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August 2011 Archives
August 01, 2011

If technology doesn't already dominate your work life--it soon will.  Citizens will demand it and you will need it to be the most effective emergency management program you can be.  The Government Technology Magazine article iPone or Android? Governments Ponder App Development Strategies has an excellent summary of the issues state and local government are facing with the advent of mobile devices and changing technological landscape.

 

Number one is the fast pace of the technology evolution that is taking place.  The revolution is already over with, that came with the invention and commercialization of the Internet.  We are faced now with an ever shifting marketplace that moves at the speed of light.  Remember when BlackBerry was King of the market.  My quote on them is, "If a Blackberry is a smart phone it has an IQ of 74."  Now iPhone and Android smart phones dominate the development of apps and use by consumers.  There are going to be dozens of new tablet computers out in the marketplace by Christmas.  I doubt if you will ever see another desktop add on TV again.  The only place I see them now is online and laptops dominate in the office of today--for a little bit longer.

 

Gone is the time when you can have a universal develpment platform.  The marketplace has split, and I think permanently, so you will need to have multiple paths into the future.  I had not heard of the At&T Mobile Enterprise Applications Platform (MEAP), but that concept holds great promise if you can have one platform that takes your application and "translates it" into multiple phone configurations. 

 

Lastly, my idea of the morning is that we need more vido on mobile enabled websites.  We need to take faceless governments and put people up front talking to our constituents about government services.  Not just the chief elected officer and councilmembers, but everyday government workers.  Government is being dehumanized and we can fight that if we put our people in front of a camera to talk about our services in a meaningful way. 

 

Read the article linked above--it will be worth your time!


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August 01, 2011

If technology doesn't already dominate your work life--it soon will.  Citizens will demand it and you will need it to be the most effective emergency management program you can be.  The Government Technology Magazine article iPone or Android? Governments Ponder App Development Strategies has an excellent summary of the issues state and local government are facing with the advent of mobile devices and changing technological landscape.

 

Number one is the fast pace of the technology evolution that is taking place.  The revolution is already over with, that came with the invention and commercialization of the Internet.  We are faced now with an ever shifting marketplace that moves at the speed of light.  Remember when BlackBerry was King of the market.  My quote on them is, "If a Blackberry is a smart phone it has an IQ of 74."  Now iPhone and Android smart phones dominate the development of apps and use by consumers.  There are going to be dozens of new tablet computers out in the marketplace by Christmas.  I doubt if you will ever see another desktop add on TV again.  The only place I see them now is online and laptops dominate in the office of today--for a little bit longer.

 

Gone is the time when you can have a universal develpment platform.  The marketplace has split, and I think permanently, so you will need to have multiple paths into the future.  I had not heard of the At&T Mobile Enterprise Applications Platform (MEAP), but that concept holds great promise if you can have one platform that takes your application and "translates it" into multiple phone configurations. 

 

Lastly, my idea of the morning is that we need more vido on mobile enabled websites.  We need to take faceless governments and put people up front talking to our constituents about government services.  Not just the chief elected officer and councilmembers, but everyday government workers.  Government is being dehumanized and we can fight that if we put our people in front of a camera to talk about our services in a meaningful way. 

 

Read the article linked above--it will be worth your time!


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August 02, 2011

As our world becomes more complex and technologically advanced we will have more hazards develop--it is an unfortunate consequence of our becoming a more interconnected community of people and organizations.

 

I didn't realize it, but the Coast Guard has established a Cyber Command.  More the size (18 and growing) of an Army platoon than a "command."  Their basic missions are covered in a Coast Guard blog post.  The mission with the greates nexus to port security is:

  • Coordinate with partners to protect the Marine Transportation System (MTS) and Maritime Critical Infrastructure & Key Resources (MCI&KR) from cyber threats.

I have to say that this is hard to do with them being in D.C. and no one representing them in the maritime sectors.  I guess their plan is to work with the Facility Inspection group in the maritime sectors to begin looking at cyber security.

 

To date, cyber security may have seemed to be a remote mission given the limited adoption of technological innovation in the maritime industry, but I see change coming on the horizon as more and more technological advances are adopted into the industry. 

 

One last note, if you are in the maritime security business you may have received an email from the Coast Guard informing you to reset your password for Homeport.  That is because it was hacked a couple of weeks ago.  As they say, "Cyber security starts at home."


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August 02, 2011

PIOs can drive you crazy and then they can be your best friends.  I've always worked hard to maintain a good working relationship with public information officers.  See the job announcement for Colorado Division of Emergency Management Public Information Officer (PIO)

 

Apparently whoever is successful in obtaining the position will need to contend with the reputation that the previous job holder  Brandon Williams is leaving behind as he moves to another PIO slot in State government. 

 

As Jeff Baranyi said in his email to me, "Pretty big shoes to fill, Brandon Williams was a real thought leader there with respect to Emergency Management and Social Media." 


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August 02, 2011

I always have these great ideas of topics that I want to cover here in this blog.  One was an interview with Hal Grieb who "use to be" with Plano, Texas emergency management I dilly dallied around and never got it done.  Fortunately for you, Kim Stephens has done a wonderful blog post of her own at i.disaster 2.0 in which she details how Plano, Texas organized their social media approach.

 

See Organizing Your City’s Social Media Presence? Plano, Texas Provides an Example

 

What it doesn't touch on is regional issues, but if you want to start internally and small then this provides a bit of a template for you to look at see what you might want to emulate for your own organization. 


