Welcome to my journey of learning and growth as I make my way through this beast we call Emergency Management! I’m working in an Emergency Management role at the State/Province level in North America and trying to learn the ropes as I go. One of my big challenges is that I’m not formally educated in Emergency Management (I know that’s not necessarily a bad thing), but I’m the type of person who wants to know as much as I can.
So, that brings me to this blog…One of the ways that I have always learned best is to take something I’m wrestling with and try to reframe it and put it into my own words. This site will include my thoughts and musings on my personal studies, emergencies and disasters, and other relevant things as they come to mind. Some of the posts will be things that I’ve written before and published elsewhere (usually LinkedIn), but most will be new thoughts specifically for this blog.
So, hi! Take a look, see what you like, and drop me a line!
Oh…and this picture? WordPress dropped it in as a placeholder in the hopes that I would put another picture in its place, but I kind of like this one so I’m keeping it!
The work of building a resilient society is a huge challenge, and not simply because it involves massive shifts in how we think about our needs. We have to consider how to build resilience and capacity in the following areas (and this list just barely scratches the surface):
So, what’s the point here? Why am I spending so much time focusing on the fact that bad things happen, and that sometimes those things are bad enough that we can’t cope with them? Because, now you’re thinking about it! You’re thinking about those times in your life where things happened that you weren’t able to cope with. If you’re fortunate enough to have never had anything bad happen to you, you are thinking about the ways that things might go wrong in the future. Continue reading
I strongly believe that a good Emergency Manager is a jack of all trades and knows a little bit about everything. I’m fortunate that my background is such that I have an incredibly varied background that includes everything from supply chain and logistics management, to religious ministry, to volunteer management, to emergency response, to operations and event management! Continue reading
So I’m still learning. I know that, but it still stings a little when I ask the wrong question or make the wrong choice. I’m still having some challenges with the switch from local to state/provincial. Its a different mindset and one that is more about enabling and supporting than being out and doing.
This week’s big learning was that sometimes asking yourself why is just as important as actually doing something. What am I seeking to accomplish by doing this? Having someone else ask me this question put some perspective on my actions and allowed me to prioritize them in an appropriate way.
In the end, all was good.
Take a deep breath…
File the lesson away for next time…
Move on to the next thing…
There’s always more to be done.
In my last post, I talked about a couple times where my resilience had failed me. I wanted to share some of my personal experience with you so that you can understand my experience with Personal Resilience.
The truth of it is that sometimes when bad things happen, you won’t be able to cope with it. For some people, that is a serious injury (or sometimes a not-so-serious injury) to a loved one. Sometimes it is something else. The breaking point is different for every person and every situation.
When thinking about your own personal resilience, you have to consider that no matter how resilient you are, you will likely encounter a circumstance that exceeds your ability to cope. Your resilience will fail you at some point.
It might sound like I’m being hard on myself or others but knowing that your personal resilience can fail you means that you can be better prepared.
Preparedness is a big part of emergency management, and one that many people don’t consider when making personal or family emergency plans. Having faced the failure of my resilience before means that I know I will likely face it again in the future.
My hope is that you will also be better prepared simply by knowing that unless you are incredibly fortunate, your resilience will also fail you at some point.
My wife hates the fact that I don’t ever turn off my emergency management brain, but has learned to live with it. While on vacation this past week, I took some pictures of some great ideas I saw in different places.
I saw this one in a long term care home. I think it even glows in the dark! They store it inside the room until they have evacuated the room and then it hangs on the outside door knob. This isn’t a perfect solution to marking evacuated rooms, but for a quick and dirty fix before getting a permanent solution, it’s a great idea!
This is an awesome idea!! Having a portion of the window that can be easily ventilated without breaking a window makes things easier on both the response and recovery and of things. Oh, and don’t mind the three year-old in the picture…we were on vacation at the time!
What are some of the great ideas you’ve seen when you’ve been on vacation or visiting somewhere new?
I have had a tough month. I had a series of calls that took a toll on me emotionally and decided to take a step back from responding for a while. Conveniently, I also had some vacation previously scheduled for the end of July, so I’ve been doing things to strengthen my own resilience. I had reached the limit of my personal resilience and needed some time to find a new equilibrium.
So far, I’ve:
- Spent some time playing with my daughter (including dancing with her at a long-term care facility to the great joy of some of the residents)
- Smoking a cigar and drinking scotch with my mother
- Enjoying a fantastic drive through one of my favorite areas of the country
- Dismantling a dock with my father (our demolition activities have become an annual tradition)
- Spent some time doing nothing…and not feeling guilty about it
I’ve got another week or so before I go back to work, and have some great experiences coming up! I’ll let you know how it goes!
Take a few minutes to look after yourself, you’ll be more resilient and happier too!