Emergency Management Solutions Newsletter
 February 2011

In This Issue
White Paper
Professional Development
Life Balance for Emergency Managers
From the Bookshelf
Speaking Engagements

Discrimination in Emergency Planning


Thoughts on the Los Angeles City Case 


s I mentioned in a recent blog, a Federal judge has found that the City of Los Angeles' emergency preparedness program violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and various state statutes by failing to provide reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities.

This is the first such decision in the United States and will definitely have an impact on our emergency management programs. While I am not an attorney and cannot speak to the legal implications, I believe the underlying issues are rather straight forward and that as emergency managers we need to rethink how we accommodate people with disabilities in our programs.



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Welcome to the February issue of Emergency Management Solutions

A Federal judge recently found the city of Los Angeles to be in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act with regards to its emergency management program. This is the first such decision of this kind in the US and will have a profound effect on how we plan for disasters. This month's white paper looks at the judge's decision and its implications.

If you are having trouble viewing the white paper, try clicking on the link at the top of the page. Alternatively, you can always find my white paper on my blog site, Canton on Emergency Management.
Lucien Canton

Professional Development 

One of the characteristics of a profession is a specialized body of knowledge. If we are to consider ourselves professionals, we really should maintain our own personal reference library. This is actually a lot easier these days than you would think.


Consider your professional library as consisting of three components. The first is your actual hard copy library. There are certain books that really should be on every professional emergency manager's bookshelf, available for immediate reference. Unfortunately, we can't seem to agree on what those should be and it changes as new books are published.


This makes the second component of your professional library even more important. The second component is a virtual library consisting of documents you've downloaded in electronic format. Consider taking a few minutes to setup a directory with subject folders so you can find the documents you need relatively quickly. Don't forget that you can place the document in more than one folder if it covers multiple subjects.


The final component of your professional library is a list of resource sites where documents are stored. Examples include academic sites such as the Disaster Research Center at the University of Delaware or the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Professional journals such as the Journal of Emergency Management or the Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management can be accessed on line. You can also get copies of articles published in periodicals such as Emergency Management magazine. Organize the bookmarks in your web browser to make these sites easier to find.


So having a professional library isn't quite as difficult as it sounds. It just takes a bit of thought and some organization.

Life Balance for Emergency Managers 

What did you have for lunch today? I'm willing to bet that you either skipped lunch, grabbed a quick bite at your desk, or snagged some fast food. Am I wrong?


We tend to look at our lunch periods as just a time to refuel, a bit like a pit stop on a race course. We see them as necessary evils that interrupt our hectic schedule. If something has to give in that schedule, it will be our lunch time.


What we fail to realize is that lunch is about more than just refueling the body. It's an opportunity to give ourselves a mental break. Our brains need downtime to assimilate new information and synthesize ideas. Taking a half hour or so to catch your breath and think makes you more effective.


So at your next lunch break, take the time to enjoy your lunch. Consider taking a brief walk around the block. Chat with friends. Read something not related to your work. You'll be surprised at how productive your afternoon will be! 

From the Bookshelf

Hurricane Katrina had a significant impact on emergency management in the United States, not the least of which was reminding the Department of Homeland Security that natural disasters can be more devastating than terrorist attacks. Hurricane Katrina also highlighted the inadequacy of preparedness measures for people with functional needs, the subject of this month's white paper. The best book I have read on Hurricane Katrina from the emergency management perspective is Disaster: Hurricane Katrina and the Failure of Homeland Security by Christopher Cooper and Robert Block. The authors provide context by giving a brief history of New Orleans and its levee system then provide a day by day account of the critical first days of the disaster. The book has the ring of truth about it - those things of which I have direct knowledge were accurately reported - and the tone is impartial and balanced.

Speaking Engagements 

April 16: Social Media and Disaster Preparedness Redwood City Chamber of Commerce 42nd Annual Progress Seminar, Monterey CA

September 28:

Social Media and Disaster Management, TAK Response Conference and Exhibition, San Jose, CA

Need a speaker for your next conference? I offer keynotes, seminars and workshops. You can find more details on my website  or on my new SpeakerWiki page. 

If you've heard me speak...

...I'd greatly appreciate it if you would take a minute to give me feedback on my SpeakerWiki site. Just go to the site and click on the "Write A Review" button. 


Many thanks!

ŠLucien G. Canton February 2011