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August 2012 Archives
August 01, 2012

I think we need to improve our governmental reputations.  We can start by being as transparent as possible in all our dealings.  This includes the hiring and contracting processes.  One only needs to read a few of the comments already posted to the link below to get the gist of how people feel about government in general.


Check out the Op-ed I wrote and which was published earlier today in Crosscut


See:  Trust requires more than government telling the truth

1 comment
August 02, 2012

Portland has a progressive emergency management program that is well led and "plays nicely" in the regional sandbox (remember everything we need to know and do we learned in Kindergarten.)


See the job announcement for their Planning and Preparedness Manager position.


Amy Romanas shared this information.

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August 02, 2012

One of the things I love about young emergency management types is their passion for action and getting things done.  Plus, they are not afraid of technology and what it can do.


With a little bit of encouragement Kitty Hurley has set up a GIS blog called Geospatial Response  At this point it is only a "one blog post" blog, but it is a start and with her expertise in GIS and emergency management she can make a contribution to sharing information on topics of interest to other emergency managers.


I look forward to what the future will bring to us via her blog.  Way to go Kitty!

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August 03, 2012

In my 21 years in state and local emergency management (time after my military service) I have only known of the increased certainty of more earthquake risks.  No one has ever stood up and said, "The earthquake risk is not what we thought it was, it is less."  Here in Washington State three major crustal earthquake fault zones have been discovered in those 21 years.  All of them are in highly urbanized areas.  The use of lidar technology has helped considerably in these discovery efforts.  


Predicting or if you prefer forecasting when the next earthquake will occur is a risky business.  Yet, I think because scientists keep getting the question asked of them they keep trying to provide answers.  In that vein, there is the recent announcement about Northwest coast at high risk of quake in 50 years  In this particular case they are talking about the lower half of the Cascadia Subduction Earthquake Fault.  



The prediction of what might happen and when it might happen is based on past history.  I'm thankful we have talented people who understand the science and are working on our behalf to discover and then share what they know.  A big issue I've seen in the past is this lack of interaction between the scientists and the emergency management practitioners.  What science knows--we need to know, so that we can educate others, plan for contingencies and "imagine" what we need to be prepared to respond to.  


The good news of a "50 years" time frame is that most people will equate that to "in my lifetime."  This shorter prognostication is helpful over an announcement that says we will have 10 earthquakes in the next 1,000 years--if you know what I mean.


Getting people to move from awareness of the threat to having it guide their actions is the next challenge.  Again, there are social scientists that can help us in those endeavors.  Let's use the science that is available across the spectrum of knowledge to make a difference in our communities.  

August 04, 2012

It you want a peek preview of the latest edition of Emergency Management Magazine, before the print copy arrives, see July-August Emergency Management Magazine  It is the top copy listed there.



Check out Eric's Corner which appears later in the magazine--where it typically is located.  God spoke to me via a burning bush and passed down the Ten Commandments of Emergency Management.





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August 04, 2012

Communications in emergencies and disasters is always a bugaboo.  We all say that it is the one area that needs improvement when we do our "Hot Washes" and after action reviews.  Yet, we keep having the same issues, again and again.


I think what is needed is some communications planning--before the next event.  An issue that needs to be address is what plans do you have when your systems have been overloaded by traffic or worse yet, damaged or destroyed by a disaster.  


Next Tuesday there is a Webinar that I'm moderating on what can be done to plan for the above circumstances.  See Will You Be Ready to Communicate – No Matter What? for more information.  I hope to see you participating in the event and look forward to your questions of the presenter.


Click Here to Register

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August 05, 2012

“What you cannot enforce, do not command.”  Sophocles  You have to go back many thousands of years to the time of Sophocles, but what I think he was talking about was emergency management and our coordination role.


What is it that we “command?”  No much in my mind.  We may have a small staff who works for us, but in truth we don’t really command much else.  What power we have comes from us forming relationships and developing influence with other people who represent their organizations. 


Much has been written and said about the Incident “Command” System” (ICS) but I think the principles of coordination rule there too.  The better term is “direction and control” than that of command.  The concept is to get everyone on the same sheet of music, pulling on the rope in the same direction—some may try to “command” it to happen, but influencing others is better marked by your ability to have a relationship that endures beyond any temporary “command” mode that you might assume.  

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August 05, 2012

The National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) hosts an annual conference in the state of the current President of the Association.  In this case that is Jim Mullen, Washington State Emergency Management Director who is the outgoing President and so the conference will be held in Seattle, in early October.  The last time the conference was held in Seattle was 2003.


For more information and registration you can go to their NEMA Conference Registration website.  Registration is not cheap.  Yet, the event is open (most sessions anyway) to all attendees and they welcome private sector participation.

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August 06, 2012

e.Republic' Center for Digital Government has put out what I'll call a "white paper"  Trending up:  Lessons in applied innovation from State and Local government  Since one of my missions in life is to call your attention to information that is available on new trends, I explored this document.


There is a section on Digital Attacks, or Waging #cyberwar (see page 46 in the linked document above).  There were a number of interesting elements in the article.  


Top Challenges in maintaining security:

  • 88%--Insufficient funding
  • 56%--Increasing sophistication of threats
  • 40%--Inadequate availability of security professionals
  • 38%--Lack of visibility and influence within the enterprise
  • 38%--Lack of support from business stakeholders.
A few comments on this list.  Cyberwar or cybersecurity is like submarine warfare.  No one knows anything is going on until a ship sinks.  Therefore, it is easy to ignore -- at one's peril.  The funding issue will not go away.  Even after a major attack on the USA and tons of money being appropriated there is an ongoing need to pay attention to cybersecurity.  There won't be enough federal money to help everyone, so you might as well get on with life and pull yourself up by your "cybersecurity bootsraps."
The importance of cybersecurity was ranked by IT leaders.  States tended to be 20 percentage points ahead of cities with counties only a few points ahead of cities.  I'm guessing this is a resource issue.  Many city and county IT departments are small and they may not have as much visibility to the threats, or like others--they don't think it will happen to them.
Besides identifying all the issues there is a list of recommendations for states:
  1. Seek out leadership support at all state levels to make cybersecurity a priority
  2. Get the governor to make cybersecurity a top priority
  3. Align business and security from inception to execution, using good metrics and reporting
  4. Adopt an understood and repeatable compliance framework to align security priorities and practices among all parties, public and private
  5. Re-evaluate security funding annually as the risk environment changes
  6. Ensure that your security strategy addresses internal threats
  7. Monitor and assess security risks of third-party providers
And, don't forget world peace and world hunger...which is to say that cybersecurity is only one problem governments and governors are struggling with.  If you can get their attention to the issue before the beast raises its ugly head--good for you!

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August 06, 2012

Columbus has come and gone and planning has already begun on the 2013 National Homeland Security Conference  This one will be in LA, June 4-7.


I see they have a Facebook page set up already for the event.

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