New York City and South Africa: Emergency Management Schools

Talking is one thing; debating is another; cutting through the talk and actually doing something is rare.

Talking about sticky disaster preparedness messages is one thing; debating the best way to instill the message of disaster preparedness is another; cutting through the talk and actually doing something is rare. 

We all agree the best way to institutionalize disaster preparedness is to start with the kids. There are lots of attempts, some successful and some not.  Teen Cert is a good example of a program that has legs in a lot of communities. But even those are limited. Wouldn’t it be nice to have actual schools for younger students who wanted to begin training as future emergency management professionals?

Here are two examples: one national and one international.

I. In September, New York City will open 78 new schools and one of them will address their long-term response strategy to Hurricane Sandy: a public high school of emergency management. The documents filed at the Department of Education says the freshman class will be 108 students and will collaborate with FEMA, DHS, Red Cross, and others. It will offer students “one of three "majors" meant to lead to a specific career in the field: Emergency Management, Response and Recovery, and Emergency Technology Communications.”

II. The World Disaster Management Community College opened last fall in Kanana, South Africa with 32 students who graduated at the top of their secondary school classes and don’t have the means to attend University.  It is part of the “Every Child Is Ours Foundation” and has a major advocate: Kay C. Goss. They have an awesome blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter account and an email.  They are serious, dedicated and taking full advantage of this opportunity.

These are both impressive accomplishments.  It's a trend that could catch on …