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FEMA's Plan for the Future - Strategic Foresight Initiative

Posted on Mon, Jul 11, 2011

The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) released the Strategic Foresight Initiative in hopes to assist the emergency management profession better plan for the future.

The Strategic Foresight Initiative, derived from over 500 members of the emergency response community, addresses nine areas that will affect the future of emergency management:

1. Changing role of the individual in disaster preparedness
- Increased empowerment of the individual through availability of information
- Lack of trust in government authorities
- Changing definition of community from the traditional geographic community to a virtual community

2. Climate change
- Heightened weather patterns (ex: more flooding rains, intense storms, droughts)

3. Critical infrastructure
- Aging transportation, communication, energy, and health care infrastructure may create additional emergency situations

4. Evolving terrorist threat

- Availability of technical and scientific knowledge may increase terrorist access to “high consequence” weapons

5. Global interdependency
- Emergency managers may take on greater role in Emergency Management internationally
- A more global role for American emergency managers could have major resource and capability implications

6. Technological innovation and dependency
- Our communications, energy, and transportation infrastructure are all heavily dependent on technology
- This dependency creates a significant vulnerability to cyber-attack, particularly if our reliance creates single points of failure within our systems

7. Universal access to and use of information
- Access to real time information will continue to increase as social media and advances in technology create new patterns of communications
- Citizens are becoming both producers and consumers of information
- Legitimacy and accuracy of information must constantly be questioned and verified

8. U.S. demographic shifts
- Potential increasing populations, ethnic diversity, and larger percentage of senior citizens will create additional planning challenges

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Tags: USCG, PHMSA, OSHA, Emergency Preparedness, EPA, Facility Management, Emergency Management Program, FEMA