Accustomed to assisting people when help is needed most, Kristin Menna is continuing on that path but taking a different road.
After spending 18 years as a police officer in Chester County, Menna knew she wanted to work in the emergency management field, including the disaster response/recovery aspect. Currently, she is a property adjuster for Travelers Insurance where she can help people who have experienced a disaster or been a victim of a crime. Through her role at Travelers, she is trained and prepared to evaluate property damage/loss and may have the occasion to assist victims of Hurricane Irma later this year.
This additional experience will allow Menna the opportunity to apply what she has been learning in Immaculata’s Emergency Planning and Management (EPM) major. Taking all of her classes online affords Menna the flexibility to continue working full-time and care for her family and two small children. She plans to graduate next May. One of the best aspects of the EPM program has been the connections that Menna has developed with her fellow classmates. “At this stage of my life, even though the classes are online, I feel much more connected than I did when I began college in my 20s,” she states. Menna implies that because she is the one choosing to further her education and is completely interested in her classes, she is much more focused and determined to succeed.
Despite the seemingly big differences between law enforcement and disaster aid/recovery, Menna was born to aid people in need no matter what uniform she is wearing. With a calm and decisive demeanor, she is able to drill down to the crux of the problem and still wield a sympathetic ear and a caring heart. Although her previous work as a police officer was very localized, she appreciates the widespread coverage that emergency workers are asked to support when a disaster strikes the U.S.
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina, a deadly Category 3 hurricane, hit New Orleans and left nearly 2,000 people dead in its wake. In the 12 years since, what have emergency response workers learned? According to Menna, when Katrina hit, it was an eye-opening moment for both the Gulf Coast and America on just how ill-prepared the nation was. If we learned anything in the ensuing years, it was preparedness. We are still learning the lessons from Katrina, but a common belief was that most of the deaths from Katrina occurred because of poor planning and preparation.
“People just don’t realize how bad it can be,” Menna states.
An impending snowstorm may not strike fear in people like a hurricane or earthquake but Menna stresses the fact that families need to be prepared no matter what situation may arise. And, just like the terrorist events of September 11, you typically cannot “plan” for a catastrophic event – but you can be as prepared as possible.
“I think communities, and even families, are more prepared now than they were 12 years ago.” Menna reminds us that is not a matter of if, but when, so it is important to have essentials packed and ready.