Technology and Emergency Management

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This week we talk to Mary Jo Flynn-Nevis. MJ is what we would call a futurist. She has the pulse of what technology is coming and how we can use it in emergency management. MJ takes us through a quick history and how she has used technology in volunteer management, messaging, and how can we use smart technology to help save lives.

Todd DeVoe:      I’m so stoked to have Mary Jo and Evans with me and Mary and Mary Jo and I go and like a lot of people I’ve interviewed in the past, but you go back a long way. We used to teach together some of the CERT programs and things like this and it’s going great. And so Mary Jo is now up in Sacramento County, California and she’s kind of a futurist when it comes to emergency management. You know, she’s really into the technology side of things. I learned a lot about social media and, back when we’re doing, I think it was the, the Ducks game [Stanley Cup], wasn’t it when we’re doing the twit grid and watching all the stuff that’s on.

Marry Jo Nevins:              Yeah. Tweet grid… Tweet Grid doesn’t even exist anymore. How fast technology changes.

Todd DeVoe:      So Mary Jo, welcome to EM Weekly.

Marry Jo Nevins:              Thank you.

Todd DeVoe:      Yeah, it’s been a long time. You might hear me go back a little bit when we’re talking, I’m referring to is MJ So that’s Mary Jo. So for you guys, so tell the audience a little bit about yourself and your journey to emergency management.

Marry Jo Nevins:              So, I did not even know that emergency management existed as a career field until about 2005 when I was working for the city of Anaheim and as a management intern, I got thrown the city’s hazard mitigation plan and been told basically complete this in about six months. And through that process I got to meet all sorts of individuals at the county, at the city, and just really started to understand what emergency management was even about.

Todd DeVoe:      And so the first time that I ran into you was in the 2007 fires over in Santiago Canyon.

Marry Jo Nevins:              So that was my first day on the job as an emergency manager working with the Ellen at the city. And I had come over from Human Resources. I had a weird squirrely. I started as a life guard of all things, but I’m weird squirrely road through the city and I had left human resources and gone over to emergency management because, there had been some previous incidents where I had helped out. So in 2005, I think there were some fires, but also the Prado dam had a little bit of an issue and I had just finished the hazard mitigation plan so I was aware of the maps and all the other staff and they threw me in essentially the management department operations center, although I had no idea it was called that at the time and that’s when I got to meet Ellen. So a position opened up in 2007 and she took me to the fire camp and that was literally my first day on the job as an emergency manager.

Todd DeVoe:      Look at this, everybody the first day and the job was emergency mentor and she meets the governor of the state of California at the time was Arnold Schwarzenegger because he was given a tour.

Marry Jo Nevins:              That’s why we was to go meet him. To, Oh, this job field is kind of awesome. I get to meet celebrities on a regular basis.

Todd DeVoe:      So yeah, not so much. So, so that’s Kind of cool. And then you got involved with the volunteer management side of things?

Marry Jo Nevins:              Yeah, I did. So when I was a lifeguard, I ran a huge program of aquatic staff and volunteers and worked in recreation and recreation. In recreation You do everything with no money. And so running a volunteer program seemed normal to me to run, you know, a group of people who are interested in a topic and with very little funding, although Anaheim had pretty decent funding through you UASI, thankfully, but I had experienced running volunteer programs working with folks, , through recreation and it just seemed a normal fit to make that transition through CERT and emergency management. And that’s really where I learned a lot of the basics. So how did you get into technology? Well, it was because of CERT. I think you and I and Stacy Gerlach taught a class and she was all enamored at the fact that I use this thing called QR codes and we created a choose your own adventure exercise for the folks using QR codes.

Marry Jo Nevins:              And we made little videos and, had them go to physical locations and a building, go find this QR code, scan at, watch the video and make a decision on what to do next. And everybody loved it will with that came an interest in social media mostly because I wanted to recruit volunteers

Todd DeVoe:      and social media was pretty new at the time then.

Marry Jo Nevins:              social media was incredibly new at the time, specifically for government agencies to use them. It was really about posting what you ate for breakfast and in a lack of understanding PIO kind of world. I knew it was a way around the media. I wasn’t getting my press releases to get any traction. We weren’t getting enough people signing up for classes. And I thought this is a free opportunity to advertise our training to the local community. And to some extent it worked.

