President's Message - June 2018
Kevin Starbuck, CEM, TEM, CPM - President
With the beginning of Summer, emergency managers across the state are focused on responding to the on-going threat of natural and man-made hazards, continue to manage recovery from the impact of Hurricane Harvey, and ensure communities are prepared with the beginning of the 2018 hurricane season. 2018 has to the potential to be another record setting year for disasters. In my own region of West Texas, we have had the driest 8 months on record with nearly no rainfall, causing significant wildfire and drought concerns; fortunately, this week’s forecast is for some much-needed relief. Amarillo received no snow this year (a first; we average 19” a year); nearly all the rest of Texas received measurable snow this year. NOAA is predicting that the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season will be near- or above-normal, with the potential for 10-16 named storms, 5-9 hurricanes, and 1-4 major hurricanes.
What does this all mean for emergency management? I half-jokingly would say, Job Security! But more importantly it is the recognition of changing dynamics in climate that requires emergency managers to look beyond what historic data would tell us are the threats to our communities. Who would have predicted the extent of impacts from Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area where the majority of the flooding occurred outside recognized flood zones? The lack of any snow in the Texas Panhandle has never happened (and many a traveler through this region were appreciative). An 8-month super drought impacting agriculture, putting a strain on the most optimistic farmers and ranchers. The more important question I would ask my colleagues is, what steps are you taking to prepare your communities for natural hazards moving to the extremes? What was once unthinkable, may now become the norm.
Concerns with the more extreme impacts of Mother Nature are exacerbated by the continued threat of man-made issues. All of our thoughts and prayers are with those communities impacted by school shootings. I applaud Governor Abbott for pushing for improvements in school safety. At the core of this issue is the need to more effectively address mental health issues in our communities. Institutions and mechanisms designed to assist with the management of mental health issues have limited resources and are largely overwhelmed. While not purely an emergency management issue, as these issues grow it will have an expanded impact on communities and ultimately the management of disasters.
Turning back to EMAT specifically, we continue to refine and improve upon the Certified Texas Emergency Manager (TEM) credential process. As part of this, we are looking at a committee of 21 members to assist with ensuring we offer the best process for recognition of professional accomplishment. Other committees are starting to come on-line with development of plans to enhance and improve what EMAT has to offer to our members. To facilitate this, at least two board members have volunteered to serve on each committee. More information will be published on committee work in the coming weeks. I look forward to our membership engaging in the committee work to continue strengthening EMAT for the future. And lastly, elections are on the horizon for the end of 2018. For those interested, consider the opportunities to serve as a board member or in a leadership role starting in 2019.- Kevin Starbuck, CEM, TEM - Region 5
Assistant City Manager
City of Amarillo
P.O. Box 1971
Amarillo, Texas 79105-1971
Work: (806) 378-3077
Cell: (806) 584-8845
Office Expires: 2019
The Emergency Management Association of Texas is dedicated to the advancement of the field of emergency management both statewide and nationally. To that end, EMAT engages in an array of efforts to advance a statewide emergency management agenda and to promote the professional growth of the emergency management practitioner.