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February 2011 Archives
February 01, 2011

When you are in the job hunt you want to "beat the bushes" for potential openings.  Ideally you don't want to be looking on Monster.com or in the newspapers.  Besides the other job sites, one that exists for government workers is Governing.com/jobs


I expect the majority of positions there will relate to non-emergency management openings, but then you never know!  Also, if you are a manager who will be hiring, this is another place to list your vacant position and go beyond the local neighborhood to find quality candidates.

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February 01, 2011

The YAHOO Emergency Management Employment Opportunities site says, "The purpose of this site is to give Emergency Management Professionals a virtual location to exchange career opportunities."


You might bookmark this site and check it frequently if you are looking for your first position in emergency management or your next position.


Bill Cumming shared this link.

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February 01, 2011

Most people think I'm highly technical--I'm not!  I'm an OK user, but not much of a trouble-shooter.  As I watched all the #Egypt hash tags whiz by on my screen I was thinking, "Help me Lord, how could I keep up with this and mine the info for information?"


On Twitter I came across Tweak the Tweet which goes into some detail about how to manage the information, sort it, etc.  What Kate Starbird has put together seems to have merit and "might" be the way to go.  Being the novice I am I can't discern if "this is it" or not.


What I do like is that a road map is given for how it can be done and the challenges of getting the community to pull together in the same direction is explained when setting up the hash tags.


This is one of the reasons I am convinced that having a regional approach that I previously wrote about in Disaster Wiki which if is established in advance of a disaster can help immeasurably with these types of efforts.  You could pre-establish the protocols before you are scrambling during a response and work to get everyone on the same sheet of music.

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February 01, 2011

I write the same thing every two months.  For me it is like I'm back to being a kid waiting for the Sears Wish Book to show up in the mail.  Instead of Sears it is the latest edition of Emergency Management Magazine  Face of Terror that I eagerly await. 


The on line edition is available now so that means the paper copy should be coming soon.  I'll read some stories on line, but I still like paging through a publication.  It is one of my favorite things to do while riding the exercise bike in the morning.


Can't wait!

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February 01, 2011

Yes, I'm enamored by touch technology.  I've written about it before and now today I'm feeling just a wee bit validated by this op-ed from Government Technology Magazine iPads are likely device for the next decade  Of course I and the author can be wrong, but there are at least two of us of the same mind.


As an iPad owner I'm a bit stilted in my thinking about its features.  There are other devices now coming to the market.  While iPad has 75% of sales today, Android tablets are coming on strong.  Their prices will make them an attractive alternative to the iPad. 


Tablets are in between your smart phone and your laptop.  Bigger display, and still significantly more portability.  It will be interesting to watch how people adapt them into their emergency management programs and EOCs.

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February 02, 2011

As emergency managers we are always looking for new hazards to plan for, exercise with and create interest in our profession.  Just turn to A Is for Armageddon for your next full scale exercise scenario!  It is described as a catalog of disasters--what could be better?


It is reviewed at Brain Pickings, "From religious warfare to grey goo to deforestation, Horne combines science, superstition and sociology in a beautifully illustrated, delightfully dystopian guide to the apocalypse. Underlying the wickedly entertaining tone, however, is a grounded, non-preachy crusade for awareness that exudes the call of urgency none of us want to hear..."


I personally like the Periodic Catastrophic Table that resembles something from high school chemistry class.  Why didn't I think of that?  Oh yea, I wasn't good in chemistry, that's why.




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February 03, 2011

One of the good things about Web 3.0 will be that "machines talk to machines" without us having to go look for information.  Life will be simpler--maybe?  See the Government Technology article Web 3.0 Could Lead to E-Government That Anticipates Citizens' Needs 

There some good examples of what Web 3.0 could look like in general and for government in particular.  Like all things with technology we only see the future darkly.  Remember the Internet was first used to order pizza at a college.


While not addressed specifically and in detail in the above article there are two other prognostications that I'm reading about more frequently.  Websites may not be the focal point for information sharing.  Instead we are looking at web applications fulfilling those needs.  Tired of email?  It too may be gone from your life in the future.  Text messaging and other social media applications may replace the "antiquated" email format.  Already Generation Y is not using email--it is passe. 


