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From the Editor: Yelling at the wind

October 18, 2023 
By Maria Church



Whew, 2023. What a year to immerse in the disaster management world.

Avert turns 1 year old in November. Our first year on the scene witnessed record-breaking wildfires, floods, winter storms and extreme heat. There was never a slow week.

A year of keeping tabs on disasters, and those who manage them, brings me to my reflection today, which can be boiled down to one word: noise.

We are inundated with noise – sensationalism, finger-pointing, demands for accountability, tragedies, fear. As disasters unfold, everyone has an opinion. Mass media ignites. As the aftermath reality sets in, more opinions, more noise.

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That’s not to say the noise is all bad. There’s a wealth of knowledge floating around from people who can and do work to improve disaster management in Canada and beyond. Their numbers are growing as more attention turns to the issues, and more people dedicate their careers to it. But these people may also find themselves yelling at the wind.

This is a challenge. In my mind, a foremost challenge. Solutions and those who hold them can be drowned out by the cacophony.

(Here I’m feeling distinctly Grinchy: “Noise, noise, noise, noise!”)

But as with any challenge that is heightened by social media (read: many), there are ways to mitigate it. I’m echoing others here who hold far more clout than I, but I think it’s worth repeating: There are options to get our yelling out of the wind and into streamlined platforms.

The list of platforms is not that long in Canada, so I see no reason we can’t all look to them to filter the noise. Listen to EPIC Podcast. Read the Canadian Journal of Emergency Management and HazNet magazine. Join associations and networks and sign up for their communications. Attend the conferences and virtual events.

Read, write for, engage with Avert.

Fingers burning to post a detailed rant on LinkedIn about the latest policy decision? Email me and let’s focus the message to get the word out.

Resurfacing after four years researching a niche aspect of disaster management previously overlooked? Email me and let’s connect you with the right platform.

Heading to market with a new tech or product solution that can improve disaster preparation, response, or recovery? Email me and let’s talk.

There are many, many, positive takeaways I can extoll from the past year monitoring the industry and I want to note the considerable support we’ve received since our launch. Dozens of professionals have shared their learnings with the Avert community over the past year and more are reaching out with ideas and a desire to share.

This is clearly an outstanding group of professionals who, when you boil it down, just want to make a difference – whether that’s for a community or the entire country. Some of the recent contributors we collected in our Fall digital edition, now available.

Let’s keep sharing and engaging with these dedicated platforms to collectively improve the profession, and Canada’s disaster preparedness. Agree? Disagree? Email me.


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