Emergency Management Solutions Newsletter
Volume 14 No. 7
July 2022
L. Canton Photo 2013

Welcome to the July edition of Emergency Management Solutions.

Earlier this month I was involuntarily inducted into a club I had no wish to join. Like so many of my friends here in Ireland, I tested positive for COVID, followed shortly by my wife, Doreen. Fortunately, we had mild cases owing to having had the full range of vaccinations and boosters. But it was a reminder that, no matter how careful you are, crises can arise unexpectedly and force drastic changes to your plans.

This month, Tim Reicker takes on the old adage attributed to Eisenhower that plans are useless to show what makes a plan valuable. Erik Bernstein describes a series of incidents that can create a crisis and some ideas on how to head them off. My own article looks at a subject that normally is considered in emergency management but probably should be: political economics.

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

Canton on Emergency Management

By Lucien G. Canton, CEM

Political Economics and Emergency Management

When I left active duty for graduate school, my sister asked me why I was making such a radical change. When I told her how fascinated I had become with the interactions among European countries over history, she said, “You need to take a course in political economics.” Now these were two words in which I had no interest, but since she was the smart one in the family, I took her advice. I was fortunate to have an incredible professor who became a friend and mentor and found a whole new interest. Over the years I have become more and more convinced that emergency managers could benefit from an understanding of political economics.

I’m not suggesting that this became a mandatory field of study for the average emergency manager. I’ve maintained for years that one of problems is that we view emergency management as monolithic and have never developed a competency framework to define our profession. Emergency management has several career paths that require specialized knowledge and has a range of competency levels roughly equating to tactical, operational, and strategic issues. Political economics, although beneficial at all levels, is most relevant to the strategic level.

So why should senior emergency managers understand political economics? The answer is that it affects everything we do. Political economics is the study of the interrelationships between individuals, government, and public policy and how economic theory drives public policy. It creates the environment in which we operate by affecting vulnerability and hampers our ability to successfully recovery from disasters.
© 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

The Value of A Plan

Lately I’ve seen things circulating yet again which reflect on the old adage, one I’ve even used myself, that ‘plans are worthless, but planning is everything’. I believe this original quote is credited to Dwight D. Eisenhower, though the quote has been paraphrased and altered through the years. A point being made by this quote is that there is great value in the process of planning. The coordination between parties. The effort put into considering strategies and analyzing variables. Meeting people at the planning table for the first time instead of the heat of battle (or a response). And that such activity can have greater value than the documented outcome.

In recognition of these points, and with all due respect to Ike, I’ve grown tired of this quote and all derivations thereof. Why? Because plans are NOT worthless.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, plans CAN be worthless. I’ve seen plenty that fit this definition. But to lay a blanket over all plans, I think is an overgeneralization. In fact, it’s rather insulting to the time and effort put forth by the planning team and the plan writers and an insinuation of a waste of funds which may have been spent to support the process. If your plan is really that worthless, this is likely to be a reflection of a terribly executed planning process – which then really negates the spirt of the quote in the first place.
© 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
Experts Share Top Indicators You Might Be Headed Towards A Crisis

Most would agree that it’s become an established best practice to make crisis management a part of day-to-day business, but we know the reality is that busy people have to prioritize their time, and not everyone has room on their plate to deep dive their own crisis-readiness or reputation every single day.

If that describes you, don’t worry! Our expert consultants are here to help you set those priorities and determine whether you’re seeing signs that it’s time to sit down and focus on crisis management, crisis communications, and the all-important reputation with these common indicators that show you may be heading towards a crisis scenario.
  1. You’re getting ready to deliver bad news.

While we’d all prefer to keep communications lighthearted and positive, sometimes you have to deliver unavoidable bad news. Take the changes in policy and schedules brought on by COVID for example – not popular, but you had to let people know! Any time you need to share news that might upset your target audience there should be a conversation about how to best convey the information, and what could go wrong in the process.
© 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 Worlds Strangest Disasters

This short video looks at several disasters from around the world that were unexpected and, to a certain extent, unpredictable. Include is the Boston Molasses Flood of 1919, which I believe was predictable but some of the others are definitely odd and, in some cases, amusing.
Professional Development
ADA 32nd Anniversary Tool Kit
July 26, 2022 is the 32nd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a civil rights law that protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination. In honor of this important day, the ADA National Network has created an ADA 32nd Anniversary Tool Kit. It lists ADA-related events, publications, trainings and much more. 

FEMA Seeks Feedback on National Continuous Improvement Guidance
FEMA wants input on the draft “National Continuous Improvement Guidance,” including edits and suggestions for additional resources and real-world examples that can be incorporated into the guidance. The national engagement period begins on June 28 and closes at 11:59 p.m. ET on July 31.

The guidance provides a consistent and rigorous framework to conduct continuous improvement initiatives before, during, and after real-world incidents for the whole community, including state, local, tribal and territorial partners, nongovernmental organizations, private sector, and emergency management organizations.

To download and review the draft guidance and provide feedback, visit https://preptoolkit.fema.gov/web/cip-citap/events.
Please submit all feedback to FEMA-CITAP@fema.dhs.gov.

Additionally, FEMA will host a series of 60-minute webinar sessions to provide an overview of the draft guidance and to gather feedback from whole community partners. There will be at least one webinar session offered each week in July 2022. To register for a webinar, please visit https://preptoolkit.fema.gov/web/cip-citap/events.
  • Webinar #3: 5 p.m. - 6 p.m. ET on July 20, 2022
  • Webinar #4: (Spanish-speaking session) 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. ET on July 25, 2022
  • Webinar #5: 3 p.m. - 4 p.m. ET on July 27, 2022
Professional Development Opportunities
Free Webinar
Aug 18, 11:00 PM PST
Climate and disaster work are inextricably linked.
Disasters do not happen in isolation from one another. The research does not suggest that the number of disasters we now face is an outlier, but rather just the beginning of what is to come as the consequences of the climate crisis begin to manifest. We must address not only our nation’s readiness to manage but also our capacity to manage multiple threats at once. Understanding the strain that emergency management is currently under can address the changes we need to make in anticipation of our increasing risk.

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
The Disaster Profiteers: How Natural Disasters Make the Rich Richer and the Poor Even Poorer
by John C. Mutter

Natural disasters don't matter for the reasons we think they do. They generally don't kill a huge number of people. Most years more people kill themselves than are killed by Nature's tantrums. And using standard measures like Gross Domestic Product (GDP) it is difficult to show that disasters significantly interrupt the economy.

It's what happens after the disasters that really matters-when the media has lost interest and the last volunteer has handed out a final blanket, and people are left to repair their lives. What happens is a stark expression of how unjustly unequal our world has become. The elite make out well-whether they belong to an open market capitalist democracy or a closed authoritarian socialist state. In Myanmar-a country ruled by a xenophobic military junta-the generals and their cronies declared areas where rice farms were destroyed by Cyclone Nargis as blighted and simply took the land. In New Orleans the city was re-shaped and gentrified post Katrina, making it almost impossible for many of its poorest, mostly black citizens to return.

In The Disaster Profiteers, John Mutter argues that when no one is looking, disasters become a means by which the elite prosper at the expense of the poor. As the specter of increasingly frequent and destructive natural disasters looms in our future, this book will ignite an essential conversation about what we can do now to create a safer, more just world for us all.

JOHN C. MUTTER is a professor at Columbia University with appointments in the department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and in International and Public Affairs.
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.
You may reprint and excerpt this newsletter provided that you include my copyright, the source,
the author, and "reprinted with permission."
ISSN: 2334-590X