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April 2012 Archives
April 01, 2012

“Don’t fall in love with the words you write.  It is the thoughts behind the words that count.  If you stick to your principles the words can change.”  Eric Holdeman  It is OK to change your mind.  If you lived your life based on one common set of facts and then never changed a position you would be out of touch with the changes that are taking place all around you. 


Change is happening so fast that what seemed right yesterday is now questionable.  The opposite side is also true.  You should not be blown by the trend of the day that has no substance behind it. 


Like everything else—some balance is required in how you think and live your life.  Knowing when to remain grounded and when the influences of the moment are meaningful is the challenge we all face.

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April 01, 2012

There are always new tools being provided for you to connect with others and also market your capabilities.  For someone looking for a job, or just being a professional in the business of emergency management--I've got a new website and tool for you to check out.


About.me.com is a "free" place where you can aggregate your personal information.  What I like is that it provides a single location where information is provided on you as a person.  A short bio, web links to your website, blog, and all your social media sites.  It is a way to establish your personal brand.


Checkout my Eric Holdeman About Me site for information on myself and to see an example of how it is done.  The About.me.com site has some other good examples of how people are using the site.

April 01, 2012

Disaster water resources are always an issue.  We can survive a long time without food, but you need water everyday to stay hydrated.  Most of our communities need electricity to have a functioning civic water system  When electricity fails it won't be long before the water that is in water towers is exhausted and can't be refilled.


There are many different types of emergency water purification systems that have been developed and fielded.  I came across a new vender with another water "mousetrap" that is simple in its application.  You won't be able to provide an entire city with water, but 2,500 gallons a day of water is not a drop in the bucket for a neighborhood system or response capability.


Check out the Divvy Emergency Water System that I saw for the first time at the Seattle Emergency Management All-Hazards Summit when it was held in Seattle.  I think they may be attending all of the summits being held this year.  Be sure and look them up.  The San Francisco Summit is  April 10th.

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April 01, 2012

Security Director News had an article on combating theft by increasing the coordination between security professionals and with other law enforcement officials.  See New cargo security council launched



Cargo theft does happen, but as noted by the article the size of the problem is not really known.  The solution to countering theft is for every organization and agency to do their part.  But then, it is important for some coordination to happen between the public sector agencies and private security.  The challenge is to have an ongoing dialog and be able to share information in real time.  As the criminal element becomes more sophisticated so too we need to speed up the way in which we communicate with one another and move quickly to get data and facts in the hands of people who can respond and ideally prevent thefts from ever occuring.



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April 02, 2012

After a year of study by the Chertoff Group the Port of NY & NJ has decided to establish a new Chief Security Officer (CSO) position, see Port Authority looks to security reforms, including CSO



This is a large organization with over a thousand officers scattered over a variety of facilities from airports, ports and tunnels.  The article calls for a reorganization that establishes a security czar over this large domain in order to bring order to a decentralized operation.


This is what I'd look for in a CSO:

  • You need a consensus builder.  The idea of a top-down dictatorial style is very old school and will not be successful in the 21st Century.
  • The person needs to have a track record for building partnerships at all levels of government.  Perhaps only the National Capital Region is a more complicated space in which to work in a multi-jurisdictional area.
  • In NY/NJ labor and politics go hand in hand.  It will not be an easy thing to do what they are asking.  Many decades of "this is how we've done it" will taint any change process.  
  • I'm betting that technology integration has not happened within the structure of the existing organization.  Each element has probably gone their own way on a number of fronts.  Someone who understands and values technology is needed.
Hey--I'm available!

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April 03, 2012

Cyber security is becoming a very hot topic to blog about.  It is now in the news just about every day for those looking for stories about it.  The latest one I read is, Shawn Henry: FBI is 'not winning' the war with hackers 


One quote from the above article, ""I don't see how we ever come out of this without changes in technology or changes in behavior, because with the status quo, it's an unsustainable model," Henry said. "Unsustainable in that you never get ahead, never become secure, never have a reasonable expectation of privacy or security."   


Basically what they are saying is that every system here in the USA that is not a classified system is at risk of being hacked.  This is a scary thought when you think about our increasing reliance on the Internet and the various data systems out there.  I have to say that what I'm reading these days is giving me pause about how I orchestrate my own personal finances online.  


As states update their HIVA to a THIRA in 2012 one of the hazards and risks they need to be concerned with is cyber security.  Our immediate role will be in protecting our own information and being prepared for consequence management of cyber security attacks.  Disruptions are sure to occur that impact our physical infrastructure.  


Some might use this cyber security threat as a reason not to embrace social media.  Personally, I think we need to go at it with our eyes wide open and use it appropriately.  We will need closed systems to protect our information and we still need to dialog with the world in other public systems.


 It has been a number of years ago, but one of the very popular Emergency Operations Center (EOC)  information management systems was designed and fielded without a thought to cyber security.  They have since closed that loop, but it is an example of how we need to be very aware of our own cyber security risks.  


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April 03, 2012

Some problems have been with us forever.  One of those everyday issues is potholes in roadways.  They are especially irksome in areas of the country where there are freezing temperatures that heave the pavement, cause cracks and then before you know it there is a pothole in the road.


Now they have developed a new pothole solution that involves a sprayer to fill the pothole.  See Spray-On Pothole Filler? Yes, It Exists



The point I'm trying to make is that there are thorny problems that exist within emergency management.  How to get people to become personally prepared for disasters?  What would motivate people not to live in dangerous areas that put their property and lives at risk?  How do you get agencies to cooperate with one another?  What is the magic pill for communications inter-operability?  


There are solutions out there that have not been developed or implemented yet.  Maybe you have the next spray-on pothole filler idea that will work in emergency management.  We need to keep trying different things and not poo poo an idea that someone brings forward just because it hasn't been done that way before.


Change is constant and we need to be part of the change towards a better prepared and safer tomorrow.

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April 04, 2012

This Emergency Management Planning Specialist position is an example of the growth in the profession of emergency management.  


Not every job is in an Office of Emergency Management (OEM) these days.  You find them in a cross section of departments at the federal, state and local levels.  The one above is in human services, but you find them regularly in departments like police, fire, transportation, etc.


This allows the department to really dig in on what they need to be doing for planning and with a number of these positions in larger governments you can build a much stronger government wide emergency management program.

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April 04, 2012

There were tornado warnings in the Dallas area yesterday.  When the tornadoes threatened a number of organizations and agencies used Twitter to help distribute those warnings.


These actions included the Red Cross and the authorities at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.  it just so happens my daughter and her family were on the ground doing a plane transfer and got caught up in the storm warnings and the precautionary measures.  They ended up spending two hours sheltering in a family bathroom (nothing like trying to entertain an 18 month old) waiting for the storms and warnings to pass.  They ended up missing their flight out to Mexico.  


While my daughter described herself as being "crabby" the baby had a good time and it is a case of better being safe than sorry. 


It is great to see organizations starting to use social media's full capabilities to push information out.  The strength of social media is that it reaches beyond the people you directly reach.  They in turn will warn others within their network.

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April 04, 2012

Emergency Management Magazine is hosting a Webinar with the featured speakers coming from Google.  Their topics will include:


How to:

  • Use online technology to quickly reach people in need and to efficiently run your internal operations during a crisis
  • Host a custom crisis map with authoritative and crowd-sourced geographic information
  • Seamlessly manage  data via the web to provide instant access to all government officials
  • Make your emergency alert data more accessible to the public
This looks like a terrific event to attend.  For more information and to register to attend see Google is making critical disaster information more accessible 
They already have over 400 people registered to attend!

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