Emergency Management Solutions Newsletter

Volume 15 No. 11

November 2023

Hello Lucien,

Welcome to the November edition of Emergency Management Solutions.

Like most US citizens, I paused this month to celebrate our holiday of Thanksgiving with my family. It's become popular in the US to denigrate most of our holidays because of a misguided sense of guilt over past wrongs. Thanksgiving has come under criticism because of its association with our colonial period and mistreatment of indigenous peoples.

I believe this view misses the point. The harvest time has always been a traditional period of celebration going back centuries and feasts of thanksgiving were celebrated both in Europe and North America long before the 1621 feast that the holiday commemorates.

It is time we disassociated the myth from the true intent of the holiday. Regardless of where you fall on the issue, I believe it is important, particularly in these troubled times, to pause and reflect on the past year and see the good that has occurred. We are so distracted by current events and thoughts of the future that we sometimes forget there are good things in life and that we have, in some small measure, contributed to them.

This idea of pausing to consider the past is the thrust of my article this month. Tim Riecker reminds us that while COVID is fading from public consciousness it is important that we as emergency managers remember and internalize the lessons we learned during the pandemic. Erik Bernstein offers examples of good and bad crisis management decisions that might offer some ideas for tabletop exercises.

Be well!

Lucien Canton
Featured Articles
L. Canton Photo 2013

Canton on Emergency Management

By Lucien G. Canton, CEM

Looking Backwards to See Forward

Many years ago, I attended an employee training session in which I was introduced to the concept that people could be roughly divided into four different communications styles or value orientations. While I believe that people are too complex and individualistic to be conveniently placed in distinct boxes, over the years I have found this concept a useful tool in interacting with others and one that has some important lessons for emergency managers.

In his 1980 book Training for the Cross-Cultural Mind: A Handbook for Cross-Cultural Trainers and Consultants, Professor Pierre Casse identified the four communications styles as:

  1. Action – oriented towards objectives, results, and accomplishments
  2. Process - oriented towards facts, procedures, and planning
  3. People – oriented towards social processes, communication, and teamwork 
  4. Idea – oriented towards concepts, theories, and innovations
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© 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

Applying What We’ve Learned

The COVID-19 pandemic shattered so many of our planning assumptions. Not only assumptions on how a virus would act, spread, and react, but also assumptions on human behavior. Many of our plans accounted for security in the transportation and distribution of vaccines to address theft and violence caused by people who would commit these acts to get their hands on the vaccine (perhaps too many apocalyptic movies led us to this assumption?), we also falsely assumed that everyone would want the vaccine. The political divisiveness, faux science, misinformation, disinformation, and members of the public simply not caring enough for each other to take simple actions to prevent spread were largely unanticipated.

I think that had the virus been different, we would have seen things align better with our assumptions. Had the symptoms of the virus been more apparent, and had the mortality rate been higher, I think we would have seen more people wanting to protect themselves and each other. Would this have been fully aligned with our earlier assumptions? No. I think that we’ve learned that human behaviors aren’t as easy to generalize, but also the societal and political climate we are in, not just in the US but in many other nations around the world would have still perpetuated many of the problems we have and continue to see during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Click here to read the rest of this article

© 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

Crisis Communication Examples – The Good and the…Not So Good

In the realm of public relations and brand management, crisis communication plays a critical role. A well-handled crisis can significantly mitigate damage to a brand’s reputation, while a poorly managed one can amplify the negative impact. This post will explore some notable crisis communication examples from well-known brands in recent years, highlighting both effective and…let’s just say “not so effective” approaches.

1. A Lack of Communication: Facebook (Cambridge Analytica Scandal, 2018)

Situation: Facebook was embroiled in a scandal when it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica had improperly accessed the data of millions of users.

Response: CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s response came five days later: “We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you.” This delay in response was widely criticized for its lack of immediacy and transparency.

Outcome: Facebook’s reputation suffered, highlighting how slow response and defensive posture in crisis communication can lead to a loss of public trust.

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

Volcanic eruptions in Iceland lead scientists to startling discoveries | 60 Minutes

Bill Whitaker was there as lava flowed from a volcano in Iceland in 2021, covering the landscape in molten rock. He returned to see what scientists have learned from the eruption.

Following a three-week period of increased seismic activity, an eruption fissure developed near Fagradalsfjall, a mountain on the Reykjanes Peninsula. Lava flow from a 200-meter fissure was first discovered by an Icelandic Coast Guard helicopter on March 19, 2021 in the Geldingadalur area near Grindavík, and within hours the fissure had grown to 500 meters in length.

Professional Development

FEMA launches NIMS Resource Management Survey to collect feedback on NIMS guidance and tools

Since the publication of the third version of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) in 2017, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has received stakeholder feedback indicating that some organizations may be facing challenges with implementing the resource management component of NIMS, particularly the typing, inventorying, and tracking of response assets.

On Oct. 3, FEMA’s National Integration Center released the 2023 NIMS Resource Management Survey. The survey offers jurisdictions an opportunity to recommend enhancements for NIMS programming. This includes the National Qualification System (NQS), resource typing, mutual aid, emergency operations center (EOC) skillsets and tools, and more.

