Emergency Management Solutions Newsletter
Volume 12 No.11
November 2020
L. Canton Photo 2013

Welcome to the November edition of Emergency Management Solutions.

Like many in the United States, I spent part of Thanksgiving reflecting on the good things that have happened over the past year. There is no question that 2020 has been one for the books between social upheavals and natural disasters and, of course, COVID-19. As emergency managers, we focus so much on the immediate crisis and on the future that it is essential that sometimes we look back on what we have actually accomplished and the things that have gone well. If you have not taken time to do so, you should. It helps keep things in perspective.

Speaking of perspective, we can expect changes ahead as we transition to a new presidential administration in 2021. Tim Riecker devotes his column this month to priorities that he hopes the new administration will focus on. Erik Bernstein's father, Johnathan Bernstein, contributes a guest column on how to select a crisis management consultant. With the coming of the winter storm season. I thought it might be useful to consider how we manage personnel in sustained operations.

COVID has changed many of the ways we do business but, like most crises, it also offers some opportunities. If you've never had the opportunity to attend the annual conference of the International Association of Emergency Managers, now is your chance. IAEM is offering over 40 hours of recorded sessions on demand until February 16th for a minimal investment. Details are in the Professional Development section.

Be well!
Lucien Canton
Featured Articles
Canton On Emergency Management
Sustained Operations
By Lucien G. Canton

With over nine months of COVID response I am sure that many of my colleagues have relearned the painful lessons associated with sustained operations. The simple fact is that many crises are of limited duration and it is possible for emergency operations center staff to “power through” the response. But when the situation is long or of uncertain duration, such as the winter storms that we can anticipate, the dynamic changes.

I thought that it might be helpful to recall some of the lessons I have learned about sustained operations from my time with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, particularly those concerning people.

Granted, operations in a regional operations center or a Joint Field Office are not quite the same as those in an EOC. However, there are parallels with levels of intensity and shifting priorities. Think of it in terms of a business requirement to establish a corporate office and multiple branches within a week and then to sustain that organization through a growth phase and eventual downsizing. Priorities and operational tempo will change overtime and the need to adapt will be critical.
Exploring Emergency Management and Homeland Security
Six Emergency Management Priorities for the Next Administration
By Timothy "Tim" Riecker

New administrations get to identify their priorities for various areas of focus… this can be both good and bad. It’s not a simple thing. New priorities should embrace progress, while ensuring that certain existing priorities, programs, and projects remain. Yes, some existing programs may deserve to be scrubbed, but far too often we see administrations go ‘clean slate’ doing away wholesale with what has been implemented by their predecessor or their predecessor’s predecessor. Emergency management requires consistency, yet we also require progress. It has been frustrating through the years to see many good practices discarded simply because they were a priority of another administration, and new practices introduced that aren’t well thought through, simply because it was someone’s good idea or they wanted to put their name on something. Emergency management (and I suppose most others) is an area of practice that must embrace forward looking consistency if that makes much sense. Sometimes tradition needs to be dragged along kicking and screaming, while new practices need to integrate with legacy implementations, lest we continue to create a never-ending complexity of stove piped programs with little to no connective tissue.

Before I jump into the pool, I also want to acknowledge that no one person can obviously be knowledgeable of all the issues facing an area of practice. It requires not just an advisor, but a team of advisors – practitioners with a range of experience and experiences as well as academics. Emergency management is not only a government activity. Emergency management is not only pulled out of the toolbox when a disaster occurs. Emergency management also has more connections to other program areas than arguably any other practice. There is a lot to see and a lot to contextualize.

So on to our show…

Coronavirus/COVID 19
Obviously, this is THE priority of the incoming administration. I’m not going to go on at length about this since I’m pretty sure we’re all aware of the issues, complexities, etc. What I will encourage here is thinking comprehensively. This is a public health crisis, but the solution is not just in the realm of public health. There needs to be a better recognition of the role of emergency management in addressing problems and being part of the solutions, including vaccine distribution. These kinds of logistics are a big part of what emergency management does, so they don’t need to be recreated. Given the scope of this effort, the private sector will be huge partners in this as well. A national-level effort for after action reviews for the pandemic will also be important. Yes, there are a lot of lessons learned that can be put over the whole nation (and even the world), but there are plenty of other lessons...
© 2020 -  Timothy Riecker, CEDP

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.
Bernstein Crisis Management

5 Tips: How to Select a Crisis Management Consultant
By Erik Bernstein

(This month's column is by Johnathan Bernstein, Founder and Chairman of Bernstein Crisis Management)

First, what IS a crisis management consultant, at least in the world of PR? Well, the best analogy we’ve ever seen is that of firefighting. If you want to prevent fires, you get a fire inspector to visit. If you want to respond to fires, you also call the Fire Department, the part with all the bells and sirens. So it is with crisis prevention and crisis response – a complete crisis management practice includes people expert in both crisis prevention and response.

