Challenges in Emergency Management in the Year Ahead
2021 is done. However, we’re still counting the damage from climate events last year. So far, the toll has been staggering, setting up keen challenges in emergency management in the year ahead.
Extreme weather to complicate emergency management
Well, last year was a year of weather extremes. Reuters reported that hundreds died in storms and heatwaves.
Last February, for instance, severe winter weather killed over 100 in the state of Texas, while East Africa suffered from locust plagues that destroyed important crops and grazing grounds.
By June, heatwaves smashed records in the Pacific Northwest, which set the stage for wildfires in the following months.
In China, torrential rains caused catastrophic flooding, killing hundreds and displacing scores.
Nor did weather patterns improve. The latter part of the year saw prolonged drought in South America and intense blazes in the Mediterranean.
Category four storm, Hurricane Ida hit the southern United States, causing more than $50 billion in damage.
Meanwhile, British Columbia in Canada experienced an autumnal rainstorm that’s likely to be the nation’s most expensive natural disaster.
COVID is here to stay
Going into this year, public safety and emergency managers should expect much of the same. Forecasters are predicting another tumultuous, costly year.
The Met Office in the UK, for instance, expects 2022 to continue a run of the world’s warmest years, even with the cooling effects of La Niña.
Add to that, the pandemic continues to play a role, as public health systems are ravaged by the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
Public safety agencies will again be asked to prepare for staffing interruptions certain to affect their critical event response.
Already, those agencies might be dealing with staffing shortages, due to earlier layoffs, staff attrition, or new facility layouts designed to keep fewer people in key facilities.
Undoubtedly, such changes have affected SOPs. What then can be done?
The role of critical event management in mitigating emergency management challenges this year
This is where critical event management comes in handy.
The cross-functional practice dedicated to managing an organisation’s preparation, response, and recovery from events that impact continuity, operations, and safety, critical event management intersects incident management, emergency response and communications, risk intelligence and management, as well as crisis management and business continuity.
The benefits of such an approach (over one siloed off in IT) are obvious. They include:
- Critical event management helps organisations to anticipate and respond to threats that cross neat departmental or organisational boundaries.
- Effective critical event management (specifically) enables effective, interdepartmental communication, giving leaders a dynamic, consolidated view of threats, automated functionality to assess and respond to those threats, as well as information capture capabilities for critical event reporting.
- Other benefits of critical event management include greater operational efficiency (from fewer system and process redundancies), reduced costs, and better situational awareness as well as response visibility.
Of course, the goal of effective critical event management is improving your ability to keep employees and publics safe. How to do it? Critical event management software mitigates the challenges to effective emergency management in this era of severe weather. How can the technology help? Download our introductory guide to critical event management to find out.