Elaine Pittman

Former Managing Editor


Elaine Pittman worked for Emergency Management from 2008 to 2017.

February 25, 2015

Crisis Tweets Study Identifies What to Expect During Emergencies

A new study examines tweets from various disasters, providing key information for emergency managers and their communications teams.

January 29, 2015

How Robots Are Changing Disaster Response and Recovery

The field of disaster robotics has been studied for the last two decades. Robin Murphy has been there from the start and explains where it’s headed and what you need to know.

October 24, 2014

Will General Education Courses Shape the Future of Emergency Management?

North Dakota State University’s general education course brings emergency management information to students across the campus, developing a better informed citizenry and workforce.

September 11, 2014

Playbook Aims to Speed Up Disaster Recovery

Built on best practices and lessons learned, the Disaster Recovery Playbook puts the St. Bernard Project’s model online for any community to use.

September 4, 2014

How Can Predictive Analytics Improve Disaster Response?

Adam Thiel, deputy secretary of public safety and homeland security for Virginia, talks opportunities and challenges.

July 29, 2014

White House Innovation Day Highlights Disaster Response, Recovery

Emergency managers converged with the tech community to discuss tools that can create more resilient communities.

July 18, 2014

Nearly Every State Is at Risk of a Damaging Earthquake, Report Says

The updated National Seismic Hazards Maps from the U.S. Geological Survey show the most current understanding of where future earthquakes will occur.

July 16, 2014

7 Factors for Effectively Adding Social Media Monitoring into Operations

A new DHS report addresses how social media platforms can and are being used for situational awareness.

June 24, 2014

6 Key Takeaways from Colorado’s Devastating Flooding

Researchers, academics and practitioners gathered at the Natural Hazards Research and Applications Workshop to discuss the current state of emergency management research.

April 16, 2014

The Story Behind #530slide: Social Media During Emergency Response

The recent mudslide in Oso, Wash., showed the power of social media during times of crisis.

March 11, 2014

Fukushima’s Effect on Nuclear Preparedness in the U.S.

Japan’s disaster provided a real-world example for emergency managers and the nuclear industry to compare their plans and procedures against.

March 10, 2014

Portland’s Preparedness Is Amplified by New Coordination Center

After years of running emergency operations out of a training classroom in the 911 building, city officials now have a stand-alone facility.

January 27, 2014

How Boulder, Colo., Prepared for ‘Biblical’ Rainfall

Torrential rain and flash flooding tested Boulder’s preparedness and mitigation initiatives, but lessons from previous disasters kept the community afloat.

January 16, 2014

Relationships Key to Boulder University’s Flood Response

The University of Colorado at Boulder relied on relationships and mitigation efforts during the flooding in September 2013.

December 10, 2013

Emergency Sing Off: Preparedness Song Makes the Message Stick

Virginia emergency managers embrace YouTube and turn a popular song into a catchy message about preparedness.

September 25, 2013

Twitter Launches an Alert System for Emergencies

Twitter Alerts aims to get information from vetted, credible organizations to the public during an emergency.

September 23, 2013

Emergency Kit Cook-Off: A Recipe for Preparedness

The Arizona Division of Emergency Management uses a culinary approach to get citizens thinking about preparedness.

August 30, 2013

CERT Members Amplify and Support Social Media Efforts

Anaheim, Calif., has prepared its Community Emergency Response Team volunteers to respond to questions on social media and use it to aid situational awareness.

August 29, 2013

Does the Future of Emergency Management Lie in a High School?

The Urban Assembly School for Emergency Management is preparing to educate its first-round students with curriculum rooted in emergency management skills.

August 19, 2013

3 Tips for Posting Emergency Information Online

Google’s Crisis Response product manager provides insight into the best ways to share emergency information online and how search engines can utilize it.

June 19, 2013

Full-Scale Exercise with the Cleveland Indians Tests IED Response

Cuyahoga County, Ohio, emergency managers share lessons learned from a simulated terrorist attack during a baseball game.

June 6, 2013

Canadian Volunteer Team Embraces ‘Second Tier Response’

The Ontario Volunteer Emergency Response Team has evolved from focusing on traditional search and rescue to supporting all functions of emergency response.

