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July 2010 Archives
July 10, 2010

It has been pretty slim pickings lately on "Jobs that Eric has Heard About." But here is one. Looks to be for someone with some experience already in the field, not a recent graduate.

Emergency Management Planner - WA (DISASTER PREPAREDNESS & RECOVERY-2)
Job Description


Primary Functions: Supports the development of strategic plans and program documents such as plans, policies, procedures, drawing upon technical insight and understanding in related technical disciplines. May act as project team lead for development of products; function as a group facilitator for meetings and exercises, as required.

RESPONSIBILITIES AND DUTIES Acting independently or as a member of a team, support tasks to include:

* Development of national-level strategic and operational plans, functional and incident specific plans, guidance, policy, SOPs, and job aides

* Development of regional and state level strategic and operational plans, functional and incident specific plans, guidance, policy, SOPs and job aids

* Review and analyze plans and SOPs, etc.

* Facilitate planning meetings, workshops, and seminars

If you thrive on challenge and are motivated, creative, and can hit the ground running, we want you on our team!

Headquartered in New York City, L-3 Communications employs over 66,000 people worldwide and is a prime contractor in aircraft modernization and maintenance, C3ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) systems and government services. L-3 is also a leading provider of high technology products, subsystems and systems. The company reported 2009 sales of $15.6 billion.

L-3 Global Security & Engineering Solutions (GS&ES) is a division of L-3 Communications Corporation. Headquartered in Chantilly, Virginia, L-3 GS&ES has over 2,000 employees throughout the United States and worldwide providing a broad range of technical, analytical, operational, and security services and products to Government and commercial customers. Core capabilities include integrated security solutions and services, engineering and technical services, program management and financial analysis, as well as an array of Homeland Security/Homeland Defense-related products and services.

DISCLAIMER: The above information has been designed to indicate the general nature and level of work performed by employees within this classification. It is not designed to contain or be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities, and qualifications required of employees assigned to this position.

We offer a competitive benefits package that includes: Paid Holidays, Personal Time Off, medical, dental, vision, flexible spending account, long- and short-term disability, company-paid life insurance, 401(k), Employee Stock Purchase Plan, referral bonuses, and tuition reimbursement.

L-3 GS&ES is proud to be an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. L-3 provides equal employment opportunity for all persons, in all facets of employment. L-3 maintains a drug-free workplace and performs pre-employment substance abuse testing and background checks. If you are a qualified individual with a disability or a disabled veteran, and need a reasonable accommodation to use or access our online system, please contact our Human Resources department using the CONTACT US form on our home page, www.L-3com.com/GSES

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS Requires a Bachelor's degree in emergency management, planning or related field and 5 years experience in developing, evaluating and maintaining emergency preparedness plans, policies and facilities. Experience in developing emergency operations plans, strategic, concept, and operational plans, SOPs at the Federal, State, and/or local levels. Outstanding written and verbal communications skills.

Candidates must be a U.S. citizen and be able to successfully complete required background checks.

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS: The ideal candidate will have the following:

* Currently have, or the ability to obtain a Secret clearance if required

* Working Knowledge of the National Response Framework, National Incident Management System (including the Incident Command System), National Preparedness Guidelines and tools

* Travel: Some travel may be required in support of an emergency response for up to 30 days.

Headquartered in New York City, L-3 Communications employs over 66,000 people worldwide and is a prime contractor in aircraft modernization and maintenance, C3ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) systems and government services. L-3 is also a leading provider of high technology products, subsystems and systems. The company reported 2009 sales of $15.6 billion.

L-3 Global Security & Engineering Solutions (GS&ES) is a division of L-3 Communications Corporation. Headquartered in Chantilly, Virginia, L-3 GS&ES has over 2,000 employees throughout the United States and worldwide providing a broad range of technical, analytical, operational, and security services and products to Government and commercial customers. Core capabilities include integrated security solutions and services, engineering and technical services, program management and financial analysis, as well as an array of Homeland Security/Homeland Defense-related products and services.

