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Are We Managing Disasters Better in the United States?

Are We Managing Disasters Better in the United States?


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By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest

Numerous reports in the past few years argue that more severe weather can be expected as a result of climate change. According to many meteorologists, hurricanes and other major weather events will become increasingly severe, prompting concerns for emergency management budgets.

For example, The Hill states that the emergency management spending to manage disasters is becoming a “large chunk of the deficit.” Certainly, emergency management has been at the forefront of discussions on budget cuts for a while now. Budgets and the appropriate resources are critical to the effective management of any natural or man-made disaster.

But a Heritage Foundation report charged that emergency management spending is simply out of control. Knowing what we understand about emergency management resources, these tight budgets should be a major concern to all emergency management professionals across the country.

Budgets and Resources for Disasters

Oklahoma recently experienced a serious outbreak of tornadoes, which fortunately did not result in a large number of casualties. Could that be attributed to good luck or are emergency management professionals in the United States simply getting better at handling emergencies and disasters?

Luck or Good Management?

The unfortunate reality is that with serious disasters in recent years, emergency managers across the country are learning from their mistakes and learning from the mistakes of others. Disaster management continues to tighten, especially as more and more scholars of emergency management emerge sharing their knowledge of more effective disaster management. While budgets for first responder services may be tightening, knowing how to better manage emergencies is also improving.

Ultimately, more research into this issue will provide an intriguing answer, especially as after-action reports continue to strengthen the overall discipline and practice of emergency management.

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, and History; a Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security; and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Allison is an Emergency Medical Technician, Lifeguard, and Lifeguard Instructor, and is trained in Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue. She serves on the Board of Trustees for Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society as Chancellor of the Southeast Region, Vice Chair of the Tactical Emergency Medical Support Committee with the International Public Safety Association, and serves as the Advocacy Coordinator of Virginia with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. She is also a member of several committees including the Editorial Committee with APCO, the Rescue Task Force Committee with the International Public Safety Association, and the Advocacy Committee with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. She also serves as Chair of the Leadership Development Program for the 2020 Pi Gamma Mu Triennial Convention. Allison has published several book reviews and continues to write about issues affecting ambulances, emergency management, and homeland security.