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February 2010 Archives
February 01, 2010

If you are one of the 14,711 people who have died from the Swine Flu it has not been a good year. However, compared to the numbers that could have died from a flu pandemic this is about as good as it gets.

Experts still don't know if the flu will make a comeback yet this year. There is always the worry that it will mutate again and become more virulent. For the latest international stats from the WHO see: Global Swine Flu Deaths Rise to 14,711

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February 01, 2010

In fact we have a boat load of strategies that are inventoried below by Bill Cumming. He notes that the National Response Framework might be a strategy--but I think not. It is supposed to be a plan. One of the documents that I think that will be rewritten in the years ahead.

I wonder how many states are trying to follow these "strategies" since they are supposed to be "national" and therefore integrated with state and local efforts. Perhaps there are too many for this type of process to work.

NATIONAL STRATEGIES [various versions identified if known]

Note that in some instances National Plans are listed

  • National Strategy for Mitigation (1995)-FEMA;
  • National Strategy for Pre-disaster Mitigation (1997)-FEMA;
  • National Strategy To Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction (2002)-NSC;
  • National Money Laundering Strategy (2004)-NSC;
  • National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza (2005)-HSC;
  • National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace (2006)-HSC;
  • National Strategy to Combat Terrorism (2006)-NSC;
  • National Strategy to Combat Terrorism Travel (2006)-HSC;
  • National Strategy for Combating Terrorism (2006);
  • National Strategy for Aviation Security (March 26, 2007)-HSC;
  • National Strategy for Integrated Public Warning (2006)-PPW;
  • National Strategy for Critical Infrastructure and Key Assets Protection (2006)-HSC;
  • National Strategy for Pandemic Flu Implementation (2006)-HSC;
  • Strategy for Homeland Security (Issued originally 2002 and issued revised 2007)-HSC;
  • Strategy to Enhance International Supply Chain Security (July 2007)- DHS;
  • National Strategy for Information Sharing (November 2007)-NSC;
  • National Security Strategy (2008)-NSC; *
  • National Defense Strategy (2008)-NSC;
  • National Drug Control Strategy (2008)-WH;
  • National Response Framework (2008)-DHS [Is this a strategy?]
  • National Infrastructure Protection Plan-DHS (Issued originally 2006 and issued revised 2009) [Is this a strategy?]
  • Recovering From Disasters-National Transportation Recovery Strategy (October 2009)-DOT;
  • National Strategy for Countering Biological Threats-(November 2009)-NSC;
  • National Disaster Housing Strategy (2010)-DHS;
  • National Health Security Strategy (2010)-NSC;
  • National Disaster Recovery Framework--(coming in July 2010)-DHS [Is this a strategy?].

*The Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986 requires each Administration to produce a classified and unclassified National Security Strategy each calendar year. The annual requirement has often been honored in the breach. The first such unclassified strategy to mention "terrorism" as a national security threat was issued in 1992. No national security strategy has mentioned Homeland Security but some do mention Homeland Defense. Also the Obama Administration has yet to issue either a classified or unclassified National Security Strategy in compliance with Goldwater-Nichols Act.

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February 02, 2010

There are all sorts of personality measurement scales and tests. I also believe that there are technology types and sometimes I like to just observe and see where a person is on the scale below:

  1. Bleeding edge: Willing to try anything, not fearful of failing
  2. Cutting edge: Sees opportunities in new ideas and is willing to use products that have been developed
  3. Early adopters: They try technologies out, and if the shoe fits they wear it
  4. Main Stream: Once it appears that others are using it successfully maybe I'll try it
  5. Convince me: I hear what you are saying, but are you sure they are not all just lemmings?
  6. No not me: Not going to try anything that looks to make my life more complicated
  7. Hell no, not me: I'm too close to retirement. This looks like work. I just want my paycheck and my weekends off
Personally I like being at or near the Cutting Edge. If I had more of an aptitude for technology then maybe I could be a solid Cutting Edge person, and maybe even Bleeding Edge.

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February 02, 2010

This Emergency Management Magazine article Disasters 2.0 conference Addresses Social Media Use is a good indicator that emergency managers and public information officers are starting to pay attention to how social media might be helpful in their work.

The item I'd call your attention to again is that the real power of social media is in the dialog that it can create. Social media is not just another web site, fax machine type of tool that broadcasts your information. Yes, it can help with that, but the "power" comes from the active interface that it can create in your jurisdictions/organizations.

Citizen/individual engagement and participation is what we are after.

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February 02, 2010

In the Army when on guard duty the command to someone approaching your guard post should be, "Halt!" Then "Advance to be recognized." Finally, "Halt-identify yourself."

I'm wondering if the Chief Information Officers (CIO) are really Army veterans who when seeing the advance of social media want to say, "Halt!" While they try to figure out what this new technology means to them and their organizations. It is Friend or Foe?