The survey is hosted on FEMA’s Preparedness Toolkit website, which is also where FEMA’s NIMS doctrine, guidance, and tools are housed. In the first page of the survey, FEMA lists its tools and guidance documents that specifically support the resource management component of NIMS. To access and review this suite of guidance and tools, see the links provided in the survey, or visit the Resource Management section of the Preparedness Toolkit website.

The survey will remain open until FEMA collects 1000 responses. To participate, please visit https://preptoolkit.fema.gov/web/nims-toolkit/nims-survey.

Questions can be directed to the NIMS Inbox at [email protected]. If you previously completed the survey in response to an earlier request for feedback, please contact the NIMS Inbox to ensure your submission has been captured.

FEMA Releases Planning Considerations for Cyber Incidents: Guidance for Emergency Managers

FEMA is releasing “Planning Considerations for Cyber Incidents: Guidance for Emergency Managers.” Developed in coordination with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), this document provides state, local, tribal and territorial emergency managers with foundational knowledge of cyber incidents to increase cyber preparedness efforts in their jurisdictions.

Key aspects of cyber incident preparedness included in the document are:

  • Understanding the types of cyber incidents likely to occur;
  • Engaging service owners and operators;
  • Identifying cyber dependent critical services and related dependencies;
  • Prioritizing and planning for service and system disruptions;
  • Identifying roles and responsibilities;
  • Providing integrated communication and public messaging; and
  • Developing a cyber incident response plan.

FEMA, in cooperation with CISA, will host several 60-minute webinars to provide an overview of the guide and supporting materials.

To download guide and supporting materials, and learn more about the webinar sessions, please visit the FEMA website at https://www.fema.gov/emergency-managers/national-preparedness/plan.


Special Issue - Turkey and Syria Earthquakes of February 2023

The Journal of Emergency Management (JEM) Editorial Review Board invites the submission of original research, papers, and case studies supporting a special issue titled: “Analysis of Pre- and Post-Disaster Management and Recovery for the Turkey and Syria Earthquakes of February 2023.” This special issue is led by Dr. Derin Ural, Disaster Researcher, Professor in Practice, and Associate Dean of Student Affairs, College of Engineering, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida and our Editor-in-Chief, Dr. William L. Waugh, Jr.

Special Issue - Leaving Nobody Behind: Emergency Management in an Inclusive Way

The Journal of Emergency Management (JEM) Editorial Review Board invites the submission of original research, papers, and case studies supporting a special issue titled: Leaving Nobody Behind: Emergency Management in an Inclusive Way. The special issue will be led by guest editor Sonny S. Patel, MPH, MPhil, who has extensive experience as an emergency management and disaster risk reduction practitioner. 

Special Issue - Climate Change and Sustainability in Emergency Management

The Journal of Emergency Management (JEM) Editorial Review Board invites the submission of original research, papers, and case studies supporting a special issue titled: Emergency Management, Climate Change and Sustainability – Integrating New Research to Mitigate Disasters and Protect the Planet. The special issue will focus on the intersection of Emergency Management and Climate Change as well as the trend toward integrating new, leading edge, sustainability research and practice into pre-disaster planning and mitigation and post-disaster reconstruction. The special issue will be led by guest editor, Professor Attila J. Hertelendy, PhD, MHA, MS, who has extensive experience as an emergency management and disaster medicine practitioner and an academic researcher with the Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education, Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health.

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.

From The Bookshelf

Emergency Management: The American Experience 3rd Edition

by Claire B. Rubin, Editor

The spate of disaster events ranging from major to catastrophic that have occurred in recent years raises a lot of questions about where and why they happened. Understanding the history of emergency management policies and practice is important to an understanding of current and future policies and practice.

Continuing in the footsteps of its popular predecessors, the new edition of Emergency Management: The American Experience provides the background to understand the key political and policy underpinnings of emergency management, exploring how major "focusing events" have shaped the field of emergency management. This edition builds on the original theoretical framework and chronological approach of previous editions, while enhancing the discussions through the addition of fresh information about the effects and outcomes of older events, such as Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill. The final chapters offer insightful discussion of the public administration concepts of emergency management in the U.S. and of the evolving federal role in emergency management.

Like its predecessors, the third edition of Emergency Management is a trusted and required text to understand the formation and continuing improvement of the American national emergency management system.

About the Author

Claire B. Rubin is president of Claire B. Rubin & Associates, LLC (clairerubin.com), a small business specializing in disaster research and consulting located in Arlington, Virginia. She is a social scientist with more than forty years of experience in emergency management and homeland security. Her experience includes independent researcher, consultant, practitioner, and educator. She was affiliated with The George Washington University’s Institute for Crisis, Disaster, and Risk Management from 1998 through 2014. In recent years, her firm has produced a variety of educational products and services. She maintains the blog on disaster recovery called Recovery Diva.

Ms. Rubin is the author or editor of three books, has written almost 100 additional articles, and has presented numerous lectures on emergency management and homeland security topics. She was the co-founder and Managing Editor of the Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. She holds a BS degree from Simmons College and an MA from Boston University.

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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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©Lucien G. Canton 2023. All rights reserved.
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