Emergency Management

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Live Events

Spotlight On Emergency Management

PWX@Home works around your busy lifestyle. You can choose one afternoon per month to set aside and embrace an all-new virtual learning experience. The second Tuesday of each month from August through July, APWA will unveil education in 12 key public works focus areas. The series features sessions on relevant topics—most of which were selected for PWX 2020 in varying formats to maximize learning and engagement.

View all 2020-2021 Spotlight On... Series sessions >

June 8, 2021
1:00–4:30 p.m. CT

Attend three sessions related to Emergency Management for one low price! Registration is $50 for Members and $75 for Non-Members. Participants are eligible for up to 0.3 CEUs for this program.

Register for June

The Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Assessment Process – Unifying Risk Assessment, Cyber Security, Employee Safety, and Continuity of Operations

Speaker: Robert Cole

The presentation details the experience of a large, full-service municipal public works department, the City of Olathe, Kansas, going through the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (DHS CISA) Protective Services and Cybersecurity Assessment processes. It will feature a roundtable including both public works and emergency management professionals as well as members of DHS CISA Protective Services and Cybersecurity groups. The discussion will focus on two main areas. First, participants will discuss specific critical areas of risk assessment, cybersecurity, employee safety, and continuity of operations, paying specific attention to basic risk assessment principles, SCADA vulnerabilities, physical security and active shooter training, and second and third order threats to service delivery. Second, participants will engage in an open discussion on the DHS CISA assessment process as it pertains to the unique needs of public works, both areas of strength and opportunities for improvement. Finally, this presentation will provide attendees the opportunity to hear from all three stakeholder groups involved in this process and gain an awareness of how this free program may be of benefit to their agency.

Proficiency Level: Introductory

Learning Objectives:
1. Review their organization’s own risk assessment processes and procedures in order to inform potential changes moving forward.
2. Evaluate whether a DHS CISA assessment is suitable for their organization and how they can go about going through this free DHS program.
3. Recognize elements of risk assessment that are appropriate for inclusion in America’s Water Infrastructure Act Emergency Response Plan (AWIA ERP).

National Weather Service Support and Service During Heavy Rainfall Events

Speaker: Julie Lesko

This session provides attendees with an inside look at the National Weather Service (NWS) forecast process and capabilities to help improve resilience and preparedness. Discussion will walk through a few local Gulf Coast examples of heavy rainfall events: Tropical storms in Houston and an August 2016 event in Baton Rouge area. The presentation will show what we can learn from them, and what the strengths and limitations are for the NWS forecasting such events.

Proficiency Level: Advanced

Learning Objectives:
1. Compare NWS products and services, including forecasts and warnings, information dissemination, and impact-based decision support services (IDSS) for heavy rainfall events.
2. Explain recent innovations within the NWS to enhance education and messaging of heavy rainfall and flooding hazards.
3. Describe what the science can, and cannot do for forecasting heavy rainfall.

Using Technology and Social Media During a Disaster – Getting the Word Out

Speakers: Loni Eazell, Philip Mann

Hurricane Irma: In 2017, Hurricane Irma made landfall and moved up the middle of Florida directly impacting Gainesville. Staff will discuss how technology and social media were utilized to interact with their residents. This included the use of Facebook Live for telephone town hall meetings so residents could get live updates from the Mayor, City Manager, Utilities, Fire Chief, Police Chief and Public Works Director. Woolsey Fire: In 2018, in approximately 12 hours a wildfire burned nearly 97,000 acres in 2 Counties and 5 cities. It destroyed over 1,500 structures, killed 3 people, prompted the mass evacuation of over 250,000 people and destroyed essential infrastructure. L.A. County Public Works was activated for 14 days. Our GIS Team created an interactive map to capture damages. Staff created GIS tools to assist in the identification of damaged infrastructure. A website was created to provide information to constituents on the services available to those impacted.

Proficiency Level: Advanced

Learning Objectives:
1. Understand the role of technology during a disaster.
2. Leverage the use of social media during a disaster.
3. Identify options to notify and educate constituents on recovery issues after a disaster.

Small Cities/Rural Communities Perspective On Emergency Management

June 2, 2021
Noon1:00 p.m. CT

Emergencies do not choose what community to affect, but small cities and rural communities can choose to be prepared, and public works will play a role. The role of public works in emergencies can vary from debris removal to disaster center management. Join this panel to discuss how to prepare as a small city/rural community, the benefits of collaboration, and with whom to collaborate.

Registration is FREE for Members and Non-Members.

Register Now

Third Thursday Advocacy Jam! –June

June 17, 2021
2:303:30 p.m. CT

Recent disasters, including Winter Storm Uri’s impact on water utilities in Houston, TX, and the cyber-attack on a water treatment facility in Oldsmar, FL, have only further emphasized the critical role that public works professionals play as first responders engaged in disaster response and mitigation. They have also raised potential legal issues with mutual aid agreements that may impede the ability of public works agencies to cooperate in their response to these events. Please join APWA’s US and Canadian Government Affairs staff for an open-ended discussion of how mutual aid agreements can be improved, ways to raise awareness of the role of public works in emergency management, and how APWA can be a resource in these difficult situations. We look forward to hearing your thoughts – join the conversation!

