November/December 2020 | Vol. 25 No. 6
by Bryan P. Holland, MCP, CStd Senior Field Representative, Southern Region, NEMA
The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic has been the most prominent natural disaster in 2020.
The start of the new decade held the promise of continued electroindustry prosperity, economic well-being, and unlimited potential for emerging technologies. However, we have learned that Mother Nature can lay waste to “the best laid plans of mice and men” with a continued onslaught of natural disasters.
The most prominent natural disaster of 2020 is the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic. The impacts to the electroindustry from the COVID-19 outbreak have not fully surfaced and may not be completely known for some time, but there is no doubt that policies, strategies, and a new way of doing business will have to be employed for the remainder of this decade as a result.
Other natural disasters that have plagued the nation this year do have known and measurable negative impacts on electrical products and therefore allow us to develop standard operating procedures to properly address these challenges and capitalize on the opportunities embedded within these events.
In response to guidance published by the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency on “COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Guidance for the 2020 Hurricane Season” and to fully utilize digital resources to enhance the NEMA response to natural disasters, the NEMA Natural Disaster Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) have been completely revised and updated.
The NEMA Natural Disaster Team, consisting of staff from the Field Representative Program, Communications and Brand Management, and Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), activates the SOP to coordinate NEMA activities in our effort to provide the most current guidance information and other resources to assist electrical professionals, emergency management officials, and community decision-makers on policies and best practices on the selection and installation of electrical products that are resilient to natural disasters and guidance on how to restore electrical systems after a natural disaster has passed.
The NEMA Natural Disaster Team is relying on digital resources such as social media updates, email blasts, live training webinars, remote video inspection and damage assessment assistance, and virtual team meetings. The days of hand-delivering printed copies of NEMA guidance documents and wading through floodwaters to assist a local code official in the evaluation of damaged electrical equipment are now behind us.
NEMA and our Member companies will continue to adapt and improve our own resilience to the challenges faced by the increasing number and severity of natural disasters and can assure the entire electroindustry that we remain vigilant and ready to respond to any and all future natural disasters. ei