Why Every Hospital Needs a Natural Disaster Recovery Plan

In the first week of September 2018, news of a potentially destructive Category 4 hurricane that was forecast to make landfall on the coast of the Carolinas sent many of the hospitals and medical practices in both states rushing to dust off their disaster recovery and business continuity plans in preparation for it. Evacuation drills were reviewed and many other operating procedures were rehearsed and evaluated. But most of all, health IT systems were being tested and reassessed for their natural disaster recovery readiness. Most healthcare groups focused on a few aspects of their IT to ensure they were prepared for whatever outcome the storm had in store for them.

Using Technology To Assess Wildfire Risk And Combat Wildfires

Wildfires in the U.S. have become more common and catastrophic than ever before. Citizens, local governments and the $2.2 trillion property and casualty insurance industry continue to be caught by surprise due to the severity and frequency of these events. So far in 2018, California alone has lost over 800,000 acres to fire, 250% more than the same period in 2017. Last year was the worst wildfire season in California history. An intense series of fires in Northern California destroyed more than 200,000 acres and killed 44 people.

With significant urban damage, 2017 also saw global insured losses from wildfires reaching a record $14 billion. Global losses from catastrophic events such as hurricanes and floods have steadily increased over the past decade, but wildfire-related losses in 2017 completely blindsided the property and casualty insurance industry.

California Will Spend $1 Billion on Wildfire Prevention, Give Some Relief to Utility Companies

(TNS) — SACRAMENTO, Calif. — With an eye toward destructive wildfire as California’s most immediate climate emergency, Gov. Jerry Brown took action on Friday to broadly expand state prevention efforts while allowing utility companies to shift some fire-related costs to their customers.

The far-reaching proposal signed by Brown boosts government fire protection efforts by $1 billion over the next five years, providing funds that could help clear thousands of acres of dense, dry forests and brittle coastal brush. The bill’s combination of cash and regulatory relief mark a major escalation in addressing what’s been called the “new normal” of fire danger for the state, far beyond what’s been spent on immediate emergency responses.

Largest Wildfire in California History Officially 100% Contained

Officials announced on Wednesday that the Mendocino Complex Fire, the largest wildfire in California’s history, is now 100 percent contained.

The blaze burned a combined 459,123 acres, destroyed 280 structures including 157 residences, killed one firefighter and injured four others. The Mendocino fire north of San Francisco broke the record set in December, 2017, when the Thomas Fire killed two people, burned 440 square miles and destroyed more than 1,000 buildings in Southern California.

California’s Governor: Insurance Fared Better in Wildfires Bill

California lawmakers didn’t go as far as Governor Jerry Brown wanted to address potential liabilities for utilities from wildfires, and the governor said that “it’s hard to say” if they ever would.

Brown, citing longstanding practice, declined to say if he would sign the bill passed last month that included measures considered beneficial for utilities such as PG&E Corp. But the wide-ranging plan didn’t tackle the issue of inverse condemnation, in which utilities can be held liable for costs if their equipment is found to have caused a fire — regardless of whether they followed safety rules. Brown had pushed a proposal that would have given utilities relief from the rule, which was opposed by insurance companies, trial lawyers and fire victims.

Wildfire season: Is this the new normal?

More than 500 wildfires were still burning in B.C. in September, with the Yukon, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, and parts of the Atlantic provinces all experiencing one of the worst fire seasons in history. Globally, wildfires in the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Sweden and Australia are burning at an alarming rate.

According to John Pomeroy, Canada Research Chair in Water Resources and Climate Change and director of the University of Saskatchewan-led Global Water Futures Program (GWF), this is a horrific year for wildfires not only in Canada, but around the world.

"You do not expect extensive wildfire in Swedish mountain tundra or in Welsh mountains, but we see that this year," said Pomeroy. "This is further evidence of remarkably fast changes in climate around the world as a result of new extremes of heat and variable precipitation, due to human-introduced greenhouse gasses."

The science, skill – and luck – behind evacuation order calls

More than 1 million people in the Carolinas were ordered to evacuate days before Hurricane Florence hit landfall.

Government officials order coastal evacuation even when it’s sunny at the beach with not a cloud in the sky and no hint of the ominous threat thousands of miles away other than from satellite images. People who know I study hurricane evacuations have often asked me to explain this curious decision.

In the end, evacuation planning is part science, part skill based on experience, and part luck.

9/11 Attacks Still Impacting Emergency Response 17 Years Later

Tuesday marks the 17th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The tragic loss of around 3,000 lives that day is still impacting the way first responders prepare for and respond to emergencies.

In 2003, President George W. Bush directed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to create a nationwide framework for emergency preparation and response, which is now known as the National Incident Management System.

Superior Fire Chief Steve Panger said it’s creation showed the federal government recognized that state and local responders are the first line of defense.

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