Tuesday, December 29, 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 All-Hands.net and IAEM.com 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 networking with other emergency mangers by participating in associations and networking groups. My favorites include the Emergency Management List and the list run by IAEM. See this page for more lists. Our EM Community web site at All-Hands.Net includes links to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn - all great ways to network.

Finally, consider emergency management consulting. There are some ground floor opportunities for junior positions where you can learn the ropes and get good experience. All Hands Consulting manages a database of available personnel with either (or both) experience and education in the emergency management, homeland security and continuity of operations fields. We often have opportunities for entry level oppositions and if we hear of job opportunities we share these with the team.

So, get busy, get connected, and stay in touch!


Friday, October 16, 2009

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 decade).

Climate change, as I understand it, can potentially have a pronounced effect on the evaporation rates and on the distribution of water vapor and clouds in the atmosphere and of ice at the polar caps. Whether it is greenhouse gases or a cycle of climate change, climate change will certainly increase the frequency and intensity of weather related disasters.

Emergency Managers should be reevaluating risk and vulnerability due to weather patterns changing, potentially in dramatic fashion. This will increase the need for better mitigation, preparedness, awareness, and education for many.

So, it will be necessary to evaluate the vulnerabilities of climate change and the short and long-term risks of potential disasters. The usually look at historical occurrences may become less meaningful. A sound assessment of risk will require some new thinking and better hazard modeling. Then we will need to do what we do: Mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

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 (http://all-hands.net/) 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 including customizable pages populated with user defined content, content only available for our members, and additional multimedia.

Let me know what you think!

PS: I just added an e-mail subscription for those of you that want to subscribe.

Best, Steve

Sunday, August 9, 2009

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 (http://all-hands.net/network/).

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, instant, and secure way to share information, ideas and files. Bookmarking and social media tags are also embedded throughout the site so that visitors can share community news and information with others on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

In addition to the site’s many new technical features, the graphic design and interface present an improvement over our previous design. We have streamlined the site’s navigation, making it more intuitive and user-friendly.

In the coming months, we will be introducing new site features including customizable pages populated with user defined content, content only available for our members, and additional multimedia.

Let me know what you think!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

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 operation of the center. A fusion center needs to be seen as a system of systems and a node in a larger network of information sharing platforms.

The ultimate goal of the fusion center concept is to prevent terrorist attacks; however, these centers can and should be used to prepare for and respond to other man-made or natural disasters.

"Data fusion involves the exchange of information from different sources - including law enforcement, public safety and the private sector - and, with analysis, can result in meaningful and actionable intelligence and information... The fusion process turns this information and intelligence into actionable knowledge."
Public safety and private-sector components are integral in the fusion process because they provide fusion centers with crime-related information, including risk and threat assessments, and subject-matter experts who can aid in threat identification. While many of the fusion centers began with purely counter terrorism goals, many have moved toward an all-crimes and all-hazards approach.
Fusion centers are relatively new and can be expected to continue to evolve. How these are designed will need to be determined based on evaluation of what has worked so far in the existing centers.


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


Saturday, May 23, 2009

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 through competent 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 certification and the value of a particular consultant's time.

Is certification more important for the junior consultant or those trying to prove that they are qualified? Is that why the numbers show those without certs make more?


Monday, May 18, 2009

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 public itself

We still have many challenges in front of us and, in emergency management, we always will, but I want all of you to be more creative and pro-active in your solutions to meeting those challenges. I am fully confident that we can develop a culture of preparedness in this country, that we can find answers to difficult issues, and that we can successfully carry out the critical response and recovery mission the nation expects from us.

I want to personally thank Nancy Ward for her service as Acting Administrator. Her outstanding leadership and direction has put FEMA on the right path; Nancy was instrumental in making that happen, and will continue to be a key advisor to me as she re-assumes her role as the Region IX Administrator.

So again, I just want to say how happy I am to be a part of the FEMA team and I look forward to getting to know and working with each and every one of you. Together we can make a difference in helping those that look to us for assistance in their time of greatest need.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

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. Michio Kaku, 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 crash back to Earth like meteors.
  • Hospitals, with their life-sustaining support systems, will see some of the most urgent needs at first. But eventually, millions may die from hunger and thirst.
  • With no power, food cannot be processed or delivered.
  • Water cannot be pumped from reservoirs into homes.
  • Back-up generators will help, but only for a few days before their fuel runs out.
  • As sewage systems fail, diseases will break out.
  • Horses will replace cars, the financial system will collapse and, in a silver lining of sorts, there will certainly be no more e-mails for you to clear.
The articles, talking heads, and blogs, are “quackery” - driven by the doomsday or “end of times” community. Since the “doomsday community” is all excited about 2012 being the year the Mayan calendar expires, and these people are saying that 12.21.2012 is the date of Earth's annihilation, I found this article suspicious. However, NASA has been predicting solar cycles for a long time and a prediction was reported back in 2006 that there will be a solar maximum some time in 2010-12. So, there is truth to this; however, the people predicting the end of the world might be a tad disappointed.

