The Emergency Management Committee's mission is to provide APWA members with resources and a forum for exchanging and developing ideas, knowledge, and technologies for minimizing the impact and consequences for disasters.  It also intends to foster recognition of public works' important role(s) in emergency management, including its strong involvement in mitigation and recovery, as well as to influence public policies that will strengthen the ability of government at all levels to better address disaster management. 

A message from Kurt Blomquist,

Emergency Management Committee Chairperson, 2013-2014

Public Works organizations across the country are facing the “new normal.”  In the last year we have seen devastating wildfires in the west, historic flooding in Colorado, terror attack in Boston while still recovering from Tropical Storm Irene and Super storm Sandy and working to address the impacts of climate change.  Public Works professional are on the front line for planning, responding, and recovering the countries life sustaining infrastructure following manmade and natural events.
Emergency management continues to grow in importance for public works leaders from preparation, response, and recovery from natural disasters to Cyber Security.  The committee’s membership in 2013-2014 consists of representatives from a broad spectrum of professional expertise, regions; from the west (California) to the Midwest (Iowa), to the south (Florida) and New England (Massachusetts), and jurisdictional sizes.  Collaboration is a fundamental tenant of the committee.  We will be working with the other APWA Technical Committees to broaden technical and educational opportunities.  Each one of the Emergency Management members has devoted countless hours representing APWA to ensure and strengthen public works by providing comments and testimony on numerous pieces of federal legislation and rules, participating in over a dozen federal coalitions, task forces and workgroups.  The Emergency Management committee is working to make APWA your go to resource for emergency management issues.
FEMA brought select APWA members to their EMI campus to evaluate gaps in training for public works professionals.  As a result of their recommendations, FEMA allocated funds to develop four on-line training programs geared towards Public Works professionals.  The committee recommends that every public works professional takes the time in the next year to take these courses.  The programs are independent study and are as follows:

IS-552 The Public Works Role in Emergency Management

IS-554 Emergency Planning for Public Works
IS-556 Damage Assessment for Public Works
IS-558 Public Works and Disaster Recovery

The committee recognizes there is still much work to be done in getting public works professionals recognized for our role as first responders. We believe it is important for all members to acknowledge their role as a first responder by having coffee cup conversations and participating with your other local first responders (Emergency Management Director, Fire, Police, EMS, utility companies) in planning, training, and exercising to ensure our agencies can mitigate, prepare, respond and recover from incidents to the best of our ability to support our communities.  To support this effort we recommend that agencies have their employees take the appropriate Incident Command System (ICS) training to become more National Incident Management System (NIMS) compliant.
If you would like to be involved in the work of the Emergency Management Committee or one of the subcommittees, please contact me ( or any of the other committee members.