How do you know you’ve found a crisis management consultant who’s right for you? Look for:
  1. Are they specialists, is crisis management (in all its forms) all they do? Traditional PR is QUITE different and expertise in proactive, traditional PR does not give practitioners the experience or training needed to be crisis management consultants.
  2. What is their pricing model? Crisis management tends to be one of the best-paid specialties in public relations. Agencies that have actual office space with “brick and mortar” to support tend to have higher rates and also like to insist on minimum monthly retainers. Smaller, independent and/or virtual (no office space) agencies can charge less for equally skilled practitioners but may lack the depth of other resources offered by a larger firm. Top practitioners in the field tend to command hourly rates in the range of $350-700 hourly.
  3. How nimble are they? One quick indication – how quickly do they respond when you first submit an email inquiry or leave a voicemail after hours? Minutes? Hours? The next day? When retained, can they respond to client needs, 24/7, in all the geographic areas of interest to the client?
  4. Do they demonstrate an understanding of the full scope of crisis management activities? Some agencies now seem to be so focused on the Internet side of communications – which, of course, is critical – that they forget how much messaging still needs to be done in-person, by phone or by email directly with stakeholders. They also rely on reputation management tools that only measure the impact of reputation online, while the only way to fully understand how your reputation has been impacted is to directly ask your stakeholders.
  5. Do they have references relevant to your needs, to include from some long-term clients? I have actually been surprised at the number of times I’ve heard, from those we consider to be potential crisis management consultants/subcontractors for our agency, that “our clients are confidential, so we can’t give out references.” Bull. The sensitive legal considerations for many crisis situations do, in fact, preclude giving out that client’s contact information, but in our experience there are always clients willing to speak to one of our new business prospects if we give them a heads up in advance.

If you get those answers answered to your satisfaction, you’ll be an important step forward in ensuring you’re not disappointed with your selection of a crisis management consultant.
© 2020 - Erik Bernstein

Erik Bernstein is Vice President of Bernstein Crisis Management, a specialized firm dedicated to providing holistic strategies for managing crisis situations.
Featured Video
The Blizzard of '49

The Blizzard of 1949 is considered one of the worst on record for the northern Plains. The first storm began January 2 and continued through January 5, with heavy snow, strong winds and cold temperatures. Subsequent storms through mid-February produced enormous snow drifts that paralyzed much of the region. Roads and railroads were blocked, so airplanes were used to bring food and medical supplies to isolated towns and hay to livestock.

This video contains much that will be of interest to emergency managers. It covers official response, such as the Governor's declaration of emergency, the use of the Civil Air Patrol, and support from the private sector as well as the response of local communities and individuals.
Professional Development
FEMA Seeks Stakeholder Feedback on the Updated "Comprehensive Preparedness Guide 101
FEMA is seeking feedback on the updated Comprehensive Preparedness Guide (CPG) 101: Developing and Maintaining Emergency Operations Plans. CPG 101 provides guidelines on developing emergency operations plans and promotes a common understanding of the fundamentals of community-based, risk-informed planning and decision making to help planners examine a threat or hazard and produce integrated, coordinated and synchronized plans.

This draft was recently updated to align with new and updated policies and programs, providing additional tools that operationalizes the document, and maintaining the flexibility and scalability of the document while expanding on the role of whole community partners.

FEMA will host a series of 60-minute webinar sessions to discuss changes to the updated CPG 101 and gather feedback from whole community partners. The sessions will include facilitated discussions with stakeholders to help improve the existing draft. A line numbered version of the CPG 101 is available to allow individuals to provide comments on specific areas within the document. This national engagement period will conclude at 5 p.m. ET on Monday, January 25, 2021.

To review the document, download the comment form and learn more about the webinar sessions, please visit the FEMA website at www.fema.gov/emergency-managers/national-preparedness/plan.

Some Thoughts on the New Draft of CPG 101
By Tim Riecker
This latest draft incorporates some newer policies and programs not included in last year’s revision. I was pleased to see that some of the items from my feedback (and I’m certain from many others) was integrated into this draft. Some parts of the document were expanded or restructured, while other aspects were appropriately reduced (like excessive reiteration of national-level plans). It’s a much better draft than the one we saw a year ago. That said, there are some changes I’d still like to see.

