A message from Dave Bergner, Acting Preparation Subcommittee Chair:
Every community, regardless of size or location, is likely to experience manmade and natural disasters. In recent years, many areas of the US have been severely affected by events of unprecedented magnitude including floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires and extreme winter weather. Terrorist actions are a continual threat, particularly for large metropolitan areas, and even planned special events require increasing levels of resources.
Public Works agencies have traditionally been in a reactive posture, that is, responding as calamities and/or crises occur. However, there is growing awareness that Public Works is a key component of Emergency Management. Proactive Preparedness and Planning is vital to developing effective response and recovery capabilities. Though incidents of severe magnitude may not occur for years in a particular locale, lesser events occur more frequently that will employ the same policies, protocols and procedures. These incidents will often be handled by local agencies with little, if any, support from state or federal agencies. Even the smallest agencies will be among initial responders to localized emergencies and need to adequately plan and prepare for likely situations. In fact, the Federal government has recognized the importance of Public Works in Emergency Management by specific mention in Homeland Security Presidential Directive #8, the National Incident Management System (NIMS), and the National Response Framework (Emergency Support Function Annex #3).
The focus of the Preparedness and Planning Subcommittee is to promote better understanding by Public Works agencies of their evolving responsibilities in Emergency Management by providing information through articles, publications, website postings, webinars and presentations at APWA Congress and other venues on subjects to better prepare themselves. This subcommittee will be making recommendations to the full Emergency Management committee on initiatives such as providing formal comments,writing testimony, reviewing Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) initiatives, participating in forums, etc. American Public Works members’ comments, questions and suggestions are welcome.
Preparation Subcommittee Meeting Summaries are available via the link to the right.