergency Disaster Management and Career Development

To say that there is a specific need in anyone area is really difficult to do because mitigation is a commitment -safer communities, critical infrastructure protection. It's probably our cyber infrastructure our electrical grids those are all high value areas. I hate to say high value targets, but they are.

The Role of Education in Disaster Response

You've got the student who's got 10, 15, 20 years of experience doing emergency disaster management. They need check the box saying that they've got the higher education. They bring that real world experience to the classroom. Also, you've got faculty with the experience, you've got students with the experience and then you have students that maybe have no experience. The learning cannot help but to occur.

Social Media and First Responders

It’s part of the intelligence gathering. In any disaster you, you have the response element and under NIMS –the national incident management system, where you've got an incident commander, you have operations planner, logistics and finance. You have different roles people play in a disaster. Part of that role is gathering intelligence -collaborating with other agencies. Social media is a big part of that.

 

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