Emergency Management Solutions Newsletter


Helping Managers Lead Better in Crisis

December 2012

Happy Holidays! May the New Year bring peace and joy to all.
In This Issue
Recovery Planning
Shock Troops of Disaster
Professional Development
Life Balance
From the Bookshelf
Speaker's Corner
Speaking Engagements

School Shootings and Risk

Focus on what works

One the truly hard things to do in risk assessment is to separate emotion from your analysis. Ideally, your reasoning should be cool and dispassionate in order to avoid bias in your conclusions. This is difficult at the best of times. When you're dealing with the slaughter of innocent children as we are in the Sandy Hook shootings, it may well be impossible.

But this is precisely when we must be at our best, when we must focus on the root causes of the incident and not be distracted by emotional issues. We owe it to those who were lost and to those whom we may be able to save if we do our job right.



Complex Communication Needs

Disaster Preparedness for People with Complex Communication Needs: A Personal Perspective
Disaster Preparedness for People with Complex Communication Needs: A Personal Perspective

This is an amazing video about Pamela Kennedy's experiences in Hurricane Katrina. While it's ostensibly about complex communication needs, it also demonstrates that people with even severe disabilities can both prepare themselves for disaster and contribute to shelter activities. It also shows the impact when we assume that they are merely burdens to be borne.

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Welcome to the December issue of Emergency Management Solutions


This has been an extremely difficult time for many of us with the shootings in Sandy Hook and Portland being among the worst things to happen. We've also seen natural disasters at home and around the world.


But we all received a special holiday present that helps me keep my faith in the basic decency of the human race. While many of us were celebrating there were men and women all over the world working to help and keep others from harm. The recent ambush of four volunteer firefighters in New York is a reminder that there are always unexpected risks associated with such service.


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

Lucien Canton
PS: If you're enjoying my newsletter, be sure you also sign up for my blog, Canton on Emergency ManagementClick the link below and sign up today!



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Professional Development 


Do you have trouble keeping up with all the things you have to do? I know I do.And if you're like me, you're probably still searching for the best way of keeping tabs on everything. 


One of the techniques I use is a to-do list with set reminders. I find I get a feeling of accomplishment when I can reduce the list and the memory joggers help me not forget important commitments.The problem is that I sometimes ignore the reminders or forget to add things to my list. 


Lately I find myself also adding reminders to important emails to which I need to respond. Just flagging them wasn't enough - I missed several critical deadlines this year because I haven't formed the habit of checking flagged email daily.


Consultant Alan Weiss showed me his system once. He actually schedules tasks like an appointment, marking out the time on his old-fashioned Filofax. (When he says he can't fit you in, he means it. He's filled up the date block and literally can't fit you in!) I lack the discipline to not let that appointment be overcome by the priorities of the day.


Ultimately, I suppose it really doesn't matter what system you use so long as it works reasonably well for you. After all professionals can't drop the ball too often. So what's your system?

Life Balance  


When was the last time you asked for help? We are so used to being self-sufficient and so often work on our own that we sometimes forget that we all need help at some point in our lives.


I'm not talking about the touchy-feely inner help that all you he-man types so easily dismiss. I'm talking about admitting you don't know it all and need to ask an expert.


In the past few weeks, I sent an email to a colleague asking for information on her area of expertise and posted a professional question on two or three group sites. In both cases, I felt I had a good idea of what I needed but I also knew that I was by no means an expert on these issues so I asked for help. The response has, as usual, been extremely helpful and included things I wouldn't have thought of myself.


A good emergency manager is a generalist. We know a little bit about a lot of things and a lot about a few things. But just like my general practice physician, it doesn't hurt to consult a specialist once in awhile!

From the Bookshelf  


A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster

by Rebecca Solnit
One of the enduring disaster myths is that people need to looked after in disasters. Our plans are built on the assumption that people need a strong central authority to guide them or else they will be incapable of action and will exhibit anti-social behavior. This myth persists even though we have volumes of research showing that people are both altruistic and resilient in disasters.
Using a series of case studies ranging from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake to Hurricane Katrina, author Rebecca Solnit examines  how communities react in disaster and suggests that they may at times be more effective in providing timely relief than government agencies unable to overcome bureaucratic inertia. While the book does not address public agency concerns over emergent community groups it provides an excellent perspective of how emergent community groups are formed, how they operate, and how they view government response. An extremely thought-provoking book that should be required reading for every emergency manager.
 Looking for more books? Check out An Emergency Manager's Reading List
Speaker's Corner 
Speaking Engagements  


December 27: Crisis in Leadership or Leadership in Crisis? Burlingame Lion's Club, Burlingame CA

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 SpeakerMix 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 SpeakerMix. Just go to the site and click on the "Write A Review" button. 


Many thanks!

ŠLucien G. Canton December 2012