Since disruptions from solar activity is well known as a valid scenario to plan for, and we can expect the doomsday aspect to make it interesting (as was the case with Y2K), I guess we will need to work to share information on this and address the potential impacts just as was the case with Y2K and is today with PanFlu and other threats.

There are better information sources of course. For instance, NOAA and NASA. NOAA predicts solar cycle 24 (2012-2013) to be the “weakest since 1928” with $1 trillion damages in the worst case.

As with hurricanes, even a weak storm today can be devastating as we are more vulnerable. With hurricanes it was building on the shore line. With solar storms, it is our dependence on technology that will make us more sensitive to solar storms. So, even a weak storm can be a significant event.

Recent reports are actually lowering expectations for a strong cycle. See
http://bit.ly/123Wmb for an article that appeared yesterday; while it says that “Earth could get hit by a devastating solar storm at any time” it goes on to report that “If the prediction proves true, Solar Cycle 24 will be the weakest cycle since number 16, which peaked at 78 daily sunspots in 1928, and ninth weakest since the 1750s, when numbered cycles began.” The article indicates that the NOAA solar panel’s predictions appear to lessen the potential risk to the high energy electrical grid system of the 2012-13 solar flares set out in a Jan. 2009 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report.

Obviously this is something to watch and plans for “loss of lifelines” are always prudent.

Some Official Resources:

Space Weather Prediction Center:

NOAA Solar Cycle Progression:

Predictions of the magnitude and timing of Cycle 24


Steve Davis, All Hands

Saturday, May 9, 2009

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 epidemic for the country without any intervention: 8,605 deaths, 30,380 hospitalizations (over the usual ones), above 4.5 million office visits in an 8 week period.

The details are here: http://portal.salud.gob.mx/sites/salud/descargas/pdf/influenza/estimacion_del_impacto_potencial_080509.pdf

- Apparently this link will show a detailed report updated today: http://portal.salud.gob.mx/descargas/pdf/influenza/influenza_situacion_actual_09may.pdf but it is not working right now.

Non-official data- Things are quite calm now, most people is back to "normal" except there are still these "sanitary" filters in schools and universities, also in work places, and other general measures.- Apparently Thursday and Friday were quite calm in the hospitals, but apparently last night there was another number of visits with flu-like symptoms to a number of hospitals. I will confirm that later today.

Now people is speaking about different "theories"- "This was `created` by our governmente.- "This is political"- Etc.

The flow of information is slower and less extensive, although you can really go into the webpages and find more detailed information. For example:

- Recommendations for indigenous communities: http://www.inali.gob.mx/influenza.html in the different dialects here.- Detailed information published everyday.- Etc.

I hope you all are doing well.

Juan M. Fraga-- Promueve la RCP en MéxicoVisita: http://www.rcp.org.mx/

Thursday, April 30, 2009

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 Flu/cold patient who has an infarction and is not able to get attention in the public hospitals because they are packed with flu-like symptoms, most of them colds, or just the idea of being sick.

Once I have the opportunity to be with her, I am so tired that the only thing I can do is sleeping, to get a phone call from one of my patients just an hour later... "No, madam, no, if she has no fever, no sore throat, no aches, etc it is quite possible is not -The Flu- ... you want me to check her, of course is your daughter, I put on my jeans go, check the girl with a common cold and then come back home". Nevertheless I have the feeling the number of calls was lower today.On the other hand I am called by the physicians at the local General Hospital: "Juan, there are many patients comming, one out of 10 or 20 is suspicious, but the epidemiologist doesn't take a swab on those that are only symptomatic and doesn't have hospitalization criteria.

