Emergency management: Taking temperatures and planning!

As we make the turn into summer (or summah as we call it up here in the Bawston area), I did want to loop back a bit on the importance of including considerations of climate change when discussing emergency planning activities. I know we touched on this a couple of weeks ago, but there is another sufficiently useful resource out there that warrants a rapid-cycle sequel to that post.

The good folks at FEMA have shared a planning guide for emergency managers that highlights some of the preparedness concerns, etc. as they relate to climate change. The guide includes a wealth of materials, including a 6-step approach to integrating climate adaptation into your emergency preparedness and planning activities—based on the use of climate data to drive those activities. I certainly don’t want to sound like the proverbial broken record (now that vinyl is making a comeback, I think I can use that term freely without confusing folks), but there is much evidence (anecdotal or otherwise) that severe weather is becoming increasingly prevalent, regardless of the season. Anything we can do to prepare ourselves and our organizations for further increases in severity will only help in the longer term. I don’t have any reason to think that the current trends are going to quickly reverse themselves, and I don’t see anything at the moment that makes me think the slow reverse is on the immediate horizon, but I suppose that’s enough gloom for the moment.

All that said (which, for me, isn’t all that much), I think we have to embrace any external resources that can help provide guidance for emergency planning activities. I suppose, as a function of the “all hazards” approach to emergency management, it is imperative to turn over every stone that comes our way. And recognizing that the healthcare dollar still doesn’t go as far as one would prefer, using data analytics to make the case for preparedness funding as opposed to a “what if?” approach hopefully will allow for healthcare leaders to hold a seat at the table for making sure we can appropriately respond to the next weather event.


About the Author: Steve MacArthur is a safety consultant with The Chartis Group. He brings more than 30 years of healthcare management and consulting experience to his work with hospitals, physician offices, and ambulatory care facilities across the country. He is the author of HCPro's Hospital Safety Director's Handbook and is an advisory board member for Accreditation and Quality Compliance Center. Contact Steve at stevemacsafetyspace@gmail.com.