Emergency Management Solutions Newsletter
Volume 14 No. 5
May 2022
L. Canton Photo 2013

Welcome to the May edition of Emergency Management Solutions.

Like so much in the United States, we have politicized the issue of climate change. Leaving aside the issue of what is causing climate change (or, indeed, whether it even exists), most of the arguments have been over the actions to take to mitigate the potential effects of climate change. We have largely chosen to ignore the fact that we are already facing increased risks due to changes in climate. The demands on emergency managers will only grow greater as conditions worsen.

All the more reason for us to reexamine the lessons we should have learned from disasters over the past few years. If our goal is the restoration of communities following disaster, we have not done well. Our system is biased against the most vulnerable of the citizens we serve and we need to rethink how we do emergency management. This is the point of my article this month and this month's video and recommended reading.

This month, Tim Reicker offers commentary on why our method of determining return on investment (ROI) for the Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG) is flawed. I also recommend you check out his original article on the use of performance measures for some ideas on better ways to measure ROI.

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

Canton on Emergency Management

By Lucien G. Canton, CEM

It Is Time to Rethink Emergency Management

The emergency management system in the United States is without question one of the best in the world. I, like many of my colleagues, have always been proud of my association with it. It’s not perfect, by any means, and there have been some colossal failures, usually influenced by politics. However, it’s an excellent system.
But not, unfortunately, for everyone.

Our emergency management system has been at its best when dealing with response. If one considers how the system developed from its roots in civil defense and the early influence of managers drawn mainly from the military, fire, and police, this is understandable. However, the mission of emergency management is not emergency response; it is the restoration of communities. That means our focus must ultimately be on recovery. Historically, recovery planning, along with mitigation, has not been adequately addressed by emergency managers, as evidenced by my colleague Valerie Lucas-Mckuen’s 2005 analysis of the Emergency Management Accreditation Program baseline assessments and the absence of recovery plans in many jurisdictions.
© 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

EMPG ROI 2022: Another Wasted Effort

The National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) and the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), the two most prominent membership organizations in the US for emergency managers, one again released their joint annual report: Emergency Management Performance Grant: An Evaluation of the Nation’s Return on Investment. I touched on last year’s report in a post I made about metrics and data analysis. Ironically, a couple months prior to that post, I wrote about measuring return on investment through the use of key performance indicators (KPI).

Clearly some of the people who SHOULD have read these didn’t. This year’s report on EMPG return on investment is pretty much the same as last year’s, simply with updated numbers. To call the content of the report an evaluation of return on investment of this important grant program is a considerable overstatement and does nothing to support emergency management. The numbers, such as x number of people trained or how much money was spent on plan development, are largely superficial and don’t really provide any analysis of return on investment. As mentioned in the articles I authored last year which are referenced above, we should be reporting on key performance indicators and drilling down to identify what needs have been met through the efforts and investments. Included in the report are a few...
© 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.
Featured Video
What Disasterology Can Tell Us About the Climate Crisis

Hurricane Katrina left New Orleans in ruins and fueled a passion in a teenager who offered to help. Many tragedies later, this young woman has emerged as a disasterologist in search of answers. Dr. Samantha Montano is a disasterologist with a research focus on emergency management. She has a doctorate in emergency management from North Dakota State University. She is currently an assistant professor of Emergency Management at Massachusetts Maritime Academy and the author of Disasterology: Dispatches From The Frontlines of The Climate Crisis. Growing up in Cape Elizabeth instilled in her a love for the coast that guides her efforts to ready coastal communities for the consequences of the climate crisis and pursue disaster justice.
Professional Development
The EARN Mental Health Toolkit provides information, tools and resources that can help employers learn more about mental health issues and create a welcoming and supportive work environment for employees who may be facing mental health issues or need help for a co-occurring substance use disorder. It also presents an easy-to-follow framework for developing a mental health-friendly workplace, all built around the “4 A’s”: Awareness, Accommodations, Assistance and Access.
Professional Development Opportunities
Middletown, RI
June 7-8, 2022
The International Crisis Management Conference (ICMC) empowers crisis management professionals to be fully prepared to respond to and successfully manage crises. Now in its seventh year, the conference provides a forum for attendees to share their own experiences while enhancing their professional development from presentations given by some of today’s foremost crisis experts.

Virtual Event
July 10-13, 2022
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.

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.

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!
 Virtual and On-demand Options Available
From The Bookshelf
Disasterology: Dispatches from the Frontlines of the Climate Crisis
by Samantha Montano

Part memoir, part expert analysis, Disasterology is a passionate and personal account of a country in crisis—one unprepared to deal with the disasters of today and those looming in our future.

With temperatures rising and the risk of disasters growing, our world is increasingly vulnerable. Most people see disasters as freak, natural events that are unpredictable and unpreventable. But that simply isn’t the case – disasters are avoidable, but when they do strike, there are strategic ways to manage the fallout.

In Disasterology, Dr. Montano, a disaster researcher, brings readers with her on an eye-opening journey through some of our worst disasters, helping readers make sense of what really happened from a emergency management perspective. She explains why we aren’t doing enough to prevent or prepare for disasters, the critical role of media, and how our approach to recovery was not designed to serve marginalized communities. Now that climate change is contributing to the disruption of ecosystems and worsening disasters, Dr. Montano offers a preview of what will happen to our communities if we don’t take aggressive, immediate action. In a section devoted to the COVID-19 pandemic, what is thus far our generation’s most deadly disaster, she casts light on the many decisions made behind closed doors that failed to protect the public.

A deeply moving and timely narrative that draws on Dr. Montano's first-hand experience in emergency management, Disasterology is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how our country handles disasters, and how we can better face them together.
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