Emergency Management Solutions


Volume 7 No. 7                                                                                             July 2015

In This Issue
Featured Video
Blog Highlights
The Leadership Challenge
Featured Article
Professional Development
Life Balance
From the Bookshelf
Speaker's Corner
Consulting Transitions

Featured Video 

The Boston Molasses Flood of 1919
The Boston Molasses Flood of 1919

The collapse of a substandard tank containing over 2 million gallons of molasses led to the first successful class action suit against a major US corporation. In this short video, author Stephen Puleo (see From the Bookshelf) summarizes the disaster and the legal case that followed.
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.  


Last week we had to say good bye to another of our good friends at the dog park, Buster the Beagle, affectionately known to his friends as Little B. Sad as we are at his passing, we take comfort in the fact that Buster lived a full life,...»

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If you are having trouble accessing these articles, go directly to the blog by clicking either the logo or the green "Visit my blog" button.

EM Blog Masthead
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.



An emergency manager in Texas has been suspended after allegedly posting an offensive political cartoon on Facebook. The circumstances of the case are not important but this does beg the question, "When is an emergency manager free to express a personal opinion?" ...»


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If you are having trouble accessing these articles, go directly to the blog by clicking either the logo or the green "Visit my blog" button.



 Leaders Must Be "Forward Thinkers"

What sets a leader apart from his or her constituents? According to the research done by Kouzes and Posner, when asked what attributes they expected in a leader, 71% of the respondents replied "forward thinking". When asked the same question about colleagues, only 27% said they expected colleagues to be forward thinkers.

Effective leaders need to have a vision of the future, of where they wish to take their organizations. But they must do more: the need to convince their constituents that they have a stake in that future.

How much more effective is a forward thinking leader? Constituents report that they are 25% more effective under such leadership and the perceive the leader as being 50% more effective.

The Second Practice of Exemplary Leadership is Inspire a Shared Vision.


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 July issue of Emergency Management Solutions.


Risk is a future concept. It involves the consideration of probabilities based on assumptions. This ability to look to the future and anticipate need is at the core of emergency management. And that's just what's happening here in California.


After five years of drought, we're getting reports of the strongest El Nino effect in years forming in the Pacific. The last strong El Nino years saw almost all of our counties declaring disasters for flooding. Those of us who were around for that event are bracing for the possibility that this will be a nasty winter indeed.


It's a reminder that we can't be fixated on what's in front of us at the moment. We need to be able to see the big picture and to keep our focus on risk, not just response.




Lucien Canton  


Featured Article

Who's to Blame?

Finger pointing lets you avoid action

There's an old Kris Kristofferson song called, "Who's to Bless and Who's to Blame?" that asks the question, "If both sides are wrong, who's really at fault?"

Unfortunately, when a tragedy occurs our leaders seem to spend more time trying to fix or deflect blame than they do trying to fix problems. The result of all this finger pointing is that little actually gets done to prevent future occurrences. A good example of this is playing out in San Francisco.






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.


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Professional Development 


Critical Infrastructure Protection


One of the problems we face as emergency planners is that much of the critical infrastructure in the US is owned by the private sector. This means that sharing planning information can be challenging. Even more challenging is ensuring that private sector organizations provide internal training to their personnel on the threat and prevention measures.

Fortunately, FEMA has a number of independent study courses available to help with this problem, collectively referred to as  Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience courses.

The courses fall into three groups:

  1. Foundational Courses - courses that describe the critical infrastructure program and national initiatives
  2. Security Awareness Courses - courses geared to employees that focus on topics such as workplace awareness, active shooters, surveillance, and retail security awareness
  3. Sector-specific Courses - courses oriented primarily on dam and facility security.

Of particular interest are the courses on security awareness. These courses provide simple concepts that can assist employees in identifying and reacting to the precursors to future attacks. They offer a cost-effective way to provide training that would be an easy sell to private sector organizations. Here's the list of courses:

IS-906 Workplace Security Awareness

IS-907 Active Shooter: What You Can Do
IS-912 Retail Security Awareness: Understanding the Hidden Hazards
IS-914 Surveillance Awareness: What You Can Do
IS-915 Protecting Critical Infrastructure Against Insider Threats
IS-916 Critical Infrastructure Security: Theft and Diversion - What You Can Do

Upcoming Educational Opportunities


International Association of Emergency Managers Annual Conference

November 13-18, Clark County, NV

The IAEM Annual Conference provides a forum to discuss current trends and topics, share information about the latest tools and technology in emergency management and homeland security, and advance the work of IAEM. Conference sessions encourage stakeholders at all levels of government, the private sector, public health and related professions to exchange ideas and collaborate to protect lives and property from disaster. 

Life Balance  


Find Your Passion


One of the common traits I've noticed in the colleagues I really admire is the passion they bring to everything they do. My friend, Henry Renteria, the former Director of California's Office of Emergency Services, once said in a presentation that, "emergency management is not what you do; it's who you are." This is certainly true of the many colleagues whom I consider not just good but great at what they do.


Ours is, in many ways, a thankless profession. After a disaster, it's rare that we receive praise for a job well done. Instead, the focus is invariably on the things that went wrong. Even where we have been pointing out for years the need for the resources that were missing, we still shoulder the blame.


All the more reason we need to be self-motivated and passionate about we do. It's that passion that forces us to continually take unpopular positions and remind our leaders of things they don't want to think about. It's that passion that helps us find the moral courage to do the right thing when confronted with difficult decisions. And it's that passion that inspires others to share our vision of a better, more resilient future.


So if you don't have that kind of passion for your job, you need to find it. If you've lost it, you need to regain it. It's what will keep you going when the chips are down.

From the Bookshelf  

Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919
by Stephen Puleo

The collapse of a tank containing over 2 million gallons of molasses on the Boston waterfront in 1919 must surely rank as one of the most unusual disasters to occur in the United States. In a matter of minutes, a 15 foot high wall of molasses moving at over 35 miles an hour killed 21 people, injured more than a hundred, and leveled a portion of the waterfront and the surrounding neighborhood.

But context is everything and the event is inextricably linked to disparate events such as World War I, anarchism, and the start of prohibition. Placing the disaster in the context of its time is what makes Pulieo's book so fascinating. Why was the tower built and why in that specific spot? Why were warnings of potential failure ignored? What happened after? These are the types of questions Puleo answers.

Blending historical influences with the stories of several key victims, Puleo vividly describes not only the disaster but the events that led up to it and the long term effects on the survivors. Definitely worth the read!


Interested in more books on emergency management and related topics?
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 

August 6 Practical PreparednessBurlingame Lions Club, Burlingame, CA

August 18-20 Effective Emergency Management in the 21st Century - Jacksonville State University EM Doctoral Program,  Jacksonville, AL

Free Resource Guide for Solo Consultants


For solo consultants, true wealth is discretionary time. Don't waste yours on simple tasks that can be handled by technology. This free resource guide reveals the four essential online tools I use to manage my solo consulting practice and save hours of valuable time. And the best part is - they're free!




©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