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Looking for a Job in Emergency Management?

We know that the economy is bad: Budgets are being reduced, grants are being cut, and competition is fierce.  We assume that many in the All Hands Community may be looking for work and we want to help.

All Hands Consulting tries to help place as many people as possible but we have grown to over 1,000 consultants and there is no way for us to keep everyone busy.

We often get requests to either help fill jobs or to share information about job openings.  We often do this on our various lists but we do not want to load up general mail lists with job announcements.  For that reason, we focus on sharing job openings on a mail list designed for just this purpose: The Emergency Management Employment Yahoo! Group at EmergencyManagementJobs. If you are looking for a job, I would encourage you to join this list.

Another great resource for job seekers is the IAEM Job Board – you should check the board often.  Steve Detwiler keeps up a steady stream of job postings there along with a few others.

Finally, I would encourage networking as it seems to be the best way to find out about opportunities.  Feel free to join our social media efforts as well. A complete list of our accounts are on the www.allhands.us web site.

Regards,

Steve Davis, All Hands Consulting

 

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Steve Davis Interviewed on Program Evaluation

All Hands Consulting President Steve Davis was recently interviewed by Professor Wendy Combs for a graduate level course on program evaluation for Drexel University. Students who are pursuing a certificate in homeland
security were looking for an expert to interview on the topic of evaluation of homeland security strategies, processes and systems. Steve discussed a range of evaluation techniques from the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) to capabilities assessments and discuss the current budget environment for homeland security in general.

The interview is available at the Drexel web site: http://gcpsx.coeps.drexel.edu/PRST615/SteveDavis/

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Tales of Irene: Did we over react?

August 27, 2011 1100 hrs EDT (Maryland)

Hurricane Irene 2011

I have been watching Irene with interest, both as a resident of the east coast and as an emergency management practitioner.  I have been impressed with the planning and preparation so far, surprised by some of the doom and gloom, and now listening to those that think that everyone overreacted. So, I am prompted to impose my opinions on my readers once again…

The short answer to the question of overreactions is, IMHO, that it was not overreacting based on what the emergency managers had in the way of a forecast.  Hurricanes are unique, and preparedness officials are blessed, in that there is a lot of warning with tropical systems – almost too much it seems. The problem is there is not as much certainty in the forecasts as we would like. Forecast tracks change all the time and forecast strength is also seldom correct. But you need to work with what you have. More…

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Twitter Hashtags and Emergency Management (Includes my #Hashtag List)

While some emergency managers are embracing social media with both arms, others are still avoiding it. However, social media has emerged as an important tool for emergency managers. Emergency managers are using social media as a preparedness tool to engage the community, help with public information and as otherwise aid in dissemination of the preparedness message.  In addition, social media is emerging as an important tool for situation awareness during the response and recovery phases of an emergency.

The five phases of emergency management
The (now) five phases of emergency management

It is important, in using social media for all phases of emergency management, to understand that it is not just about Twitter.  However, Twitter has clearly emerged as the most significant platform for emergency management engagement and situational awareness.  Twitter is simple; it is a micro blogging tool which is limited to 140 characters.  Anyone can follow what anyone else has to say.  This stream of  data (the Twittersphere or Twitter Stream) can be overwhelming based on the huge volume of silly Tweets that populate the stream.  However, the use of a “hashtag” (a short term preceded by the hash or # symbol) makes it manageable.  In addition, there are many Twitter aggregators and trend monitoring websites available; these use a variety of tactics to filter out what’s important or of interest to emergency managers. Currently some better software tools are emerging which may help automate the monitoring process. More…

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What People Don’t Get About My Job: I Worked at FEMA

Saw this on the web today.  What it is like to be a FEMA DAE.

I’m going to write about both my old job and my current job, because there are a lot of misunderstandings about both. 

I was formerly an employee of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the type of employee known as a Disaster Assistance Employee or Disaster Reservist. I am writing this as a former employee speaking about my experiences and anecdotally, and I am in no way a representative of the agency. I recently quit so I could pursue graduate school, however many people seemed to not really understand a lot about my position or what FEMA even did.

Most Americans either have an overly generous view of FEMA or think that FEMA only operates in major disasters a la Katrina. Both of these views are wrong. FEMA doesn’t come out if you have a little water in your basement or if a Tornado destroys only two houses in an entire state (usually). Conversely, just because a disaster may seem small, does not mean that it may not rise to the level of requiring FEMA assistance.

Additionally, many Americans seem to miss the fact that the agency can’t enter a state without a governor’s request, so many times FEMA’s “slow response” is actually a governor’s slow response. The agency chooses not to ever point this out because governors can become senators, and senators with grudges have the power of the purse. As for my specific position, I was called up when there were disasters and traveled to these disasters. When there were no disasters I didn’t work. For the past three years that I worked at FEMA there were plenty of disasters, so I worked most of the year. Additionally most disasters require a lot of overtime so I was able to make a healthy amount of money to hold me over while I sat at home. Other disaster assistance employees (DAEs) were not so lucky. DAEs, unlike the often vilified government employees, are not entitled to the Federal Healthcare plan, only recently began to receive sick time, and can very easily be fired (at least from a specific disaster). My relatives and friends always thought it was outrageous that I was paying out of pocket for health insurance.