Marry Jo Nevins:              It almost worked a little too well because when Anaheim started having some fires, and what happens after a disaster or during a disaster, people crave information and they go to those social media sources. So as soon as there was a realization that our CERT page or whatever was posting information, it grew and it grew larger than the city’s account at the time with followers. And so we had to make some adjustments with how information flowed. And I was really careful to talk with our PIOs, but my interest kept growing and after Hurricane Sandy I realized that people, and even before Hurricane Sandy, that people are going to rely on social media for information to help themselves out to help each other out because people shared information to help one another out where the resources were aware gas was located, but also that it was something that we couldn’t ignore. And Craig Fugate had a huge role in that too. And expressing that government needs to be transparent and social media is one way to achieve that.

Todd DeVoe:      I think for, I remember correctly, the Moore City Oklahoma Tornado was one of the…

Marry Jo Nevins:              Joplin

Todd DeVoe:      Joplin you’re right. Yeah. Thank you. Yeah, I remember it was one of those

Marry Jo Nevins:              and they, they had a group of volunteers that again, volunteers will fill a void, will fill a need if we haven’t planned for it or thought about it as emergency managers. Folks will coordinate. We saw this in Harvey with the Zello App.

Todd DeVoe:      Yes Zello.

Marry Jo Nevins:              People will find that niche and they will fill it . And In Joplin. They filled it with google sheets. And Google forms to coordinate volunteer activities, boots on the ground, volunteer activities that were just surging into their location and volunteers put some coordinated effort into that. And, it grew into its own little way of tracking and monitoring volunteers, just like Zello has turned into a new communication feature for the Cajun Navy and other volunteers.

Todd DeVoe:      I did an episode on the Zello App with the Zello CEO and it was, it was amazing how that turned into that quickly.

Marry Jo Nevins:              Well, people will adapt the tools that they know and have access to usually the ones that are free, but that allow them to communicate and coordinate with other people who like mindedly want to help other people. , and you put that together with somebody with some, , some energy, some force to be reckoned with, and now you’ve got a team, , that kind of how Team Rubicon kind of grew from a couple people. Right? So, these are things that we shouldn’t ignore in emergency management and we shouldn’t ignore these technological developments that lead us to new places. And if we’re not imagining what can happen, 10, 15, 30, 50, 90 years from now, we can imagine what can happen, climatically in weather and those kinds of things. But are we imagining what can change technologically when a technological year, as a couple of months. I mean, apple just released a new phone a couple of weeks ago and they’re already thinking about the next product, five years from now, forget what they’re even going to offer next year. And I’m sure all the other technology companies are thinking similarly.

Todd DeVoe:      Well, think about the, the AED, right? You know, back when I started as a, in the, in the field, you know, you wouldn’t think of that big huge eight was the fibrillate or with a phone attached to it that you had to carry up at a super heavy. That would be something that’s smaller than a laptop in some cases that everybody has access to. And so, you know, just think about those technological advances.

Marry Jo Nevins:              Well, and I just remember when the technology became available to the public for AEDs public access to fibrillation trials for the pad and access. And I, the city was very interested in installing an AED on every floor, city hall. And I looked around and I said, well, best practices, what about my lifeguard program? These are kids I should say, young adults, has the potential of actually rescuing and individual from the water and saving their life. And you’re telling me that somebody on the fourth floor of city hall gets an AED, but this pool does not. Fortunately, a captain at the fire department heard me and provided some AEDs to the pools during the summer and they were the backup AEDs for the fire department. But it took me basically putting it in legal terms, you’re setting a new best practice standard in the city and not giving me access to it. And I’ve fought that battle with each of these different technology implementations. You know, you gave me access to social media to communicate with volunteers and now this is how I see the public using it. How are we going to change and how are we going to change and adapt to the next. Technological advancement is what I ask of all emergency managers.

Todd DeVoe:      So, I think it was like 2009, 2010, somewhere around there. You kind of became the County of Orange’s, you know, go to person when it comes to social media and stuff like that, you know, how did you transition from to, how did you get to that?

Marry Jo Nevins:              We know at that point in time I was so personally interested in it. They invested a lot of my personal time and learning about it, not so I could be some countywide expert or anything like that. In fact, I really don’t believe experts exist. I learned so much still about social media from other people. It’s ridiculous. But, every morning when I got up and walked on the treadmill, I would read tech crunch and mashable and, had the, an app that would basically feed me these stories and I would spend about an hour just reading every single. There was a statistic. What did they say? All statistics are made up

Todd DeVoe:      maybe ninety seven point five percent.

Marry Jo Nevins:              But there was some statistic mystic I had read that basically acquainted the number of hours you spend on something as equivalent to a master’s degree or a Ph.D. degree,

Todd DeVoe:      the 10,000 hours or something like that.

Marry Jo Nevins:              Yeah. And I thought, oh my gosh, social media. Somebody asked me and I said, well, every morning I read all these different articles that are published, you know, and there’s hundreds of them that are available every single day and they publish them on their own. Facebook has a blog, twitter has a blog and I would read all this stuff and just digest it. And that’s Kind of how we become experts in anything. Just we retain a different set of knowledge and skills and our brain and somebody else. And so when people would ask a question and I could answer it, it wasn’t that I was some expert, it’s just that I happened to have this knowledge and retained it right? Or that I was applying it in my program. And the more I applied that knowledge, the more people would ask me questions and the more I would read so I could answer the question

Todd DeVoe:      they used to use to be like, oh, we have a question about whatever technology. So, I’d be like, ah, ask MJ calls, she’ll have the answer.

Marry Jo Nevins:              Yeah. I try. And my goal was always to be helpful to other individuals because I saw that trend changing where people were becoming more and more reliant on social media even to take action. And Amanda Ripley’s talked about it and Dennis Mileti talked about it, that million feature, and we as emergency managers have to reduce that as much as possible in the way I saw my ability to reduce it is to provide the same piece of information in as many different potential sources as possible so that people are being bombarded by that information and hopefully make a decision that much faster. Whether it works or not, I have no academic research to confirm, but I hope it has some impact.

Todd DeVoe:      So, in, southern California, probably northern California too, but I can just only talk about what I know. So until the California, when we have fast moving and fires and information needs to be shared quickly, even like Orange County fire authority, the US Forest Service, all those organizations are going directly to twitter and saying, look, this is going to be your best updated information, you know, the website is, it is what it is, but twitter seems to be the feed. And then we have an organization, Orange County called Ready OC, and they’re using a twitter feed to get good information. Not just any kind of information but good, really good information up to the minute where you can go and get this information. So, you know, I see this trend going to, going forward with that as Emergency Managers. And by the way guys, gals, again, I’m from New York guys, is everybody. Oh, so I can go southern, All you y’all go out there and if you’re not in social media, you not only are behind the eight ball, it’s, you’re dead in the water at this point. But that being said, so you’ve gone further and in technology outside of just social media and there’s an organization that you’re a part of, what’s it called?

Marry Jo Nevins:              So I’m a part of the international association of emergency managers and there is a caucus called the emerging technology caucus and for lack of a better description, it’s a bunch of emergency management Geeks who love technology and I can’t say that it’s, it’s like the ultimate game, right? It’s a field that we love plus technology. It’s like the coolest thing ever. And so I, I just kind of found my people. I found my tribe. I’m one year I went to IAEM and they had a booth up and met a couple of people and I had been running the Anaheim CERT twitter at that point in time. And I made a fatal mistake early on, unbeknownst to me where I was starting to comment as Anaheim CERT, but Anaheim CERT became more and more my voice. And so finally I got my own twitter handle, which I had been resisting for quite some time. And so I introduced myself to this group of people who have since become my, my little tribe of fellow geeks and they’re like, okay, whatever, and we don’t know you from Adam. And then I had mentioned just in passing to somebody that will, I ran the Anaheim CERT account and you would have thought a celebrity walked in the room the way they reacted to me this, these are the coolest people ever think I’m special. This is so awesome. Oh my gosh. I really don’t know anything about technology. I hope I can learn something.

