Emergency Management Solutions


Volume 7 No. 2                                                                         February 2015

In This Issue
Monthly Video
Blog Highlights
Leadership Coaching
Featured Article
Professional Development
Life Balance
From the Bookshelf
Speaker's Corner

Monthly Video 

Weather History: 1931 China Floods
Weather History: 1931 China Floods
When asked to name the deadliest disasters in the 20th Century, it's a bit sobering to realize that not a single US disaster makes it into the top ten. Instead floods and earthquakes in China account for five of the ten, with the 1931 floods heading the list with estimates ranging from 1 to 4 million dead. This brief recap describes the events leading up to the floods, a scenario eerily reminiscent of the precursors to the 1927 Mississippi flood.
Blog Highlights  

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The following are excerpts from my blog
Canton on Emergency Management. Please visit my blog to see the rest of my articles.   


In times of crisis, community groups support more than material needs; they offer a personal connection that the government can never hope to match....»


How we face life's challenges defines who we are....»


Don't let disadvantages be an excuse for failure....»


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Visit My Blog


The following are excerpts from my blog, Managing Crisis, published by Emergency Management Magazine. Please visit my blog to see the rest of my articles.



There's been a considerable amount of controversy lately about a measles outbreak in California. In January, 102 cases of measles were diagnosed, 19 here in the San Francisco Bay Area. The majority of the cases have been traced to two Disney theme parks in Anaheim where public health authorities believe the infection was introduced by a person from outside the United States. Significantly, most of the cases involved people who ...»



My colleague, Timothy Reicker, in the blog post Preparedness - ICS is not enough challenges the idea that just being well trained in the Incident Command System (ICS) means we are ready for a crisis. He astutely points out that while ICS provides structure, processes and standards, it doesn't tell us how to employ them ...»


Leadership Coaching  

Good leaders are never content with the status quo. They seek to seize the initiative and are constantly looking for innovative ways to improve.


More importantly, they transmit this to the people they lead by encouraging risk-taking and experimenting with small wins. They learn from experience and are not afraid to alter course.


Research shows that leaders that challenge the process are 40% more effective and that their constituents feel 25-35% more engaged.


Challenge the Process is the third practice of the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership.


To find out more about the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership, consider taking The Leadership Challenge. Just click on the icon below for more information:

Click here to take The Leadership Challenge



The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations
by James M. Kouzes  & Barry Posner 


The Leadership Challenge is a registered trademark of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. www.leadershipchallenge.com

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L. Canton Photo 2013  

Welcome to the February issue of Emergency Management Solutions.


It's starting off to be another crazy year with storms and floods across the country, even here in California where we're in the third year of a serious drought. But there are less noticeable events that could have serious consequences. 


At this writing, we are still dealing with a contract dispute at our West Coast ports that has resulted in slow-downs and work stoppages that are costing businesses millions in lost product. I remember a discussion with my colleague Stephen Flynn, an export in port security, some years ago where he pointed out that if the ports were shut for a relatively short period we'd never be able to recover from the backlog it would generate.


The other big story has been the mild hysteria and politicization of a measles outbreak that started in California. While only a small number of cases, the incident has raised important public health issues that will continue to be debated for the foreseeable future.


Looks like another busy year ahead!



Lucien Canton  


Featured Article

Why Good Managers Sometimes Make Bad Crisis Leaders  

Decision making in crisis is different


Why do your decision-making skills seem to desert you during a time of crisis? We see this all the time. Otherwise capable and competent managers appear to self-destruct during crisis, making bad decisions and stumbling in public. Consider the decision by BP to try to "spin" the oil spill crisis and the poor performance of CEO Tony Hayward, for example. To understand why this happens, we need to understand how we react to crisis.

We sometimes forget that, although we are 21st century people, many of our reactions to stress are based on reactions developed in more primitive times-the "fight or flight" response.  This means that at the time we are faced with a crisis, our bodies undergo physiological changes that prepare us for a response. Among these are increased respiration and heart rate, auditory exclusion and tunnel vision. 






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


  Visit my blog

Professional Development 


Upcoming Education Opportunities


The 2015 Measles Outbreak: Exploring the Role of Public Health Law

February 19, 1-2:30 EST

This webinar examines the current measles outbreak in the U.S. and associated legal issues. Speakers will describe current vaccination recommendations, provide an overview of vaccination laws and exemptions, explore state temporary exclusion laws related to unvaccinated students, and highlight lessons learned by LA County in implementing legal disease control measures


Pacific ADA Update Conference
March 16-17, Oakland, CA

Speakers include federal authorities and state experts in the ADA and field of disability law. The 2015 Pacific ADA Update Conference will feature ADA tracks on:  

  • Employment
  • Facility Accessibility
  • US Access Board - Design
  • Department of Justice (DOJ)
  • Post-Secondary Education
  • Emergency Preparedness
  • Accessible Information Technology

National Hurricane Conference

March 30-April 2, Austin, TX

The primary goal of the National Hurricane Conference is to improve hurricane preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation in order to save lives and property in the United States and the tropical islands of the Caribbean and Pacific. In addition, the conference serves as a national forum for federal, state and local officials to exchange ideas and recommend new policies to improve Emergency Management. 


Managing Fire, Understanding Ourselves:  Human Dimensions in Safety and Wildland Fire

April 20-24, Boise, ID

Over the past decade fire researchers and practitioners have developed a significant body of knowledge about many social aspects of fire management. This conference will provide participants with an opportunity to present, discuss, and learn about the latest research findings, management innovations, and best practices in the US and elsewhere. 


Life Balance  


At what level do I want this resolved?


One of life's little frustrations is dealing with "customer service" representatives when I have a problem with a product or service. The secret I have learned is to be conscious of that person's ability to solve my problem. The simple fact is that many of the people we come in contact with have little or no authority to truly solve problems. Even worse, your satisfaction is of no concern to them. The higher you move up the feeding chain, the more customer satisfaction matters and the greater the authority to resolve problems.


Do you waste time venting your anger at a low-paid employee or do you seek out the people who can truly solve your problem? Do you grant your subordinates the authority to solve problems or must all of the problems come to you? You can save yourself a lot of frustration and be more successful if you ask yourself, "At what level do I want this resolved?"

From the Bookshelf  
Manager's Guide to Crisis Management (Briefcase Books Series)
by Jonathan Bernstein

I've frequently made mention of my colleague, Jonathan Bernstein, a crisis management consultant whose blog and newsletter are always worth reading. In this short book, he distills his wisdom into an easily understood set of principles for dealing with crisis.

The book is not a technical manual telling you how to create a plan and build on operations center. Rather, Bernstein refers to crisis management as an art and goes into the reasons behind why certain things work and others don't in a crisis. He encourages crisis prevention through vulnerability audits and suggests 10 basic questions to evaluate your plan. The book focuses heavily on crisis communications and working with the media, something we don't always do well. 

Although short and concise, this book is full of good ideas and practical suggestions. It's definitely worth a read.


Interested in more books on emergency management and related topics?

Check out my bookstore at:         
Speaker's Corner 
Looking for a Speaker?


Need a speaker for your next conference? I offer keynotes, seminars and workshops.
Why Should You Choose Me As Your Speaker?
Three Reasons Why I'm the Right Speaker for Your Conference 
You can find more details and sample videos on my website or on my SpeakerMatch page.  
Speaking Engagements  

March 5 -  Delivering Operational Resilience Through the Cloud (Free webinar) Center for Digital Government

©Lucien G. Canton 2015. All rights reserved.


You may reprint and excerpt this newsletter provided that you include my copyright, the source,
the author, and "reprinted with permission."

ISSN: 2334-590X