Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I have been re-reading a couple of Chubbm's blog posts on R4 Resilience. What Mr. Chubb drives home in both of these articles rings very true with this Recovery professional. I have been writing for some time on the theme of Holistic Recovery and the need to be innovative and even daring when faced with the task of recovering from a catastrophic event.

Pehaps the first phase is to bring Recovery truly under the Emergency Management umbrella and spend as much effort on having excellent recovery programs as we do in preparedness, response and mitigation.

I highly recommend Failure is Fertilizer and Recovery: 8 Principles vs. 12 Steps as primers for more engagement on Natural Disaster Recovery.

Monday, March 29, 2010


Not having the budget to trek down under to hear Ken Simpson’s presentation to the BCI Summit, I have settled for the next best thing…I reviewed his slide deck at Contemplating.

As with my previous post on a Profession in Transition, Ken subtly (at least without a script or speaker’s notes it appears subtle) suggests that EM and BCM are converging. I work at a rather complex level service delivery and I can tell you that when we examined our maturing BCM program it led to a similar convergence. So much so that Emergency Managers are cross training as Business Continuity Managers and taking ownership of the whole BCM program as a sub-component of the Disaster Management program.

This was done when it appeared to the EM world that BCM seemed to be satisfied once the plan was written. In fairness the task of developing a BCM program in our organization was enormous and as a result the focus was tended to be on compliance. This level of satisfaction was seen as complacency which frightened the Emergency Management crowd; you know the ones who see cascading effects around every corner and seem to want to push the dynamic nature of disasters (wicked problems) on the BCM planners.

It has yet to be tested, but it would appear that though this example of convergence, we paid attention to the techniques and processes of BCM while applying the more general concepts of EM to the finished BCM plans.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Profession in Transition?

I have just finished reviewing the results of the 2009-2010 Preparedness, Security and Crisis Communications a survey co-sponsored by Honeywell. The results are interesting and show a continuing trend towards all hazards approach to Emergency Management.

As a relative new comer to the profession of Emergency Management I have been intrigued by the specialization and competition amongst the various fields that contribute to the preparedness field. I often wondered why the various specializations seemed to want to claim primacy where in fact all contribute to the field of Emergency Management.

Being a former soldier I pictured this as the various branches of Armor, Infantry, Artillery and Engineers all clambering to prove they are the most important component of the Army. But as any true soldier knows its only when the four arms are combined and supported by the necessary resources is the full power (resilience) of the whole Army truly on display.

Perhaps what the client group is trying to tell our profession is that they need a whole solution to their preparedness challenges and the focus should shift from specific BCM, IT or crisis communications to a broad all hazards approach to the task.

I wonder if this is true Emergency Management?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tsunami and the Prairie Boy

I was recently visiting with a friend who happened to be in Hawaii during the tsunami warnings after the earthquake in Chile.

Being that we are both landlocked prairie boys the idea of a tsunami is exotic and frightening at the same time. So when my friend and his wife were woken by sirens in Waikiki that morning they were more than a little concerned. I don’t know about you but like most prairie boys, that was my friend’s first tsunami warning and he didn’t know what to expect. Being from the Red River Valley, our water emergencies are generally slow moving and predictable floods that we spend weeks and months predicting. The image of a tsunami for a flatlander was a vision of a fast moving wall of water due to arrive at any minute.

Turing on the TV, my friends was immediately comforted by the well prepared and informative public information being broadcast on the local channels. The hotel staff was well prepared and gave detailed instructions on the tsunami plan for the hotel guests. It appeared that every detail was taken care of including designated evacuation routes and locations identified on high ground . This was supported by regular updates on the preparations and status to the public through the media.

We know now that the tsunami had little impact in Hawaii, but in the moment I can tell you my friend was comforted by the scale of the preparations and the professional attitude of the islanders. So well done to the Emergency Managers of Hawaii and all those who worked so hard to be ready in case!