Registration is FREE for Members and Non-Members.

Register Now

Lessons as First Responders: Responding to Extreme Winter Conditions in Texas

June 24, 2021
1:00–2:30 p.m. CT

The winter conditions in Texas this year were more extreme than any in recent memory. During this live event, public works professionals will share how they communicated with elected officials and the public during the emergency. They will discuss the emergency preparation, response, and recovery plans, as well as lessons learned as first responders. Participants will be able to ask questions during the event.

Registration is FREE for Members and $25 for Non-Members.

Register Now

On Demand eLearning Opportunities

Principles of Public Works Operations: Principles of Emergency Management

This session is designed for individuals that are interested in exploring the principles of emergency management, as it applies for those entering the public works industry and those who want to further their professional development. This session provides practical advice on how to communicate the role of Public Works in emergency planning, response and recovery and dives into emerging trends relating to emergency management. It provides real-world examples, as well as a discussion guide to keep the conversation going with your peers after the conclusion of the session.

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APWA Resource Center Highlights

APWA’s NEW Resource Center will highlight the following resources June 1–30, 2021 for members and non-members:

  • CLL: Free Emergency Management Training for PW Professionals
  • Planning and Preparing for the Next Emergency: If You Wait, It’s Too Late
  • 2020 TTT: Cybersecurity for Critical Infrastructure Edition
  • 2019 TTT: Cybersecurity Edition
  • Public Works Emergency Response: LA County, City of Thousand Oaks Share Lessons 2018 Wildfires

Trending Technologies/Roving Reporter

Trying to keep up with the latest and greatest #trendingtech in public works? You're in luck! APWA is highlighting a new trending technology by way of our Talking Top Tech webinars, Roving Reporter Education Series, and new resources and programs. You can even share your own Roving Reporter videos on social media using #APWARovingReporter.

First Responders Roving Reporter
The Roving Reporter Education Series visited Gainesville, FL, to visit with their first responders to talk about why public works is an integral part of the team and the value of public works in emergency response scenarios.

Part 1 (Roving Reporter S2, E1)

Part 2 (Roving Reporter S2, E2):

Career Development/Workforce


Wilmington DPW raises DPW First Responder flag

Ventura County – A Day in the Life of a Hydrologist During a Storm


CPWP-S logo

Certified Public Works Professional-Supervision (CPWP-S)
The Public Works Professional-Supervision certification is to recognize individuals in the public works field who have the knowledge and experience to supervise areas in a public works organization. The certification is for public works supervisors, crew leaders, and frontline employees ready for supervisory positions.

CPWP-M logoCertified Public Works Professional-Management (CPWP-M)
The Public Works Professional-Management certification is issued to recognize individuals in the public works field who have the knowledge and experience to manage organizations within a public works department. The certification is for public works managers, superintendents, and supervisors ready for management positions.

 Read more in the APWA Reporter:
The Value of My CPWP-M
David J. Pinsonneault, CPWP-M, Public Works Director, Town of Lexington, MA

Exhibitor Showcase

Check out the Exhibitor Showcase to find the best resources for public works, as well as informational videos and product information. Plus, learn from subject matter experts in the Technology and Exhibitor Solutions Theaters!

Visit the Exhibitor Showcase

Featured Monthly Exhibitor:

Moving the Public Sector Forward. UScellular™ offers the technology solutions, connectivity and personal support you need to meet the ever-increasing demands on your organization, while realizing a fast ROI.

Emergency Management Resources

Peer Resource Directory
A resource for APWA and CPWA members is the APWA Emergency Management Peer Resource Directory, which contains information on volunteer public works professionals with direct experience in various aspects of emergency management who are willing to provide advice or information on emergency management matters.

Chapter Resource: APWA Emergency Management Committee

Emergency Management Policy Priorities

Publication Highlights

Incident Command System (ICS) Pocket Guide
When disaster strikes your community, your command structure shouldn't be a disaster in itself! All incidents require a coordinated effort to ensure an effective response. ICS was invented to achieve this coordination, and this Pocket Guide will help you understand and implement ICS.

Public Works Incident Management Manual
This guide will familiarize you with the terminology and teach you how to use the strategies of the Incident Command System to manage from the smallest incidents to the largest, most complex catastrophes.

Writing Your Emergency/Disaster Plan (2nd Ed)- Digital Copy
This guide gives valuable information on how to develop a public works annex that ensures that public works activities are incorporated into a jurisdiction's emergency operating plan (EOP). Each chapter is updated or expanded, and a new chapter has been added on the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and incident command for public works/utility/water-wastewater systems.

Committee News

The mission of the Emergency Management Committee is to provide APWA members with resources and a forum for exchanging and developing ideas, knowledge, and technologies for mitigating from, preparing for, responding to, and recovery from all hazards (manmade and natural disasters). The committee also intends to foster recognition of public works' important role(s) in emergency management.


Learn more: