Emergency Management Solutions Newsletter

Volume 9 No. 7                                                                                     July 2017

In This Issue
Featured Video
Blog Highlights
The Leadership Challenge
Consulting Transitions
Featured Article
Professional Development
Life Balance
From the Bookshelf
Speaker's Corner
Join My Mailing List
Featured Video
The Port Chicago Explosion
The Port Chicago Explosion

The largely forgotten, the Port Chicago of mutiny in 1944 was a major contributing factor to the desegregation of the armed forces. The explosion of two Liberty ships on July 17, 1944 killed 320, 220 of whom were black sailors who worked under unsafe conditions. After a Board of Inquiry absolved the white officers of blame for the incident, black ammunition loaders refused to return to work and were treated as mutineers by the Navy.
Blog Highlights

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The following are excerpts from my blog
Canton on Emergency Management. Please visit my blog to see the rest of my articles.  

San Francisco seeks to ban carcinogenic flame retardant chemicals. But can you put the genie back in the bottle once it's out?

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The following are excerpts from my blog, Managing Crisis, published by Emergency Management Magazine. Please visit my blog to see the rest of my articles.

Is it possible to predict the future needs of first responders? A DHS-sponsored project thinks so.

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Leadership Coaching

What Is The Leadership Challenge?

Is leadership a learned behavior or an innate personality trait? While there are certainly naturally charismatic individuals who are considered "born leaders", leadership is a measurable set of behaviors that can be learned and taught. This is the conclusion arrived at by researchers Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner after years of rigorous research. Starting in 1982, Kouzes and Posner set out to understand what happened when leaders performed at their personal best. They conducted hundreds of interviews and reviewed hundreds of cases studies and survey questionnaires. What emerged were five fundamental practices common to extraordinary leadership achievements:
  1. Model the Way
  2. Inspire a Shared Vision
  3. Challenge the Process
  4. Enable Others to Act
  5. Encourage the Heart
The Leadership Challenge begins with a 360-degree assessment of thirty leadership behaviors associated with the five practices, the Leadership Practices Inventory. The results are used to identify opportunities for improving as a leader by increasing the frequency of specific behaviors. Based on over thirty years of research, the Leadership Challenge is an effective and practical tool for leadership development.
To find out more about the  Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership , consider taking  The Leadership Challenge . Just click on the icon below for more information:
Click here to take The Leadership Challenge

The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations
by James M. Kouzes 

The Leadership Challenge is a registered trademark of John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Consulting Transitions
Free Resource Guide for Solo Consultants

For solo consultants, true wealth is discretionary time. Don't waste yours on simple tasks that can be handled by technology. This free resource guide reveals the four essential online tools I use to manage my solo consulting practice and save hours of valuable time. And the best part is - they're free!

Interested in exploring the world of consulting? My membership site might be just the resource you need to get started. You'll have access to blogs designed to answer very specific questions, a resource library of templates and articles, the opportunity to network with peers, and discounts on coaching and training programs. Download the free guide or click on the logo above to go straight to the site.

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Quick Links
L. Canton Photo 2013  

Welcome to the July edition of Emergency Management Solutions.

When an explosion  occurred  on board a munitions ship in July 1944 near San Francisco, it not only claimed over 300 lives; it highlighted the racism that placed black sailors at risk under unsafe working conditions. The mutiny that followed would draw national attention and would contribute the desegregation of the Navy. But like so many disasters that have long-term effects, the incident at Port Chicago is largely forgotten and we take many of the outcomes for granted. 

In this issue, I focus on the Port Chicago disaster and it's aftermath. As we know so well, many disasters can be foreseen and this incident was no different; the unsafe working conditions leading to the disaster were obvious and there was advance warning from multiple sources about the danger. But is the social issues and the resulting changes to society that this disaster a significant event.

I hope you find it instructive.


Lucien Canton   
Featured Article

The Port Chicago Disaster

Disasters Can Produce Lasting Social Impact

The Port Chicago disaster, like so many focusing events, is largely forgotten except by those who gathered this month for a brief commemoration at the Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial. And yet, the incident had a profound impact on the US Navy and produced ripple effects that continue to this day.

In 1941, Suisun Bay, an estuary of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers was selected as a site for a naval munitions supply depot because of its remoteness from major population centers and its connection to the Pacific via San Francisco Bay. By 1944, Port Chicago had been expanded to allow for two ships to be loaded simultaneously around the clock. 


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Professional Development
Why IAEM Is Right For You

The annual recruiting drive for the International Association of Emergency Management continues until the end of August. If you're not yet a member, you really should give some thought to joining. IAEM is both an excellent source for professional development and a strong advocate for the emergency management profession.

