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Whitepaper | Disaster response communications in the age of COVID-19

COVID-19 presents an immediate challenge to emergency management organizations responding to secondary disasters like hurricanes, floods, and wildfires. As ventilators, tests, and personal protective equipment flood our newsfeeds, we can’t forget the basic need underlying any disaster response: communications.

With threats from cybersecurity to climate change, communications challenges were mounting even without the need to operate within the “new normal” that COVID-19 presents. But now, emergency managers must face our persistent communications issues as they take on a new shape with COVID-19.

In this whitepaper, emergency managers will learn: 

  • How COVID-19 will impact standard operating procedures and communications command structures during disaster response 
  • How smartphones and mesh networking technology can address common communications challenges
  • How to evaluate an investment in new communications equipment in the COVID-19 era


Washington, DC, May 12, 2009 — Former FEMA Administrator W. Craig Fugate in the FEMA Studio. FEMA/Bill Koplitz

W. Craig Fugate is a senior advisor at BlueDot Strategies. Most recently, Craig served as President Obama’s FEMA Administrator from 2009 to 2017. Craig led FEMA through multiple record-breaking disaster years and oversaw the federal government’s response to multiple natural disasters, including devastating tornadoes in the Midwest and hurricanes Irene, Matthew, and Sandy, among others.

Prior to his time in the Obama Administration, Craig worked for more than a decade with Democratic and Republican governors at Florida’s Division of Emergency Management, serving as Director for more than seven years. During his time in Florida, he launched the largest mutual aid response to affected states in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

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The Author

Natalia Kossobokova

Natalia Kossobokova

Natalia Kossobokova is the Executive Editor of The Last Mile and the Content Marketing Manager at goTenna. She spearheads the development of global marketing content which includes thought leadership content and other marketing projects. She has over 10 years of experience working in the government communications industry. Natalia graduated from the University of Maryland with a Master's degree in Business Administration with a focus in Marketing.

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