February 25, 2013

Humanitarian Organization Goes to the Cloud for Disaster-Resilient Communications

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies announces an agreement with Microsoft to connect employees and volunteers in 187 countries.

February 6, 2013

Behavior Profiling Redefines Security at the Mall of America

After 9/11, the Mall of America sought to increase its security but conventional approaches weren’t deemed the best method for the popular tourist attraction.

January 10, 2013

4 Online Tools for Tracking the Flu

The flu season is in full swing and real-time, Web-based information provides insight into the virus and national trends.

December 6, 2012

3 Emerging Technologies That Will Impact Emergency Management

New technologies could positively impact all phases of emergency management.

December 4, 2012

Indiana’s Disaster Response Task Forces Rethink Mutual Aid

The District Response Task Force program provided out-of-state aid during Sandy, and despite some glitches, the concept worked well.

November 14, 2012

Aerial Imagery Mission Provides Unique View of Sandy Damage

The Civil Air Patrol’s photos aid damage assessments and allow evacuees to check on their homes.

October 1, 2012

State-Run Certification Adds to the Field’s Professionalization

Certification programs move emergency management forward while offering education that could be invaluable during and after a disaster.

September 21, 2012

One Hospital’s Incredible Response to the Aurora, Colo., Shooting

Emergency Management presents the University of Colorado Hospital with the Disaster Humanitarian Preparedness Award for its outstanding response to the no-notice event.

September 10, 2012

Cybersecurity: The Most Active, Dynamic and Threatening Area of Risk

DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano calls cybersecurity an urgent concern and says that government alone cannot protect the U.S. from it.

August 28, 2012

U.S. Prepares for Hurricane Isaac’s Landfall

Officials emphasize that Hurricane Isaac’s category one rating should not be underestimated; heavy rains and possible tornadoes will impact the U.S.

August 28, 2012

How Indiana’s Task Forces Aid Emergency Response

Joe Wainscott and Indiana’s District Response Task Forces plan for a catastrophic event.

August 13, 2012

InfraGard Increases U.S. Security One Relationship at a Time

One of the largest volunteer organizations dedicated to critical infrastructure protection benefits industry and government but often flies under the radar.

August 9, 2012

Disaster Dialog: Tips for Working with the Media

Public information officers from state emergency management agencies share their advice for handling inquiries from the press.

July 17, 2012

5 Ways Emergency Managers Should Use YouTube

Posting videos online is an easy way to make information accessible and reach millions of people.

July 5, 2012

Map Visualizes a Century of Earthquakes

Visualizations of the locations of disasters illustrate risks and provide potential teaching aids.

June 25, 2012

Americans Are Indifferent Toward Disasters, Survey Says

People rate their level of preparedness as low and would verify an emergency alert before acting on it.

June 7, 2012

Dancing for Preparedness? Flash Mob Spreads the Message

Austin, Texas, employs popular culture to encourage the public to prepare for an emergency.

May 9, 2012

Internship Programs Develop the Next Generation of Emergency Managers

A look into three internship programs that provide hands-on experience to emergency management students.

May 2, 2012

Sustainable Practices Create Disaster Resiliency in Portland, Ore.

From cargo bikes to walkability scores, Portland’s green culture is preparing its residents for a disaster.

April 25, 2012

States’ Capability to Respond to Disasters Increases Despite Shrinking Budgets

National Emergency Management Association’s biennial survey also shows that budgets have decreased while the number of disasters has increased.

April 9, 2012

How Social Research Can Help Emergency Managers Plan

The director of the Natural Hazards Research Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Kathleen Tierney, shares information about her research on the social impacts of extreme events.

March 26, 2012

Space Weather: What Emergency Managers Need to Know

While extreme space weather is considered a low probability event, it could have catastrophic effects on the U.S. — and even the world.

March 13, 2012

The Long Road Ahead for the Nationwide Public Safety Network

Tom Ridge, the first DHS secretary, applauds the reallocation of the D Block but warns that the buildout of the network will be a long journey.

January 19, 2012

How Recovery Is Ingrained in Waffle House’s Culture

CEO shares why the restaurant chain seeks to be first to reopen following a disaster.

January 17, 2012

Work With Private Sector, Plan for the Worst, Says FEMA Administrator

The importance of public-private partnerships was highlighted at the International Disaster Conference and Expo in New Orleans.

