What You Need To Know About Emergency Management Education
The difference between those who have a pre-9/11 perspective and a post-9/11 perspective: It seems to me there’s really a line of demarcation, and many people have never come around to understanding the serious implications of terrorism in the world.
[TODD DEVOE] Hi, welcome to EM Weekly, and this is your host, Todd DeVoe speaking. And this week, we’re talking to Dr. Paula Gordon, who is one of the pioneers of emergency management education. Dr. Gordon is also one of the nation’s leading researchers on the impact of EM and our ability to respond. Dr. Gordon has done some wonderful research into the ethics of public service as well.
Did you know that you can build your own community of emergency managers on forums.emweekly.com? It is easy, just create your profile, and at your fingerprints and the click of a mouse, you can make your own group that you have complete control over. Check it out, come on over to forums.emweekly.com. This week, in Ask Todd, I was asked by Susan from South Dakota, what is a good way to engage the community as an emergency manager? Susan, that’s a great question, and first of all, I think that as emergency managers, one of our key principles in our job is to engage the community. So we need to get out and do more to gain the trust of our residents.
I like the idea of small community gatherings. When I was the emergency manager at the city of Seal Beach in California, with the help of one of my volunteers, we developed a program called “Neighbor for Neighbor.” And this is a way for people to get out and meet each other, and collectively learn how to help each other, right in your block, right in your neighborhood. So it’s kind of taking the principles of neighborhood watch but expanding it to emergency management. And this is just one of the ideas out there. So if you have any ideas on how you can too engage your community, please go to forums.emweekly.com, and let us know what you guys do to engage your community. Now, let’s talk to Dr. Gordon.
[TODD DEVOE] Well, I’m really happy to have one of emergency management’s premiere educators here now with me, it’s Paula Gordon. Paula, welcome to EM Weekly, how are you doing today?
[DR PAULA GORDON] I’m fine, Todd, thanks so much for the invitation.
[TODD DEVOE] So, Paula, how did you get involved in emergency management?
[DR PAULA GORDON] Well, as a child, I experienced the Tehachapi earthquake first-hand, and I think that probably that got me quite interested, if not concerned, about natural hazards. I remember reading Thunderbolt House by Howard Pease, a fictional account of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and that had quite an impact on my psyche. Later, I read Lucifer’s Hammer, I don’t know if you know that science fiction book.
[TODD DEVOE] No.
[DR PAULA GORDON] It’s about what happened when an asteroid hit Los Angeles. One of the things that occurred was that Central Valley became a lake, and the same kind of scenario that was worked out in that book, had some similarities to the National Geographic docu-drama “American Blackout”. Did you see that by any chance?
[TODD DEVOE] Yes.
[DR PAULA GORDON] There were some similarities there, and I was struck by those similarities with the National Geographic version of what would happen in a cataclysmic disaster, or in the case of National Geographic’s docu-drama, in a disaster involving a long-lasting power grid failure.
And I was concerned about other kinds of disasters too, as time went on. I read Robert Lifton’s book on Hiroshima. I was also interested in the Love Canal situation and the Exxon Valdez disaster and other disasters involving contamination of the environment.
[TODD DEVOE] So your education background is public administration.
[DR PAULA GORDON] Right.
[TODD DEVOE] How did you get involved in teaching in emergency management?
[DR PAULA GORDON] Well, that came about after Katrina, and I had been teaching as an adjunct at George Washington University. While at GW, I got involved with a project having to do with Y2K. I had heard about Y2K in-depth for the first time in 1998. I heard about it at a faculty retreat during which Professor Stuart Umpleby, a colleague at GW, gave a presentation on Y2K. He talked about the embedded system’s problem (problems involving date-sensitive complex digital systems). The reaction to his presentation by a number of those who were present at the retreat, was very similar to kinds of reactions I had been aware of in some individuals who had been warned about other kinds of disasters and fiascos before they occurred, including events such as Seveso, Minimata, Bhopal and even Chernobyl. People who should have known about and understood the technical aspects of the problem did not appear to understand the seriousness of the potential threats and challenges and did not seem to see the need to take steps to protect against the potential disasters that could occur.
