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Growing Your Emergency Management Program

One example for what is being done.

I left the King County Office of Emergency Management 15 years ago — yikes!

Today I listened to a four hour webinar on summer hazards and readiness. Nothing we ever considered doing when I was there. It reminded me of a number of things.

Hazards are increasing

Back “in the day,” heat waves were not a concern. Wildfires in western Washington were not really on the “actively being considered list.” The 4th of July on a dry holiday period was what made fire chiefs sweat.

Impacts are increasing

People in drought and heat events are being put at risk. Both people with underlying conditions, but also healthy people who have to work under high heat conditions when they have not been acclimatized to those temperatures.

Wildfire smoke health impacts is another national concern since we’ve seen smoke from the West impacting places as far away as New York City.

There was a discussion about putting together playbooks and what they will accomplish. Personally, I’m still working to figure that all out. Watch for a future Disaster Zone podcast on that topic.

My other observation was that the baton has been passed to an entirely new generation of professional emergency managers who are going to lead programs for the next 20-30 and even 40 years.

While we will “never be ready,” it is a great example of progress being made and how you cannot rest on your laurels.

My congratulations to Brenden McCluskey and the entire King County Office of Emergency Management staff there who are moving the ball down the road!
Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.