DISCLAIMER: The above information has been designed to indicate the general nature and level of work performed by employees within this classification. It is not designed to contain or be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities, and qualifications required of employees assigned to this position.

We offer a competitive benefits package that includes: Paid Holidays, Personal Time Off, medical, dental, vision, flexible spending account, long- and short-term disability, company-paid life insurance, 401(k), Employee Stock Purchase Plan, referral bonuses, and tuition reimbursement.

L-3 GS&ES is proud to be an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. L-3 provides equal employment opportunity for all persons, in all facets of employment. L-3 maintains a drug-free workplace and performs pre-employment substance abuse testing and background checks. If you are a qualified individual with a disability or a disabled veteran, and need a reasonable accommodation to use or access our online system, please contact our Human Resources department using the CONTACT US form on our home page, www.L-3com.com/GSES


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July 10, 2010

I see where FEMA is awarding a sole source contract to the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) to develop a National Mitigation Collaborative Alliance

Generally I'm in favor of anything that advances the cause of disaster mitigation. Hopefully this new effort will do that. What we don't need is just another committee that meets, discusses things and then accomplishes nothing. I'm sure that the goals of the alliance intend to reach further than just meeting and talking the issue to death.

What is needed is a concerted effort with federal leadership to keep mitigation at the forefront. What advanced mitigation within emergency management in the first place was the passion that James Lee Witt brought with his single minded emphasis on mitigation.

I remember that when the Bush Administration took over the Project Impact program was called just a marketing ploy. I would argue that "marketing mitigation" is exactly what we need. I once suggested that we have a "Cash for Collapsers" that would help with the seismic retrofitting of our older housing stock.

Time will tell on the new effort--lets hope we are singing its praises five years from now when we share the story on how the National Alliance turned things around and ...


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July 10, 2010

The Homeland Security Policy Institute released a commentary earlier this week THE GULF OIL DISASTER: THREE STEPS TO FEDERAL LEADERSHIP that was written by R. David Paulison and Daniel Kaniewski who are both veterans of the Bush Administration. Paulison headed up FEMA as the Administrator following Katrina.

They make some good points in their commentary. What I see happening is that there is an ad hoc nature to the response that is occurring. The Administration does not want to "own" the disaster--yet they do own it by it happening on their watch. Because they don't want to own it, they are looking to use other methods than the traditional disaster response process that has been honed over the years.

The authors make the point that with an active hurricane season FEMA will likely become involved at one point or another. I can see the disaster recovery debate now. Was the damage that was incurred to property from: wind, rain, storm surge or oil? It could be a whole lot messier than it is already when you add in a natural disaster.

In my opinion FEMA and the Stafford Act will not be added to the mix until there is a natural disaster superimposed on the current oil spill.

Recovery Diva and Bill Cumming both shared this information.


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July 10, 2010

Today someone mentioned the article The Elephant in the JIC which speaks to the issue of reconciling the use of social media with NIMS and ICS control mechanisms.

This is something I've written about before. I heard that this particular article got FEMA's attention and they called the author in to huddle with him about "fixes" to the system.

Don't hold your breath!

If for some reason the link above doesn't work, use this link. You can do a guest registration and view the article.

Lastly it was confirmed for me today that John Shea has left FEMA. He was their social media guy who I had linked with in the past. I'm waiting to hear who is replacing him. If anyone gets wind of a name--send it my way please!


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July 10, 2010

Today I found out that there will be a meeting of the mitigation minds at a "tag on" event here at the Natural Hazards Workshop.

Representatives from the National Hazard Mitigation Association (NHMA), National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) and FEMA will be here to talk about the National Mitigation Collaborative Alliance.

As I reported earlier today I hope they come to some resolution of actions to be taken that can then move forward and are translated into performance measurements that can determine if real progress is being made in mitigation.

Coordination is good, but we need less talk and more action!


