Preparedness & Recovery

Emergency Management’s Top 13 Stories of 2013

2013 will be remembered for numerous natural and man-made disasters, from the Boston Marathon bombings to devastating tornadoes and wildfires.

by News Staff / December 23, 2013
Photo courtesy of Flickr CC/hahatango Photo courtesy of Flickr CC/hahatango

For the past eight years, Emergency Management has worked to cover a wide range of issues, while seeking to highlight best practices, lessons learned and topics important to those working in the profession. 2013 will be remembered for numerous natural and man-made disasters, from the Boston Marathon bombings to devastating tornadoes and wildfires. Here is a look at the most popular articles from the year.

Sandy Created a Black Hole of Communication
Communication is a fundamental of emergency management and yet an inherent struggle during disasters. Superstorm Sandy was no exception as complaints about a lack of information were common. This came from communities in pockets of the East Coast where information was desperately needed but scarce.

Attack at the Boston Marathon and the Value of Emergency Planning
More than a terrorist incident, this attack was one of many mass casualty incidents that have occurred this year. Today’s special event contingency planning requires emergency planners to work extensively with local, state and federal emergency professionals to plan for mass causality contingencies.

Are Emergency Management Graduates Finding Jobs?
Emergency management degree programs have been popping up at universities throughout the U.S. over the last decade. But are the degrees actually helping students get jobs? The answer is still unclear, but signs point to academic expertise having a more significant impact in the emergency management workplace moving forward.

Sandy Marked a Shift for Social Media Use in Disasters
Social media today is not about the tools, but the technology and behavior — virtual collaboration, information sharing and grass-roots engagement — that transforms monologues into dialogues. Social media empowers individuals, providing them a platform from which to share opinions, experiences and information from anywhere at any time.

Elected Officials are Rarely Educated About Emergencies
The response of elected officials makes a difference in disasters. When they’re strong and competent, they can lead recoveries and inspire devastated, discouraged and displaced people to struggle on and begin recovering. When they fail, response is hindered, recovery delayed, and the pain of a disaster is prolonged even further.

Twitter Launches an Alert System for Emergencies
Twitter’s new feature will allow users to get emergency information directly from vetted, credible organizations. The system, called Twitter Alerts, will deliver tweets marked as an alert by approved organizations through the traditional timeline feed and via SMS to a user’s cellphone.

Is Emergency Management a Profession? (Opinion)

It is evidently believed by the appointing authorities that emergency management is not a profession. There is no significant body of knowledge to be understood and exercised in the performance of one’s duties as an emergency manager.

Emergency Sing Off: Preparedness Song Makes the Message Stick
Emergency managers in Virginia are getting vocal — by turning popular songs into catchy messages about what to include in an emergency kit and other useful information.

Can Google Glass Help First Responders?
Robocop may not be real, but his efficiency is something worth aspiring to. Through the use of Google Glass, communications vendor Mutualink may soon give public safety and military personnel a chance to capture some of the half-robot, half-man’s technological capabilities.

Scale, Velocity, Ambiguity: What's Different About a Type 1 Event
Hurricane Sandy illustrated three key distinguishing aspects of a Type 1 disaster: scope and scale, velocity and ambiguity of information.

Using Social Media to Enhance Situational Awareness
As these active uses of social media come into their own, newer passive uses are evolving. Rather than shout, government agencies listen: They harvest the chatter, sifting for relevant mentions that might help them to better respond to crises and emergencies.

Beyond Debriefing: How to Address Responders’ Emotional Health
The emergency management community has taken some steps to address the emotional needs of those who rush to a disaster scene. But experts say there’s much more that could (and should) be done.

Mobile App Tracks Emergency Volunteers
Community emergency response teams have a new mobile app at their disposal to help track the locations of fellow volunteers and key points of interest during a deployment.