Girl in flood, Emergency ManagementFEMA’s been busy these days as storms tear up communities across the U.S. To ensure it can respond effectively, FEMA routinely engages in long-range analysis to identify trends impacting emergency management. The organization recently published a summary of its latest analysis, aiming to help emergency managers “understand, anticipate, and plan for future risks,” resulting in increased resilience and adaptability to threats.

First, FEMA reviewed social, technological, environmental, economic, and political factors driving risks to communities in the next decade. Those factors included aging populations, government budget pressures, deteriorating infrastructure, increased storm severity, and more.

FEMA then summarized risks into three critical findings:

  1. Technological innovation & dependency

    Technology can be a godsend in an emergency. And yet, our growing reliance on technology also increases our risk for cyber-related failures and attacks, says FEMA. Over-reliance on any technology, including communication and transportation, “could render entire functions unavailable or ineffective if they fail.”
  1. Growing frequency, intensity, and duration of natural disasters.
    “Risks from natural disasters are greater than ever before,” warns FEMA, and are expected to grow in frequency, intensity, and duration. “These risks must be incorporated in how to build, sustain, and improve our capability to execute the emergency management mission.” FEMA is talking about itself here, but the same goes for emergency managers entrusted with the welfare of people and assets in your organization.
  1. Public/private partnerships are vital for adequate emergency response.

    Public/private partnerships will be crucial to bridge future gaps, particularly in critical infrastructure. FEMA’s taking a bird’s-eye view here as it manages an entire nation, but for organizations like yours, at least make sure you can communicate instantly and accurately with first responders and community stakeholders when a crisis hits, delivering real-time, actionable intel so everyone can do their job to resolve the crisis as quickly as possible.

Much of this is common sense, yes, but many organizations haven’t yet made plans for how to navigate these challenges.

When it comes to countering threats that are constantly evolving, a static plan is an ineffective plan. Which risk factors covered above are missing from your emergency communications today?

Here’s the full video from FEMA (4 min):

View in FEMA Multimedia Library