Emergency Management Solutions Newsletter
Volume 14 No. 8
August 2022
L. Canton Photo 2013

Welcome to the August edition of Emergency Management Solutions.

I was very saddened this month to learn of the death of two long-time colleagues. My friend Jerry Quinn was an emergency management professional who was an expert on disaster recovery policy and protocols. As a member of our California Emergency Services Association, he served on our Board and, as a member of our Legislative Committee, tracked legislation and represented our association before various political bodies. In contrast, my friend Bob Jacklevich was a local citizen volunteer with our Neighborhood Emergency Response Team program, not an emergency management professional. But this definitely understates his contributions. Bob WAS the NERT program, serving as Coordinator Chair, Advisory Board Chair, and head of the Training Committee. He was a leader who was always first to volunteer for the hard jobs, an organizer, and a valued member of our EOC team. The loss of these two friends will be felt keenly in our emergency management community.

This month, Tim Reicker discusses the importance of legislative advocacy while Erik Bernstein describes the components of the crisis management plan and its importance. My article raises the question of whether emergency operations centers as we know them are really prepared for large-scale crises.

Be well!
Lucien Canton
Featured Articles
L. Canton Photo 2013

Canton on Emergency Management

By Lucien G. Canton, CEM

Is It Time to Rethink the Emergency Operations Center?

One of the critical elements of disaster response is the emergency operations center (EOC). The concept of the EOC is simple: a focal point that brings together the organizations involved in response and coordinates their activities to avoid inefficiency and duplication of effort. Used effectively, the EOC gathers data from these organizations to create a common operating picture that allows organizations to operate with maximum efficiency.

Good luck with that. Anyone who has spent time in an EOC knows that it’s closer to the tongue-in-cheek definition formulated by emergency communications guru Art Botterell: where uncomfortable officials meet in unfamiliar surroundings to play unaccustomed roles, making unpopular decisions based on inadequate information, and in much too little time. While the EOC is important to an effective response, it is far from efficient and may actually give a false sense of readiness to deal with a major crisis.

One problem with the EOC concept is our assumption that there is such a thing as a “typical EOC”. EOCs evolve based on several variables. Budget and space availability are two main drivers of EOC design. Another is purpose; some EOCs are intended to assume command and control over an operation while others are points of coordination. Corporate culture and the needs of participant organizations also influence design. For example, some EOC teams are organized using the Incident Command System while others choose to organize along the lines of the Emergency Support Function concept. Despite the best efforts of the National Incident Management System and FEMA training courses, while there are similarities among EOCs, there is still a considerable difference among them. Search on the term “emergency operations center” on YouTube and compare the results to see what I mean.
© 2022 -  Lucien G. Canton

Lucien Canton is management consultant specializing in helping managers lead better in a crisis. He is the former Director of Emergency Services for San Francisco and the author of the best-selling Emergency Management: Concepts and Strategies for Effective Programs used as a textbook in many higher education courses.

The Contrarian Emergency Manager

By Timothy "Tim" Riecker

Legislative Advocacy in Emergency Management

Yet another discussion I’ve had with a few colleagues over the past few weeks highlighting a situation which absolutely needs to be improved upon. On a reasonably regular basis there are laws being considered across the US that directly or indirectly impact emergency management and our interests. In fact, there are more than we are even aware of. From annual budget bills, to bills about pets in disaster, bills impacting inclusion and equity, and bills about the National Disaster Safety Board, there is no shortage – and this is just an example of recent federal legislation. Last year, many state legislatures pushed back hard on the authority of their governors during a disaster. Be it at the federal or state level (or even local level), most of these things, unfortunately, are politicians wielding politics, often with little to no consideration of consequences, intended or otherwise, and the mechanics behind implementation. Emergency managers, on behalf of our own profession as well as the people we serve, MUST be involved.

Unfortunately, we don’t see enough legislative advocacy at state and federal levels. Some organizations claim they do, and I believe them, yet there is little transparency in this. Most states have emergency management associations, with membership composed of emergency managers working in the respective state. Some have active legislative advocacy, others do not. I found a reference from North Dakota State University’s acclaimed Center for Disaster Studies and Emergency Management that provides information on state EM associations. Unfortunately, the document is undated (so frustrating!!!), but I know it is at least a few years old as Vermont’s association is not listed. Most of these state associations don’t post anything publicly about their legislative advocacy work, so we have no idea what they may or may not be involved in.
© 2022 -  Timothy Riecker, CEDP
Used with Permission

Tim Riecker 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.

Bernstein Crisis Management

by Erik Bernstein
What is Crisis Management and Why Do We Need A Plan?

Defining Crisis Management

Crisis management is defined as the process undertaken by any organization to prevent, prepare for, and respond to events that threaten to harm people or property, seriously interrupt operations, damage reputation, or impact the bottom line. Crises cost you money, hurt productivity, and can easily threaten the long-term health of your business, especially if you aren’t ready.

