Author Archive

Does Trust Matter in Managing Emergencies?

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Author: Mark Scott, Manager of Critical Infrastructure, IEM

When emergencies occur — hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, wildfires, winter storms, pandemics, terrorism, hazmat spills, radiation leaks, and more – people expect government to act. Emergency managers at all levels must move quickly and effectively to protect life and property. And to do so, they need something that is increasingly scarce: the public’s trust.

Many observers believe we live today in an era of mistrust. Poll after poll has chronicled the continuing decline of trust for our major institutions, especially the public sector. In its most recent “Trust in Government” survey, the Pew Research Center found that “By almost every conceivable measure Americans are less positive and more critical of government these days.” Building on previous surveys, the 2010 report found that half of the population continues to believe government runs its programs inefficiently; that there has been a sharp increase in the last decade in people believing that government has the wrong priorities; and that the number of people who believe the federal government has a negative effect on their day-to-day lives has also increased (to 43%). (more…)