ICYMI -- FEMA Administrator Addresses 2021 NEMA Annual Forum and Highlights the Evolving Role of Emergency Managers, Expanding Risks

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October 13, 2021

WASHINGTON -- FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell addressed the nation’s emergency managers today at the 2021 National Emergency Management Association’s Annual Forum in Cleveland. This was her first appearance as the FEMA Administrator at the event since she joined the agency in April of this year.

Administrator Criswell’s speech focused on two themes -- the way our role as emergency managers is evolving and how the risks we face, in large part due to climate change, are increasing. 

“After every major disaster, the field of emergency management changes. The ‘big ones’ are more than just historic events – they also represent the markers of fundamental changes in our field,” said Administrator Criswell. “Major disasters and incidents in our field have always been a catalyst for change. After every incident, we reflect and learn and remake our profession to be stronger, more dynamic, more mature and more capable,” Criswell said. “We’re seeing change – tremendous change – in both the landscape of risk and in our professional roles.”

NEMA Annual Forum 2021, Oct. 12-15, Cleveland, Ohio

The Administrator discussed how emergency managers continue to face increasing expectations to coordinate emergency responses that have been traditionally outside of the industry’s scope. From a public health crisis like COVID-19 to sheltering operations for migrant children crossing the southern border, and cyber security attacks affecting the nation’s critical infrastructure, emergency managers throughout the country are dealing with issues that impact all of our communities on a daily basis.

Click here for a full transcript of the Administrator’s speech.

Later this week, the Administrator will travel to Grand Rapids, Mich., to address the 2021 International Association of Emergency Managers conference. She plans to focus her speech on the effects of climate change and the risks that will accompany future events. 

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