EP 40 EM Weekly Year in Review, 2017
Welcome to EM Weekly, and this is your host, Todd DeVoe. And today, we’re just going to do an episode with me! So, it’s just you and I here for a little bit, but we’re gonna talk about some really cool stuff that has happened over the year.
So, it was a year ago that myself and Brian Colburn sat down and talked about doing the podcast and the concept of bringing guests, for my classroom, into my classroom, via a recording. And then he said, “well, why don’t you just do a podcast and open it up to everybody? So everybody can hear what’s going on.” So, I thought about it, talked to some friends in the industry about what a podcast would do and how we can make this a community. And they all encouraged me to go forth and do so.
Maria Arredondo, she’s one of them; Steve Rodriguez is another one, Raul Morales, another guy, who all thought this was gonna be a great idea. So, I went forth and started doing the podcast. I wasn’t really sure what this was gonna look like, so I went and bought some equipment, and I recorded a few podcasts, a few episodes, and we went live in April. And we’ve been going since and growing. It was awkward for me at first, to get used to doing it, and it was a lot of fun too, to get to talk to some really interesting guests.
Some of the highlights is Ellis Stanley, past president of the International Association of Emergency Managers, a former emergency manager for the city of Los Angeles. Of course, Administrator Craig Fugate was an awesome interview. The interview with David Marquet, of “Turn this Ship Around,” I thought it was a really fun interview. Got to talk to him about his leadership style and how that really kind of changed some ideas of the bottom-up, top-down, or I should just say, top-down leadership, to a bottom-up/top-down and all-around leadership, that everybody has a role in the organization, that’s just as important as the others, and that the decision-making has to be at the lowest level. So, I thought that was a really cool interview.
I got to make some friends during this time, during the interviews, and meeting people. And it was great to go to the International Association of Emergency Manager’s Conference, and got to meet a lot of people over there that listen to the podcast, which really kind of blew my mind away a little bit here, and I got to meet some new friends over there and some decisions I made throughout.
One of the big decisions that I made this year is that I got accepted, and I accepted the offer; I’m going through the Emergency Management Ph.D. program through Capella University, so I’m excited about that as well, so that’s kind of where we’re going.
I need to make a correction. Last week, I talked about Michael Curran, who is a nurse, and I stated that he’s the emergency manager for a hospital. And I stand corrected. Michael kindly told me, said, “I’m not the emergency manager,” although that’s the field that he’s looking to get into, and he’s on some committees, and he thinks it’s really important. But at the same time, he’s out there making connections in the field of emergency management, learning everything he could possibly learn about emergency management in the hospital setting. And regardless of whether he is actively the emergency manager or not, I brought an episode to EM Weekly based upon a question that he asked. And so, Michael, I do apologize for misstating your position, and he wanted to be clear that he’s not the emergency manager. Not because of anything else, that he just doesn’t want people to feel that he’s misrepresented himself. So, I do apologize for that, and I think that’s important.
That being said, I want to talk a little bit about stress for EM and emergency responders during the holidays. And this time of the year, these responses become a little more crucial, I suppose. Not that they’re not there during the rest of the year, I just think that today, during the holiday season, they come into play a little bit more, just because of what’s going on. And just on a personal note, I lost my dad at the beginning of December, and I do miss him dearly, and so, I do understand the stresses that are associated with loss of family and loved ones during the holiday season. And so, this is kind of what we deal with on a daily basis, for those who are first responders.
Those of us that are emergency managers, during the fires that are happening, specifically in Southern California, Ventura County, those that happened in Los Angeles County as well, those that are still going on in Santa Barbara and that area, I’m understanding what the loss is right now during this holiday season. And our hearts have to be with the people that have lost during this time. And they’re putting things together. So, even those that are recovering in Florida and in Texas and also in Puerto Rico. We have to think about them as well, they’re in the season of the holidays, and what they’re doing. And the first responders and emergency managers that are working tirelessly over there. So, think about those guys that are fighting the fires in California, again. The men and women that are out there doing it.
And again, I kind of mentioned it last time, but I just want to get a special mention to Randy Steiner. He’s a friend of mine, he is the deputy regional manager… regional administrator for Cal OES in Southern California, and he has been deployed basically since the fires started in Napa County. And he’s only had a couple of times where he was able to come home and see his family, and I was just texting back and forth with him today, Randy. And yeah, he’s out there doing it, still. So, Randy, keep your head up, brother. It has to end, right? The fires have to stop at some point, whether they make it to the ocean stop, or we get control of them. At some point they’re gonna stop and you’re going to be able to go home and see your wonderful family.
