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 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:

- Apparently this link will show a detailed report updated today: 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: 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: