Over the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, many states have faced hurricanes, floods, extreme heat events, destructive wildfires, as well as other natural disasters and homeland security threats that test the resiliency of state agencies and the communities they serve. To learn more about state efforts, ASTHO and the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS), in coordination with the EPA’s Office of Research and Development, hosted two listening sessions in January 2022 on resilience and vulnerability to complex disasters or environmental events with multiple interacting impacts.
The sessions focused on how state environmental and health agencies can prevent and mitigate environmental pollution and related public health impacts from disaster events (e.g., natural disasters and extreme weather, wildfire events, environmental contamination, chemical spills), especially during COVID-19 response and recovery.
Listening Session 1 focused on best practices in planning for complex disasters. Listening Session 2 focused on best practices in implementing policies and practices during and after complex disasters. This summary document highlights lessons learned and offers a path forward for states and co-regulators.