January 16, 2012

Delay in Satellites Could Jeopardize Severe Weather Forecasts

A gap in satellites could leave emergency managers without severe weather information that they’ve come to rely on.

December 12, 2011

How NASA Is Using Aircraft to Fight Fire With Data

A partnership seeks to aid wildfire fighting with real-time information while operating from a next-generation emergency operations center.

November 30, 2011

Re-Entry Plans Aid Repopulation After Mass Evacuation

Lessons learned from repopulating Louisiana parishes after Katrina lead to the creation of comprehensive re-entry plans.

November 14, 2011

Remember: All Disasters Are Local, Says FEMA Deputy Administrator

FEMA launches virtual think tank to solicit ideas for improving emergency management and response.

November 9, 2011

New Doppler Weather Radar Enables Better Public Warnings

Grays Harbor County, Wash., goes from minimal storm data to up-to-date with new coastal Doppler weather radar.

November 3, 2011

Partnerships Are the Key to Emergency Management

John Fernandes of Los Angeles County says leveraging partnerships and understanding everyone’s capabilities will create resilient communities.

October 19, 2011

Are Zombies and Preparedness a Perfect Match?

Agencies are embracing the popularity of the undead to get people thinking about emergency preparedness.

October 3, 2011

How Emergency Management Is Changing (For the Better)

Some of the pre-eminent women in emergency management share how they got into the field and how it’s evolved since the civil defense days.

September 21, 2011

Georgia App Uses Geo-Location to Deliver Emergency-Related Information

Ready Georgia app provides a place for people to store pertinent information and create emergency plans.

September 9, 2011

9/11 Made the Nation Realize Terrorism Is a Local Matter

Regional coordination and training at the local level has increased drastically in the last decade, says terrorism expert.

September 8, 2011

SUMMIT Platform to Streamline Disaster Exercise Development

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s toolkit combines data and simulation tools to simplify exercise creation.

August 30, 2011

FEMA Under Fire as Natural Disasters Pile Up

FEMA’s Disaster Recovery Fund has dipped below $1 billion, forcing the agency to divert funds from rebuilding areas affected by disaster, like Joplin, Mo.

August 29, 2011

Hurricane Irene Causes Funding Diversion, Flooding in its Wake

As eastern states begin disaster assessments and continue flood response, FEMA is forced to divert money from previous disasters to focus on the response to Irene.

July 27, 2011

Virtual City Pilot Creates a Common Operating Picture for Local Governments

St. Clair County, Mich., is testing the Regional Interoperability Collaboration Network to improve situational awareness.

July 5, 2011

FEMA’s Richard Serino Addresses Funding Decreases, Need for Collaboration

Communication is no longer the No. 1 problem during a disaster response, says FEMA deputy administrator.

June 28, 2011

How UASI Cities Can Save Their Funding and Programs

More than 30 Urban Areas Security Initiative cities and regions didn’t get funding for fiscal 2011, and the future looks even darker

June 15, 2011

Text Message Alerts Get Standardized with Free Public Health Tool Kit

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ prepared text messages deliver public health information to cell phones and save emergency managers time.

May 24, 2011

Las Vegas Fusion Center Is a Model for Public-Private Collaboration

What happens in Las Vegas is filtered through unique layers of security and vetted by the fusion center.

May 16, 2011

National Level Exercise Starts with Simulated Catastrophic Earthquake

Central states participate in the first national-level natural disaster exercise and seek to learn lessons while testing their capabilities.

May 12, 2011

White House’s Cyber-Security Bill Seeks to Provide a Framework for Industry, Government

Proposed cyber-security legislation will focus on protecting the nation’s citizens, its critical infrastructure and federal systems.

April 18, 2011

Kentucky Enlists Whole Community Approach for National Level Exercise 2011

National exercise and Great Central U.S. ShakeOut seek to further the nation’s preparedness for an earthquake.

April 11, 2011

How to Include Diverse, Vulnerable Populations in Emergency Preparedness

All-inclusive preparedness can be challenging for governments, but examples of resources and successful programs can help.

April 8, 2011

New National Preparedness Presidential Policy Focuses on Capabilities

The federal government seeks to move away from overly burdensome requirements with today’s release of Presidential Policy Directive 8: National Preparedness.

