Though unfortunate, most emergency planning professionals would probably say the latter since 2017 has been such a doozy for natural disasters. And, with a couple of days still left on the calendar, it’s not over yet. Catastrophic weather events like the ones below remind us all of Mother Nature’s fury and the need to be diligent in our emergency preparedness efforts.

  • The Thomas Fire, today considered the largest-ever wildfire in California history, is still burning across Santa Barbara and Ventura counties; it’s currently 89 percent contained. The blaze, fueled by the Santa Ana winds, has scorched well over 281,000 acres and destroyed more than 1,000 structures. Sadly, the Thomas Fire also claimed the life of one brave California firefighter.
  • Thousands of people remain without power and other essentials (now three months later) in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico. And, according to a December 22 report by NPR, this may remain the case for another six months to come.
  • Restoration is slow and tourism continues to flounder in the Florida Keys following the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma.  
  •  Hurricane Harvey has gone down in the record books as the costliest tropical cyclone in history, inflicting nearly $200 billion in damage; the city of Houston, Texas, was particularly hard hit by flooding.

Natural disasters such as these are only the top of the iceberg (no pun intended). Hundreds of other, oftentimes smaller-scale weather events impact the lives of people every day. Among them, and based on data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 1,482 tornadoes and 288 hail events occurred in the U.S. between January 1, 2017 and now (December 28, 2017). And, 715 winter storm events were recorded in January 2017 alone.

As a reminder (though you may not need one), winter officially began on December 21st. Certain parts of the country are already digging out from well over five feet of lake-effect snow and contending with dangerously cold temperatures. Cities as far south as Birmingham, Alabama, and Atlanta, Georgia, have even reported measurable snowfall—up to five inches in some places!

So, is it goodbye or good riddance to 2017 from your emergency planning community? The answer just might depend on your organization’s current capabilities when it comes to emergency preparedness, response and recovery. It may also hinge on its capacity to mitigate against future hazards given the knowledge gained, whether directly or indirectly, over the last twelve months.

Regardless of your stance on 2017 or where you may be in the emergency planning process, BOLDplanning can help. Only BOLDplanning offers a unique “people and platform” approach to emergency planning. This means you not only receive personal, hands-on guidance from the company’s growing team of certified experts, but also gain access to flexible, industry-compliant software that steps you (whether skilled or novice) through the entire emergency planning process.

Plus, BOLDplanning offers comprehensive training and exercise programs that align with industry standards and best practices such as FEMA’s National Incident Management System (NIMS).

From the entire BOLDplanning team, farewell 2017 (it really has been a doozy), and best wishes to all for a happy, healthy and safe new year. Here’s to 2018!