Marry Jo Nevins:              And so I just had an interest in. So I’ve, I’ve found the people who also had that interest and so I don’t have to know everything about technology, but I know somebody who does. And that’s been my philosophy of, you know, I want to learn certain things. I want to learn about driverless cars. I want to learn about home automation technology because I think home automation technology is the new alert and warning system. I don’t know about you, but I’ve completely given up cable TV. I only have cable because it provides me Internet access. And so I stream everything. Senator Thune has a bill, I forget what number it is right now, but he has a bill out that essentially will study the impact of pushing cap. IPAWS, alert technology to streaming devices,

Todd DeVoe:      kind of go back. And it was interesting. Then I don’t know what build is with another talk about cable companies not wanting. IPAWS not to go across their feed. Do you know anything about that?

Marry Jo Nevins:              I don’t. I don’t know if that’s part of the net neutrality stuff or something else, but I’m, the Senate bill would only study the issue. It wouldn’t require it as of yet. And I believe that would still potentially be controlled with the FCC. But, and I unfortunately don’t know enough about this bill beyond his existence and that I’ve read it, but the background or the sponsors and all that kind of stuff, not too sure, but you know, as people get rid of regular standard tv, how are we notifying them? Sonoma fires, 10:00 PM people are asleep in bed. I’ve encountered this in Sacramento. Oroville dam has this little tiny problems, second tallest dam in the United States., massive structural deficit to the spillway, we don’t know what’s going to Happen, and start alerting people and it got later and later into the evening hours that we were trying to contact people.

Marry Jo Nevins:              And 10:00 news ends, how are you going to get ahold of people outside of social media

Todd DeVoe:      and who watches the 10:00 news?

New Speaker:     And who watches the 10:00 news? So, you’ve got radio, if they’re listening apps, so your SoundCloud, Pandora, Spotify, all those different apps or people are streaming stuff. Now, do we have, you know, I heart radio. Do we have an opportunity to push information to those sources? But at 10:00 PM you’re asleep in your home, you turn your phone off or you’re charging it next year bedside. How are you going to get an alert message? Is it going to come through your phone? Are you going to turn it off like everything else? Are you going to wake up and be, do I need to send the alert as an emergency manager three or four times to get you up out of bed? Or could I potentially push a message that links to your home automation systems, which now as homes are being built, are being built with these systems integrated into them?

Marry Jo Nevins:              Can I push a message and have your fire alarm also act as a speaker which exists by the way, this technology exists and now I can alert you after

Todd DeVoe:      you’re freaking me out a little bit.

Marry Jo Nevins:              Well, okay, it’s super big brother. I get it. I totally get the big brother aspect of it. It freaks me out, but at the same time, if I can push a piece of information and your house is now telling you there is danger outside your doors, you need to pack up and leave because there’s a fire on the way, and by the way, here’s the route you need to take. Is that better? Super Big Brother. We need. We have. We have huge hurdles in emergency management to deal with data security to deal with who should and could access this technology to push that kind of message, but we’re not having those conversations right now. We need to be.

Todd DeVoe:      So California Edison, and I’m sure other power companies have the same ability to turn my air conditioner off.

Marry Jo Nevins:              Smart meter, right? Right, right. So like Janet talked to you and tell you there’s a power outage and..

Todd DeVoe:      Can They turn the lights on?

Marry Jo Nevins:              I don’t know, but okay. So home automation technology is essentially you set up what’s called a scene. So, the, your phone knows based on your geolocation when you arrive home, as you approach your driveway, your garage door lifts up the lights in the house, come on, your air conditioner may have been cooling for the last hour, but all the. Maybe your TV turns on to your favorite sports channel, whatever it is. But all these things happen. How, why? Because you programmed it to on your phone that when you reach this specific place on planet earth, your phone would send a signal and your house would respond.

Todd DeVoe:      So I was thinking like the fire departments when I was working in EMS, came to the point to where we said they say it’s called Plextrons and a loud beep would turn on and you literally wake up with your heart racing because it’s so loud. And so they said, oh, that’s killing firefighters because it’s given them heart attacks night. And so they came up with a kinder, gentler way and doing like this voice over things and there’s an emergency and they’re turning the lights on for you

Marry Jo Nevins:              dim them and raise them up.