I was struck by the fact that people at the faculty retreat, many of whom were information and computer scientists, didn’t seem to understand the so-called embedded systems problem with regard to Y2K, and what would likely happen if date-sensitive embedded systems failed. This would include SCADA systems and date-sensitive digital systems. The result would be that malfunctions could trigger failures in, say, the electric power grid, which in turn would trigger other cascading failures in other elements of the critical infrastructure.
And because of that concern, I got deeply involved, along with Stuart Umpleby, in trying to brief people concerning the serious nature of the problem. We briefed people in various places in the federal government and I established communication with John Koskinen in the White House who headed the Federal government’s Y2K efforts. I tried to provide all the information I could to Mr. Koskinen and to government officials, as well as the Vice President for Disaster Preparedness of the American Red Cross, many of whom were in key roles of responsibility for addressing issues surrounding Y2K, including the embedded systems aspect to the problem and the disasters that could have been triggered as a result of Y2K-related technology failures. So, I became very deeply involved in trying to educate people about these matters.
After Katrina happened, it occurred to me that it would be helpful to see if a university would be interested in putting together an emergency management certificate program which would have an all-hazards approach, and deal with the implications and the lessons that should have been learned as a result of things like Y2K, but also events like Hurricane Katrina.
[TODD DEVOE] How, as far as programs go, on the education side. And myself, I have my master’s in public administration, so full-disclosure, I think it’s a great degree. Do you think that public administration programs should offer some sort of emergency management class or classes for those that are going into the PA track?
[DR PAULA GORDON] I certainly think it would be good to offer it. I don’t know that it needs to be required, but I think that people in public administration tend to have a public service orientation that is necessarily present in other specialty areas. And for that reason alone, it’s a very good fit for emergency managers. I think it’s a nice placement for emergency management in the curriculum as well.
[TODD DEVOE] So I think that the struggles we’re having on the education side is with emergency management, where does it belong? And I know for the longest time, CSPAN and the Sociology arena, and it’s kind of broken out, kind of like how criminal justice did, say, about 30 years ago, where it broke out on the Sociology side of it and it’s its own discipline now. We see the new emerging emergency manager programs in various different colleges, and you’re starting to see a couple of PhD programs in emergency management. What do you think of those trends right now?
[DR PAULA GORDON] Well, you know, I really haven’t focused that much on where emergency management courses should be based. What I’ve been trying to do is train teachers and train trainers in effect, as well as practitioners. I’ve been focusing primarily on making the certificate program focus on all hazards, and particularly deal with the implications after 9/11. I try to focus on all of the things like, critical infrastructure, planning and preparedness, and unmet needs and challenges. So, it’s sort of a course on writing for writers, or educating those who are teaching emergency management or who are practitioners, and trying to help them expand their horizons to see and understand certain aspects of emergency management and homeland security that they may have missed.
For instance, there is a culture gap between – that you probably know well – between emergency management and homeland security, and that needs to be bridged. It certainly was very much in evidence in the way in which Hurricane Katrina played out. The fact that the Department of Homeland Security had been set up not long before Katrina occurred meant that there was an additional layer of bureaucracy between FEMA and the White House. This reorganization really interfered with the ability of the head of FEMA to deal with a major disaster in the way that he had in the past. It slowed down the response initially, and it took several days for the Department of Defense to come forward and for General Russel Honore to appear on the scene. General Honore was really able to do a great deal to pull things together and do a very adequate and amazing job, I thought, in dealing with Katrina.
[TODD DEVOE] I agree with that. He did a great job, and I think that’s one of those things where we were able to have a somewhat successful response and getting into the recovery of Katrina, basically because General Honore was able to pull things together there at the last minute. And we had a political breakdown, we had a silo breakdown, and we had a communication breakdown between all areas of government, and I think that’s a really good case study on how we need to do things better going forward. And I think that brings the question about the professional emergency manager, and the fact that with FEMA, we did not have somebody who has a professional emergency manager in charge of FEMA, and you saw a lot of cities and townships that their emergency managers are on collateral duty or part-timing at best.
