Fires. Tropical storms. Floods. Excessive heat. With so many major emergencies recently occurring across the country, your community or organization may be asking “what if” and questioning its own emergency preparedness. It’s certainly understandable.
Weeks ago, no one would have ever imagined that beautiful Lahaina, Hawaii, would experience the deadliest wildlife in the U.S. in more than a century (at least 115 lives lost and 388 people still missing), much less that a tropical storm would hit Southern California (the first in 84 years), with some locations receiving nearly a year’s average rainfall in just 48 hours. Or that almost 109 million Americans across the central U.S., from the Plains to the Midwest and the Gulf Coast and Southeast, would be under heat alerts at one time and for days on end.
Just last week, Hurricane Idalia came ashore in the Big Bend region of Florida as a powerful Category 3 storm—the first to make landfall in that particular area since hurricane data was first recorded in 1851. Even the National Weather Service (NWS) in Tallahassee called Idalia “an unprecedented event” given its rapid intensification over 24 hours in the Gulf of Mexico. In fact, according to the NWS, “no one has ever witnessed a storm strengthen to such magnitude in such a short time.”
The extreme, if not odd, nature of these four events is undeniably cause for concern. So, too, is the timing, given all of them occurred in a matter of weeks. Consequently, those involved in emergency preparedness are most likely taking note and, when and where possible, taking action.
For some, this may involve reviewing, testing, and, if necessary, updating essential plans. These include but are certainly not limited to emergency operations plans (EOPs), continuity of operations plans (COOPs), and continuity of government plans (COGs). Other state, local, tribal, and territorial governments may also revisit their hazard mitigation plans (HMPs).
At BOLDplanning, a division of Agility, we understand that emergency preparedness is the best