Also, we did a piece, we posted a piece in the blog, from Thomas Henkey on diversity in emergency management. And if you remember the conversation I had with Ellis Stanley, we talked a little bit about that as well, of encouraging people and students of emergency management to get into the field. It is a dynamic field, it’s a growing field, and there’s space for everybody. And I think that I’d love to see a lot more diversity in emergency management. And if you remember when we talked to Diana Boston, we talked a lot about women in emergency management and how it’s a growing field for women that want to get into emergency management, and I think that’s an exciting thing. And the cool part about what I see here too, in the trends, it’s that it’s no longer just… somebody said, gracefully, the other day in one of the posts on Facebook, that we were having a conversation, said that to re-thread our paramedics, EMTs, firefighters and police officers that are getting into emergency management.
Now, I have to say, maybe I’m one of those guys who is a re-tread, I suppose? I like to say that I chose the direction differently, in 2005, going from EMS, fire, to emergency management. It was a conscious decision to go that direction. But I understand what they’re saying, because in the past, it was always the guy or girl who could type well, or was at collateral duty. And you’re seeing a trend going away from the concept of the collateral duty to the true professionalization of emergency management through things like the CEM, the Certified Emergency Management program, the IEM, the profession developer series, that FEMA has. The FEMA emergency management classes, classes that the naval post-graduate school holds as well, programs that different states have, specifically. We’re qualifying people in the role of the emergency manager. And whether the education that you get is a formal education, whether you’ve been brought up in the system without a formal education or just experience, those types of things really make this career a dynamic career, and it’s open for people who are really interested and really want to learn, and become true practitioners of emergency management and the role that it plays. And emergency management, and the concept of it is growing as well, of not just the typical civil defense stuff that happened back in the 1950’s , where our history comes from.
The emergency management field also encompasses homeland security type-things, and it goes into specific roles of the recovery, of the mitigation, of the planning, of the exercises. You know, there’s a piece for everybody in there as well. And even like, disaster recovery, business continuity in the true sense of the word business continuity, are getting cities, schools, and hospitals up and running again, after the disaster, of how do we keep giving services to the public? And the idea of business continuity is really falling out of the fold of emergency management. Right or wrong, not a value judgment here, just it is what it is at this point. So, you see this happening around.
So, I think that not only is a diversity of people, of the race, or their ethnic background, or their sex, or their gender, or whatever. There’s also a diversity in their skill sets, of GIS, that’s another one, that’s growing in that area. Of their skill sets that are going in.
Speaking of GIS, Malcolm sent me a message, asking about education, and where he should concentrate. And I’m never gonna give an answer of where people should concentrate their education, but what I will say to people is, what is their area of interest? Right? So, just like we’re talking about the diversity in the roles of emergency managers, where does your interest lie? So, for instance, if you like planning, I would really go plain and heavy in your education, right? In this case, Malcolm was talking about GIS versus public health versus security. And they’re really very different realms of things. And you know, we kind of talked about that a little bit and he made a decision. It’s not up to me to say which way he decided to go, but you know, I think looking out what your interests are and what the growing trends are, really help you decide which direction that you really want to go into as far as education goes. And I really think that’s key, in everything that’s happening here with emergency management. Now, like I stated before, I teach emergency management at a local community college, and so, I ran across a student who asked this question, about how do I get into EM. And I can’t! There’s so many different avenues to get into emergency management, that you know, whether you’re volunteering with organizations like the American Red Cross, or Team Rubicon, the Salvation Army, your other local VOEDs and COEDs, doing that experience as far as responding goes, in different functions. Or getting involved in churches, colleges, hospitals, you know, large organizations like that, schools. I think the clubs, things like this, that can get you experience as far as responding to, and helping out in disasters. Organizations like CERT, Community Emergency Response Teams, or your large animal rescues, your search and rescue teams. Things like that, that help you get into emergency management as well.
For those of you that are out there, as emergency managers, I want to ask you to seek out students that want to become emergency managers and give them opportunities to shadow or intern with you in your department, because we need to grow, again, the professionalism of emergency management. We need to grow it. And I think we could do this through getting our students into roles, shadowing or even volunteering, internships, those types of things, I think are key to growing our organizations, growing the community. And again, that’s what this is all about.