And this trend now, we have going forward, do you see a trend of professionalizing– and what I mean but that is, having people who are in the field of emergency management as a practitioner, having to have some sort of background and education in emergency management? Do you still see it in some cases, as collateral duty police officer, firefighter, paramedic?
[DR PAULA GORDON] I think, either way, they need to have the kinds of courses that I try to provide. Many of the students in the courses are indeed mid-career. I think it helps to have a practical experience, whether it be as an adjunct to one’s public safety duties, or (as one acting in an auxiliary capacity) to an emergency management department. Either way, I think it’s important you have on-the-ground experience with disasters, and that you have an orientation that involves public service, and that’s one of the differences that occurred when the Department of Homeland Security was set up, and before that, the Office of Homeland Security in the White House. Most people that were involved at the outset (after 9/11) had no background in emergency management…..
[TODD DEVOE] Right.
[DR PAULA GORDON] …or had no on-the-ground experience. And as consequence, Michael Brown, head of FEMA, had superior (emergency management) experience to Michael Chertoff, the DHS Secretary, and when you have someone who has more experience dealing with hurricanes, having to go through an intermediary, who has less experience than you do, and who also blindsides you, that can be very difficult. Or at least, the Secretary was accused by Brown of blindsiding him. I don’t know if you heard Brown’s presentation that he gave in early 2006. It’s on CSPAN [http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/id/153798.] And I show this to my students, along with General Honore’s CSPAN presentation also given in early 2006 [http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/id/155435.] And if you also read their depositions, you will understand far more.
Another thing that I encourage students to read is a marvelous set of journalistic accounts concerning the years leading up to Katrina, and what was going on behind the scenes. It’s a series that the Washington Post ran, just two articles. They are by Susan Glasser and Michael Grunwald, December 22nd and 23rd of 2005. [See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/21/AR2005122102327.html and http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/22/AR2005122202213.html?nav=hcmodule
These are must-reads. I think they’re some of the best journalistic accounts of what goes on in government and bureaucratic machinations, and how, for instance, many people didn’t know about the Hurricane Pam Exercise which was done in the early summer of 2005, prior to Katrina , that Brown was fighting to get resources to implement the recommendations that came out of the Hurricane Pam Exercise. They didn’t know that Brown couldn’t get the resources. And the resources – vast resources had been taken from FEMA when the Department of Homeland Security was setup. And he had a very difficult time in trying to keep FEMA operating in the way that it should, and that he knew it should.
That’s another thing that comes to mind, is that the cyclic nature of emergency management is really not well understood by those who were outside of the field. This includes the need for preparedness, mitigation, response, recovery, and mitigation embedded also in recovery efforts, all of that are well-known to those in emergency management. They’re not well-known to people (outside the field of emergency management) who have very different educational and experiential and professional backgrounds. There is a wide gulf that needs to be bridged (between those in emergency management and those in homeland security).
There was an incident in Emmitsburg, that was sort of a major epiphany to me about this. There was a panel presentation at the FEMA Higher Ed Symposium, maybe 10 years ago, in which there were people from the fire safety and public safety communities in the room, and also people from the military and the emergency management field with deep experience in (emergency management). And it occurred to me that there was this gulf that really separated them in their understanding and their perspective concerning homeland security and emergency management, and the juxtaposition of those two. And it occurred to me that the differences could be shown using a grid. If you put on one side of the grid, “public safety”, and on the other side, “national security”, you can say that the ideal is to maximize a concern for both of those and a respect both public safety and national security. And that understanding, I think, has been lacking. But you know, when you have people coming into these fields, with very, very different educational backgrounds and professional backgrounds, with some of them having on-the-ground experience and an extraordinary kind of public service orientation, and when you put them together with people who don’t necessarily share that same background, maybe they come from DOD, Justice, or some other realms; it can be hard to bring everyone around to a common understanding of the mission and goals that need to be served in order to protect the country from all forms of national disasters.