Todd DeVoe:      raise them up and say you pick at the slide on it. So I mean, if we’ve been doing this for years now with fire departs.

Marry Jo Nevins:              So, one of the, one of the fire alarms that you can buy can do different lighting features. So on your phone you can pick, I call it, like the disco ball because you can pick whatever color you want and you can set it to the scene. So if your color that you picked for this scene of emergency is red, red flashing, strobe light, essentially if your hearing impaired and you see this red light flashing because you programmed it in to be an emergency, amazing. You know how we can communicate with folks who have those needs visually because they integrated into something that program into their phone. Now we just need to communicate with the phone and communicate with the house to push the message that we need them to receive and react.

Todd DeVoe:      There was a problem with that during the Sonoma fires where there were deaf people who didn’t get the alerts because I was at nighttime and they didn’t hear people honking the horn without fire was broken so fast.

Marry Jo Nevins:              I didn’t even hear that.

Todd DeVoe:      And there were. And that was a conversation that we started having. I have down here, you know, so how do we reach out to people like that? And I guess it would have to give us access to their home or something like that. Right?

Marry Jo Nevins:              The home automation technology is something you install because you want that technology in your home. So it may be years before every home is standard with that,

Todd DeVoe:      but we wouldn’t have access to it necessarily

Marry Jo Nevins:              Not unless we change the IPAWS technology that it can reach those devices and push it. It’s all internet connected. So we need to reach the Internet in a way that the device receives it and knows how to interpret that message as generate this scene that I created and programmed into my phone. So, I mean, so we need to work with technologists. We need to work with academics, we need to work with, you know, just the general public in coming to an understanding and consensus how we would want to use this technology where it’s prudent and appropriate to use understanding the big brother implications of it needing to protect data and security and cybersecurity privacy of course.

Marry Jo Nevins:              But all these things, we need to have conversations about them because televisions and you know, these things are just going away for people to be alerted. And we’re relying more and more on a cell phone device. Well, when the towers burned down, and we don’t have cellular signals until we get the COWs up and transmitting signals again, we have a problem and, some other senate bills that are going through include developing 5G networks, but what we also need to start thinking about a 5G network or mesh networks. So essentially it’s a repeater network but have cell phones and technology instead of radio signals, like we would go to a repeat or on a hilltop.

Todd DeVoe:      So our sponsor, Titan HST, they are mass communications company and they have mesh networking capabilities within their alert system and Vic is really… Talks about it a lot and kind of gets into it. And I had no clue really what he was disgusting. I had to ask him like three times. Like what exactly is the Mesh Network? Yeah,

Marry Jo Nevins:              Essentially radio repeaters, right? But for cellular technology, other kinds of stuff, it’s bouncing a signal from point A to point B and if point A is lost, now I can reroute it through Z or Y and still get to point B. But I’ve now rerouted and electric companies do this all the time and rerouting their transmission flows when there’s an outage or a line down or whatever, and they can isolate that in and get it to a small little locus.

Todd DeVoe:      I remember back 2005 old we’re talking about doing. Do you guys out there that are techie people? You’re going to kill me. I think they’re called nodes and we’re looking at doing like nodes on top of power poles.

Marry Jo Nevins:              So, Anaheim actually installed a bunch of Wi-Fi and they had fiber, that they had invested in early on.

Todd DeVoe:      We want to do that county wide. That was the idea. Yeah.

Marry Jo Nevins:              Basically the technology had changed so rapidly that I. There was Wi-Fi, g and Wi-Fi, something else, I can’t even remember what all of those were, but they were actually installed and usable by the police force to do their reports and that kind of thing. I’m in the fire department and I think part of that infrastructure was how they were going to get the traffic signaling for lights and sirens. So there’s infrastructure developments were put in place, but now we’re getting to a place where careers may not even potentially have steering wheels one day.

