Showing posts from 2009

Tough Time Finding Work in Emergency Management?

It is a tough time (economy-wise) for those of you just starting out in the emergency management field but there are plenty of positions out there - If you are looking for work, I encourage you to keep trying and not to get frustrated.Here are some tips for those of you in the hunt.First, if you don’t have experience, you need to get some. I would look for volunteer opportunities with your local emergency management agency, fire department, LEPC, ARC, or other VOAD organizations. Volunteering is one sure fire way to get some real life on-the-ground experience.Second, you need to find the job opportunities. You need to go hunt.You can search the job boards at places like and to see if you can find a ground floor opportunity. There are mail lists like the EM Jobs list on Yahoo! Often, there are lower level positions or internships available where you can get on-the-job experience.Third, get connected.It is a Web 2.0 world and you better get with it. Try networki…

Climate Change and Emergency Management

Climate change is an issue that is of concern to many emergency mangers. It is, based on my limited understanding of the science, not "global warming" that we need to worry about per se. We need to be concerned about the risk of a major change in global weather patterns.In my experience, many EM offices are adding this to the list of things to worry about (or HVA in most cases). I have seen it mentioned in several RFPs for instance.If the predictions are correct and the trend continues, climate change will lead to an increase in weather related disasters. Weather patterns may shift to impact areas not typically prone to a particular weather hazard. As we already know, despite what mitigation is occurring (or not), weather-related disasters will continue to increase because of population growth in vulnerable areas - now our paradigm as to what is a vulnerable area, and what are the prevalent hazards, may need to shift (example, Atlanta went from drought to floods in this de…

The All Hands Community

Just a quick update on the All Hands Community. Since I announced the launch of the new and improved version of our community collaboration and information sharing portal, All Hands Community 3.0 ( we have had over 350 people register and many more visit. As was the case before, only one or two people are contributing.Our goal is to provide our members with a complete community-based social networking experience. the new site offers a lot of these features but it is not catching on as much as we had hoped. Still, the site is popular for sharing information. While it is great as a toolbox, we still want to make it more social. I guess we will need to keep trying to get people to use more of the social features.We have linked All Hands Community to other sites such as this Blog and, of course, to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Followers and connections on these sites are growing steadily.In the coming months, we will be introducing new site features includin…

Get Connected with the updated All Hands Community 3.0

For the last decade or so, my passion has been the use of the Internet to collaborate. The All Hands Community has been my way of doing that and a sort of "giving back" to the community of emergency management, homeland security, and business continuity professionals that I work with.So, today I want to announce the launch of a new and improved version of our community collaboration and information sharing portal, All Hands Community 3.0 ( Our goal is to provide our members with a complete community-based social networking experience coupled with a wealth of multifaceted information resources. The new version of the All Hands Community is also linked to Blogger, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.The updated site features an array of information including our Emergency Manager's Toolbox, Glossary and Link Directory. Users can now easily access archival and cross-referenced information. The upgraded site also enables our members an easy, instan…

Designing Fusion Centers

Been thinking a lot about how we design and use fusion centers. Big centers, little rooms, or virtual connected information sharing? What works best?

Whatever the approach, fusion centers must be designed to operate as a truly collaborative information sharing environment. That is what matters the most. Effective acquisition of information and "fusing" it in order to support the rapid development of intelligence should be the prime mover for a fusion center.

Fusion centers are defined as “a collaborative effort of two or more agencies that provide resources, expertise, and information to the center with the goal of maximizing their ability to detect, prevent, investigate, and respond to criminal and terrorist activity.” As is the case with EOCs, these centers demand clear operating procedures, staff roles, and responsibilities, and a supportive workspace, to include effective technology. Too often, design centers on the look and feel of a center and not on the effective operat…


I'm going to try out Tweetboard. Nested Twitter conversations is just what we need, right?


Non-certified consultants earn more!

The title of this posting should get someones attention. (I totally stole this idea from Eric Holdeman). This report on continuity and emergency management compensation for independent contractors and it gives hourly rates by certification. What i found interesting was Figure 3, which highlights compensation by the number of certifications. "Interestingly enough, the data indicated that those professionals with no certifications enjoyed higher compensations compared to their certified counterparts."

The report indicates that the majority of non-certified professionals were degreed (81%) with 19.6% achieving a Doctorate/ PhD. But I think the more telling story may be that many of the seasoned consultants have established themselves in the business without certification buy throughcompetent work, experience, and good reference accounts. While many senior consultants are certified, I think that the compensation report is an indication that there is no correlation between certifi…

Administrator W. Craig Fugate’s First Official Day at FEMA Message

(Thi is Craig Fugate’s First Official Day at FEMA Message: Thought it would be nice to post this to the blog, FYI)

I wanted to take the opportunity on my first official day at FEMA to introduce myself and to tell you how happy I am to be the new FEMA Administrator and part of the FEMA team. I know from first hand experience what a great agency FEMA is and what a dedicated and professional workforce I will be working with. In the coming weeks we will be announcing new senior leadership as soon as they come on board, and I know that we will have an exceptionally strong team.

In my discussions with Secretary Napolitano it is clearly evident that there is a new emphasis on the importance of emergency management in the Department. The Secretary is committed to building strong relationships with all of our stakeholders. I couldn't agree more that the core of our success lies in the relationships we build with our state, local and tribal partners, with the private sector, and with the publ…

Solar Storms and Time Travel

I write today about solar storms, prompted to do so by guy that Fox news used as their "expert astro-physicist" to talk about the impending disaster that solar storms represent.

