By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest
Memorial Day is a time when families think about those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the country while also celebrating the start of summer. It is also a time when public safety officials often see a dramatic increase in emergencies as more and more people enjoy spending time outside. Memorial Day is a holiday that proves to be an important time for emergency managers to discuss public safety issues with the public to keep them safe.
We know from other academic disciplines just how important it is to educate the public. The public health profession, for example, figures out areas of a given community that have an increase in the amount of certain illnesses, then works to educate the public on these illnesses in an effort to lower the amount of illness incidents. Emergency management can have a similar effect on the general public if certain issues are expressly promoted to a community.
Emergency managers should start a campaign for Memorial Day focusing on keeping the public safe. This should include the appropriate usage of fireworks, especially in areas that may be prone to wildfires. More importantly, it would be wise to discuss the various public safety laws associated with fireworks so they public has a good understanding of what is allowed.
This isn’t to say that these types of educational programs are not currently in use. There are numerous campaigns that already deal with aspects of this like the Isle of Jersey that has a website dedicated to the appropriate usage of fireworks.
Emergency managers should use holidays like Memorial Day to educate the public on these public safety issues as it will also serve as a great reminder to those enjoying the beginning of summer.
Emergency managers can also use Memorial Day as an opportunity to discuss preparedness measures with the general public. As the summer months come rolling through, so will hurricanes and major thunderstorms that can leave people without power and in the midst of other types of emergencies. Using Memorial Day weekend as an opportunity to discuss preparedness measures may help the general public to better prepare for these types of emergencies.
Ultimately, emergency managers need to train the public on public safety measures as it helps to mitigate a variety of different problems they can run into. Thus, it is important to use Memorial Day as one of these opportunities since citizens are already thinking about the beginning of summer and all of the outdoor activities they would enjoy. Many important public safety discussions are already in discussion, but using Memorial Day as an opportunity to bring it all together very well may help to keep individuals safe and making good decisions.