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August 05, 2011

While many may aspire to be a fire chief the job once you land there can be daunting.  I used to attend the monthly Fire Chief Association Meetings and there are significant personal challenges that come with the position.

 

The Boston Fire Chief position that is currently being recruited for will require someone with great skill and emotional maturity.  The chief does not hold a hose or ride a ladder truck, but sometimes I think the position would be better suited for the U.S. State Department as you work through internal and external intra and inter-jurisdictional issues. Building 360 degree "positive" relationships is a must.

 

With the way the economy is going and the pressures on local government budgets you can be sure that labor negotiations and relationships will be a topic that dominates the new fire chief's time.  The other thing I know about Boston is that, as a city, they are on the cutting edge of using social media.  If you don't like technology or citizen engagement--this is not going to be a good fit.

 

Please forward this along to deputy or assistant chiefs in "larger jurisdictions" who you know might be interested and willing to relocate.


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August 06, 2011

I was recently sent a list of Business Continuity Training Classes that provides a variety of training opportunities--all for a cost of course.  Which got me thinking about our own government training and certification programs that are available or not available to us.

 

We can point to the Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) as the only one I know of that has a national reputation.  Yes, some states do have some form of certification for their staff and local emergency management types.  Yet, when you look at the civilian/private sector side of the equation there is a whole host of opportunities for training and certification.  And, jobs in the private sector are increasingly requiring job candidates to have these certifications to be competitive for specific jobs.

 

While money is tight and getting tighter, maybe we should be looking to attend the private sector courses.  Perhaps you will have to pay for your attendance out of your own pocket as an investment in your future.  For the recent college graduates with emergency management degrees, you might be better off in spending money on getting certified in BCP vs. getting a masters degree.

 

Anyone want to comment on the above?  What do you folks in the private sector think of the training you take and the investment  in time and effort to get those certifications?


3 comments
August 06, 2011

Yes I like technology for what it can do.  Yes, I write about it.  No, I'm never quite sure if I'm buying the right tool to interface with technology--especially when it comes to computers.  Recently I took the plunge and bought another Dell laptop, but before doing so I thought about the following:

 

  • My inventory of personal and family devices includes two Dell laptops (one at home and one at work), my wife's Toshiba laptop, an HP Desktop, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, iPod Nano, Flip video camera, Wife's Kindle and a brick of a Blackberry (work).
  • Technology can make us more productive -- when it works right.
  • I thought about buying an Apple Mac laptop.  Wonderful battery life, reliable--but in an Apple world.  To take that plunge I would have had to buy some different software, or had the hard drive wiped clean and turned into a PC.  No warranty with this last option.

 

In the end I went with the Dell based on the recommendation of the person helping me select among my options.  When delivered it will have their fastest processor, 8 megs of RAM, 320 hard drive, an extra nine cell battery, docking station, and all the gizmos that go with it.  I also bought the three year warranty with next day technician service as part of the deal.  Battery life is looking better since they went with lithium battery technology.

 

Later this year I expect I'll replace the desktop we have.  Perhaps the last one we'll ever own.  I expect that in three years we may be operating totally in a tablet computer world, at least I hope so. 

 

The new computer has shipped so I hope to be fully operational with it before the one I'm using now dies completely.  It needs a new hard drive and I'll be passing it along (with a new hard drive) to other family members.


3 comments
August 07, 2011

“What is it that you want to do?’  'Make a difference, share information, and continue learning.”  Eric Holdeman  A couple of months ago someone asked me the question above, and my reply was the “Make a difference, share information, and continue learning,”  which is a pretty general answer to what can be a very specific question. 

 

What get’s “your motor running?”  For me it starts with wanting to make a difference by what I do.  When I don’t feel like I’m making progress and changing things for the better I can be pretty discouraged.  Turning things around, improving on what was done before is my end goal.

 

What gets me up early in the morning to blog and is perhaps one of the last things I do at night is the information sharing aspect of what makes me tick.  Associated with this is connecting people with others who I believe need to meet in order to help one another out, or help one of the two parties.  Introducing people and organizations is an aspect of information sharing; I guess I’m sharing my 8,000 contacts with others for “their benefit.”

 

You can’t share information if you are not constantly seeking new ideas and processes that can make a difference in people’s lives.  I end up reading 5-6 professional journals a month.  It is why I believe technology is so important to the future because that is a huge part of what I read about.  I wish I had more time to read.  Today I just got off the exercise bike where I was reading "The Wisdom of Crowds.”  There were sections there on trust, greed, collaborative decision making, and paying taxes.  All of which are part of the public debate we see in the media today when it comes to government and people’s perceptions of it.  Reading really is fundamental and it keeps you grounded from all the TV and media hype.

 

In looking at the three elements they are all interconnected.  Being knowledgeable comes from learning.  You can’t share information if you don’t have anything to share.  To be effective today and make a difference you need to know something and you need to manage relationships.


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August 08, 2011

Emergency Management Magazine has a story in the current edition (actually the cover story) about the tornado outbreak from earlier this spring.  Deadliest Spring covers the tornadoes that hit Alabama, Mississippi and Virginia, not the Joplin, MO event.  The story focuses on the events leading up to the tornadoes, the warnings, preparations and initial response.

 

Then there is a short 4.5 minute YouTube video Alabama Tornadoes 100 Days Later that tells of the progress that has been made in the recovery.

 

While there were a significant number of deaths it could have been much worse given the size of the storms/tornadoes and the number of systems that moved through the Southern States in April and May.  Our thanks have to go out to the National Weather Service and all their dedicated personnel who serve us every day.  They are an incredible partner in our mission of saving lives and protecting property.


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