Emergency Management Solutions Newsletter

 June 2011

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

Assumptions Can Kill


A Case Study

By now you may have heard of an incident in Alameda, California where a man committed suicide by wading into the Bay while being watched from the shore by police and firefighters. Department policy prohibited firefighters from entering the water because budget reductions had eliminated the department's shore rescue program.

A number of my colleagues have been arguing about the appropriateness of the actions of the emergency personnel on scene. I do not intend to add my uninformed two cents to that debate. However, I think there is a point that is being over looked in our discussions. This man died not because of inaction by responders or the budget cuts that prevented them from doing their job. He died because of bad planning assumptions.



Disaster Preparedness Video Series 

Part 2

Immediate Action in Disasters
Immediate Action in Disasters

This is the second video in the Golden Gate Regional Center Disaster Preparedness video series for the developmentally disabled. This video describes protective actions during an earthquake and discusses shelter-in-place and slow onset disasters.

Quick Links
My Website

My Blog  
Emergency Management Solutions Newsletter
Newsletter Archive
Find me on Facebook

View my profile on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter
Join My Mailing List

Welcome to the June issue of Emergency Management Solutions.


We all make assumptions in our plan. However, sometimes those assumptions can set up our plans for failure. This month's white paper is a case study of some assumptions that ultimately cost a life.

This month's video is the second in the Golden Gate Regional Center's series of videos fostering preparedness in the developmentally disabled community. It deals with immediate protective actions during a disaster.
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 

Do you hate meetings? I know I do. I avoid them like the plague since most meetings are unfocused and produce few results. The reason so many meetings are so bad is that most people who call meetings don't do the work that is required to make their meetings effective. Here are some simple ideas that make your meetings more productive:

  1. Clearly define the purpose of the meeting.
  2. Prepare a written agenda that supports that purpose.
  3. Use a facilitator to keep the meeting on track.
  4. Develop an action plan.
  5. Conduct a meeting review.
  6. Prepare a meeting memorandum.

Each of these steps has a very distinct purpose. Together they will keep your meeting focused and help you achieve the results you want.

Life Balance for Emergency Managers 

How do you measure wealth? Consultant Alan Weiss suggests that true wealth is discretionary time. Each of us has exactly the same amount of time - 24 hours a day, no more, no less. How we use that time is up to us. Unfortunately, emergency management is a job that creates more demands than one person can actually meet. We need to recognize this and think about how we spend our time. It's about setting priorities but it's also about seeing consequences and meeting personal expectations. We need to accept that not everything is going to get done and even if it is, it may not be done as well as we'd like. If you're letting the job absorb you to the point where you have no discretionary time, you're a heart attack waiting to happen.

From the Bookshelf

Over the past few years, I've heard Time Magazine reporter Amanda Ripley speak at several conferences but hadn't got around to reading her book The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes and Why until recently. Frankly, I it was low on my list because I expected a book of anecdotes backed up by a bit of pop psychology. Big mistake! This is undoubtedly one of the best books I have read on how people react in times of crisis. Ms. Ripley did her homework, interviewing well-known experts in our field like Dennis Mileti, Thomas Drabek, and Lee Clarke. While not an academic work, it's firmly grounded in both published research literature and Ms. Ripley's own extensive interviews. Definitely worth considering as an addition to your professional library.

Speaking Engagements 

June 20: Social Media and Disaster Preparedness Redwood City San Mateo County 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