Emergency Management Solutions Newsletter
Volume 14 No. 4
April 2022
L. Canton Photo 2013

Welcome to the April edition of Emergency Management Solutions.

April is earthquake month in San Francisco. We celebrate the anniversary of the great earthquake and fires that occurred in 1906. Like any great city, we've had our share of disasters, especially fires. There's a reason that the seal of the city incorporates a phoenix rising from flames. So we celebrate the 1906 disaster not so much as a reminder of the devastation of the city but to recognize that cities can rise from the ashes of disaster to be better than they were.

In this month's featured articles, Tim Riecker comments of FEMA's new guide for elected and appointed officials while Erik Bernstein offers some thoughts on preparing for cyber breaches. My own article provides a look at the system I use to integrate response and continuity planning.

Be well!
Lucien Canton
Featured Articles
Canton on Emergency Management
Integrating Response and Continuity Planning

Recently I wrote about the importance of integrating response and continuity operations. This makes sense conceptually but, like so much in emergency management, the devil is in the details. Response and continuity have different objectives that have the potential to conflict with each other and the planning and execution of each involve different actors and leadership. How then do you integrate such disparate operations?

The answer is not as complex as one would think but it is difficult in execution. Over the years I have developed some rules of thumb that I share with my clients:

  • Recognize that successful resilience requires an enterprise-wide approach. Response and continuity are not discrete functions but are inter-related and co-dependent. Actions taken in one will have an impact on the other. If you have a successful response but no plans for continuity your organization will most likely one of those that fail after a disaster. Alternatively, if response fails, there’s no need for continuity; you won’t have the resources to continue as an effective organization. Response often relies on the restoration of key systems while decisions made during response may have long-term consequences for the organization.
  • Be clear about your priorities. Priorities drive strategy which in turn drives operational planning. Priorities are not always obvious. I was once asked to assist a non-profit in developing their command center to communicate with their clients immediately after an earthquake and to coordinate with public agencies. They were on the verge of committing some serious funds on radios and satellite phones until I asked the simple question, “Why?” This eventually led to a discussion as to their mission. It turned out they had no resources or technical assistance to offer clients during the first 24 hours following an earthquake. Their mission was to provide emergency funding once their clients had identified the need for the funds in a formal request. The organization’s priorities shifted from establishing a command center to continuity operations that would position them to deal immediately with client requests for funding.
© 2022 -  Lucien G. Canton

Lucien Canton is management consultant specializing in helping managers lead better in a crisis. He is the former Director of Emergency Services for San Francisco and the author of the best-selling Emergency Management: Concepts and Strategies for Effective Programs used as a textbook in many higher education courses.
The Contrarian Emergency Manager

By Timothy "Tim" Riecker

Guides for Senior Officials – Finding the Right Tool

In late March, FEMA released the ‘Local Elected and Appointed Officials Guide’ for national engagement review and feedback. My first thought before even looking at the document is that there are already so many of these in existence. Not necessarily from FEMA (though they have released some, such as a NIMS guide for elected officials), but the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) has one (actually two), and most state emergency management offices have developed and published their own guides suitable for local emergency managers.

Each guide out there has pros and cons. The draft FEMA guide is very… FEMA. It has the same look and feel of every other FEMA publication out there, which is both good and bad. While it offers a lot of references, external links, and has placeholders for case studies, it’s in smaller print and still comes in at 62 pages including the cover. While it has good information, I feel this is way too long for most elected and appointed officials to spend time on – plus it’s still incomplete in many ways because these officials need to learn about their own state systems, standards, and laws.

The NEMA elected official’s guide is much shorter, at 6 pages cover to cover. While this is a good marketing piece championing emergency management, it doesn’t provide any resources or state-specific information. I do appreciate the marketing aspect of it, though, as in many cases what we often need most is for elected and appointed officials to know what emergency management is and does, along with who their emergency manager is (or encouraging them to hire one).
© 2022 -  Timothy Riecker, CEDP
Used with Permission

Tim Riecker is a founding member, partner and principal consultant with Emergency Preparedness Solutions, LLC, a private consulting firm serving government, businesses, and not for profit organizations in various aspects of emergency and disaster preparedness.
Bernstein Crisis Management

By Erik Bernstein

How to Create a Crisis Management Plan to Respond to a Cyber Breach

These days, protecting your organization from cybercrime is just as, and possibly even more important than securing your physical facility. Cybersecurity is always evolving and you need to keep up with best practices to help prevent data breaches that could compromise your company’s reputation.

With that said, it’s not possible to prevent every breach attempt. Regardless of your industry or the size of your organization, breaches can happen to every company (and probably will, at some point). Accepting that fact is the first step. Preparing for it is the second.

Having a solid crisis management plan for future cyber breaches can prevent a bad situation from turning into a nightmare. You can protect your assets and your trust with customers by responding appropriately if and when a breach occurs. Here are some tips for creating an effective breach response plan.

Prepare By Analyzing Breaches That Have Occurred in the Past

Obviously, it’s better to avoid data breaches whenever possible. But the ones that have already occurred can at least teach us something. It’s useful to study the aftermath of different data breaches within your own organization and in other companies to determine what works and what doesn’t.