March 10, 2011

Reaching Younger Audiences Requires Creativity (Opinion)

Preparedness messages should be taught through means that children enjoy and find engaging — like video games.

March 2, 2011

Relationships with Local Emergency Managers Key for New State Directors

As governors select new emergency managers, establishing communication between the state and local emergency managers will be critical.

February 24, 2011

Hurricane-Proof Data Center Provides Continuity of Operations

Altamonte Springs, Fla.'s data center finds a permanent home in a decommissioned water tank.

February 9, 2011

Girl Scouts Work to be 'Prepared not Scared'

A partnership between the Girl Scouts of the USA and federal agencies seeks to help establish a culture of preparedness.

January 7, 2011

Government, Industry Converge to Discuss Information Sharing Issues

The IJIS Institute Winter Industry Briefing combines the public and private sectors to stress information sharing and increase the country’s security.

December 10, 2010

States Prepare Plans, Build Relationships for Unique National Exercise

2011 exercise will focus on a catastrophic earthquake, and the eight participating states are already working with partners to determine their roles and responsibilities.

November 23, 2010

Preparedness Video Game Seeks to Combine Fun, Learning for Illinois Students

Video game fills educational gap and adds another layer to Illinois’ efforts to teach the state’s youth about disaster preparedness.

November 17, 2010

Los Angeles County Prepares for a Nuclear Explosion

County officials respond to the mock detonation of a nuclear device and test a system that monitors for hazardous materials.

November 16, 2010

Letter Carriers Add Bioterror Response to the Postal Service

Letter carriers prepare to distribute medical countermeasures following a biological attack involving anthrax on a metropolitan area.

November 5, 2010

Student Disaster Science Association Combines Book Smarts, Real-World Training

Louisiana State University’s Disaster Science and Management Association claims to be the nation’s first student-led disaster education and training organization.

October 27, 2010

Raw Data Enables More Accurate Planning for Emergency Evacuations

NIST data can be fed into safety assessments and evacuation models to ensure that building evacuation routes are viable and effective.

October 12, 2010

San Francisco Fleet Week Promotes Preparedness to Agencies, the Community

The USS Makin Island, a new ship in the Navy’s fleet, showcases its humanitarian aid capabilities during the city’s event.

September 30, 2010

Simulator Aids CDC’s Preparedness by Replicating Medical Supplies Distribution

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Stockpile in Motion Across the Nation training program aids public health preparedness.

September 27, 2010

States’ Public Health Preparedness has Improved, but Better Tracking Measures are Needed

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report gives a state-by-state view of public health preparedness.

September 21, 2010

HAZMAT Software Trains Responders on Instruments, Risk Assessments, Responses

Dartmouth College’s Interactive Media Laboratory developed Ops-Plus for WMD Hazmat following 9/11 to help first responders in terrorism response.

September 14, 2010

L.A. Police Department's Hydra System Promotes Training for Command-Level Officers

Los Angeles launched the nation’s first Hydra system, which uses video feeds to monitor real-time decision-making during critical incident training.

September 9, 2010

Simulation-Based Training Provides Cost-Effectiveness, Flexibility

A virtual replica of New York City provides its Office of Emergency Management with a unique way to test its command element.

July 30, 2010

L.A. Nuclear Drill Tests Countywide HAZMAT System

Operation Golden Phoenix promotes collaboration and uses the ICBRNE program that monitors and reports critical information.

July 26, 2010

Stretcher-Mounted Telemedicine System Aids Critical Pediatric Care in Cincinnati

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center uses telemedicine to connect patients and doctors before hospital transfers.

July 19, 2010

Emergency Managers Warm to the Idea of Climate Change

Climate change is causing the traditionally response-based emergency management community to look to the future.

July 15, 2010

Pennsylvania Police Departments Connect Wirelessly to School District Camera Feeds to Aid Incident Response

Pennsylvania school districts give police direct access to their video camera feeds to aid situational awareness in case of emergency.

June 18, 2010

Simplifying the Message: Easing Citizens’ Process for Creating Preparedness Plans

Online tools and succinct messages provide straightforward ways to promote disaster preparedness.