Here are some the reasons that I've been a member for years:
Professional development: 
  • Professional development: The IAEM Annual Conference is simply the best EM conference in the world. The conference provides an opportunity to meet and interact not only with fellow emergency managers from around the globe but also with the academic researchers who contribute to our professional knowledge base. The various workshops and course offerings are outstanding and there is an opportunity to catch up on the latest technologies and services available in the exhibits hall.
  • Networking: One of the best things about being a member is the ability to reach out to other members for advice and assistance either at conferences or through the member database.
  • Certification: IAEM offers the only internationally recognized certifications for emergency managers. The certifications are not easy to get but they benefit both you and the profession as a whole by raising our standards of professional excellence.
  • Political representation: IAEM has emerged as the voice of our profession in Washington, DC, helping to educate our political representatives and lobbying for funding.
  • Developing future professionals: IAEM has a student membership program and a scholarship to help encourage and educate the next generation of emergency managers. Over the years I have met many of these young aspirants and watched them go on to successful careers as either practitioners or researchers.
These are just some of the reasons I support IAEM. There are many others, such as the jobs board, the newsletter, or members only webinars, all of which can help your professional development. If you're not yet a member, visit the IAEM website and check out the list of benefits. It's one of the best investments you can make in your professional development.

Professional Development Opportunities

N ovember 10-15, 2017
Long Beach, California

The goal of the IAEM Annual Conference is to improve your knowledge, competency level and collaborative skills. IAEM attracts high-profile speakers to address current topics and practical solutions. The conference draws exhibitors who are the top suppliers to the fields of disaster preparedness and homeland security.
Life Balance
Judging the Past: Context is Everything

Back in my college days, one of my close friends briefly dated my sister. Things were going okay until I casually mentioned that I had run into my friend in our local waterhole in the company of another friend who just happened to be female. My conservative sister immediately decided that she didn't want to have anything to do with a man who hung out in bars with other women. My friend went on to serve in the military, followed by to a successful career in sales, acquiring a wife and son along the way. My sister never married.

My point here is that my sister judged my friend on a single point of reference. It seems that more and more we expect that people, particularly those in the public eye, be flawless. We cannot accept that someone can be right on some issues and wrong on others. This is certainly true when we look back at historical figures and ignore the context of the times. We often neglect their achievements in favor of castigating them for their perceived moral failures, forgetting that they may well have been adhering to the moral standards of their time.

One of my personal heroes is the Marquis of Pombal, the royal official who was responsible for saving and rebuilding Lisbon after the earthquake of 1755. It's an amazing story of response and reconstruction and, in many ways, Pombal could be considered the first modern emergency manager. He was also a ruthless dictator who did not hesitate to use his power to seek revenge on his enemies. Does the one outweigh the other? Does the fact that Jefferson owned slaves carry more weight than his contributions to the founding of the United States? How does the intent of Father Junipero Serra to aid the native population through the California mission system stack up against the genocide that ultimately resulted?

The bottom line is that people are not perfect. We are fallible and prone to mistakes. We aren't very good at considering unintended consequences. Most importantly, we are shaped by the context in which we find ourselves and the accepted morality of our times. We do not need to ignore the sins of the past but we should try to understand them in context and maybe be a bit less judgmental.
From the Bookshelf

The Port Chicago Mutiny: The Story of the Largest Mass Mutiny Trial in U.S. Naval History

Robert L. Allen

Following the explosion of two Liberty Ships on July 17, 1944, black ammunition handlers refused to continue working under unsafe conditions. While most returned to work at the urging of their officers, 50 men did not. The Navy treated them as mutineers in time of war and they were tried and convicted by court martial.

Allen's book tells the dramatic story of the disaster and the legal battle that followed.  The disaster itself does not form a major part of the book, less than one chapter. Allen instead spends considerable time explaining the context in which the disaster occurred. 

In setting context, he describes the lack of training, the dangerous nature of the highly explosives being handled, and the pressure to load faster. He also details the conditions in the Navy that relegated trained black seamen to such dangerous work and the racism that resulted in the exoneration of the white officers by a Naval Board of Inquiry.

The most important part of the book, though, is the work stoppage that resulted in charges of mutiny against 50 black seamen and the court martial that followed. The trial and the harsh sentences handed down drew national attention and contributed to the eventual desegregation of the Navy.

The Port Chicago disaster is an example of how disasters can seem inevitable in hindsight and how they can produce social change that continues even after the disaster itself is forgotten.


Emergency Management: Concepts and Strategies for Effective Programs
by Lucien G. Canton

Speaker's Corner

Need a speaker for your next conference? I offer keynotes, seminars and workshops.
Why Should You Choose Me As Your Speaker?
Three Reasons Why I'm the Right Speaker for Your Conference 
You can find more details and sample videos on my website or on my SpeakerMatch page.   
Speaking Engagements 

Collaborative Sheltering: The San Francisco Experience
International Association
N ovember 10-15, 2017
Long Beach, California

©Lucien G. Canton 2017. All rights reserved.


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ISSN: 2334-590X