Emergency Management Solutions Newsletter
Volume 12 No.10
October 2020
L. Canton Photo 2013

Welcome to the October edition of Emergency Management Solutions.

In just a few days, voters will decide the future of the United States for the next four years. As we know, every presidential election has the potential to bring profound changes to emergency management policy in the US and we must be prepared for this. This election is one of the most crucial in US history and I urge my US colleagues to vote and encourage others to do so. No matter the outcome, our commitment to emergency management will not change and we will still need each other. We cannot let the election results divide us.

Given the possibility of EM policy shifts, I've devoted my article this month to considering the role that emergency managers must play in dealing with political change. Tim Riecker makes a case for the use of incident management advisors, a concept that I strongly support. The presence of experienced incident managers in my planning unit made all the difference to our response in Hurricane Iniki, A story for another day...This month Erik Bernstein provides a case study that emphasizes the importance of how you craft your message in the initial stage of a crisis.

Be well!
Lucien Canton
Featured Articles
Canton On Emergency Management
Politics and the Emergency Manager
By Lucien G. Canton

“I’m just an emergency manager. I do my job and stay out of politics.” How many times have you heard someone say this? How many times have you said it? I know I have. We like to think that in the provision of disaster relief, we are apolitical, and that politics doesn’t come into it. However, the truth is that no matter how we may wish otherwise, political awareness and participation in the political process is an integral part of an emergency manager’s job.

The presence of politics in emergency management is most obvious on the national level. There are quite a few research papers that demonstrate a correlation between presidential disaster declarations and election years and battleground states. Further, consider the recent threats by President Trump to withhold relief funding for the wildfires in California and the delay in the provision of relief funding to Puerto Rico.

One would expect politics to influence national disaster relief policy. But does this mean that a local emergency manager needs to be involved in politics? The answer is most definitely. “Yes.”
Exploring Emergency Management and Homeland Security
Incident Management Advisors
By Timothy "Tim" Riecker

It’s frustrating to see poor incident management practices. For years I’ve reviewed plans that have wild org charts supposedly based on the Incident Command System (ICS); have conducted advanced-level training with seasoned professionals that still don’t grasp the basic concepts; have conducted and evaluated exercises and participated in incident responses in which people clearly don’t understand how to implement the most foundational aspects of ICS. On a regular basis, especially since people know my focus on the subject, I’m told of incident management practices that range from sad to ridiculous.

Certainly not everyone gets it wrong. I’ve seen plans, met people, and witnessed exercises and incidents in which people clearly understand the concepts of ICS and know how to put it into action. ICS is a machine, but it takes deliberate and constant action to make it work. It has no cruise control or auto pilot, either. Sometimes just getting the incident management organization to stay the course is a job unto itself.

If you are new here, I’ve written plenty on the topic. Here’s a few things to get you pointed in the right direction if you want to read more.

As I’ve mentioned in other posts, it’s unrealistic for us to expect most local jurisdictions to assemble and maintain anything close to a formal incident management team. We need, instead, to focus on improving implementation of foundational ICS concepts at the local level...
© 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

Universal Health Services Ransomware Crisis — Communications for an Industry Threat
By Erik Bernstein

Universal Health Services (UHS) is one of the United States’ largest health care providers, with 26 acute care hospitals, 328 behavioral health facilities, and 42 outpatient facilities. so when media reports of a ransomware attack impacting its facilities began to appear, saying impacted audiences were concerned would be an understatement.

One of the first questions we often get in situations like this is, “Do we even have to say anything?”. And, without much ado, the answer is, “Yes”. Aside from any legal and ethical obligations, it’s the crisis management move that eliminates the most potential for damage. The story’s already in the news, and you have a widespread organization with thousands of employees, all of whom are allegedly impacted. The audiences that matter to you are going to hear the bad news anyways, and it’s better they hear it from you, in full, without any rumor, misinformation, or games of telephone muddying the waters. By moving quickly to become the source of information for key stakeholders, you prevent a long list of troubles that develop when people get their news from outside sources.

UHS got a statement out, they got it out fast, and they made it easy to find. Big plus. They also clearly point out who to contact for more information, something many miss when they’re rushing to get a message together. The statement shares the facts as they were known at the time, and it addresses the number one concern of their most important audience (see if you can spot it). Before we go any further, let’s take a look:

The IT network across Universal Health Services (UHS) facilities is currently offline due to an IT security issue.

We implement extensive IT security protocols and are working diligently with our IT security partners to restore IT operations as quickly as possible. In the meantime, our facilities are using their established backup processes including offline documentation methods. Patient care continues to be delivered safely and effectively.

No patient or employee data appears to have been accessed, copied or misused.
© 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
Top 5 Facts: 1992 LA Riots

This short video on the LA riots in 1992 gives some indication of the impact that a riot can have on a community, both immediately and long term. It also touches on the complexity of the issues involved and the underlying social and racial tensions that fueled the riot, such as the conflict between the Korean and Black communities and between minority communities and the Los Angeles police.
Professional Development
Emergency Management Institute Announces the IS-2901 Introduction to Community Lifelines online course
IS-2901, Introduction to Community Lifelines, introduces the Community Lifelines construct, an outcome-driven response structure used to achieve incident stabilization. This course provides an overview of the seven (7) Community Lifelines, including how they promote the importance of situational awareness, prioritization of response efforts, and decision-making processes during a disaster response to work toward incident stabilization.

Training Opportunity - Course K2300 FY2021 Intermediate EOC Functions
(virtually facilitated)
The K2300 Intermediate Emergency Operations Center Functions is a five (5) day course with the goal of assisting individuals and jurisdictions who desire to develop or improve their Emergency Operation Centers (EOC). By the end of the course, students will be able to demonstrate, through activities and a Final Exam, the managerial and operational roles of the modern-day EOC as a NIMS Command and Coordination functional group operating within a Multiagency Coordination System (MACS). Read more in Training Opportunity 1610.
Professional Development Opportunities
Virtual Conference
Nov. 16-18, 2020
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
The Los Angeles Riots: Lessons for the Urban Future
Edited by Mark Baldassare

In this time of civil unrest fueled by racial tensions, I thought it might be useful to revisit the lessons from the Los Angeles riots of 1992. As you may recall, the acquittal of four officers who were charged with brutally beating a Black driver during an arrest led to five days of rioting, resulting in 63 deaths, 2,383 injured, and over 12,000 arrests. Property damage was estimated of over $1 billion. This book, written two years after the riots, is an attempt to analyze the causes and impact of the riots.

Normally, academic anthologies can be very dry and a tough read. This is not the case here. Each chapter is very focused and the information in each is fascinating. The key lesson from the book is that the riots were not driven solely by race but rather the complex community dynamics that existed in Los Angeles at the time. While racial violence was the initiating trigger, the majority of those arrested were young Hispanic males and almost all the destruction was directed against the Korean community which had not integrated well with the local neighborhoods and were viewed as outsiders.

While not a major focus of the book, the authors do offer some insights into the failed police response, emphasizing that a more rapid and coherent response might have prevented the escalation of the violence. They also draw comparisons between the 1992 riots and the previous 1965 Watts riots.

While this book does not necessarily parallel the problems we face in 2020, it suggests that many of the assumptions we are making about our current civil disturbances may be too simplistic and that we need to better understand the underlying causes that are driving them.
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