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If Resiliency Is Our Common Thread, How Do We Weave It?

by Kaleb Brown on Jul 13, 2018 11:24:22 AM
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International resiliency can seem larger than life. But there is a common perception that we all share the need for resiliency. Moreover, international resiliency is a common thread that binds us all together. Due to the interdependencies of global economics, finance and policies that span national divisions, events that transpire in one geographical area and in one market segment will impact other geographies and, potentially, other market segments.

An example would be the Jebel Ali Port in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The Jebel Ali Port handled 13.64 million TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit which is equal to that of a standard 20-foot shipping container) last year, according to the World Shipping Council, as noted by Forbes. This makes the Jebel Ali Port in Dubai the 9th largest cargo port. Should a human-made or natural event occur and disrupt the port’s operations, think about how many vendors, customers and investors in numerous countries and world regions would be affected. The disruption of the supply chain in the transportation market segment would negatively impact the financial, commercial, construction, energy and other market segments. Of course, this is in addition to the required response and recovery at the port itself. We are all impacted directly or indirectly.    

Over the years, I’ve become more appreciative of how countries share best practices and perform reviews of national frameworks in order to better understand how to organize and prepare for incidents within their own borders. Organizations such as the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) provide training throughout the world, thus setting a foundation by teaching best practices and applying principles in common across the globe.

When I look to resiliency, it’s larger than just emergency managers and policy makers. Resiliency, to me, is a collective approach to resolving a misfortune that involves everyone in the community. Policy is a major determining factor in how successful we can be in establishing resiliency. However, it is not the only factor. We are not powerless to do our part.

However, organizing all the stakeholders that have been affected by or can engage in effective assistance for managing a crisis or disaster has proven to be challenging for many places in the world. Over the past 20 years we’ve seen an increase in the use of Incident Management Systems (IMS), such as WebEOC, to fill the need. Incident Management Systems are uniquely created with an innate quality of facilitating resiliency; the IMS serves as the common platform for the community to organize a collective approach by effectively collaborating, communicating and making better and timely decisions.  

Mission areas related to “Prevention, Protection, Mitigation, Response, and Recovery” or “Strategic, Tactical, and Operational,” amongst others, all have one common thread – resiliency is their overarching goal. To be resilient, a nation must have systems in place that allow, not just emergency managers at the government level, but rather all stakeholders, to participate. Having IMS solutions throughout key institutions and organizations within the community is critical because it diversifies risk of having stakeholders seek assistance to manage their duties, empowers the capabilities of each stakeholder and ensures commonality of data collection within a common platform. As an example, in the United States, an event can easily include 20 or more government agencies at different levels, in addition to private and public hospitals, commercial and retail partners, nonprofit organizations, communication and engineering team members, logistical and aviation partners and others. If each of these stakeholders used an IMS solution to empower themselves to manage their duties during a crisis or disaster within their own designated framework, and could all be connected on a common platform that facilitates coordination and collaboration, we would have taken our common thread and made a resiliency blanket. And, if this occurs across borders, then we have our international resiliency quilt. 

We all know that incidents hold no regard to borders and, therefore, no regard for our national frameworks. As we return to the idea of international resiliency and the need for cross-border coordination, the advantage of an IMS is evident once more. Having an IMS that is flexible enough to support each nation’s unique framework is essential. One that also allows for data and coordination to be understood by all stakeholders using other frameworks on the same platform, to include stakeholders that span national divisions, will enable the international community to respond and recover faster and with less chaos.

Resiliency is a goal and common thread that we all share. With the proper IMS platform that supports your mission areas while also addressing other stakeholders’ missions, we have the appropriate needle to weave the resiliency thread.

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This post was written by Kaleb Brown

Kaleb Brown is an Juvare Client Advocate for international clients including Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, Turkey, Russia and Former Soviet States. He has more than five years of emergency management experience. Prior to joining Intermedix, Brown held the position of Communications Systems Administrator at South Carolina Emergency Management Division. Brown earned his bachelor's degree in anthropology from Ohio State University and holds a master's degree in public administration with a concentration in emergency management from Clemson University.

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