All good crisis management efforts go through three core stages — Pre-Crisis (preparedness and prevention), Crisis Response (actually managing the crisis), and Post-Crisis (recovery and analysis, integrating lessons learned).


Engaging in active crisis prevention and being truly prepared to react are the absolute best ways to reduce the impact any given negative situation can have on your organization. This is the stage where you’ll choose your core crisis team, create a formal crisis management plan, train your people, and start to put crisis-related policies into place in your day-to-day operations. Thorough crisis management plans should include specific crisis communications instructions, and in many cases risk assessment, business continuity, and emergency management planning as well. The piece most often missed in this step is training. Sometimes, and for a variety of reasons, organizations will complete full crisis plans but never engage in training on crisis team roles or actual use of the plan. Unfortunately this means that your execution of the plan in a real-life scenario is bound to be lackluster, and a lack of training often does major harm to what otherwise would be a strong crisis response structure.
© 2022 - Erik Bernstein
Used with permission

Erik Bernstein is President of Bernstein Crisis Management, a specialized firm dedicated to providing holistic strategies for managing crisis situations.
Featured Video
The Secret to Successful Crisis Management in the 21st Century

There’s no denying it. Social media, the real-time news cycle and mobile technology have changed the landscape for crisis management. These changes include: heightened stakeholder expectations of two-way communication and transparency in a crisis; amplifying the speed at which organizations need to be prepared to respond and communicate in a crisis; the fact that it is becoming increasingly difficult for you to get ahead of the story and position your organization as the narrative of its own crisis.

But whether we like it or not, these are today’s crisis realities and successful crisis management depends on your team’s ability to manage these real-time challenges that the digital landscape presents, while simultaneously managing the actual crisis in real-time.

So then if these are today’s crisis realities, how can you arm your team with the skills, mindset and tools to make these realities and challenges work for your organization rather than against it? In other words, what is the secret to successful crisis management in this 21st century?

This is the topic of Melissa Agnes's TEDx Talk, which she delivered in LA in 2015. Within this 18 minute presentation, Melissa discusses the impacts that the digital landscape have on crisis management and provides THE secret to successful crisis management in this 21st century.
Professional Development
Professional Development Opportunities
Phoenix AZ
Sep 11-14, 2022
DRJ is the industry’s largest resource for business continuity, disaster recovery, crisis communication, and risk management, reaching a global network of more than 138,000 professionals. DRJ conferences are the world’s largest conferences dedicated to building resiliency.

Savannah, GA
Nov 11-18, 2022
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.

 Virtual and On-demand Options Available
Toronto, Canada
The Ontario Disaster & Emergency Management Conference brings together emergency management professionals to share best practices and critical lessons learned. Continuity & Resilience Today brings together a diverse group of continuity management professionals to facilitate new conversations and to share critical lessons learned. The conferences co-located sharing the same space over the same dates - meaning delegates have access to BOTH Programs!
From The Bookshelf
U.S. Emergency Management in the 21st Century: From Disaster to Catastrophe
edited by Claire B. Rubin and Susan L. Cutter

U.S. Emergency Management in the 21st Century: From Disaster to Catastrophe explores a critical issue in American public policy: Are the current public sector emergency management systems sufficient to handle future disasters given the environmental and social changes underway? In this timely book, Claire B. Rubin and Susan L. Cutter focus on disaster recovery efforts, community resilience, and public policy issues of related to recent disasters and what they portend for the future.

Beginning with the external societal forces influencing shifts in policy and practice, the next six chapters provide in-depth accounts of recent disasters― the Joplin, Tuscaloosa-Birmingham, and Moore tornadoes, Hurricanes Sandy, Harvey, Irma, Maria, and the California wildfires. The book concludes with a chapter on loss accounting and a summary chapter on what has gone right, what has gone wrong, and why the federal government may no longer be a reliable partner in emergency management.

Accessible and clearly written by authorities in a wide-range of related fields with local experiences, this book offers a rich array of case studies and describes their significance in shifting emergency management policy and practice, in the United States during the past decade. Through a careful blending of contextual analysis and practical information, this book is essential reading for students, an interested public, and professionals alike.
Emergency Management: Concepts and Strategies for Effective Programs
Second Edition
by Lucien G. Canton

This book looks at the larger context within which emergency management response occurs, and stresses the development of a program to address a wide range of issues. Not limited to traditional emergency response to natural disasters, it addresses a conceptual model capable of integrating multiple disciplines and dealing with unexpected emergencies.
Speaker's Corner
 Looking for a speaker for your conference? I offer keynotes, seminars, workshops, and webinars, either in person or online. You can find more details and sample videos on my website.
©Lucien G. Canton 2022. All rights reserved.
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ISSN: 2334-590X