Emergency Management Solutions Newsletter

 May 2011

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

Liability: Words Can Hurt


Five tips for improving crisis communications

Remember that old children's nursery rhyme, "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me?" it was a mantra against bullies and name calling that was supposed to teach us that actions are more important than words. However, many of us have learned the wrong lesson and begun to think that words are never important. Unfortunately, this is just not true. Words can have serious consequences when you're dealing with liability issues.



Provo Tabernacle Fire


Save Print From Provo Tab Fire?
Save Print From Provo Tab Fire? "Like" this video.

This is an interesting use of video to raise public interest in an art restoration project. The damage art work could easily be replaced with a similar print but there is a considerable emotional connection to it on the part of some congregation measures. You can read more about this problem in the article by my colleague, Scott Haskins. 

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Welcome to the May issue of Emergency Management Solutions.


Liability is one of the risks inherent in our job. Sometimes our exposure hinges on the little things that we do or fail to do. This month's whitepaper is a cautionary tale of how a single word can make a difference.


This month's video is an example of how video can be used to raise public awareness, courtesy of my colleague Scott Haskins.
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 requirements for the Certified Emergency Manager credential is to make contributions to our profession. How do you do this? For most of us, the best way is to volunteer our time or skills. This is not just a one-sided deal - any volunteer or pro-bono project brings with it the opportunity to increase your knowledge and to make professional contacts.


Not all volunteer work is arduous or time consuming, either. Volunteering as a reviewer for an academic journal, for example, only takes and hour or so. Reviewing and commenting on draft Federal documents may be tedious but our input is essential. There are many working groups working on various standards that would welcome experienced emergency managers.


So reach out and give something back. You'll be surprised at how much you get back in return.

Life Balance for Emergency Managers 

Being an emergency manager is a 24/7 job. Even if you're off duty, you're on call. So when do you find time for fun?


You need to realize that you're not indispensable.  Even if you're a one person shop or a part-timer, you need to ask yourself, "what would happen if I were unavailable?" You don't have to get morbid and think about being killed or injured in a disaster. Supposed you just want to take a vacation? You need to figure out who would replace you and provide them with some level of preparation. This is just good planning.


Next, practice your plan. Formally delegate your responsibilities to that person for a weekend or while you're on business travel. (You can always offer to fill-in for them when they need time off.) This provides your fill-in with some experience and gives you some badly-needed downtime.

From the Bookshelf

In our planning we often perpetrate myths by making assumptions about what will happen in a disaster. Nowhere is this more true than in recovery. So it's refreshing when researchers not only sift out the truth but also frame it in a way that is accessible and easy to read. This is the beauty of Managing for Long-term Community Recovery in the Aftermath of Disaster by Daniel Alesch, Lucy Arendt, and James Holly. This book looks at what really happens following disaster and the impact on demography, housing, local economies and more. However, the authors eschew "academic speak" making the book clear and easy to read. This is one of those books I consider required reading for emergency managers.

Speaking Engagements 

June 20: Social Media and Disaster Preparedness Redwood City Chamber of Commerce, Santa Clara CA

September 14: Keynote Address Kansas Emergency Management Association Annual Meeting, Topeka KS


November 15: A Tale of Three Fires: Do We Really Learn from Disasters? International Association of Emergency Managers Conference, Las Vegas NV

Looking for a Speaker?


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. 


Lucien Canton Seminar Excerpts
Lucien Canton Seminar Excerpts
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  March 2011