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Commentary

ICPEM Annual Conference 2022 Part 1 & 2

Updated: Mar 29, 2023

PART 1

A great start to the Institute of Civil Protection & Emergency Management (ICPEM) conference. Powerful presentations, first by David Alexander discussing the challenges of disaster reconstruction and the future issues of disaster intersectionality. Figen Murray OBE - it has been an absolute honour to hear Figen’s story the power and resilience she exudes is astounding. Her fire and commitment to drive change from such tragic loss is conveyed so effectively. Figen, is an inspiration in her ongoing battle to campaign for those who suffer tragedy as a result of terrorism. Figen has relayed the concerns she has around the governments ongoing delays and the effectiveness of the wording that could be implemented. Concerns that we all no doubt share.

PART 2

A little over a week ago now, I attended the ICPEM conference – from response to recovery. I have since, attended numerous other events. But this particular event struck me as one of the most thought provoking and powerful. Why? because of its people focus. This conference focused on the people we serve, those impacted by emergencies, crisis and disaster. In business it’s called the end user experience. In our sector that’s the tragedy and suffering of real people. On what might be one of the worst moments, and worst days of their lives. A stark reminder of why we do what we do, but equally important – how we do what we do. Ensuring that what we do, how we operate, does no harm and doesn’t exacerbate suffering. This for me connected well with a talk I had listened to the previous day by Peter Cheesman from the Emergency Planning Society The EPS human aspects in emergency planning and response. This reinforced this concept and need for a more people centered approach to all aspects of risk reduction, emergency planning, response, recovery and resilience. It can’t be just about processes, policy and plans. It’s lives and livelihoods at stake. This was a smaller and more intimate conference that truly sought to remind both academic and practitioners of the why. Bringing the disaster cycle and integrated emergency management cycles full circle and back to heart of the issue. Why we do what we do, and how we do what we do. I had the opportunity to speak and learn from numerous academics, practitioners and pracademics in the room. A unique opportunity to hear reflections and insights from differing organisations and fields of practice across the emergency management and disaster management spectrum. But my biggest takeaway from that – national policy is letting down practitioners and the people we serve. Practioners who know there is a better way of doing things. Practitioners who are not being enabled to serve to the best of their ability. As we hurtle towards exponentially increasing risk and unprecedented response needs and requirements. It is clear to see that demand is far outstripping supply. Strategic neglect and under resourcing are an issue of national importance when it comes to the lives and livelihoods of the people we serve.



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