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July 11, 2010

As I watch organizations grapple with social media I've seen the same recurring mistakes being made. The Top Five are as follows:

1. Not engaging in the social media conversation.

Organizations feel that if they are engaged in social media they will be overwhelmed with negativity. By being on Twitter they may be slammed with lies and innuendos that are detrimental to the reputation of the company or government.

The truth is people are talking about you already on social media. If you are not part of the conversation they are free to say what they want with no balancing message back from you. It is like covering your ears and saying "La la la la" because you don't want to hear what is being said. You need to "engage!

2. It is not unusual for organizations to say that they are on Twitter, FaceBook and other such social media sites.

In fact they are treating social media as though it were a newfangled type of fax machine. Just another conduit for their press releases with no change in the format or the tone. The number of postings is no greater than when they were just doing news releases. Being on social media means that your are in a two way conversation with the other members. There is a dialog that occurs. You can listen to the audience and know what is being said, and then respond. Media monitoring is a typical mission in a Joint Information Center (JIC). You do it so that you know what is being said about an incident. You now can listen to your citizens and customers and know what they are saying without having it screened by the media.

3. Being engaged in social media means that you will have to give up control of the message and what is being said.

This battle was lost a long time ago. You can't control what is being said, you can only engage in the conversation. By not being engaged you have less information and have lost the initiative to respond to unfair attacks against your organization, its policies or leadership. I don't think you ever had control in the first place and you certainly don't have it now.

4. Only the public information officers (PIO) should be engaged in social media.

One of the reasons people state for not engaging in social media is that they pose the question, "But who will do this new body of work?" The reality is "everyone" in the organization can play a role in social media if they have the skills to do so. It does mean that you will have to trust your staff to do the right thing. Letting staff have a blog if they have the passion for social media is one simple way to personalize your organization. In an activated Emergency Operations Center (EOC) you might have someone in operations giving 140 character updates as to what is going on via Twitter. The more you can spread the burden of social media the better. PIOs still have a role, but they are not the sole proprietor of information in the 21st Century.

5. You can't trust the information that is provided via social media.

Almost always the first report that comes into the EOC is not totally correct. There are mistakes made every day in the main stream media. Official news releases sometimes contain the wrong information. There will be errant reports being posted on social media. Yes, there could be nefarious individuals who will try to confuse you with misinformation. However, I believe in the wisdom of the crowd. If you are engaged in social media there are more eyes and ears out there that will correct what is being said about a situation.

Summary:

In the end "Trust" is a big word when it comes to social media. It means trusting your staff, trusting citizens, trusting "the system" to work properly. If you are a low trust person none of what I've written above will matter to you. All I can say then is that the "social media train" has left the station and you are not on it. Start walking since it is the only train in town these days.


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July 11, 2010

Andrew Revkin, is the plenary speaker at the Natural Hazards Workshop and a blogger at Dot Earth with the New York Times.

There is a key element of people who "Don't get climate change." I beseech you to stay away from the media." Another scientist sent him the note. You cannot avoid the media. It is a fast expanding level of tools. Organized media is shrinking.

You need to dive into the media landscape and not try to avoid it. There will be mistakes made, but you need to engage and not avoid contact with social media.

Low probability, high consequence events can happen. The Gulf Oil Spill is an example.

Deepwater Horizon Response web site was established soon after the event. He raised the issue that you could not tell who was speaking, the Coast Guard or BP? Interesting statement he just made.

Troubling moment when Thad Allen said, "Have faith" we are working hard. Why does the door need to be closed to see what is going on? There is an expectation that disaster response will be transparent.

He has written about many things that can impact the earth. Climate is something he as written about since the mid-1980s. About 20% of society rejects ideas of climate change. There is another 20% who are total believers.

Background and tips for responding to the media--suggestions for interacting with the media for climate scientists.

Talk more generally on climate. About 70% of his writing has been on this subject. People in the 60s and 70 attacked clean air as a problem. What if Co2 was pink? You can't see it and feel it. The effects are cumulative.

