Is it possible that governments can be innovative? I know that many in the general public see government employees as just drones, doing what they are told. However, having served in governments for most of my life I'd say there are an entirely different set of employees who are really in the majority. These are people who want to make things better if only they are given the opportunity to be creative and change things up.
- People are creative outside of work, why can't they be creative at work--even in government?
- Innovation is not imposed from the top
- Learning from others is key. Read a great deal of what other countries and governments and businesses are doing. Get your people to conferences so they pick up new ideas
- When it comes time to cut the budget, don't cut investments in people. Things like training and skill building are critical to your long-term success.
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GAO recently issued a report on the Transportation Worker Identification Card (TWIC) and the biometric readers that are supposed to fielded within the transportation field. See TRANSPORTATION WORKER IDENTIFICATION
If this were a thriller the villain would be the TWIC card and its side kick the biometric reader. The Feds continue to press on, but I think when Congress gets to the hearing process there will be a real problem because the advocates for the TWIC reader are far and few between.
If the biometric readers do crash and burn it will leave us with a very expensive "flash pass" form of identification.
The next chapter in the saga will be coming soon.
It is a basic assumption that "almost" all insurance programs follow. Those that want insurance pay premiums that are sufficient to reimburse any losses to the insurance fund. Without those payments the fund will rapidly go broke.
Which brings us to the National Flood Insurance Program. This is a program that does not pay its way and is going deeper in debt because of large "repetitive" losses to properties that are insured and then backed by the Federal government. It is the citizens of the United States that are paying the premiums for those who either want to live by the water or can't afford to move away.
See Louisiana Democrat Mary L. Landrieu has revamped her amendment to freeze flood insurance rates for five years for a plan to continue to fund these losses for another five years. The problem with all entitlement programs is that we get addicted to them. They become a "right" and not just a benefit.
If we were to do one thing to 'right the emergency management ship' and how we address disaster recovery and resiliency in this nation it would be to have the national flood insurance be funded by the people at risk. This of course includes my son who chose to live in a flood zone. It is a beautiful place to live 99.999% of the time. There hasn't been a flood event there in the history of the house that dates back to 1932. Where have you heard that before?
Well, OK not exactly "zip lock" but certainly no zipper. The word "shrink wrapped" came to mind, but that too is not accurate. See BioSeal for an alternative solution for the tradition black body bag.
The product has a shelf life of 49 years so this is a tool (?) you might want to have in storage for a future event when you might need them. The benefits include:
- Takes up little space
- Totally contains body fluids
- Ability to know if the body has been tampered with
One of the new realities is that social media is letting citizens self-organize to respond to disasters. Sometimes this is ad hoc and more and more there are systems that exist to help people connect and contribute before an event occurs.
See this Christian Science Monitor article Social media and disasters: When a small post can spur hope
In that article there is a link to Sparkrelief a website that help people help others in a time of disaster. What this means is that we are not talking about the future, but the here and now. It was not that long ago that the only thing that emergency managers feared was an influx of donated goods that they would have to sort through. While that potential still exists, you might also get an army of volunteers these days to help with the donations and many other aspects of disaster recovery and relief.
It is time we embrace the opportunity to have citizen engagement!
Kellee M. Franklin shared the link to the article.
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I was expecting that the FFY 2013 Homeland Security Grant Guidance was going to be released by May 10th. Now I hear it is delayed and not expected until May 20th.
Remember that FEMA needs to make all the allocation decisions and notifications of awards by September 30th, so this will be a quick turn-around for everyone.
If you are like me, you might like to peruse the digital edition of Emergency Management Magazine before the print edition ends up in your mail box.
The latest May-June Edition of Emergency Management Magazine is on the web!
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Our last transition will always be death and so it was for Kenny Shaw, the longtime serving Dallas Emergency Management Director
Kenny was a very well known and nationally respected emergency manager. I only met him once briefly when I facilitated a Big Cities Emergency Managers session a few years back. How I mainly knew Kenny was via his frequent sharing of information to a broad range of people via email. It was that aspect of the man that I admired. Freely giving of himself and his knowledge.
It seems like only a few months back that I got an email from him saying he would not be sending any more emails and that his illness was making it too difficult. I did not understand at that point how ill he was.
Now is a good time to remember to tell others around you that you love and respect them for what they do in emergency management. The time will come soon enough that our own time to contribute will also end and if we can leave one legacy it is that we shared what we knew and appreciated others for their contributions.
God's speed Kenny Shaw!
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I see security and emergency management becoming much more aligned in the future. This goes beyond having a good relationship with your local police department or sharing grant funding with a broad spectrum of law enforcement.
With better weather here or just around the corner the number of open air events will dramatically rise. My fear coming out of the Boston Bombing is copycat kooks who want to make a name for themselves and see a way now to do it.
Here are some tips for dealing with outdoor events from a security expert:
James McGee is a former FBI Special Agent and frequently published author, see Security Management for sports and Special Events
I'm going to be giving a talk at the Emergency Management Magazine's Seattle Summit, this coming Tuesday. My topic is Trends and Challenges in Emergency Management. One of the things I'll be talking about is the move towards accreditation and certification within our government discipline of emergency management. It is already there within the private sector's business continuity programs. Of course, we also have the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP)
If you didn't already know it, the primary document that provides a legal basis for what an emergency management or business continuity program should look like it is NFPA 1600: Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs And, there is new updated 2013 edition! Yes, for you App lovers, there is an NFPA 1600 App
Provisions in the document cover the development, implementation, assessment, and maintenance of programs for prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, continuity, and recovery.
Don Schmidt, chair of the NFPA 1600 technical committee shared the link above to the new standard.
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State officials hope to create a first-of-its-kind comprehensive framework to bolster cybersecurity efforts while maintaining strong relationships with local government and the private sector.
The Golden Guardian exercise helps California agencies practice emergency response and recovery after a simulated earthquake hits the San Francisco Bay Area.
Pamela Jenkins, research professor of sociology, addresses the “unevenness of the recovery” in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.