[TODD DEVOE] What are some of the challenges that you have with getting the message out, for education for emergency managers?
[DR PAULA GORDON] Well, one of them these days, aside from the culture gap and trying to help people understand that, is helping people understand the difference between those who have a pre-9/11 perspective and a post-9/11 perspective. It seems to me that there’s really a line of demarcation, and many people have never come around to understanding the serious implications of terrorism in the world, and how (the presence of terrorism and the terrorist threat) really changes the ball game in very, very major ways. So, I’ve written about that. I’ve made presentations about that. (An example is “Pre- and Post-9/11 Perspectives: Understanding and Teaching about Differences in Perspectives Affecting Governance and Public Administration Post-9/11” which is posted on http://gordonhomeland.com. )
Part of a White Paper that I had done on critical infrastructure protection and improving critical infrastructure protection has a portion in it on understanding the scope and nature of a terrorist threat. [See http://users.rcn.com/pgordon/homeland/hscipreport.pdf and http://users.rcn.com/pgordon/homeland/thedifferentnatureofterrorism.htm.]
And it seems that there is a very good metaphor for this. It seems that a terrorist can be likened to a mad dog in a schoolyard, and responsibility has to be taken to deal with these mad dogs. There are also major consequences for the fabric of society when you have increasing numbers of terrorist incidents, including active shooter incidents, which are very unsettling to the fabric of society and can cause its unravelling and create a kind of very unhealthy cultural atmosphere that people have difficulty dealing with, the active shooter school situations being a prime example.
One of the things people are not always realizing about acts of violence, whether they be more domestic in origin or involve foreign terrorists, is that even the Tsarnaev brothers in the Boston Marathon Bombings were also involved in drug use. And if you look at all of the incidents (involving shootings and bombings, etc.), and you look at the toxicity reports (of the perpetrators), in most all of the incidents in schools, theatres, malls, etc., you will find that the individuals who were responsible most often had discernible amounts of psychoactive drugs in their systems. And I think that the criminal justice system needs to be alert to this and to be sure that the toxicity studies are done on all people who are involved in terrorist incidents and active shooter incidents, and be sure that the links between mental problems, mental illness, psychotic episodes, and violent acting out and the use of psychoactive drugs is noted in a more thorough way than has been the case in the past.
[TODD DEVOE] I read a paper, I forget who the author is, and it talked about the correlation between the increase in active shooters and the increase in Ritalin prescriptions, I don’t know if that is true or not.
[DR PAULA GORDON] Yes, any psychoactive drug will have the potential of doing that. One of the most prolific writers on the topic, is Dr. Christine Miller, a neuroscientist. I have referenced her work on one of my websites, http://GordonDrugAbusePrevention.com. That website has many references that connect violence and psychoactive drugs. [I might mention that I have a number of websites that I’ve had them for many years now. One of them has all of my archived material on Y2K, and that’s http://GordonHomeland.com.]
I think the shooter in the Parkland school situation, as far as I know, toxicity studies were not done, at least, the results were not publicized. But we do know that there is talk that his mother had alcohol problems and that he may have been born with fetal alcohol syndrome, which also would be a predictor of unstable psychological behavior as an adult. These things, for some reason, are not being paid adequate attention to, and I think it behooves us to do so.