There certainly is a mix of responses taking place across the nation. There are two good articles in Governing Magazine. Friend or Foe? and then a column in Tech Talk by Steve Towns, Tweeting for the Public Good

There is sure to be an opinion there that fits with what you are currently thinking, be it Friend or Foe.

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February 03, 2010

I like to say that earthquakes and terrorist attacks are "come as you are" disasters since there is no warning. They come--"ready or not."

Our senior intelligence leaders in the nation are warning that the next Al-Qaida attack could come in the next 3-6 months. See Intel Chief: Al-Qaida likely to attempt attack

Is it "chatter" that tells them that, or other hard intelligence? My wife just told me she heard an "expert" say that the next attack could come on ports--which would be disconcerting to some...

I've been waiting for the terrorists to drop the whole airplane thing and switch tactics. There is plenty of evidence for what simple weapons, pipe bombs and semi-automatic weapons can do to create terror.

Then there is the issue of cyber security continuing to pop-up as being a growing threat. Just yesterday I was talking to a private sector cyber security marketing person thinking of trying to get into the emergency management field. One of the things I told him was just wait--there will be a cyber attack, and if it does cause cascading critical infrastructure disasters FEMA will be launched in a new direction that will welcome his skills to the table.

Watch for your next "Program Manager" position to be created as one that takes on the issue of cyber security for emergency management agencies at the federal, state and local levels.

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February 04, 2010

One of my Eric's Corner Columns in 2010 will be on Marketing Emergency Management. I think we are all in "sales" by the way we try to get people engaged in becoming prepared for disasters and building our partnerships.

I came across Social Media Marketing for Dummies which might be worth your checking out. Since social media is the now and the future for our communications this book might give you a chance to get ahead of the curve in how you market your program and also disaster preparedness.

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February 04, 2010

The one annual emergency management conference I try to always attend is the one that is right here in my backyard. That is the Partners in Emergency Preparedness event held at the Tacoma Convention Center. The price is right at $250 if you register early. They now have almost 700 people attending this event. This year I'll be speaking April 7th on Port Security 101 on the second day. I've lined up our regional Customs and Border Protection (CBP) partners to co-present since they are an integral part of port security. While I'm on the topic of port security, watch for a new blog with that title coming "soon" that will focus primarily on that topic, but may cross over into emergency management, risk management and safety.

Another annual event is the World Conference on Disaster Management It is held in Toronto every year. I've only had the opportunity to attend and speak at one of their conferences. It is a bit larger event with an IAEM Conference feel due to a larger attendance and separate vendor area. The other part that is larger is the registration fee. They have an early bird rate of $799.

For bang for the buck I'd go with the Partners in Preparedness Conference, especially if you want to try something different and interact with an entirely new crowd of emergency managers.

I do have to say I'm very proud of local organizing team that has kept these events going. It was way back in 1995 when I supervised the Exercise and Training program for Washington State that we started a new collaboration with a private business group and the American Red Cross who had their own private sector oriented event. We combined them to become the Partners in Preparedness Conference, such as it is today. All disciplines, public and private partners are welcome to attend.

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February 05, 2010

President Obama has created a new Homeland Security Council of Governors I picked this up from an announcement from the Washington Governor's Office that Governor Gregoire will co-chair the council.

I find that there are two interesting points from this:

  • Gregoire is trying to eliminate a bunch of committees and commissions here in Washington State that she has deemed to be superfluous. It will be interesting to watch what this "Council of Governors" can accomplish on the Homeland Security front.
  • And, why Gregoire to co-chair? I give the credit to her being on the council in the first place to MG Timothy Lowenberg, Adjutant General for the Washington State National Guard. He has been active in emergency management and homeland security from day one when he arrived in the job. I think it is because of his influence in D.C. and his orchestrating state agency efforts over the years and cultivating a relationship with the Governor that she would take this on.
When you look at elected leaders in government who are advocates of emergency management you will invariably find a strong emergency manager who has cultivated a relationship and has become a person of influence with the elected official's circle of advisers.

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February 05, 2010

This Time Story on scientist's recommendations to relocate portions of the Haitian capitol to better soils is an interesting story and a potential welcomed change in behavior. Typically you cannot get the science fast enough after a disaster to impact the recovery efforts.

Scientists are famously hesitant to take positions on controversial issues until "all the facts are in." All of which can take years or decades to pin down the absolute truth of an issue. Even then they can be reluctant. Just review the debate on climate change and global warming and you will see how that evolution of opinion has changed over the decades.

Yes, we can mitigate hazards by building seismically stronger buildings. However, the best solution is to avoid the hazardous area altogether--if possible. Given the level of destruction in Haiti that might be the best solution. The degree to what the Haitian government can do that is probably problematic. Here in the United States it would be almost impossible. People want to do what they want--and then be bailed out when disaster strikes. It is the American way!

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