EARLY BIRD SPECIAL: Emergency Management Virtual Summit - Sept 2017

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL: Emergency Management Virtual Summit - Sept 2017

Safe and Ready is putting on another fantastic virtual summit this coming September 12th to 14th. They have an early bird VIP registration through close of business tomorrow.  For those short on time and travel funds, this is a great professional developmenet opportunity.  Safe and Ready is also working toward trying to issue CEU's this year; but even if it doesn't work out, there are some great speakers being lined up...

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The Role of Competing Objectives in Exercise Design and Evaluation

The Role of Competing Objectives in Exercise Design and Evaluation

As an exercise practitioner with experience in different types and levels of exercises, I question the efficacy of our existing exercise evaluation paradigms (e.g., HSEEP, REPP, CSEPP, etc.). In my experience, they are messy and misaligned with the overarching objectives we are trying to achieve. 

This messiness is partly due to the fact that we create dueling objectives such as training and evaluation. For example, if you slow down or modify an exercise to ensure responders understand and can perform their duties (training objective), can you objectively state the system capability they performed was successfully tested (performance objective)? I have a hard time saying this unless the capability's performance...

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Looking for My Virtual EM Conference Presentation?

Looking for My Virtual EM Conference Presentation?

A couple weeks ago I informed you that I was participating in my first virtual conference. I am happy to report the conference was a resounding success and I had many people attend my session on data, technology and social media for disaster management.  

Unfortunately, I know many of you could not make it. Don't fret!  Check out the recorded video below...

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Information Requirements for Crisis Response – A Radio Perspective

Information Requirements for Crisis Response – A Radio Perspective

I take the position that differing and contradictory viewpoints or perspectives help shed light on the many gaps and issues the industry faces. As such, I invited Terry Canning to provide a guest post in response to my recent post on redefining information requirements for disaster response. The views he expresses are his own. We welcome your thoughts in the comments below!

A couple of weeks ago Brandon wrote a thoughtful and thought-provoking blog describing how the information requirements for successful crisis response is being redefined.  He opened with “Developing information requirements for crisis response is a tedious and flawed process filled with many uncertainties…”  In a reply, I agreed with his postulation that it can be a tedious process (although I proposed fastidious rather than tedious) but disagreed that it is flawed.  Brandon then challenged me to write a response to fully explain my position on this issue – and I have accepted.

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Evaluating Preparedness at Different Levels of Analysis

Evaluating Preparedness at Different Levels of Analysis

I recently conducted an academic/practice-based research project that provided a better understanding of preparedness evaluation. One interesting thing to come out of this research was a capabilities-based exercise framework for a Federal regulatory agency. I will be posting an overview of this research once it is officially published. 

Another interesting aspect of the research confirmed how preparedness evaluation is still a complicated and difficult process that doesn't always yield the best results. We still have many...

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A New Type of Emergency Management Conference this September 21st and 22nd

A New Type of Emergency Management Conference this September 21st and 22nd

I have always marveled at the production and expense of in-person conferences. They take a lot of resources to put together and the cost-benefit for attendance is sometimes hard to justify. 

That is why I am intrigued by my first invitation to speak at a 2-day virtual emergency management conference on September 22nd. Virtual conferences are a great blend of individual webinars and in-person conferences where the focus is on maximizing learning and education for as many people as possible. (See below on how to register and get a special discount) 

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Redefining Information Requirements for Crisis Response

Redefining Information Requirements for Crisis Response

Developing information requirements for crisis response is a tedious and flawed process filled with many uncertainties about the situation and the response. While we can take an honest stab at knowing what different responders need, when, and how, our unilateral focus on needed information stymies the best of intentions: historical learning is only as good as a similar future, which is rarely the case; and visioning workshops are only as good as the ability to identify the uncertainties that lie ahead, a very difficult task with severe consequences if something is missed. 

While decisions can be made without needed information based on expertise and experience, this is far from ideal in a complex adaptive system such as...

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New Job, Same Passion for Disaster Information and Technology

New Job, Same Passion for Disaster Information and Technology

A few months ago I wrote a post on building better disaster resilience with information and technology. The post turned in to a philosophy of sorts that guided me in my pursuit of a new job. 