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New Emergency Preparedness Tools for Local Health Departments


New Emergency Preparedness Tools for Local Health Departments

The San Francisco Bay Area Advanced Practice Center, which represents a partnership between the San Francisco Department of Public Health and the UC Berkeley Center for Infectious Diseases and Emergency Readiness, recently launched two new emergency preparedness products for local health departments: the Infectious Disease Emergency Response (IDER) Toolkit and the Seasonal and Pandemic Influenza Vaccination Assessment (SPIVA) Toolkit.

The IDER Toolkit provides local health departments with guidance and templates that can be used to develop and operationalize a National Incident Management System-compliant response plan for infectious disease emergencies at the local level. It draws on extensive public health preparedness activities, experiences from the recent H1N1 outbreak, survey findings, and discussions with health departments throughout the country. The IDER Toolkit addresses unique features of an infectious disease emergency response, such as disease containment and epidemiology and surveillance, and includes modifiable organizational charts, job action sheets, and public health-specific Incident Command System forms.

The SPIVA Toolkit gives an orientation to using community assessment methods as a tool for emergency preparedness. The SPIVA Toolkit provides an overview of how to use key informant interviews and focus groups to inform assessment activities, a step-by-step guide to designing and conducting effective vaccination surveys, a description of online tools and resources that may assist with data collection and analysis, and field-tested examples that show how other counties have implemented community assessments.

The IDER and SPIVA Toolkits are free and accessible online at www.sfbayapc.org. Help spread the word about these free resources for local health departments by posting one of our promotional web buttons on your personal page or organization’s website:http://sfbayapc.sfcdcp.org/button_gallery.

 

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Keeping the Recent Tornado Deaths in Perspective

I just “Tweeted” a New York Times piece entitled:

When Warnings Don’t Work

It was a good piece and it included a good chart which helps put the tornado deaths in perspective.

Many of us wonder why, after decades of experience, better preparedness and constructions techniques, and improved warnings, are we seeing these tragic killer tornadoes?

Can we do more to reduce the impact of the natural disasters which seem to be plaguing us?  Questions abound:

  • Do we need to do more to educate the public?
  • Do we need better warnings?
  • Does everyone need a shelter?

We wonder why people living in a modern society can still be victims of disaster. And, we wonder why isn’t a tornado survivable? More…

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Dr. B. Wayne Blanchard to receive Honorary Doctorate Degree at Metropolitan College of New York

Dr. B. Wayne Blanchard to receive Honorary Doctorate Degree at Metropolitan College of New York Commencement – June 11, 2011

I was pleased to see this recent announcement, Dr. Blanchard has done much to support Emergency Management over the years. It is great to see him get this recognition.

Dr. Wayne Blanchard retired last fall after a 30-year career with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  He began work there on civil defense programs and steadily advanced as training coordinator, staff officer and manager of the Family Protection Program before joining the Emergency Management Institute (EMI) in 1994, where he was the architect of the Emergency Management Higher Education Project. This project encourages and supports the development of degree programs at the college and university levels.

Dr. Blanchard was instrumental in the approval process for Metropolitan College of New York’s (MCNY) Master of Public Administration in Emergency and Disaster Management degree program. In June 2002, he, along with other educators, heard MCNY’s proposal first presented by Dr. Mick Maurer at the fifth FEMA Higher Education Conference in Florida. The following year, as part of the degree approval process, New York State Regents requested two “independent readers” – Dr. Blanchard was selected by MCNY’s degree development committee and invited to review the proposed program in depth. He accepted and produced an evaluation report strongly in support of MCNY’s program design, hailing it’s, “emphasis on critically integrating experience and organizational and management theories in a way that concretizes the experiential component of the academic process.” More…

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EMI Launches New Emergency Management Foundations Academy

The Emergency Management Institute (EMI) is launching a new training program, the Emergency Management Foundations Academy. Spaces are available in the June and July Pilots for this new program. In the very near future, this new EMI Academy Program will also include EM Specialties, Executive Management and Strategic Leadership Programs.   You can download a flyer with the schedule & complete details for more information.

This program is being established as FEMA has recognized the need to tie its training programs to an established set of emergency management competencies and to a career development program through a progressive training and education system that will include an entry-level academy. Training objectives are based on the newly established EM competencies that the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), National Emergency Management Association (NEMA), and local, state, and tribal emergency management professionals have established in coordination EMI.

 

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Budget Axe Looms Large Over Local First Responders

A proposed 2012 budget bill in the House of Representatives slashes the current level of local first responder funding, with the biggest cuts coming in areas critical to anti-terrorism and emergency preparedness.

American community leaders are reeling. They did not see this coming. Many of their leaders are in a state of shock and denial.  The United States Congress is prepared to make heavy cuts in homeland security grant funding unlike anything they had imagined.

While Congress shaved local first responder funding by about 20% for 2011, their current plans for 2011 are to cut 67% from the FY 2010 level of $3 billion to $1 billion overall.

The Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) which was created to help enhance capabilities in the most at-risk cities will go from a high of 64 cities down to 10 cities under the current House of Representatives proposal.  Cities that were making great headway enhancing capabilities are going to lose ground on preparedness.

This means that potentially 54 cities will lose funding. This includes major U. S. cities from Miami to Seattle, from San Diego to Baltimore, from Detroit to Las Vegas.

The $1 billion remaining, based on the draft legislation, would need to fun nine formerly separate grant programs and would leave it to the Secretary of Homeland Security to determine how best to use it.

States will also feel the impact. Many will be left with the minimum amount of funding required and they will need to drastically curtail programmatic activities.