As I worked on this issue, it was fascinating to observe the intertwining of multiple themes through articles from such varied backgrounds and disciplines. Some topics are familiar, others still relatively nascent, albeit well on their way to developing into fully-fledged and universally accepted truths.
Disaster planning, mitigation and response are evolving into an approach that requires an understanding of technology, sociology, anthropology, psychology, economics and, dare I suggest, emotional factors.
So it is perhaps unsurprising that this discipline is still fragmented in multi-faceted shards. Most people and organisations tend to focus on their own experience and within their own environments, reflecting only their interaction with, and understanding of, the stakeholders with which they have direct contact.
In his comment article on page 12, Craig Nemitz warns about the dangers of assuming that because a disaster or terrorist attack has not happened in an area recently, the danger has passed altogether. Emergency planning, prevention, security, awareness, funding and networking must not become the victims of collective amnesia.
Elsewhere in these pages the leitmotifs of community and individual resilience are in evidence. On page 38, Christo Motz proposes simple and logical ideas for encouraging self reliance in an increasingly threatening world. And Julie Hernandez expounds upon the need to utilise social capital in a crisis, saying that localised resources and knowledge can tweak and adjust a one-size-fi ts-all relief plan to the specific context of a given crisis (p60).
Unlikely as it is that we will ever see a revolutionary all-encompassing, truly inclusive emergency response model, where information and actions flow freely between all stakeholders and nations, it can only be a positive step that the same topics are being discussed and debated with such intensity within the different disciplines of the response arena.