If your organization hasn’t yet been the victim of a data breach, then you’re lucky! You can still learn from the most high-profile data breaches of the last few years, though, and learn what to do—and what not to do.
© 2020 - Erik Bernstein
Used with permission

Erik Bernstein is President of Bernstein Crisis Management, a specialized firm dedicated to providing holistic strategies for managing crisis situations.
Featured Video
Why Earthquakes in the East are so much more Dangerous

In the winter of 1811 a series of powerful earthquakes shook the United States of America. It was a very strange series of earthquakes not just because it consisted of 3-4 major earthquakes that happened in very quick succession but also (and possibly more notably) because of where it happened. The epicenter of these earthquakes was not where you might suspect, on the west coast, but instead far to the east, in the Mississippi valley - a place not commonly associated with strong earthquakes.

This video provides an overview of the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-12 as seen through the eyes of the survivors and provides an in-depth discussion of why the earthquakes were so devastating and what risks these geologic factors hold for the future.
Professional Development
FEMA is seeking feedback on the draft Local Elected and Appointed Officials Guide: Roles and Resources in Emergency Management. This guide makes it easier for senior officials to understand, prepare for and execute their leadership responsibilities to help:
  • Mitigate community risks.
  • Save lives.
  • Protect property.
  • Recover from disasters.
The document provides an executive-level introduction to emergency management concepts and principles for local senior officials. It identifies local senior officials’ roles and responsibilities for incident emergency management before, during and after disasters. The draft guide also explains how to access resources.

More information can be found here.

NIMS Fire Management and Suppression Resource Typing Documents for Final Publication
FEMA has published 25 new and updated Fire Management and Suppression resource typing documents. These National Incident Management System (NIMS) Job Titles/Position Qualifications and Resource Typing Definitions provide fire management and suppression support to emergency response and recovery operations.

For more information, including the full-scope of the Fire Management and Suppression resource typing documents, visit the Resource Typing Library Tool (RTLT).
Professional Development Opportunities
Orlando, FL
May 15-19, 2022
The nation’s largest conference dedicated to all aspects of flooding and floodplain management.
Online Option Available

Middletown, RI
June 7-8, 2022
The International Crisis Management Conference (ICMC) empowers crisis management professionals to be fully prepared to respond to and successfully manage crises. Now in its seventh year, the conference provides a forum for attendees to share their own experiences while enhancing their professional development from presentations given by some of today’s foremost crisis experts.

Virtual Event
July 10-13, 2022
The Workshop brings together federal, state, and local mitigation and emergency management officials and planning professionals; representatives of nonprofit, private sector, and humanitarian organizations; hazards and disaster researchers; and others dedicated to alleviating the impacts of disasters.

Phoenix AZ
Sep 11-14, 2022
DRJ is the industry’s largest resource for business continuity, disaster recovery, crisis communication, and risk management, reaching a global network of more than 138,000 professionals. DRJ conferences are the world’s largest conferences dedicated to building resiliency.

Savannah, GA
Nov 11-18, 2022
The goal of the IAEM Annual Conference is to improve knowledge, competency level and collaborative skills. IAEM accomplishes this by attracting relevant high-profile speakers to address current topics and practical solutions.
From The Bookshelf
A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea
by Richard Phillips and Stephan Talty

It was just another day on the job for fifty-three-year-old Richard Phillips, captain of the Maersk Alabama, the United States-flagged cargo ship which was carrying, among other things, food and agricultural materials for the World Food Program. That all changed when armed Somali pirates boarded the ship. The pirates didn't expect the crew to fight back, nor did they expect Captain Phillips to offer himself as hostage in exchange for the safety of his crew. Thus began the tense five-day stand-off, which ended in a daring high-seas rescue when U.S. Navy SEALs opened fire and picked off three of the captors.

"It never ends like this," Captain Phillips said.

And he's right.

A Captain's Duty tells the life-and-death drama of the Vermont native who was held captive on a tiny lifeboat off Somalia's anarchic, gun-plagued shores. A story of adventure and courage, it provides the intimate details of this high-seas hostage-taking--the unbearable heat, the death threats, the mock executions, and the escape attempt. When the pirates boarded his ship, Captain Phillips put his experience into action, doing everything he could to safeguard his crew. And when he was held captive by the pirates, he marshaled all his resources to ensure his own survival, withstanding intense physical hardship and an escalating battle of wills with the pirates. This was it: the moment where training meets instinct and where character is everything. Richard Phillips was ready.
Emergency Management: Concepts and Strategies for Effective Programs
Second Edition
by Lucien G. Canton

This book looks at the larger context within which emergency management response occurs, and stresses the development of a program to address a wide range of issues. Not limited to traditional emergency response to natural disasters, it addresses a conceptual model capable of integrating multiple disciplines and dealing with unexpected emergencies.
Speaker's Corner
 Looking for a speaker for your conference? I offer keynotes, seminars, workshops, and webinars, either in person or online. You can find more details and sample videos on my website.
©Lucien G. Canton 2022. All rights reserved.
You may reprint and excerpt this newsletter provided that you include my copyright, the source,
the author, and "reprinted with permission."
ISSN: 2334-590X