June 4, 2010

Coastal Oregon City Proposes to Build the Nation’s First Tsunami-Resistant Building

Cannon Beach conceptualizes how to build a tsunami-resistant City Hall that would also provide a vertical evacuation site for citizens.

June 2, 2010

Are the Problems Associated With 911 Call-Taking a National Plight?

Since 911 call-takers and technology are the first line of response when citizens have an emergency, it’s surprising how standards vary throughout the nation.

May 27, 2010

A Spirit for Service: Creating a Lifelong Career in Emergency Management

Some people feel they are predestined to accomplish certain goals in life. Jacqueline McBride says it’s her calling to work with disasters and communities.

May 19, 2010

Explosions, Toxic Plumes Abound in San Francisco Bay Area Drill

Golden Guardian exercise brings Bay Area officials together to develop communication skills.

April 30, 2010

Bay Area UASI’s Governance Structure Aids Collaboration, Coordination in California

Following a ‘shotgun marriage’ in 2006, three California UASI districts joined together to protect one of the nation’s high-risk areas.

April 12, 2010

Earthquake Early Warning System Coming to California

Seismologists are creating an early warning system to alert Californians before an earthquake occurs.

April 2, 2010

High-Tech Training Vehicle Aids Public Health, Emergency Management Education

Penn State’s LionReach training vehicle uses futuristic mannequins and the latest technology to provide education and aid real-world response.

March 26, 2010

Understanding the Public Will Lead to Better Emergency Plans, Preparedness

Planning for how and why people react way to an emergency should be the basis for planning.

March 16, 2010

Our Border Social Networking Site Connects Public, Federal Government

Almost 900 people have joined the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Southwest border-focused social network.

March 4, 2010

Fusion Centers, Information Sharing Top State Homeland Security Priorities, Survey Says

The National Governors Association’s State Homeland Security Advisors Survey highlights priorities and issues.

February 22, 2010

Pacific Northwest Counties Collaborated to Create Critical Infrastructure Protection Plan

Critical infrastructure keeps communities and regions running — five counties in the Pacific Northwest collaborated to protect and prioritize their key resources.

January 28, 2010

Disasters 2.0 Conference Addresses Social Media Use

Kansas City, Kan.-area agencies convened to discuss best practices on how to use social media during disasters.

January 18, 2010

A Prepared Public Is the Best Way to Support First Responders, Group Says

Chasing4Life provides educational programs nationwide to encourage citizens to be personally prepared for emergencies and disasters.

January 5, 2010

Shake Tables Recreate Real-Life Earthquakes to Test Large-Scale Structures

The University of Nevada, Reno, created a new shake table that can better mimic an earthquake’s effects on large-scale structures, like bridges.

December 21, 2009

Federal Transportation ID Program Lacks Disaster Recovery Plan, Report Says

A power outage at a Transportation Worker Identification Credential processing facility may require up to 410,000 cards to be replaced.

December 15, 2009

States Scored on Health Emergency Preparedness Capabilities

Arkansas, Delaware and New York among top-ranking states; Montana has the lowest score, according to nonprofit’s report.

December 3, 2009

New York Testing Emergency Alerts Over Xbox, PlayStation, Wii Online Networks

The state’s free, subscription-based emergency alert system could expand to online gamers in 2010.

December 2, 2009

Lack of H1N1 Vaccines Causes Localities to Postpone Mass Vaccination Clinics

Old technology is blamed for the slow production of H1N1 vaccines.

November 23, 2009

No Levee Is Flood-Proof — and Other Critical Information to Tell Citizens

The American Society of Civil Engineers’ pamphlet outlines what citizens need to know to protect their homes from floods.

November 17, 2009

Hackers Unite in the Name of Disaster Preparedness

Random Hacks of Kindness attracts disaster relief experts and software engineers to innovate technology solutions.

June 30, 2009

Texas County Promotes Emergency Preparedness With Electronic Billboards

Jefferson County, Texas, counts down the days remaining in hurricane season and provides emergency preparedness information on electronic billboards.

May 13, 2009

Craig Fugate Confirmed as FEMA Administrator

Craig Fugate, who hails from state and local government, takes top post at FEMA.

May 7, 2009

New York City Streamlining 911 Call Taking Process

New York City's unified call taking program combines the police and fire 911 call taking and dispatch systems.