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EDM New Year's Resolutions

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The Resolution Tradition

As one year comes to a close, we traditionally look to the next year with a sincere effort to make it a better year. We do this with regard to our health, our relationships, our fortunes, and any area where we feel we could make improvements and become a better or happier person.

The same should apply to our chosen professions. While many professions seek only to make a profit--and therefore, resolutions would probably center around enhancing that capacity--many other professions, such as ours in EDM, seek to protect and serve--so New Year's resolutions should rightly concern themselves with enhancing our performance in protecting and serving those who depend on us for life, health, and safety.

To do that, let's embrace what we know best--the five phases of Emergency & Disaster Management--and examine things that can be done in each category.

Planning & Preparation

  • I will base my planning and preparation on science and factual analysis rather than political philosophy or any other form of illegitimate coercion.
  • I will recognize that no one person is very good with respect to conducting cause-and-effect analysis and forecasting, and will seek out educated visionaries that are good at it to help me.
  • I will resist the temptation to engage in wishful thinking and denial of the form: 'that can't happen here'--recognizing that denial directly endangers my served public.

Mitigation

  • I will recognize and acknowledge that I can do something about all hazards that impact my served population, and rather than waiting until it's necessary to respond, will work on diminishing those threats in advance.
  • I will utilize all the resources of my served population to avoid disaster. These might include federal and state resources, but will definitely include local resources such as non-profits, faith-based support, youth groups, and corporations. I will leave no stone unturned in the effort to gather and utilize resources in protecting my community.
  • I will focus my projects on the greatest threats to the greatest number of people--however I will leave no segment of the population--no matter how small--unserved. Everyone deserves my efforts to keep them safe and healthy.

Response

  • I will keep at the forefront of my thoughts that people's lives, safety, and health depend on the quality of the performance of my duties.
  • I will not kill or injure an innocent in the performance of my duties, no matter the circumstances--I will resist political, corporate and other influences that encourage me to do so.
  • I will keep professional ethics and human morality as my guiding principles, and provide my services without regard to the Earth Citizen's gender, race, religion, orientation, or other irrelevant factors.

Recovery

  • I will recognize that once a response has been successfully concluded, that my job is not over--that I will now be facing a community in shock--and they will need my preparation, mitigation, and adaptation skills to get their individual lives back on track and society back to normal.
  • I will recognize that some recovery options should not be exercised--such as rebuilding houses in a flood zone--and I will advocate that non-sustainable options not be pursued.
  • I will advocate for recovery solutions that improve and advance the community. These may include such features as investment in renewable energy, enhanced building codes, and avoiding rebuilding in hazardous areas.

Adaptation

  • I will recognize that some of our assumptions about how to create and sustain my community and a society in general are not correct, and work to replace those assumptions with fact-based knowledge and prediction.
  • I will evaluate the threats to my community that cannot be accommodated through planning and mitigation, and work to adapt my community to the dangers instead.
  • I will present the fact-based forecast and vision of the adapted future to my served public to seek their support, and will seek federal, state, and local resources to be used for adaptation purposes.

In Sum

Naive? Maybe. Idealistic? Definitely! But the holidays are the best time of year for bringing out our idealistic selves, so let's do it right. And--more importantly--let's be sure to follow through and maintain the commitment, because in some cases it means the difference between life and death for our served public.

We have plenty of evidence that our society and civilization are fast approaching tipping points that could result in unimaginable crisis. Politics are completely paralyzed as access to clean water disappears, climate change alters agriculture to where it can't support the population, sea level rise threatens the homes of more than a billion people, refugees from these crises flood safe havens such as Europe and the US, and we react in general by engaging in war, xenophobia, tribalism, etc., in the effort to protect those whom we love and feel safe. But these particular adaptive measures don't work.

What works is an educated population, including EDM professionals, who uphold the values that have made our civilization great to begin with. When politicians go crazy and citizens run this way and that like Chicken Little in fear of their lives and futures, the profession of EDM--committed to safeguarding and protecting the public--can be that difference-maker that preserves what we've worked so hard to build. So let's do that. Work hard to make that happen. And have a great 2017.

Happy New Year!

Randall Cuthbert Dr. Randall Cuthbert is a retired APUS Professor of Emergency & Disaster Management. He has also worked as a Red Cross Shelter Supervisor, and spent a 20-year career as a US Air Force Civil Engineer Officer. His blogging interests include: protecting & enhancing the EDM profession in the areas of integrity, honorable public service, and social justice; education regarding the 'big picture' role of EDM in our society; educating our professionals and neighbors with regard to the greatest threat to our civilization--climate change; and in general terms, creating a better world for our children and grandchildren.