Friday, October 16, 2009

Climate Change and Emergency Management

Climate change is an issue that is of concern to many emergency mangers.

It is, based on my limited understanding of the science, not "global warming" that we need to worry about per se. We need to be concerned about the risk of a major change in global weather patterns.

In my experience, many EM offices are adding this to the list of things to worry about (or HVA in most cases). I have seen it mentioned in several RFPs for instance.

If the predictions are correct and the trend continues, climate change will lead to an increase in weather related disasters. Weather patterns may shift to impact areas not typically prone to a particular weather hazard. As we already know, despite what mitigation is occurring (or not), weather-related disasters will continue to increase because of population growth in vulnerable areas - now our paradigm as to what is a vulnerable area, and what are the prevalent hazards, may need to shift (example, Atlanta went from drought to floods in this decade).

Climate change, as I understand it, can potentially have a pronounced effect on the evaporation rates and on the distribution of water vapor and clouds in the atmosphere and of ice at the polar caps. Whether it is greenhouse gases or a cycle of climate change, climate change will certainly increase the frequency and intensity of weather related disasters.

Emergency Managers should be reevaluating risk and vulnerability due to weather patterns changing, potentially in dramatic fashion. This will increase the need for better mitigation, preparedness, awareness, and education for many.

So, it will be necessary to evaluate the vulnerabilities of climate change and the short and long-term risks of potential disasters. The usually look at historical occurrences may become less meaningful. A sound assessment of risk will require some new thinking and better hazard modeling. Then we will need to do what we do: Mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The All Hands Community

Just a quick update on the All Hands Community. Since I announced the launch of the new and improved version of our community collaboration and information sharing portal, All Hands Community 3.0 ( we have had over 350 people register and many more visit. As was the case before, only one or two people are contributing.

Our goal is to provide our members with a complete community-based social networking experience. the new site offers a lot of these features but it is not catching on as much as we had hoped. Still, the site is popular for sharing information. While it is great as a toolbox, we still want to make it more social. I guess we will need to keep trying to get people to use more of the social features.

We have linked All Hands Community to other sites such as this Blog and, of course, to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Followers and connections on these sites are growing steadily.

In the coming months, we will be introducing new site features including customizable pages populated with user defined content, content only available for our members, and additional multimedia.

Let me know what you think!

PS: I just added an e-mail subscription for those of you that want to subscribe.

Best, Steve