The issue: Solar Cycle 24 is predicted to peak in May 2013 with a daily sunspot number of 90. Solar cycle maximums can disrupt sensitive electronics on earth and threaten communications and power grids among other things.

Now, how is the press going to report on this issue? Take Fox news for example. MichioKaku, an expert astro-physicist, was on Fox News telling us that this is going to be "Space Katrina" and throw us all back into the stone age; which is cool because he also believes in time travel. Couldn't they get someone from NASA? Is this "fair and balanced"?

There have also been some dire predictions in the blogosphere, as an example, this Blog suggests quite a catastrophe:

Trains will collide and planes will crash, as their communications systems fail. Satellites will cra…

H1N1 Update from Mexico 5-09-09

I'm sharing another update from Juan in Mexico. While the news buzz is quieting, there is still much going on. Always insightful and credible, Juan gives us an up-close look at the latest happenings in Mexico. Meanwhile the numbers of cases continues to rise but there is much less "worry" thanks to the careful messaging of those managing the crisis. That has been interesting to watch indeed.


Steve Davis


Hello everybody:

Official data:- May 8, 8:45 hrs: Confirmed Cases: 1364 cases, 45 deaths. Yesterday they reported 3 deaths in Jalisco, possibly because of H1N1 virus. Today´s news announced 3 more deaths (in Jalisco), the official data is still not on the Health Secretariat webpage.- Jalisco, Guerrero, San Luis Potosí and Hidalgo states anounced that schools will not reopen on the 11th but on the 18th.- Based on a Model (FluAid) authorities calculated the impact of the …

A Letter From Mexico

I wanted to share this e-mail from a Doctor in Mexico. He is a member of an emergency management mail list and has been letting us know how things are going down there. Some lessons for all of us up here in the states.


Hello everybody, there have been long days these days. To make it different I will begin to just throw my ideas, I don't know if it is helpful for you... but might give you and idea on how I am living it here. I need some kind of catharsis. At the end I will sumarize if you want to skip the rest.Today just before comming back to home my wife told me my two year old son was warm. I came home he was on this bed, he was sweating but he was ok, his temperature was 37.o C... I hope you can make the translation to Farenheit... (Editor: 98.6F) but had no fever. He is OK and I am pretty sure he will be. I think fear is more contagious than flu.My wife is kind of mad: when I am home I am tired, making phone calls trying to get a hospital for a non …

The Six Principles of CERC - Crisis Emergency Risk Communication

Just got this from the CDC and wantd to share it...

The Six Principles of CERC - Crisis Emergency Risk Communication

Be First: If the information is yours to provide by organizational authority—do so as soon as possible. If you can’t—then explain how you are working to get it.

Be Right: Give facts in increments. Tell people what you know when you know it, tell them what you don’t know, and tell them if you will know relevant information later.

Be Credible: Tell the truth. Do not withhold to avoid embarrassment or the possible “panic” that seldom happens. Uncertainty is worse than not knowing—rumors are more damaging than hard truths.

Express Empathy: Acknowledge in words what people are feeling—it builds trust. “We understand this is worrisome”

Promote Action: Give people things to do. It calms anxiety and helps restore order.

Show Respect: Treat people the way you want to be treated—the way you want your loved ones treated—always—even when hard decisions must be communicated.

For more inform…

Swine Flu: Not a disaster yet but keep an eye on it

OK, time to write about Swine Flu. I am trying to just report the facts and stay away from the hype but I want to share what I know and suggest what can help... please understand, there is no need to get stressed out about this but at least pay attention to the common sense stuff at the end of this message (like avoiding contact with sick people).

What most people want to know now is if this is all being hyped. I must say that, while it is not a "disaster" at this point, there is clearly the potential for this to turn into a pandemic. Many people question this as the rate of illness and death is far behind the normal flu in terms of morbidity and mortality. But, pandemics are different than the normal seasonal influenza epidemics that happen annually. While these cause an average of 36,000 deaths in the US, pandemic influenza refers to a worldwide epidemic due to a new strain of influenza virus to which there is no immunity. If this turns into a pandemic, the new virus will b…

2009 Urban Area Security Initiative Conference

One of my "hobbies" is to support an annual confernce for the Urban Area Security Initiative.

This conference was originally conceived from information sharing partnerships between the UASI program managers of the Charlotte and Miami UASIs, who recognized a distinct need for an information sharing platform. The first of these conferences was held in Dallas, TX in 2005; supported by the International Association of Fire Chiefs, Metro Chiefs Committee. This conference was largely attended by fire professionals and UASI administrative professionals, who recognized the need for greater information sharing.From this conference it was identified that a larger conference was needed to provide similar information, across first responder disciplines, from all UASI cities. The 2007 National Conference was conceived of as a platform for exchange of ideas on the management of UASI programs. Participants and contributions were expanded to include all disci…

Twittering about Social Media

Recyling an old blog to get started. Looking to tryout this software as opposed to my blog at

Oct 15
Getting Connected - Web 2.0
Posted by Steve in Technology, homeland security

"During an emergency is not the time to be exchanging business cards."
How many times have your heard this refrain? Do you have stacks of business cards as I do? How on earth can one find the time to connect with the people you meet?
To me, technology is making the business card obsolete. The technology is out there to scan the cards into my contact list (and italready has thousands of people in it) but how do I manage to find the right person when I am looking for a contact in a particular agency or specialty area. Someone whom we have not yet swapped business cards with?
Isn't there a better way to connect? Can we find a way to connect like our kids (and some of us old timers) are doing on facebook?

There is a better way and our kids are taking full advantage of it. Now it is o…