Insight By American Military University

Emergency management professional leveraging technology

The rapid pace of technological change and the deployment of sophisticated computer-based tools that have grown out of it, clearly, have revolutionized almost aspect of everyday life including emergencies. They’ve improved first responders abilities to prevent, respond to and mitigate potential disasters.

Allison G.S. Knox, Emergency Medical Technician and Instructor at the Emergency Management and Fire Science Department at the American Military University said, during an interview on the Federal News Radio program Academic Insights: Emergency Management, social media has led the way.

When it comes to potential weather related disasters like hurricanes, floods etc., Knox said, “Emergency managers have done a fantastic job putting out notifications through Facebook and other outlets like Twitter and it’s been fantastic letting people know what’s coming and what they need to do to actually prepare.”

Additionally, according to Knox, “there have been other outlets like the American Military University’s great Disaster Crew Twitter page where individuals learn about what’s happening from people like me that are following these different storms and really follow what’s happening with emergency management from policy standpoints.”

Recovery and response operations also benefit significantly from social media, particularly after disasters, letting people know when they return to their homes, she said.

Knox, a member of the board of Trustees for Pi Gammu Mu, and a leader of the chapter at AMU, has four Masters’ degrees from American Military University. She is also working on a doctorate in emergency management at Jacksonville State University .

She says it’s a hub of sophisticated learning and teaching, but not just for AMU students.

“We have the EDM Digest blog, with a lot different faculty writing about issues coming up. It also helps educate the general public too, on issues coming up with hurricanes and another types of disaster,” Knox said.

Two top issues currently, according to Knox are:

  1. “Recruitment and retention response for agencies in rural communities. Patients in those areas may not receive the care that they need in that emergency scenario they are dealing with.
  2. Dealing with active shooters: The public safety world essentially is trying to figure out how to prevent them from happening, and then of course when they do happen, how to better manage mass casualty incidents with so many patients.”

Teaching students how to integrate the many new powerful, communications, productivity and creativity applications available to the emergency services field into practical applications, is a key objective for AMU.

Knox said their students are well prepared for the challenge.

“The beautiful thing at the American military University is that we have so many students that are already in public safety or they have backgrounds in the military.”

Many of them already have a good understanding of how to respond to different types of incidents.

“What we do at the American Military University is add in the different social dimensions to help them understand how to mitigate these different problems and really understand these different problems in the social science aspect,” Knox said.

The Path to Emergency Management as a Career

How do you go about fighting a fire? What are the different pieces for fighting a fire? Fires can be pretty complicated, based on what they are constructed of. Fire science looks at how you are going to fight that fire. There's also the pieces of how do you stop that fire before it even starts.

Social Media and Emergency Management

Where different emergencies are concerned particularly where we know what's going to be happening -where hurricanes are coming up the coast and could possibly hit a particular area, social media has been fantastic and notifying the general public about these different issues that are coming up.

Public Policy Issues in Emergency Management

Recruitment and retention response for agencies in rural communities -patients in those areas may not receive the care that they need in that emergency scenario they are dealing with.

Listen to the full show: