Actionable Intelligence (Send the Warnings Regardless)

Americans are caught between alerts, warnings and the lack of them when there is no “actionable ” intelligence.  Whether it is terrorism or weather events people need to have a plan when an alert or warning goes out.  Having plans and practicing them will improve an organizations response to an impending disaster or emergency.  Each time there is a threatening hurricane for example, emergency management officials worry that if the event does not occur people will be less responsive the next time a threat exists.

The people who react negatively to an “uneventful event” are missing the point.  Readiness and taking right action, even if nothing results should be seen as positive.  The government cannot be 100% in their predictions so that should be understandable.  The event allows the citizenry of a jurisdiction to practice their emergency plan if nothing else.  The thought that we can predict and intercept every bad actor or emergency event is absurd.  We appreciate the government disrupting terror plans everyday.

In light of the many murders that occur in the US everyday we can see that “actionable “intelligence a concept that is a work in progress.  The thought should be that alerts and warnings are just one part of the strategy.  Citizens should go on alert and the fatigue that comes from being on alert over and over again is the least of the two evils.  In my experience the threat of fatigue due to constant alerts is also a weak concept.  People remove the batteries from their smoke detectors and sometimes do not install smoke detectors in the face of a larger threat. Almost one-third to one half of the homes in American do not have smoke detectors.

You are more likely to die in a fire due to smoke inhalation than you are as a victim of terrorism.  If people are lax with the threat of fire why should anyone be concerned about people experiencing fatigue from responding to alerts.  The alert and warning process is not the problem.  Not having a plan about the actions that should be taken as a result of alerts and warnings is the problem. What actions should you take when an alert or warning is given?  Take the time to visit Homeland Security and Emergency Management websites that have a lot of useful information on the actions you should take.  If you don’t know where to look check out my website at


About managingemergencies

I am a professional consultant with 30 years of experience in managing emergencies. My background and skills gave me the foundation to start Systems Emergency Preparedness Consultants. If you need preparedness training or would like to have a preparedness discussion for your employees contact me via email at I held various positions in the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department until I retired in 2007. As a emergency planner and trainer in the Prince George's County Office of Homeland Security I planned exercises and training for government agencies and citizens groups. I was appointed Fire Chief of the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department in 2009. I started Systems Emergency Preparedness Consultants in June of that year. I had the opportunity to become the Assistant Fire Chief - Operations of the District of Columbia Fire/EMS Department and served for a year as the Interim Fire Chief. I am a trained mediator, mediator team leader and trainer. I also served as the Fire/EMS Department Equal Employment Opportunity Officer.
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One Response to Actionable Intelligence (Send the Warnings Regardless)

  1. Shower Time says:

    Liking the recent changes you’ve made mate!!

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