They are only testing... and treating, patients that have respiratory failure or some reason to put them into the hospital. What do we do". ... Nevertheless they tell me they have the feeling the numbers are lower. Fewer patients are coming, and less of them that can be classified as suspicious. And I think that is only happening in the local general hospital, not in the other two hospitals here where they have treatments. On monday, some of my med students called me from Mexico City, there are 6 of our students doing their internship there. "Doctor Fraga, the students from other universities have already left... they are asking us to stay and to do our job and their job... we want to stay and help, but there is a lot to do here" later during the day the University asked the hospital to let our students leave if they wanted too without any academic punishment. There is no written word on what is the duty of an intern, but generally speaking interns from public universities are still there, interns from private universities are not working during these days... ¿?

At the local red cross we have a small hospital, more like a clinic... we don't have spaces to have patients isolated, so we agreed with the local Health Ministry to send the suspicious cases to the general hospital, I call the following day to the state's epidemiology director to see if the patients were confirmed. We have refered around 10 patients... none of the patients have had a sample taken.... were they misdiagnosed at hour hospital or finally the test was not done to them because of another reason?? I don't really know. The thing is that I personally checked today one of our physicians... he had 38.5o C, Strong headache, Astenia, coughing, myalgias, artralgias... I gave him the treatment, but the only place he was able to test was the health secretariat. Finally he had the swab taken at 19:30 we will now if he had influenza A in a couple of days.

Apparently tomorrow we might be able to get quick tests from the health secretariat and be able to treat the open population that doesn't need to be hospitalized.... in compensations to what is happening at the local general hospital.I am watching the news, the national Health Minister is smiling and saying that things are not as big (apparently) they have got confirmation from the first cases and they can say that there have only been (until now) 99 confirmed cases of swine flu (not only type A influenza but N1H1) and from these confirmation 91 are OK and 8 died... obviously there are many confirmations pending... There are anouncing a presidential message on the TV: He is repeating most of the information that you have seen in the news, including the recommendations that have been around the media since the weekend: avoid public places, use face mask on the public transport, use hanckerchiefs, etc. We have some free days coming and he is recommending the population not to go on holidays, to stay at home (good I think).

He is saying that all hospitals and clinics are open to treat the people... mmm he might want to come to Queretaro, I think. He is saying that people should receive treatment since the first hours... I hope that our state's epidemiologists see the TV today.... More activites will stop tomorrow... mainly non critical federal government activites until may 5 but most of these days correspond to non laboral days (May 1, and 5 plus weekend). Well at the end he only said that they will continue with the efforts until next week.Sumarizing and adding some interesting points:-

There are clear indications on how to behave for the population, the health care facilities, etc... they can even be downloaded from the Health Ministry webpage: http://portal.salud.gob.mx/ soon they will place statistics there.- Data reporting is not consistent, some states report suspicious cases (based on symptoms), some states wait to have results on influenza type A results (48-72 hours), others (like mine) will wait to have H1N1 results (1 week). Remember this year is also an electoral year... (I feel awful admitting it can change the way they communicat things). I think a healthy behaviour would be to sumarize cases using the information on three columns: suspicious --> influenza A --> H1N1 it would also help estimating how good is each diagnostic strategy (clinical, inmunofluorescense, etc) for future experiences. People would understand a little bit more.- Monday and tuesday were tough days at the hospitals, today they are still busy but either more organized or with less patients, my colleagues don't complain as much as the other days. - Many cold cases, few flu-like cases... I have get tired of insisting it might be a good idea to open mobile clinics or check patients at their homes... day-to-day activities at the hospitals were many before this, now they have to work on both things... and extra effort needs to be placed to avoid overwhelming hospitals.-

Until now I have personally checked two health care providers, one was a bacterial infection (not flu) the other one is suspicious... I will have results in a couple of days... if he comes positive, that will mean that one of the patients he saw, sent to the general hospital and were not studied further, was also positive.... I really hope he comes negative.- Private hospitals (until today) were not included as part of the response here. Until today they would only detect suspicious cases, isolate them and call the health care authority to have the treatment and study brought to the patient. Apparently tomorrow they are beginning to do some diagnosis and might be able to get antivirals which are controlled by the government right now.-

On Monday you could get N95 masks at 9 pesos/piece (0.80 american dollars), today they are at 20 pesos (1.5 american dollars). Wouldn't it be a better business for 3M and similar companies on the long term to donate this masks? I mean, right now I think they are selling less of the rest of their products (paints, etc).- The people at the community level is behaving fine, they are responsible and do what the TV says: stay at home, increase your hygiene if you think you can have the flu go to the hospital.I am pretty sure that many of the suspicious cases will end up not being confirmed, nevertheless some kind of aproach should be established, I am with the early blind treatment people (remember treatment in the first 48 hours is better than later on) and then wait for the result. Some institutions are waiting for Influenza A confirmation between starting treatment. I think there is not an homogenous approach here. Speaking from many perspectives: communication, treatment, etc. I know some exercises were made at the federal level, but few at the local level. They are not considering much the EMS services as part of the response, I have to be quite proactive to communicate with the state's epidemiology director and honestly I don't have the feeling I got many answers there.Because of my words, you might have the feeling that things are worsening here, but honestly speaking I see people more calm, less visits to the hospitals, and the official numbers are not growing as fast, as well as the unofficial (colleague to colleague) impressions.

