Monday, August 8, 2011

Working Toward a Better Prepared Wisconsin

- Brian Satula, Wisconsin Emergency Management Administrator

Brian (on left) speaks with LaCrosse
Fire Chief Gregg Cleveland during a
tour of the May 22nd tornado damage
Since my appointment by Governor Scott Walker in May to Administrator for Wisconsin Emergency Management, I have experienced a very exciting and active few months.  In my short tenure, I have met some great people and have learned a lot about Wisconsin Emergency Management and the emergency management community as a whole.

As luck would have it on my first day on the job, an EF2 tornado hit the city of LaCrosse.  Governor Walker, Brigadier General Don Dunbar and I went to LaCrosse the next day to meet with local officials and tornado victims, and we received a first-hand look at some of the hardest hit areas of the city.   Fortunately no one was killed or seriously injured, considering the tornado’s path hit both businesses and homes.  We were also very fortunate that the tornado missed Gunderson Lutheran Hospital which was literally a block away from where the tornado path moved through the city.

Since then we have dealt with several damaging storms, tornadoes and a deadly heat wave.   These events place high importance on being prepared.   We have a great ReadyWisconsin Campaign that encourages people to learn about being prepared for emergencies and the “how-to’s” of building an emergency kit.  I encourage everyone to go to the ReadyWisconsin website ( to learn more information about preparedness and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

My belief is preparedness needs to go a step further.  We need to continue to focus on what I refer to as Whole Community Preparedness.   Because government cannot do it alone, we need everyone in the community – including businesses, faith-based organizations and non-profit groups – to take part in all phases of community disaster assistance and emergency management.  These preparedness efforts will make our communities and our state stronger, and support the national goal of disaster resilience.

We have a lot of work to do at Wisconsin Emergency Management.  As I recently told my staff - I am a planner and a builder - I am excited about this new challenge, to bring positive changes to emergency management and build disaster-resilient communities. If you have ideas about how we can make emergency management better, please let me know.  I look forward to us working together to make Wisconsin better prepared.