Most of us don't want to deal with climate change. We have a "finite basket of worries." It is not hopeless! Society can take on the big issues.

The media landscape is fractured. Catastrophe hoax is something that is being chanted in some circles. Check out the "Six America's Study" which is about attitudes on global warming.

Te old media had "information comfort food" that we were being fed?

Climate.gov is run by NOAA and their attempt to get into the mix.

Beware of mixing adaptation & mitigation messages. There is construction going on in the 1993 Mississippi Flood zone. Billions of dollars of construction is being established in areas that will flood again.

Transparency is inevitable. Remember what you write and where will it end up. If you can visually convey your message it can help you.

We are a planet headed towards 9 billion people by 2050. We have 6.7B now in 2010.

There are 3 billion mobile phones in the world now. You can convey messages via cell phones to pre-literate people.

Why is it that in Turkey they are retrofitting schools, but here in the USA we can't seem to get it done.


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July 11, 2010

Way back when at the Partners in Preparedness Conference there was a session on New Media conducted by Jim Stanton. I misplaced my handwritten notes from that event and only f0und them recently. So finally I'll share them with you. This is not a perfect recounting of his presentation.

Who ever connects with the new and traditional media "first" sets the news template. In the Obama campaign there were 14.5M hours of video watched. He had 3.2M friends and he took time to talk to a Friend each day online.

What happens if you don't use new media. "We are beating the Taliban on the battlefield, and they are kicking our asses every single day in the media." Army PIO.

There has been a convergence of five factors

  1. World wide web --1989
  2. Satellite technology
  3. PDA--Smart Phones with video capacity
  4. YouTube
  5. Search Engines
New Media chronology:

-London subway bombings. There was no media filter for information. Citizens posting directly to CNN and YouTube
-YouTube helps nab suspect. There are 16,000 hits and the suspect turns himself in when he finds out he is wanted.
-2007 VA Tech Shooting
-2007 hot air balloon fire

How do you know if Tweets are accurate--You don't know! Batches of information confirms the reports.

Mainstream media is now incorporating social media.

How to deal with people in a crisis--they want to know:
  1. What is happening?
  2. How will this impact me?
  3. What are you doing?
  4. What do I need to do?
  5. Give me specific detailed instructions
  6. When will things get back to normal
  7. Reassurance
  8. Voices of authority they can trust
Traditional media is too late!


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July 12, 2010

Vulnerable populations and the impacts of disasters on them was highlighted in the Katrina Disaster. Pierce County Washington State is hosting a Vulnerable Populations Summit later this month. See information below. I'm sure they would be happy to share their agenda with you if perhaps you are looking to put together an event like this for your community. Contact information is included in the announcement.

July 22 disaster summit aimed at helping vulnerable population

Coordinated efforts to plan for Pierce County's vulnerable populations during disasters will continue at the fourth High Risk Populations Disaster Planning Summit Thursday, July 22. The event will be held at the Oasis of Hope Center, 1937 S. G St. in Tacoma from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. 'Communicating in Disasters' is this year's focus.

The summit is open to any individual, advocate, agency, organization or business interested in emergency planning for the area's high-risk populations during catastrophic events. There is no cost to attend, but please RSVP at 253-798-2223 or kmcvay@co.pierce.wa.us by July 16.

As evidenced by the past local windstorms and flooding, as well as the 2005 hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the vulnerable populations are often a forgotten group during disasters. By planning for self sufficiency in the homes and coordinating systems already in place, caregivers, service providers, advocates and other vulnerable population-serving agencies and organizations are hoping to increase survivability during future emergencies.


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July 12, 2010

Here at the Natural Hazards Workshop the word "mitigation" is mentioned more than what I typically hear it discussed over the course of a year. There are some Project Impact veterans here at the workshop. The Tulsa Partners is one example of mitigation efforts continuing on after Project Impact faded.

See FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Planning Resources page for some great references.


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