Perhaps it was simply because this document is a draft, but a number of the graphics they have reused from other documents were grainy and low resolution. Clearly, they should have access to the source files for those graphics. If not, they need to redevelop them. Aside from that aesthetic feedback, I’d like to see the document written less doctrinal and more as a tool – especially considering that most people referencing the document are likely to be less experienced planners. The document needs more references, job aids, and best practices identified. This draft does include quite a number of checklists, but those are only integrated within the text of the document. I feel those should also be included as an attachment that planners can ‘pull out’ of the main document and use as their primary reference. I’d also like to see clearer connections with other doctrine, policy, and practices, such as NIMS, THIRA, Community Lifelines, integrated preparedness plans, etc. While most of these are identified in the document, the contextualization needs to be amplified, reinforcing that these aren’t necessarily all ‘standalone’ applications or practices; that they are best utilized when specific linkages can be identified and exploited. It’s the utility for less experienced planners that I feel most strongly about.
Professional Development Opportunities
IAEM Annual Conference on Demand
It's not too late too enjoy over 40 hours of training sessions from this year's IAEM conference. Video sessions are available on demand until February 16 for only $199, $99 for students. Register at Registration Fees (iaem.org)

EMAP Emergency Management Standard Virtual Cohort Training
Dec. 2, 2020, 12:00-5:00 p.m. EST
Virtual Event
EMAP will be providing four virtual cohort trainings on the 2019 Emergency Management Standard from August through November 2020. The goal of these virtual cohort trainings is to train accreditation managers, assessors, and program staff on the 2019 Emergency Management Standard in a safe environment during these unprecedented times. Each virtual cohort training will be four weeks in length, requiring the participation of attendees for one (1) afternoon session and small group work weekly. At the completion of the virtual cohort training, participants may be certified as an Accreditation Manager and/or Assessor. The virtual cohort training registration fee is $250. If you would be interested in participating in the virtual cohort training, please complete the survey found here. If you have questions about the virtual cohort training, please contact emap@emap.org.

DHS/CISA Active Shooter Preparedness Webinar
Dec. 2, 2020, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. EST
Dec. 3, 2020, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. EST
Virtual Event
Dec. 2, 2020: register | download flyer; Dec. 3, 2020: register | download flyer
The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Region VII has scheduled two sessions of its two-hour condensed virtual version of its eight-hour in-person training to enhance awareness of and response to an active shooter event.

46th Annual Natural Hazards Workshop
Omni Interlocken Hotel, Broomfield, Colorado
Sunday, July 11 through Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Grand Rapids, Michigan
Oct 15-20, 2021
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.
Blog Highlights
Canton blog masthead
It's The End of the World!

In 1978, historian Barbara Tuchman published a book called A Distant Mirror: the Calamitous 14th Century that provided a portrait of Western Europe in the 1300's. Tuchman's premise was that the 14th century in many ways reflected the social...

Read more
EM Blog Masthead
Strategic Crisis Management: Do Emergency Managers Have...

Crisis management is a strategic function that is usually the province of senior leaders. But the skill set emergency managers offer can add value to an organization's crisis response. Although we sometimes use the terms interchangeably, there is ...

Read more
From The Bookshelf
1906: A Novel
by James Dalesandro

With the holidays upon us and with COVID adding more stress to the normal madness, I thought it might be useful to remind my colleagues that the single-minded devotion to work that we all suffer from is not always healthy. Sometimes you need to take a break and do something just for fun. Hence, this month's recommended reading is Jim Dalessandro's novel set in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

Dalesandro knows his stuff. Along with historian Gladys Hansen, he was one of the movers behind getting the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to amend the official earthquake death toll from 478 to over 3000. He also wrote, directed, and produced the well-respected PBS documentary The Damnedest, Finest Ruins. This knowledge of history shows in the book, interweaving little known facts into the overall narrative. Dalesandro does take a few liberties with the timeline (for example, Emperor Norton, who died in 1880, makes a brief appearance) but these do not detract and Dalesandro makes note of them in an Afterword.

The plot is a bit light but the book is well written and well researched certainly captures the atmosphere of 1906 San Francisco. It's got it all: political corruption, disaster, crime lords, love, derring-do. If you're looking for an easy and relaxing read with some good emergency management information, check out 1906.
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 or on my SpeakerMatch page
©Lucien G. Canton 2020. 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