Emergency Management Solutions Newsletter

Volume 11 No. 4                                                                             April 2019

In This Issue
Bernstein Crisis Management
Blog Highlights
Article Headline
Featured Article
Professional Development
From the Bookshelf
Speaker's Corner
Exploring Emergency Management & Homeland Security
10 Considerations for Your EOC
by Timothy (Tim) Riecker

I recently listened to an interview with author and professor Sean McFate. In the interview he discusses the changing landscape of warfare and what the US must do to keep up, particularly since we are still largely stuck in a mindset of conventional warfare. For those interested in this very insightful interview, it was on The Security Studies Podcast.Many jurisdictions, agencies, and organizations have emergency operations centers (EOCs) identified in their emergency plans to support incident response and recovery operations. Through my career, I've seen all manner of EOCs, used to support entire incidents or just specific missions, ranging in size from just a handful of people to well over 100 people, various organizational models, and even varying degrees of successful implementation. I've also seen many different locations for EOCs.

An EOC can be established anywhere, but just like any broad statement, there are a number of caveats to that. Here are 10 things to consider in identifying a location for your EOC:

1. Out of harm's way
While it's difficult to determine where an incident will strike, most jurisdictions have areas that may be less susceptible than others. While it's certainly convenient to have your EOC off a major highway, consider that a significant accident on that highway will impact access to your facility. Locating your EOC near an industrial district or in a flood plain is just asking for trouble. Be smart about where you locate your EOC relative to your geographic risk profile.

2. Plenty of parking and accessibility
Few things are more frustrating than arriving to an EOC and not having a place to park. That's simply a silly problem to have and reflects greatly on shortsightedness. If you are stuck in a certain location, plan for an overflow lot, signage, and a shuttle. Also make sure your building is accessible. I've seen far too many EOCs located either in basements or upper floors without any elevators or other ability for access for people with disabilities.


© 2019 -  Timothy Riecker

Tim Reicker is a founding member, partner and principal consultant with Emergency Preparedness Solutions, LLC, a private consulting firm serving government, businesses, and not for profit organizations in various aspects of emergency and disaster preparedness.

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Bernstein Crisis Management
 Crisis Prevention: H&R Block Agents Take 'Empathy Training'
By Erik Bernstein

When we say 95% of the crises to which we've responded over the last 30 years of doing business have been preventable, we're serious. That's why we found it so interesting to read about a strategy H&R Block used in advance of our most recent (and predictably controversial) tax season. From MarketWatch:

"...this year, agents also underwent "empathy training," which included a "refund surprise training module" to coach their responses to clients shocked or upset by a lower tax refund or a surprise tax bill, the service told MarketWatch. For example, the new training included listening to a scenario where a client who received a $1,500 refund last year learned that she owed $575 this year because she didn't adjust her withholdings under the new tax laws.

"Imagine how it would feel if you saw a really big tax bill; you're not used to owing any money, and now you owe $1,500. And not a lot of people have that laying around," said Susan Waldron, H&R Block's director of communications. "An agent might say, 'I know you are not accustomed to owing the IRS money. Let's discuss the options that can help.' A lot of people don't realize that the IRS has payment plans, and we can help people get set up."

I'm sure anyone who works in tax preparation would tell you these types of issues are common, which is why it makes perfect sense for H&R Block to prepare.

So, what does this have to do with those of you who aren't in the tax biz? In crisis prevention we look at categories of predictable events. In the same way that you know a fire could start and thus, you have fire extinguishers, you know that specific

You know the types of issues that might impact your niche, your area, and your specific clientele, thus you should be prepared.

© 2019 - Erik Bernstein

Erik Bernstein is Vice President of Bernstein Crisis Management, a specialized firm dedicated to providing holistic strategies for managing crisis situations.

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Featured Video
Documentary: 1906 San Francisco Earthquake
Documentary: 1906 San Francisco Earthquake

For us in San Francisco, April is Earthquake Month, a time when we commemorate the earthquake and fires in 1906 that destroyed most of the city and killed over 3,000. It still holds a fascination for us and I'm always interested in any new information on the disaster. This brief video highlights the significance of the earthquake to study of seismology.

Note: the video begins to repeat at the 5:50 minute mark, so there's no need to watch the entire 10 minutes.
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.  

When it comes to disasters, we are almost always our own worst enemy.
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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.


It's generally accepted that emergency managers, as a group, have a higher than average tolerance for ambiguity in crisis decision-making. A recent study, however, suggests that this may not be the case.