Todd DeVoe:      Okay. So this is a great segue, You have a speech that you’re going to be doing. Oh, and by the way, everybody, we’re here at the CESA conference and you’re going to hear that. I’ve interviewed a few people here at the conference this week and I’m. MJ is one of the presenters and she’s talking about

Marry Jo Nevins:              Evacuating the driverless car,

Todd DeVoe:      Evacuating the driverless car. So we have like a good conversation about that. We’re talking about like all the debris and dust after earthquakes. And then it got me thinking about like when I was a kid, one at Mount St Helens went off and it actually black in the sun, you know? So yeah, I could see the problem there

Marry Jo Nevins:              Or any major wildfire. Right. The last one that I remember that was really bad happened in riverside and I remember ash raining down in Orange County coding our cars. Well, right now it’s my understanding, and I’m sure some technologist is going to say, oh, it’s about the way it works. so I am happy to learn new information all the time and if I’ve got it wrong, I will eat my words and let’s go with that. But it’s my understanding of how LADAR systems work. The sensors have to be clean. So in a major wildfire, nothing is clean. Firefighters are not clean, the trucks aren’t clean. There’s dirt, there’s dust, there’s debris, and most certainly there’s ash everywhere immediately adjacent to a major wildfire. So if we can’t keep the sensors clean, how can we perceive the roadway?

Marry Jo Nevins:              If the roadway is not clear and you rely on a visual indicator of that clean, pretty white or yellow stripe down the center, how can we move cars? If cellular technology is d, they’re dependent on cellular technology. If we’re burning through cell towers and a major wildfire, how can we move that car and now we potentially have created additional problems where people are buying them either as luxury vehicles to hang out and let somebody else do the driving or as replacement transportation for public transportation because typically they would use and they have the means to buy it, so now we’re also getting into an element where either people will have the means or not have the means to evacuate. Especially if we are moving people out of public transportation into single cars. What’s happening to public transportation infrastructure that we as emergency managers rely on to move groups of people in evacuations, will they exist? Will we have access to those resources? I Don’t know,

Marry Jo Nevins:              But you look at these, these systems and to truly have the kind of car that’s predicted to be in the future, that is 100 percent autonomous, completely controlled, can work in different weather and environmental conditions. Right now they work in blue sky environments on perfect 72 degree days. I know one company is studying its ability to navigate through some very, very, very light snow in terms of traction control and, and some other stuff. but beyond that in a huge heavy snow storm in whiteout conditions, roads already occupied with these vehicles. How are we going to move them? Or are we just going to sit them still and they have to be rescued? I asked more questions. We have answers for. I’m sorry.

Todd DeVoe:      So question. So if we started having these cars I could drive around and I think about this movie, stupid movie for the stupid funny. It’s the Hot Tub Time Machine, Part Two.

Marry Jo Nevins:              I don’t think I’ve had the pleasure of seeing either of them.

Todd DeVoe:      Okay. So there are silly movies, but part two, they go into the future or apart when they go into the, the past, right? It’s a very sophomore for those out there. Yes, you can judge me. So, so they go into the future and there’s driverless car that pick you up and drive you around, you know. And in the movie, the funny part about it is this one car gets mad at one of the guys in. His goal is to terminate this guy. So the car is chasing them around. Right? Okay. So that’s the comedy part of it. But they’re going to be thinking is that those cars were just driving around on their own, didn’t belong to anybody. They weren’t owned by Todd Devo, you know, they were owned by the city or whoever does drove around pick people up and drop them off.

Marry Jo Nevins:              This is why more taxi oriented companies are investing quite heavily in some of this technology because that Utopian vision of just requesting a car from your phone and it’s showing up and you’re going wherever you want to go is kind of a reality.

Todd DeVoe:      So this going to be thinking so those cars can speak to like tooling around waiting for somebody to call them?

Marry Jo Nevins:              until a hacker gets to it and takes over a fleet of cars. Which is why, which is why in the Avi start legislation that you don’t, you don’t,

Todd DeVoe:      you’re right.

Marry Jo Nevins:              It is the driverless technology. One of the major concerns is a cybersecurity threats, right? Where people can turn them into a weapon. We’ve already seen cars used as weapons,

Todd DeVoe:      correct?

Marry Jo Nevins:              In public settings, so why not do a fleet of driverless cars? I could gridlock and entire community if I could take over multiple drivers.