In fact, one of the courses I’ll be teaching beginning July 16th is a four-week online course, that is part of the Emergency Management Certificate Program being offered by Auburn University Outreach. [See http://www.auburn.edu/outreach/opce/emergencymgmt/ ]. That four-week elective course is a part of the EM Certificate Program. It is on drug addiction, drug use, and the opioid epidemic. And in it I highlight the various ways in which the drug epidemic is undermining the social fabric. And if you look at all the states in which marijuana has been legalized, for instance, for recreational use, particularly; you will find in those states that you have higher crime rates, you have higher incidents traffic accidents and traffic fatalities, you have higher incidents of students in schools dropping out, and also more school-aged children using drugs. You have an increase in the homeless problem. If you go to major metropolitan areas in those states, from Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, and of course, Denver, Pueblo, Colorado Springs – if you go to all these places, you’ll find that the caliber of life has been extremely downgraded. Indeed, there is a series of videos that I use (to help those in my courses understand what is happening). I like to use a lot of media in my teaching. There is a series of videos known as the Code Red Pueblo series of videos, and they are all available on YouTube. [For the trailer, see Trailer at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLUrhxzLMW4.] A group of several hundred doctors in Colorado got together, and a number of them have videotaped presentations on their perspectives concerning what is going on there as a result of marijuana legalization. And there are major horror stories: the emergency rooms are being overcrowded, the number of suicides has skyrocketed. And the toxicity studies that have been done on those who have committed suicide show that in the majority of suicides, there is a presence of THC, marijuana’s active principle.
And the reason why we’ve been misled over the years into thinking that marijuana was rather innocuous is that never before have the levels of THC (the active principle in marijuana) been as high as they have been since the legalization of marijuana, and there is no effective regulation in Colorado (or anywhere) as to how much THC you can have (or put into your system). And marijuana sold in dispensaries (in Colorado) can have 15% THC, 30%, and even up to 99% in the oil versions that are distillates. It’s quite something. And these are very high-level hallucinogens; they’re not low-level hallucinogens, when you compare them with the kind of marijuana that was available, say, way back in the 60’s, and had just a very, very small percent of THC in it.
But even then, THC was shown, in the 60’s, to have idiosyncratic psychotomimetic effects in normal human subjects, according to research done by Harris Isbell and associates [H. Isbell et al., Effects of (−)Δ9-trans-tetrahydrocannabinol in man. Psychopharmacologia, 1967]. That finding should have been the end of marijuana, but it wasn’t. And few people know about this research finding even today, but there is a voluminous literature connecting the marijuana use to violence now, and to psychosis, and schizophrenia, and suicidal depression. In fact, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the rise in suicides nationwide today has to do, in some measure, with the increase in the use in marijuana.
What can happen when one chronically uses marijuana and even when use is stopped is that the user can get extremely depressed, and can also develop a syndrome called “Scrommiting,” which is a combination of vomiting and screaming, of all things.
And this syndrome known as “cannabis hyperemesis syndrome” has been noted by doctors all over the country, where marijuana has been legalized. There are scientific papers about it now too, and there have been articles in the New York Times recently about it. (For a scientific article on the subject, see Acad Emerg Med. 2015 Jun; 22(6): 694–699. ) The terrible thing is that when somebody appears for treatment, they will not listen to the ER doctor when the doctor says, “This is related to your use of marijuana, you have to stop using marijuana.” They are just in denial, and it can cost tens of thousands of dollars to do a complete medical workup on them. It should be understood that “hyperemesis” or “scromiting” is a syndrome that can result in major kidney failure and other severe systemic problems for one’s general health.
So, for obvious reasons, I consider that we are, indeed, in a public health disaster, and I am pleased to see that Clare Rubin in her Recovery Diva blog noted this during the last couple of years, and published several pieces in which the drug epidemic is viewed as a public health disaster, a disaster that is national in scope and that falls within the purview of emergency management.
Another reason we need to see the drug crisis in this light is that people who are first responders have to know how to deal with people who are OD’ing, and/or who are violent. And also, they have to know not to use these psychoactive drugs themselves, and not get sucked into the popular trend of using hallucinogens be they milder hallucinogens, or not so mild, and very high-powered hallucinogens, high-power THC marijuana, that will be very deleterious to them and their health, and to their ability to be of service in a disaster.
The other thing I might mention is that those who have used these drugs can have flashbacks. They can have recurring problems even after they stop using psychoactive drugs. It can take months, if not longer, for those effects to wear off. It seems that the metabolites that are involved with the use of marijuana can be stored in the fatty tissues of the body and be reactivated at later times, and especially in times of duress. I know numerous incidents when that has happened when someone hadn’t used marijuana for a long time, but they had been in a stressful situation and had a psychotic break or experienced an anxiety attack or hallucinations or whatever.
