Katrina. Sandy. The Boston Marathon bombing. 9/11. Some emergencies are so deeply rooted in our consciousness that they need no introduction. These tragedies are looked back upon as touchstones in America’s quest to be as prepared as possible for the next disaster. Perfection is an impossible goal, but the public officials who’ve been at the center of response and recovery efforts can’t help but reminisce on what went wrong and right, what works and what doesn’t, and how their experiences might be useful for others forced to live through a similar event. Government Technology talked with officials who’ve worked amid some of America’s biggest disasters and emergencies of recent years. They offer practical, real-world perspective that we all can learn from.