Team Lighthouse Gets Creative in Its Pursuit of Enhanced Collaboration with Elected Officials to Improve Emergency Preparedness Nationwide

preparedness planning may not be a winning platform, elected and appointed officials are often front and center when a crisis hits. Team Lighthouse recognized that while preparedness may not win an election, perceived failure to effectively manage a crisis response and recovery certainly could lose one.

The team also uncovered a lacking in the level of training provided to these officials, despite the important role they play in emergency response. Many of the prominent handbooks and protocols for emergency management focus on engagement between responders and elected and appointed officials during a crisis, but do not address what happens in the pre-crisis preparedness phase.  Engagement and proper training of important stakeholders—like these officials— in the planning process is crucial to later response success.

Thorough training and experience allows national and local emergency response professionals to become experts in the science and practice of emergency management. Team Lighthouse sought to utilize this expertise and condense it into “An Emergency Management Primer for Elected and Appointed Officials.” The video produced, which features interviews from various emergency responders and elected officials on the experience of leading through a crisis, is designed to convey the critical need for proper training and a team-based approach before, during, and after a local or national crisis. The team looked to social media to disseminate the message to the broadest stakeholder audience. The video could also be a foundation for more formalized training, although this was not the project’s primary objective.

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With 2018 interim elections on the horizon, this message is timely and provides the nation’s elected officials with tools to develop improved knowledge, build the relationships necessary to participate in emergency preparedness before the crisis hits, and be more effective leaders during a response.