So, all of this bodes very ill for the future of any society or jurisdiction that legalizes these drugs. With the legalization of marijuana, the black market is effectively “invited in”. Black marketers are readily able to undercut the cost of legal recreational or medical marijuana. In fact, black marketers are under-cutting the cost of black market marijuana with even lower-cost heroin and methamphetamines, etc. This is a reason, from my understanding, of the accounts that I’ve read, and the reports of various states where the recreational use marijuana has been legalized, or medical marijuana has been legalized, that these things need to be understood and taken into account.
[TODD DEVOE] So, this is a basic question. I spoke to Eric Holdeman about last year or a year ago, and we talked regarding the idea of using the emergency manager in the homeless crisis that we have in Orange County California, and we have Los Angeles just a little bit northwest, obviously, and both have severe homeless issues going on right now. And so, we talked about that. And I know that you kind of mentioned the medical use of marijuana as a public health disaster. Do you think that the use of the emergency manager in both of these cases is a good idea? Do you see it as mission creep or do you see it as really in the realm of what we do?
[DR PAULA GORDON] I think it’s going to be increasingly in the realm of what emergency management does because of the impacts widespread drug use is having. What you have in effect, in parts of Pueblo, Colorado, for instance, if you watch Dr. Karen Randall’s Code Red video presentation [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gs9X2qpGoUY], is the establishment of refugee camp-type situations, where illnesses are rampant. It’s like after the earthquake in Haiti, you know? And similar to what is going on also in Puerto Rico. I’m sure that there is greater use of drugs now in Puerto Rico than there was prior to the hurricanes with all the death and devastation that they’ve experienced.
These things have to be understood in context. In the early ‘90s, I was involved in working on a project for the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation. They had a government contract from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration of DHHS. The project had to do with the use of drugs and substance abuse in the aftermath of Federally-declared disasters. And I think that, you know, it really is something that needs to receive a great deal of attention and much more so than it has in the past. People impacted by disasters can be in such a state of despair that they can turn to drugs that will change their mood and their mindsets at least temporarily. They may not realize that they can become addicted as a result or that there can be other long-lasting consequences to their mental and physical health and well-being.
Even those using marijuana can become addicted. [Longitudinal studies indicate that one in six young users become addicted and one in ten adult users.] And these days, with the higher level of THC in it, today’s marijuana is even more addictive. There are also, increased problems for reproduction, in both males and females. And you know, the fact that medical marijuana has been touted for use by pregnant women for morning sickness is just criminal and should never have been done. Marijuana use and exposure to marijuana causes low birth rate, shorter gestation periods, and there are increasing statistics showing an association between use of marijuana or exposure to marijuana and a variety of different birth anomalies. We know that for a fact, by looking at the brains of aborted and miscarried fetuses that have been exposed to marijuana in utero, that there are differences in the brain of those fetuses. And these brain differences correlate, in fact, to a sensitization to opioid use, of all things.
In the animal studies that have been done in parallel and the animals have been allowed to grow up after being exposed in utero to marijuana, those animals have shown a tendency to choose opioids when given an opportunity in an experimental situation. I have communicated with Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse concerning these research findings and with Dr. Bertha Madras who is also one of the most outstanding authorities, to my understanding, in the field, and also Dr. Bob Du Pont, a former U.S. government “Drug Czar”. These are connections that, aside from these experts, few people are seeing, and know about. I first became aware of these research findings through Dr. Libby Stuyt, a psychiatrist who was one of the presenters in the Code Red Series. She had pointed out some of these connections between the use of or exposure to marijuana and sensitization to opioid use. [Her presentation is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8QpzZLgshw .] I have been in touch with her as well. All of this has been written up in a letter that I wrote to Members of the Canadian Parliament. That letter is on my GordonDrugAbusePrevention.com website. I try to point out in that letter the connections that you can see in the research. For instance, if you look at all the people who OD as a result of opioids, you will find that a vast majority of them had a 10 to 15-year history of marijuana use.