I am happy to report that last Monday I reported to work at Obsidian, A Cadmus Company. Obsidian is a fast growing emergency...

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[APPLY NOW] Coaching for Tech-Enabled Disaster Management Projects

[APPLY NOW] Coaching for Tech-Enabled Disaster Management Projects

Last year, I wrote about a similar coaching opportunity with The Governance Lab at NYU. The lab has since moved to the Tandon School of Engineering from the Wagner School of Public Service (my master's alma matter), however, that does not mean they are any less focused on doing good.  

This year's coaching program focuses on tech-enabled disaster management. This program is ideal for you if you have specific project in mind or are actively working on a project. You will have access to great mentors and support. While the focus of the program is on developing a solution, you do not have to be technically oriented. In fact, this program works for anyone motivated to solve a real problem in the disaster or humanitarian space.  Also, they have instituted...

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Drone Feeds in Your Incident Management System?

Drone Feeds in Your Incident Management System?

Drones are increasingly utilized for disaster response to support situational awareness. While they are a great tool, you must also properly integrate them into your operations, including your common operating picture or situational awareness/intelligence platform(s). Integrating drone feeds can present both operational and technical challenges. 

To address this, a NJ-based startup, Currant Inc., has developed a module that makes this integration easy with existing platforms. As an advisor to Currant, I am...

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UPCOMING: National Information Sharing Exercise

UPCOMING: National Information Sharing Exercise

Information sharing exercises are rare and hard to put on, but are important to learning about how to improve information sharing in disasters. 

I am passing on this information about an upcoming information sharing exercise. Participation is open to many different organizations in the EM community and I encourage your to sign up and participate as soon as possible. The exercise will take place on May 11, 2016.

Below are the details that were provided to me:

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Building Better Disaster Response and Resilience with Information and Technology

Building Better Disaster Response and Resilience with Information and Technology

For nearly five years I have been in higher education exploring how information and technology can improve disaster response and resilience. I have explored complex issues in great detail and I have learned a lot about the challenges and opportunities being faced by communities, organizations and people trying to leverage information and technology to better respond to disasters and build resilience.

But as I begin my transition back to the working world in the near future, I am forced to reflect on how I can apply this new knowledge to help address current problems while also preparing for an innovative future beyond what we can imagine today. I find myself writing about my philosophy on leveraging information and technology to improve disaster response and resilience...

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Feedback Needed on House Bill Proposing Social Media Research Project with Red Cross

Feedback Needed on House Bill Proposing Social Media Research Project with Red Cross

Representative Thompson from Mississippi introduced a bill to the House of Representatives for the American Red Cross (ARC) to conduct a pilot research project to better leverage social media in disasters. The language in the bill is fairly vague, but I gather they want the ARC to implement something tangible and then evaluate its usefulness and performance. 

A study like this could be very useful to the wider social media in emergency management (SMEM) community. I particularly like how the bill incorporates the use of social media to help deliver response supplies to affected areas, a form of operational intelligence. And social media for operations and intelligence is the next frontier of social media research that will enable disaster decision makers to make better decisions faster and more accurately.  

I will be providing feedback on this bill and am curious about others' thoughts. What other components of SMEM should be researched? Will this be useful to you? How so?

You can track the bill here. Here are the quick and dirty details of the bill: 

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ISCRAM is Conducting Survey for Masters Degree on EM Information Systems

ISCRAM is Conducting Survey for Masters Degree on EM Information Systems

ISCRAM, the international academic-practitioner group focused on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management is conducting a survey that may be of interest to many people. The survey is looking for input on a Master's level degree in EM with a concentration in information systems.  

I like ISCRAM's approach because it is not just about a particular type of technology such as GIS. Information systems for EM is sorely underrepresented in higher education and something I believe should be in included in every degree program.  This topic is also near and dear to my heart as I have not only written about information and technology in EM, but is also the subject of my research and future work. 

You need not be an expert in information systems, information, or technology to respond to this survey.  In fact a non-technical EM expert may provide some great feedback! 

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