With COVID-19 spreading, wildfires in the West, hurricanes pounding the Gulf and East Coasts, and civil disturbances across the Nation: disasters do not wait for a convenient time to happen. The current spate of emergencies and disasters has challenged emergency managers to juggle multiple threats simultaneously with strained resources. Response and recovery efforts have been underway for months. Staff are fatigued. Preparedness and resilience-enhancing efforts have nearly come to a complete halt.
Despite the current demands, emergency managers and responding organizations must wrestle with assessing where we are while establishing a “preparedness battle rhythm” that makes sense for this time and bolsters capacity for dealing not only with current disasters, but the others that are lying in wait.
Some actions we can take now:
- Make quick assessments of the lessons learned over the past 6 months and take swift actions to codify new-found best practices and implement improvements.
- Prioritize the wellness and care of staff. Many have been working long hours for an unprecedented number of operational periods, under stress, with little or no relief.
- Identify the gaps in existing plans as well as ways to improve training and exercise programs.
Some items we can move forward on with an eye to the future:
- Getting back into “battle rhythm” i.e., getting back on a regular cycle of updating plans, training, and exercises, recognizing that we are “all hazards” professionals who must be prepared to deal with today’s threats as well as tomorrow’s. The onset of COVID-19 forced many organizations to delay or cancel projects. Paused projects can be restarted. Delayed projects can be rescheduled.
- Making long term adjustments to programs based on our current experience. For example, many organizations have been operating virtual EOC’s on the fly. We can formalize the procedures developed and incorporate them into planning documents and exercise programs to ensure smooth transition to virtual operations if required in the future.
CONSTANT’s expert cadre of professionals is prepared to assist new and existing clients to perform mid-course assessments of COVID-19 response and to get back into “battle rhythm” in all areas of emergency preparedness.
To learn more about the services we can provide please contact Jason Ferguson at [email protected] or 424-320-2696.