I do think that "totally" open government is only a matter of time.  In a few years you will not be able to "hide" behind news releases and the old standby of this is all we have to say.  Raw data will be expected to be shared.  New elected officials will bring this value to their jurisdictions and the tide will turn rapidly.  You can bemoan it, but watch -- it is coming!



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February 03, 2011

I keep reading articles about how crowd sourcing can be used to support emergency management and homeland security and then I can't seem to get any traction in my own efforts where I live and work.  I'm thinking about having my wife put me in a freezer with a note to un-thaw me in 20 years so I feel more like I fit into the culture of our discipline.  Maybe it won't take 20 years, maybe 10 will be enough?  Nah, 20, I'm safer at point.  The Neanderthals should all be dead or retired by then.


Can you tell that I had "one of those days!"  Golly, I'm not that innovative!  If I get it, why can't others?  Jiminy Cricket!!!!!


On that note, see a wonderful article and an example of what can be done with social media and some motivation.  It will amaze you!  See Twitter, Facebook, and Ten Red Balloons: Social Network Problem Solving and Homeland Security


Just when I think I'm the only crazy one I'll talk to some or they will send me an email with content like below.  This came from Mike Byrne who "got social media" over three years ago:

"I am often perplexed by the reluctance of some emergency managers to rely on social media information. They refer to the media by their product names such as tweet, blog, facebook page etc. as if to say that how could any serious public safety official ever use such a trivial source of information for the weighty decisions we are called to make. What they are missing is that none of this is the device or program that enables the message to get out. It is a real human being crying out to the world a piece of information that they think is important to share. I find there approach equivalent to calling the instruments in an orchestra music rather than the sounds the instruments make. These tools are the most exciting amplifier ever created to hear what people think. It is also a mistake to read too much into individual pieces of information, one perspective while valuable doesn't often give us the whole picture that we need to make decisions. The challenge for us as emergency managers is to listen to and hear the music and stop focusing down on the individual notes and the tools that create it."


Maybe I'm not crazy?  I'm definitely going to check out what Plano, Texas Emergency Management is doing with social media and share it with you.  There is a small group of people out there plowing ahead with technology and not fearing their public.  I want to be counted as being with them!


Marty Kapsh shared the linked article above.


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February 04, 2011

I remember an article that spoke to the fact that the Bush Administration had taken its eye off the ball when it came to North Korea.  This is back when the major focus was on Iraq and the Middle East.  As I've watched the national news for decades it appears to me that the same is true of national media.  They can only cover so many events.  They triage, make their commitments and then deploy their resources.


When you look at how they have covered and are covering the Egyptian event it is clear as day.  Two nights ago the NBC A-Team was in Egypt covering every aspect of the crisis.  The rest of the team was back in the USA covering the major snow storm of the winter that was scheduled to impact the majority of the states here in America.  Where was Cyclone Yasi and the impacts that it was beginning to have on Australia.  Billed as the worst storm in a century to hit that country--there was not even a mention of it.


Take the "average" tornado and insert it into the mix and it would not even be a blip on the radar screen.  The truth of the matter is the national media coverage of your event will be based on what else is going on in first the nation, and then the world.  Katrina was as big as it was media wise because they had significant resources deployed into the region before the event--because it was predictable as a major storm.  FEMA and the Federal government will respond appropriately with resources based on what they have from their situational awareness.  But, for a full court press you need the national media to shine their light on your event.


Perhaps the best alternative is to not have an event at all.  But, we typically don't get to choose do we?

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February 07, 2011

See the list below for how people are currently using their mobile phones:


75% Take pictures

72% Send or receive text messages

38% Access the Internet

34% Play a game

34% Record video

33% play music

30% Send or receive instant messages


I think this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to where the use of mobile devices is headed.  As they become easier to use, have faster processors and as faster 4G wireless speeds become available the use of the mobile computing aspects of the phones will explode.


When people have them in hand and routinely use them for communications we will have an in-exhaustable supply of information we can use for situational awareness.

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