The Importance of Operational Context


Within emergency management, we are used to talking about the 4 phases (mitigation, preparedness, response & recovery).  In smaller local emergency management agencies, these areas are often covered by the same person.  At state and federal levels though, as bureaucracy (by the way the literal definition is “rule by desks”) increases, you begin to have separate people addressing single phases of emergency management.  While this can be beneficial at times to address more specific nuances of each phase, this often times leads to “silos of excellence” and the requirement for interoperability because communication quality has been reduced over time.

This often leads to each phase struggling to keep up with emerging trends in the other phases that are really needed in order to accomplish their primary tasks.  I will be posting articles on individual hazards (earthquakes, drought, flooding, hurricanes, winter weather, tornadoes,etc).

Key questions that will be raised with each hazard:

  • Where can I find historical data?
  • How do historical events compare to current or future expected events?
  • If there are parallels to history, what previous events are comparable?
  • If this event is an outlier, how much more significant is it expected to be compared to previous record events?
  • From those events, what lessons did we learn so as to not repeat the mistakes of history?

Operational Context Series – Posts

As you read through these articles, please keep an eye out for ways to bridge information silos that exist in your own organizations.  As you do so, you will discover that you have improved operational awareness because you have a better sense and respect for previous historical events.  This will help you learn from the lessons of history and apply those lessons at the right time to be more prepared for the current or future significant events.

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By disastermapping Posted in Policy

2 comments on “The Importance of Operational Context

  1. Pingback: Operational Context – Extreme Rainfall « disastermapping

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