What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
Giving Compass' Take:
• The spread of coronavirus is putting on a strain on the emergency response efforts and causing disaster planning management to quickly strategize.
• What can funders do to help fill gaps for disaster management?
• Here is a list of coronavirus and COVID-19 relief funds.
When a single employee at Colorado's emergency operations center outside of Denver tested positive for Covid-19 almost two weeks ago, a larger outbreak was quickly tamped down inside the facility, which coordinates the statewide response to all major hazards that pose a public threat.
The infected worker went into self-quarantine, and anyone who had contact with the person over the prior 48 hours was asked to do the same. Symptom checks continued for all those who entered the command center. A second disinfection of the workspace was added to one already being done on a daily basis.
It's proven to be a crisis avoided: No one else in the command center's controlled environment got sick.
But the case highlights the challenge facing emergency response agencies across America as they will invariably be forced to respond to both the devastating coronavirus pandemic and more intense weather events—stronger hurricanes, catastrophic flooding, deeper droughts and a longer wildfire season—related to climate change.
Local, state and federal agencies are racing to factor coronavirus into their emergency management plans. Already facing shortages of funding, trained staff and personal protective gear, crisis planners are being forced to rethink everything from advising the public to shelter in place during a tornado to deciding whether to attack a wildfire with small hand crews or huge air tankers—all while following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on hand-washing and social distancing.
"We want to keep in mind that, as we walk into any other disaster, we're walking into it with a strained response system already," said Samantha Montano, assistant professor of emergency management and disaster science at University of Nebraska Omaha.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is considering setting up a second National Response Coordination Center for dealing with non-Covid disasters.
Read the full article about disaster planning during COVID-19 by Judy Fahys at InsideClimate News.