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L. Canton Photo 2013  

Welcome to the April edition of Emergency Management Solutions.
I've received a lot of positive feedback from last month's issue featuring articles by my colleagues Tim Reicker and Eric Bernstein. This month Tim offers some "back to basics" advice  on selecting a location for your emergency operations center and Eric provides an example of preparing for predictable events. I hope you enjoy their articles.

The big news for me is that the second edition of my book, Emergency Management: Concepts and Strategies for Effective Programs is now available. You'll find a summary of what's new in the second edition and a code for a 20% discount in the From the Bookshelf section below.


Lucien Canton   
Featured Article

_ ________________________________________________

Why Are You Writing This Plan?

Why Plans Don't Work as Intended

Imagine you are participating in a sporting event that has a high risk of injury and high stakes. You have some familiarity with the sport and the necessary equipment but you're no expert. As you arrive on the playing field, your coach hands you on three-inch-thick rule book and says, "Everything you need to know is in here."
You've seen the book before, but never really read it. You open it and try to quickly skim to the parts that involve your position. But you're having problems locating all the information you need. As you are desperately searching through all the material in the book, the starting whistle blows and the opposing team charges onto the field. Ready or not, the game is on.

Sounds dumb, doesn't it? Yet this is the scene that is played out in emergency operations centers on a regular basis. Bottrell's Third Law of Emergency Management states, "No matter who you train, someone else will show up." Handing that poor devil a copy of the emergency plan and immediately tossing them into operations is a recipe for failure.

But why is this so? Surely, as our mythical coach pointed out, everything we need to know is in the plan. That may well be true, but it does no good if you can't find the information you need quickly. Unfortunately, most plans are not written for the person who must use them.

_______________________ ________

If you are having trouble viewing my featured article, try clicking on the link at the top of the page. You can always find my articles in the white paper section of my blog site, Canton on Emergency Management.

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Professional Development

Supply Chain Resilience Guide
DHS has released a Supply Chain Resilience Guide that lays out a five phase process for improving resilience. The Guide "provides emergency managers with recommendations on how to analyze supply chains and to work with the private sector to enhance supply chain resilience in support of Comprehensive Preparedness Guide (CPG) 101: Developing and Maintaining Emergency Operations Plans." The document also "identifies how the results of the supply chain resilience process can inform logistics planning."

PrepTalks videos on supply chain resilience. 
FEMA and its emergency management partner organizations released two Supply Chain-themed PrepTalks: 
Professional Development Opportunities
May 6-10, 2019
Free Online Conference
Billed as "The first and only online event exclusively for leaders in emergency management, disaster management & business continuity,"

June 3-6, 2019
FEMA Emergency Management Institute
Emmitsburg, MD
Workshops, plenaries, and breakout sessions highlighting how to build, engage, and amplify the work of the emergency management academic community while focusing on diversity, inclusion, and unity of effort.

44th Annual Natural Hazards Workshop
July 14-17, 2019
Broomfield, CO
The theme of the 2019 Workshop will be Convergence. Explore how we come together to study hazards and disasters, apply the knowledge that's generated, help one another, build community capacity, implement meaningful policy, and envision a future that leads to reduced disaster risk and improved social well-being.

Nov. 15-20, 2019
Savannah, Georgia 
The goal of the IAEM Annual Conference is to improve knowledge, competency level and collaborative skills. IAEM accomplishes this by attracting relevant high-profile speakers to address current topics and practical solutions.
From the Bookshelf
Emergency Management: Concepts and Strategies for Effective Programs
By  Lucien Canton
"Is he really going to review his own book?" Not a chance but I do want answer the question I keep getting, "What's new in the second edition?"

While it's not quite a new book, it's close. Each chapter has been reviewed and updated. New concepts such as the Principles of Emergency Management and THIRA have been incorporated. The order of the chapters has been changed slightly to improve the flow.

Two new chapters have been added. One deals with the development of national response strategy, trying to make sense of how we got to where we are. I have also added a chapter on leadership that contrasts the demands of program management versus those of operations.

There are also a number of "tweaks" to make things a bit more useful, such as recommended readings for most of the case studies.

I want to acknowledge the many friends and colleagues who have taken the time to comment on the first edition. Constructive criticism is always welcome and your input has helped shape the second edition.


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

Save 20%!

By special arrangement with my publisher, readers of Emergency Management Solutions can save 20% when ordering directly from Wiley.com. Just click on the image to the right to be taken directly to the order page and enter the code  VBR13 at check out to get your discount.
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 

Learning From The Past: What We Remember, What We Forget
November 19, 2019 
International Association of Emergency Manager's Conference
Savannah, GA

©Lucien G. Canton 2019. All rights reserved.


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ISSN: 2334-590X