Today I am just kind of tired and a little bit frustrated knowing that some suspicious cases are not being treated nor studied further than the clinical testing at the local hospital. I really think most of this people doesn't have swine flu, but some of them might and if there is not an opportunity to run a test in every patient, then at least it might be good to offer them "empirical" treatment if it increases the patients' prognosis.Remember that I am only speaking about one small city, not the big picture...

I think that in Mexico City things are better with the response, but the hospitals are still busy.I am sorry I was not very objective today, I hope tomorrow I can send again some raw data...........My wife is sleeping now... she will be mad again.... I think I will have to by her flowers tomorrow :)I hope she allows me to open my computer again tomorrow at night to write you what's happening here... See you soon :)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

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 information or to request CERC materials, please contact CDC’s Barbara Reynolds, Ph.D. at CERCrequest@cdc.gov

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

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 be spreading rapidly from person to person around the globe and may cause high levels of disease and death around the world. The numbers go into the hundreds of millions...

Today, we still have a situation which is evolving rapidly. There are 64 confirmed cases in the US, with no deaths. Mexico has reported only 26 confirmed human cases of infection including seven deaths. Many other countries now have suspected cases but are reporting mild symptoms. This is all good news. Hopefully this does not amount to much. However, you might want to take a hint from my field: we hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

Current Situation

Currently, there is no restriction recommended for regular activities or travel. It is considered prudent for people who are ill to delay international travel and for people developing symptoms to seek medical attention.

What can you do?

The single best way to prevent the flu is to use good "health habits" like covering your mouth when you cough and washing your hands often can help stop the spread of germs. There also are flu antiviral drugs that can be used to treat and prevent the flu.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too. Stay at least six feet away from anyone who is feeling ill.

Stay home when you are sick. If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. If you don’t have tissue, use your sleeve, not your hands. Washing your hands often will also help protect you from germs.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

Stay healthy,


Monday, April 20, 2009

2009 Urban Area Security Initiative Conference

One of my "hobbies" is to support an annual confernce for the Urban Area Security Initiative. http://www.urbanareas.org/con/

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 disciplines, industry, government and academia. This continued with the 2008 National Conference with the largest attendance in conference history.

The 2009 conference will build on the previous programs to continue as a premier event for UASI program participants. If you have a role in a UASI program you are encouraged to attend.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Twittering about Social Media

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

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 our time to take advantage of what is being called "Web 2.0".

Web 2.0 is a generally used to designate a web site or software that enhances interpersonal, collaboration, information sharing, and a sense of community on the world wide web. Web 2.0 is not really new as these capabilities have been around for quite a while. It is more about the evolution of web-based communities or social-networking groups that use web sites to share video, forums, wikis, and blogs.

As a matter of fact, if you are reading this on http://www.all-hands.net/, as I assume you are, you are already in the world of Web 2.0. This site has all of the capabilities envisioned in a web-based community of interest (COI). The challenge for us is to find the time and the way to use the site to its fullest advantage. Many of you are using the site to research issues related to your education or profession. Others are looking for helpful tools such as plan templates or presentations.

Back to business cards, the All-Hands site has a members directory (select "Members List" under the "User Menu". The directory can be used to make contact with other registered site members but it not the ideal way to meet community members. The community forum, on the other hand, is a great way to get into discussions with others interested in a particular topic.

It is relatively easy to create sites like these, the trick is to get people to come together as a COI. Community sites can be done at an office or regional level and can be restricted based on membership approval processes.

Another web site that I like to use for networking is Linkedin. This site is a professional's version of facebook and provides an easy way to find and maintain connections. My page is located at www.linkedin.com/in/allhands and includes a link to the All Hands Community Group within Linkedin. Check it out.

I would like to see more of you connecting through this virtual community. These are great tools and we should all be taking advantage of them.

So, get connected, post to the forum, update your profile, do a blog, whatever you want. Get out there and be part of your professional community.

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