So, it all fits together, but the problem is that policymakers are not seeing the connections, and I’m afraid that more states may legalize marijuana. And certainly, we just had Canada legalize marijuana, even though many of us were trying all that we could do try to speak to them, with everyone from Justin Trudeau to the Parliament, and warn them, and tell them about the experience that jurisdictions in the U.S. have been having (as a result of marijuana legalization and spreading use).
So, along with other public health problems, for instance, the Zika virus, and Ebola, all of these, I think, can be seen as being of concern, having some relevance to emergency management. Especially if they get to a point where they get out of hand. Pandemic flu, for instance, is another kind of epidemic where you run into a problem of having to consider quarantines and laying in stockpiles of supplies.
[TODD DEVOE] Yeah. So we’re coming near to the end of the show, and I just want to give you the opportunity to – if somebody wanted to get a hold of you, how could they find you?
[DR PAULA GORDON] The best places to find me are my websites. They’re not blogs, by the way, but my websites have all my contact information and my phone number. GordonHomeland.com, and GordonDrugUsePrevention.com. Also, I should mention that GordonPublicAdministration.com has a very pertinent article on matrix analysis. In that article I analyze all the different ways in which the problem of Katrina was defined by all the key stakeholders, using an analytic approach that I call matrix analysis.
My email address is email@example.com .
[TODD DEVOE] And I’ll make sure that all that information is down in the show notes as well, so if you’re driving down the road, and you don’t have a pencil in your hand, don’t worry about – don’t stop your driving. We’ve got plenty of information in the show notes for you, so when you get back home, you go ahead and click on that information. So, Dr. Gordon, is there anything else that you would like to say to the emergency manager before we let you go?
[DR PAULA GORDON] Yes. I think one of the greatest epiphanies I’ve had over the years with regards to emergency management is the need for what Mary Parker Follett called the “invisible leader”. Have you run across her concept of the “invisible leader” in public administration studies yet?
[TODD DEVOE] Yes, ma’am.
[DR PAULA GORDON] And an example of it is well-typified in the Manhattan Project, discussed in a chapter in a book by Warren Bennis and Phyllis Biederman entitled Organizing Genius ~ The Secrets of Creative Collaboration. The “invisible leader” has to do with a common sense of mission and a common sense of purpose. This, I find, is what really typifies people who are in emergency management. What it has to do with is a common sense of mission and a common sense of purpose. That common sense of purpose and mission has to do with serving the public, and serving the public good, and looking out for the welfare of others. And that is really where I think there needs to be a lot of emphasis in any course that one would take on emergency management in academia.
One article that I’ve written on this, which is on my website, GordonHomeland.com, is called “Transforming and Leading Organizations”. [See http://users.rcn.com/pgordon/homeland/transforming_orgs.pdf.] It includes all kinds of references to crisis management that would be helpful to people who want to understand how a crisis manager can be effective and what makes a crisis manager effective, and how emergency managers can be as effective as they can be.
Another book that is well worth reading is Leadership by Mayor Rudy Giuliani, in which he talks about his approach to networking. The book describes his consummate networking skills and how these skills put him in very good stead when 9/11 happened.
Had it not been for that– and this, from my vantage point, is also what separates those in emergency management from many who entered the homeland security field, without the benefit of having any background in emergency management, is that they tend to understand the importance of networking, of being interested in others, and being ready and willing to work with others in a collaborative way, and being of help and service to others in a hands-on way. These are the things that I think need to be stressed in the emergency management field and in the all-hazards approach to emergency management and homeland security.
[TODD DEVOE] Dr. Gordon, thank you so much for your time today, and I really do appreciate all the insight that we went over today, and I’d love to have you on again sometime.
[DR PAULA GORDON] Well, thank you for the opportunity, I very much appreciated it. Bye, bye, now.
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