Home Emergency Management News Slow-Moving Emergencies Like Volcanic Eruptions Improve Emergency Management Efforts

Slow-Moving Emergencies Like Volcanic Eruptions Improve Emergency Management Efforts

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By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest

The continuing eruptions of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano are visually exciting, despite the damage they cause and their impact on Hawaiian life and tourism. National Geographic reports that the volcano has changed the geography of the Big Island and drastically affected Hawaii’s infrastructure. Moreover, Kilauea could continue to erupt for months or potentially years.

But Kilauea’s eruptions will have a positive impact on emergency management for years to come, especially on response and recovery efforts among diverse organizations.

Natural Disasters Like Eruptions Force Improvements in Emergency Management

Coordination among local, state and federal government emergency management agencies is improving how they handle disasters such as volcano eruptions, floods and wildfires. For example, Bexar County, Texas, has created a coordinated five-phase program of emergency response that consists of:

  • Prevention
  • Preparedness
  • Response
  • Recovery
  • Mitigation

These phases help to define the types of resources and response efforts needed to effectively manage all types of emergencies. These efforts will often merge into one as emergency managers gain control of disaster situations and move seamlessly from one phase to the next.

Slow-Moving Emergencies Give Emergency Managers More Time to Gather Resources and Control Situations

Emergencies come in all shapes and sizes and speeds. Slow-moving emergencies, such as lava flows, give emergency managers time to gather all necessary resources and work effectively to control them.

If Kilauea’s lava flow continues to move at its current pace of 17 miles per hour, it will give emergency managers in Hawaii time to gather the necessary resources and assess how well they’re handling the emergency.

The slow speed will also help emergency managers to hone their skills while the situation is in progress. As a result, emergency managers will be able to further improve their handling of natural disasters in the future.

Allison G. S. Knox Passionate about the issues affecting ambulances and disaster management, Allison focuses on Emergency Management and Emergency Medical Services policy. Allison has taught at the undergraduate level since 2010. Prior to teaching, she worked in a level-one trauma center emergency department and for a member of congress in Washington, D.C. She holds four Master’s degrees in Emergency Management, National Security Studies, International Relations, History, a Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. She is also trained in Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue, is an Emergency Medical Technician, Lifeguard and a Lifeguard Instructor. She serves on the Board of Trustees for Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society, Vice Chair of the Tactical Emergency Medical Support Committee with the International Public Safety Association, the Advocacy Committee with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians and also serves as the Advocacy Coordinator of Virginia for the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians.