Emergency Management Solutions Newsletter

Volume 15 No. 12

December 2023

Hello Lucien,

Welcome to the December edition of Emergency Management Solutions.

In this month's featured articles, Tim Riecker reviews and comments on this year's National Preparedness Report. Erik Bernstein makes some important points as to why crisis management should be included in your planning. Last month's featured video on a volcano in Iceland made me do some thinking and research on volcanoes and I share some of my thoughts in my article.

This is the time of year where most people look forward to some form of mid-winter celebration. Unfortunately, that's not always the case for emergency managers. Disasters and emergencies don't take holidays and many of us will continue to serve over the holidays.

To my friends and colleagues around the world, while we know there are serious challenges ahead in the new year, may you also find joy and happiness. Never forget that what you do is important and that you touch the lives of many people.

Be well!

Lucien Canton
Featured Articles
L. Canton Photo 2013

Canton on Emergency Management

By Lucien G. Canton, CEM

Volcanoes: The Ultimate Cascading Event

One of the basic concepts in emergency management is the cascading event, an event that occurs as the result of an initial event. A good example can be found in Hurricane Katrina where the hurricane missed making landfall in New Orleans but led to the failure of floodwalls and levees in over 50 locations. The result was major flooding in 80% of the city up to 10 feet in some locations. We saw the same in San Francisco in 1906 where the earthquake did significant initial damage but then sparked a series of fires that burned for several days and destroyed over 80% of the city.

The problem with examples like these is that they tend to make us think of disasters as strictly localized events. In Managing for Long-term Community Recovery in the Aftermath of Disaster, authors Daniel Alesch, Lucy Arendt and James Holly identify ripple effects that affect the external environment as well as the affected community. These ripple effects have consequences for the external environment and in turn produce ripple effects that can have consequences for the affected community. For example, Hurricane Katrina produced problems for communities hosting refugees from the disaster which in turn had an impact on New Orleans as many of these people opted to make new lives in the host communities. Likewise, insurance payments following the 1906 earthquake and fires in San Francisco led to a market contraction that in turn contributed to the financial Panic of 1907.

Click here to read the rest of this article
© 2023 - Lucien G. Canton

Lucien Canton is a 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

2023 National Preparedness Report

Every year at this time of year, FEMA delivers the National Preparedness Report. Much like that one relative that is always a horrible gifter around the holidays, the infamous legacy of a long line of NPRs persists, reinforcing the waste of time, effort, and money through lack of value. It truly pains me to be so negative about these documents, but the disappointment of these documents pains me more. The development of the NPR is a great opportunity to provide analysis of meaningful information, yet it is consistently inconsistent in the style and format presented every year, and falls severely short of any potential this document could have. That said, there are always a couple of shining moments that each report has, if only they could embrace those and use them every year! If you would like a summary of the abysmal history of NPRs through the years, you can find my previous posts here.

The 2023 NPR (which is developed from 2022 data) kicks off in a laughable fashion in the Introduction and Executive Summary, which identifies four key findings:

  1. Increasing Frequency, Severity, and Cost of Disasters
  2. High Community-Level Risk
  3. Ongoing Individual and Household Preparedness Gaps
  4. Lack of Standardized Building Code Adoption

Click here to read the rest of this article

© 2023 - 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

Why Crisis Management Planning Should Be On Your To-Do List

In a competitive market regularly impacted by events which disrupt the ability to operate, a volatile social climate, and rapidly shifting consumer expectations, what separates businesses that thrive and those that struggle is often their preparedness for crises. Crisis management planning is the strategic process of preparing for situations can threaten to interrupt reputation, operations, or the financial bottom line. Sometimes these situations are unexpected and unpredictable, while sometimes they fall under the category of ‘distinctly unpleasant, yet predictable for our industry, niche, customer base, or similar’. By planning ahead for both the unpredictable and the to-be-expected, you can better equip your business to handle crisis management efficiently and with confidence.

Why Crisis Management Planning Is Essential

  1. Financial Protection: A well-structured crisis plan can significantly reduce financial losses by minimizing downtime and operational inefficiencies during a crisis.
  2. Reputation Safeguarding: In our digital age, a company’s response to a crisis can profoundly impact its long-term reputation.
  3. Building Confidence: A solid plan reassures employees and stakeholders that the company is well-prepared, fostering trust and stability.
  4. Legal and Compliance: For many industries, having a crisis management plan can be a legal or insurance-mandated necessity.

Click here to read the rest of this article
© 2023 - 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

Iceland Officials Issue NEW WARNING Amid Major Volcano Eruption!

As fears grew after weeks of seismic activity in the town of Grindavik in Iceland, a volcano has dramatically erupted, expelling spectacular bursts of lava onto the landscape and emitting huge plumes smoke into the sky. Scientists fear that the eruption might escalate, and the lava would flow into the town of Grindavik and the nearby power station. There are also fears of gas pollution spreading to the capital and problems arising for air travel if the situation gets any worse. Experts hold divergent views on the forthcoming consequences, casting the lives and future of locals into uncertainty. 

Professional Development

FEMA Releases 2023 National Preparedness Report

FEMA released the 2023 National Preparedness Report, highlighting the state of the nation’s preparedness at all levels of government while examining the risks the nation faces and the capabilities available to address them. With the cost and frequency of disasters increasing markedly over previous decades, emergency managers must continue to adapt, forge new partnerships, and anticipate challenges to help individuals and communities.

Climate change continues to increase the frequency and severity of weather, which compounds the challenges that emergency managers face in addressing an increasingly complex risk environment. The report highlights how to adapt and forge new partnerships to face those challenges and achieve a more prepared nation.

This year’s report provides a data-driven picture of national preparedness and emergency management trends with focused discussions on four core capabilities:

  • Fire Management and Suppression.
  • Logistics and Supply Chain Management.
  • Public Health, Healthcare, and Emergency Medical Services. 
  • Long-Term Vulnerability Reduction.

This year’s report provides concrete recommendations that partners and stakeholders across the whole community can take to increase the nation’s resilience.

To read the full report, go to fema.gov/emergency-managers/national-preparedness#reports



Call for Weather Ready Research Proposals – WILDFIRE READY DUE JUNE 3, 2024

The Natural Hazards Center—with support from the National Science Foundation and the NOAA Weather Program Office, and in partnership with the National Severe Storms Laboratory and the National Weather Service —is issuing a series of funding calls for social, behavioral, and economic sciences to advance the understanding of how to most effectively prepare for and communicate about extreme weather, water, and climate events. This new initiative is designed to promote knowledge while also building a diverse cadre of weather ready researchers. Funds will support awards in the amount of $1,000 to $7,500 each. All proposals must be led by a researcher in the social, behavioral, or economic sciences. Collaborators from other disciplines are welcome. Early career scholars, students, advanced researchers, and practitioners interested in conducting Weather Ready research are encouraged to apply. Proposals are being accepted on a rolling basis through June 3, 2024. More information can be found at https://hazards.colorado.edu/research/weather-ready-research/index 

Call for Quick Response Research – SUBMIT NOW

With the support of the National Science Foundation, the Natural Hazards Center Quick Response Research Award Program provides funds and training for eligible researchers to collect data in the aftermath of extreme events to document disaster before memories fade and physical evidence is erased. The Natural Hazards Center is currently accepting proposals for a Special Call for Health Outcomes and Climate-Related Disaster Research. Funds will support awards in the amount of $10,000 to $50,00 each. Proposals for this special call will be accepted on a rolling basis until funds are exhausted. Apply now! More information can be found at https://hazards.colorado.edu/research/quick-response

Professional Development Opportunities

DRJ Spring 2024

Unleashing the Power of Resilience

March 17 - 20, 2024

Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld®

DRJ’s annual spring and fall conferences are the longest-running and best-attended business continuity events in the world. DRJ can help you protect your organization from today’s disruptions and tomorrow’s threats by exposing you to insights from industry leaders and giving you an early look at new BC technologies.

26th Annual Emergency Management Higher Education Symposium

June 3-5, 2024

National Emergency Training Center Campus, Emmitsburg, Maryland

The theme of this year's symposium, "Pioneering Ideas and Practices in Emergency Management Higher Education: Building More Resilient Communities," is a focal point for an event that celebrates the 30th anniversary of FEMA's Higher Education Program.

49th Annual Natural Hazards Research and Applications Workshop

July 14-17, 2024

Since 1975, the Natural Hazards Center has hosted the Annual Natural Hazards Research and Applications Workshop in Colorado. Today the Workshop brings together federal, state, and local mitigation and emergency management officials and planning professionals; representatives of nonprofit, private sector, and humanitarian organizations; hazards and disaster researchers; and others dedicated to alleviating the impacts of disasters. 

IAEM Annual Conference and EMEX

November 15-21, 2024

Colorado Springs, CO

The goal of the IAEM Annual Conference is to improve your knowledge, competency level and collaborative skills. IAEM accomplishes this by attracting relevant high-profile speakers to address current topics and practical solutions. Convening in tandem to this annual event, EMEX, IAEM’s Emergency Management & Homeland Security Expo, draws a myriad of exhibitors who are the top suppliers to the fields of disaster preparedness and homeland security.

From The Bookshelf

Volcanoes in Human History: The Far-Reaching Effects of Major Eruptions

by Jelle Zeilinga de Boer and Donald Theodore Sanders

When the volcano Tambora erupted in Indonesia in 1815, as many as 100,000 people perished as a result of the blast and an ensuing famine caused by the destruction of rice fields on Sumbawa and neighboring islands. Gases and dust particles ejected into the atmosphere changed weather patterns around the world, resulting in the infamous ''year without a summer'' in North America, food riots in Europe, and a widespread cholera epidemic. And the gloomy weather inspired Mary Shelley to write the gothic novel Frankenstein.

This book tells the story of nine such epic volcanic events, explaining the related geology for the general reader and exploring the myriad ways in which the earth's volcanism has affected human history. Zeilinga de Boer and Sanders describe in depth how volcanic activity has had long-lasting effects on societies, cultures, and the environment. After introducing the origins and mechanisms of volcanism, the authors draw on ancient as well as modern accounts--from folklore to poetry and from philosophy to literature. Beginning with the Bronze Age eruption that caused the demise of Minoan Crete, the book tells the human and geological stories of eruptions of such volcanoes as Vesuvius, Krakatau, Mount Pelée, and Tristan da Cunha. Along the way, it shows how volcanism shaped religion in Hawaii, permeated Icelandic mythology and literature, caused widespread population migrations, and spurred scientific discovery.

From the prodigious eruption of Thera more than 3,600 years ago to the relative burp of Mount St. Helens in 1980, the results of volcanism attest to the enduring connections between geology and human destiny.

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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.

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Speaker's Corner
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©Lucien G. Canton 2023. All rights reserved.
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