Note: This article was written in collaboration with Kelly R McKinney, AVP, Emergency Management + Enterprise Resilience at NYU Langone Health in New York City and Mark Annas, Emergency Management Coordinator of Riverside California. Originally published in the Resilience Post.

“The thing we need to get people to understand is that when you’re dealing with an infectious disease outbreak…it’s the country that’s involved, so we need to respond as a nation, not in a fragmented way.” Dr. Anthony Fauci [1]

As President-elect Biden prepares to assume command of the ongoing pandemic response, we are calling for a long overdue upgrade…


COVID-19 WEA message sent to Harris County, TX residents on November 17, 2020.

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) have come along way. Established in 2008 by the Warning, Alert and Response Network Act, WEA became operational in 2012. It is a unique public-private partnership: the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency working with the wireless industry, on a voluntary basis, to provide actionable emergency information to the public.

The state of technology in 2012 left much room for improvement in keeping up with the latest capabilities we are now accustomed to on our mobile devices. I recently had the opportunity to chair a working group that brought together government, telecommunications…


The Second Half of 2020

The blinking red light

The alarm is sounding. We usually hear its screeching high pitched sound and it captures our attention. The blinking red light puts us on high alert. But that’s not the case right now. The alarm is now just a constant humming sound in the background. The warning is void of the alarm.

We are only months into a global pandemic and many of us are now accustomed to the alarm. Some of us are resigned to the chaos wreaked by the virus. We’re numb. We can’t imagine that things could actually…


Hosted by Tetra Tech

“It sounds like a daunting challenge but the one piece of advice I consistently give my colleagues across the country is to cover as much turf as you can. Identify what your priority areas are and focus on those.”

WATCH: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlJh2gIOyaM&feature=youtu.be

Read the 2020 hurricane season forecast by NOAA

In this 30-minute webinar, Tetra Tech’s emergency management experts focused on what local governments are thinking about and planning for as they prepare for hurricane season in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Tetra Tech’s post-disaster team is sharing the platform with representatives from Harris County, Texas; Richland County, South Carolina; and Tampa, Florida…


I See You: An Open Letter from Emergency Managers to Those We Serve

Sawubona: the beautiful African greeting that literally means, “I see you, you are important to me and I value you.” It is the most common greeting of the Zulu tribe.

In context it can also mean, “We see you.” This is important, because while I write this on my behalf, I am certain it represents the views of a great many of my friends and colleagues from around the globe.

Sawubona. I see you.

This COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc in every corner of our society. The…


Our faith based partnerships as we enter a holy season

Today marks our 40th consecutive day of the activation in our Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for Harris County’s response to COVID-19. This is now our longest running activation, longer than Harvey. Our previous record was 37 days last March and April in response to the ITC explosion and fire.

Social distancing in Harris County’s Emergency Operations Center

We are still facing a very real threat in the spread of the novel coronavirus, so we are actively working. Public safety is essential. In our EOC are the most essential of the essential elements needed to keep you safe and…


How the coronavirus response began and how we can win it

New York, NY, March 31, 2020 — The USNS Comfort arrived in New York Harbor to support the national, state and local response to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Photo: FEMA

Disaster responses, much like wars, are “Come as You Are” parties. Their premise is simple. You get a phone call. The phone actually rings, so by today’s social standard you know it is already something out of the ordinary. It is the invitation. You are invited. You were chosen. The time, the place, the people — the party itself — chose you.

No notice.

There is one more catch; and this is important. You must come as you are. As you are, in this moment. You cannot go home…


Time-Out on T-Band: It’s Time to Repeal the Sale Mandate

(ITC Fire- Deer Park, Texas. Photo Credit: KTRK Channel 13, Houston)

In 2012, as part of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Act, Congress passed legislation requiring by February 2021 that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) begin competitive auction of the T-band spectrum and relocate the licenses of public safety agencies across the country which have relied on the spectrum for decades. The band consists of otherwise unused broadcast spectrum in certain TV channels. That previously unused resource is now put to good use day-to-day in 11 cities by…

Disrupting Disasters

Francisco Sanchez | @DisasterPIO

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