Emergency preparedness and response professionals have a lot to consider when getting ready for future disasters. Some threats have been around for years, but the methods for handling them have evolved. Other threats are new, requiring strategies and resources to evolve to address these threats. Like a puzzle, these professionals are tasked with finding the right combination of best practices, equipment, and resources.

Law enforcement agencies have been dealing with active shooter events for many years. However, the tactics and priorities beyond subduing the assailant have changed. The role of law enforcement officers in such scenarios increasingly includes the role of medical responder as well. This means that training and exercises must help develop the necessary skills and knowledge for addressing an old threat in a new way.

Unlike active shooter events, which have a long history of lessons to build upon, emerging threats may need to be addressed with little or no previous building blocks. When these threats are highly portable like viral pandemics, they can spread across jurisdictions where preparedness levels and resources vary significantly. Technology and science may have been used to make the viruses more lethal, or they may be used to better combat the threat. In either case, jurisdictions must work together to collect and analyze information in order to stop the spread and mitigate the consequences.

Regardless the type of threat, all stakeholders must understand their roles and perform their responsibilities when a disaster occurs. However, this is another piece of the preparedness puzzle that does not always fit. Federal agencies, for example, play a significant role in disaster, but that role and the expectations of that role by state and local agencies do not always coincide. This is one gap that needs to be closed.

This edition of the DomPrep Journal pieces together new solutions to address threats from common active shooter events to unpredictable viral outbreaks. In addition, do not miss the new nonfiction series that journeys back in time to follow one small family through a life of crime and drug smuggling.

Catherine L. Feinman

Catherine L. Feinman, M.A., joined Domestic Preparedness in January 2010. She has more than 35 years of publishing experience and currently serves as editor of the Domestic Preparedness Journal, DomesticPreparedness.com, and The Weekly Brief. She works with writers and other contributors to build and create new content that is relevant to the emergency preparedness, response, and recovery communities. She received a bachelor’s degree in International Business from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a master’s degree in Emergency and Disaster Management from American Military University.

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