So, for more fun stuff, I did a poll earlier, about what Christmas gifts would be great for emergency managers. And some of the things that are on there were coffee, more trained staff, a USB – people were able to write things in here as well. A USB solar charger adapter kit, big-screen TV, a Dell Latitude E6420XFR – that’s very specific, and a book! A survival crate or socks. I like socks. So, anyway, that being said, coffee, the gift of coffee to your emergency manager for holidays was the overwhelming winner of the Christmas poll. So, I thought that was kind of fun. And I should say the holiday gift poll, cause it’s not just for Christmas, it’s for all the others, Hanukah, and everything else as well. So, coffee does win for the gift for the holiday season. Yeah, I love coffee as well, like everybody else. It’s coffee, sugar, and aspirin, are the things you need to have at an emergency operations center, to make sure that it keeps running. Or for those who don’t use Aspirin, you can you Tylenol or Ibuprofen, or other things as well. Some sort of painkiller.
Another poll that we did is what topics you’d like to hear in 2018. And training, leadership, and schools were the top 3 that came out of there. We also had hospitals, tech, and FEMA, were a couple of the other ones. But the top 3 are training, leadership, and schools. So, those are some of the ideas that we’re gonna be discussing here in 2018.
And that being said, if you’re interested in participating in some of the other polls and things like this, we do have our EM Weekly group, which is actually closed group, so you have to search it out and join. You can find it at the EM Weekly page on Facebook as well. You can join both, I’d love to have you guys there, so it would be great to increase the membership and just to see what people have to say about what’s going on with emergency management. Like I said before, this here is a community that I am creating here, that we’re crating. So, I would love to have more people involved in EM Weekly, and let’s make this, you know, where we can talk back and forth to each other.
So, anyway, a couple of things I wanted to cover as well, some of my favorite thoughts coming up. Is that I love to read, I love the fact that when I ask the question regarding what book do you recommend to our guests that come on to EM Weekly, the reason why I ask that question, specifically, is I want to know how people are learning in the world of Emergency Management or leadership. And I would love to have you guys check out those books as well. So, I don’t know, let me know: would you guys rather have me do like, a book page or something like this? Obviously, you know, whatever book that you want to go to, we’ll probably put it up on Amazon, just because it’s the easiest way for us to look at books online. I suppose we could do Barnes & Nobles as well. But anyway, we could bring up the book and put it on there, if you’re interested in that. Let me know, and we’ll make a page, the book page, and see if you guys are interested in those books or not. And let me know what you guys think. And if you guys ever have any recommendations, again, reach out to us, either on Facebook, or Twitter, or Direct Messages to us, and I would love to hear what books you guys have, and that you guys are interested in reading or that you have read.
There is, on Facebook, an emergency management book club. Yeah, I think it’s called a book club. And I’m a member of it, and it’s a lot of fun sharing information back and forth there. So, if you’re interested in books, you should look for the emergency management book club on Facebook, and you can get more involved that way, with the books.
Well, everybody, it’s been a great year. I appreciate everybody who’s been listening. Again, please, you know, share this information with your colleagues and friends that are interested in emergency management, whether you are an EM, learning to be an EM, support emergency management, whatever function that you have. Love to have you guys, again, here. I love having you guys as part of this community.
I do want to say a couple of special thank you’s, as this year comes to an end. I am grateful to Titan HST for being with us from the beginning, you guys are a great partner in bringing this podcast to everybody. And I could not do it without you guys. So, Victor and Serene, thank you so much for everything that you guys are doing with Titan HST and thanks so much for being great supporters.
Brian, thank you for the support and for everything that you do for EM Weekly. You drag me along and push me, and challenge me every step of the way. And to all those who are loyal listeners, again, thank you so much for being here. I know some of you guys from the beginning, and even those that are picking up here at this specific episode.
Maria, thank you so much for being the constant soundboard, and listener for this podcast.
Raul, thank you for your support.
Steve, again, thank you for your support as well. You guys have all been there with us from the beginning, and I do really appreciate it, very much so.
Those are just to name a few of many, many people out there that are supporting us, and I do appreciate everything that you guys say. All those that are members of the EM Weekly group, keep up making me smile. It’s been a pleasure sharing this stuff with you guys in your comments that you have in the group, and if you guys aren’t part of the group, come on over, because there are some fun things that are being said and done over there.
I am Looking forward to a great 2018. Our lineup is coming up fast, as far as who we’re having, there are some big names that we’re pulling in, that we’re looking forward to. I don’t want to announce them yet, but I think you’re going to be excited to hear from them.
That being said, I just want to close it here, saying, remember about the holiday season, it’s filled with magic and joy. And I hope your Christmas is filled with love and warmth, and that your next year is as wonderful as you are. For those of you in emergency management, take care, and have a wonderful, wonderful, new year.