Todd DeVoe:      That’s what I was thinking right there. How do we move?

Marry Jo Nevins:              I’m trying to do that. Let me clarify. I’m not a bad guy. I think like one.

Todd DeVoe:      I’m not a bad guy. I just play one on TV. So, MJ is bad guy person here. She, she takes over everybody and she credits it. So how do we move them? Like how do we get them out of the way? Do we just like a bulldozer to.

Marry Jo Nevins:              If they get hacked.

Todd DeVoe:      I’m just saying in general, like if you know, like you’re talking about, if they can’t drive down the road anymore, I mean are they going to be. I already have a hard enough time driving an emergency vehicle because cars getting away,

Marry Jo Nevins:              looking for work opportunities in the future. Tow truck driver,

Todd DeVoe:      right? I mean, like, you know, people already don’t get out of our way. Driving Code three, lights and sirens. I couldn’t imagine a driverless car recognize.

Marry Jo Nevins:              I’m sure the driverless cars are having to recognize emergency vehicles, and like, you’re right, like

Todd DeVoe:      if there’s damage and can’t get to the side?

Marry Jo Nevins:              if they’re damaged, right now there are none that I don’t think can be taken over and controlled by a hand being. And I might be wrong on that because I don’t know that I can keep up with that much reading that fast, but I, I don’t know. But it’s something we need to think about and plan for. Right? Our evacuation routes now is. Okay. Let’s conversely, so I talked about the dystopian future. Let’s talk about the Utopian Future of driverless vehicles. If I can essentially swarm these vehicles so I can pace them inches apart, bumper to bumper, I can fit more cars on a road, which means I can evacuate more people faster, safely. And this is the hope for this technology. Not that the hackers will take over or you know, they won’t be able to gain sensor information or mapping. What if we changed the maps and close roads, how do we tell the car that the road has changed or that the road is no longer available?

Marry Jo Nevins:              Part of my concern is that during Sonoma Waze…and not to blame Waze they’re just looking for the most available route. They showed clear roads so they evacuated and moved people onto these clear roads which were on fire. Why were they clear? Because they were on fire. So, Waze has, and has had even I think before Sonoma, a program where cities and counties can subscribe essentially their GIS systems into ways and directly communicate with Waze’s platform. And then once you’re in a Waze you’re in a google maps, Uber and Lyft. And so, all these mapping technologies can now be integrated with one push from your GIS. So, if you’re not registered three Way’s community portals. You need to do that if only to communicate road closures effectively with the public.

Todd DeVoe:      To put that into boot. I didn’t even think about this.

Marry Jo Nevins:              Well, I told you we’re going to go forever

Todd DeVoe:      cause like when Waze right now, like if there’s a traffic collision, oh, push people into neighborhoods so I could imagine trying to get out of your neighborhood.

Marry Jo Nevins:              We’re going to have to communicate with ways if we’re trying to get people out of that neighborhood or were routing them into an area where it could be dangerous or they shouldn’t be or it’s going to get so congested that we slow or stop evacuations that has to be thought through and planned with transportation planners and we need to preprogram some of those routes into GIS so that at a push of a button when we’re calling for evacuations, were instantly closing those danger zones and moving people along the routes. We need them to move because Waze will push them into the slow or into the slower neighborhood routes to physically move them, but what we need them going on, our main arterials to move up quickly in large groups and only main arterials can handle that vole. Not a neighborhood street

Todd DeVoe:      what if we do contraflow?

Marry Jo Nevins:              I don’t know. I’m so far, I haven’t, other than subscribing to that and getting our GIS on board, I haven’t, I admit gone through their training. I’m looking forward to it so I don’t know about contraflow or how it would work, but it certainly, something that would be interesting for communities you use that or.

Todd DeVoe:      Okay. So everybody, we’re walking out of here with a whole bunch of questions.

Marry Jo Nevins:              Sorry, I bring up far more questions than I have answers to, but I think it’s important that we think about what these potential futures could be and we start talking about what we can do to mitigate those issues now so that we’re living in the future. We expect and not get hit with these unexpected consequences because everybody adopts this particular technology and we’re kind of like, H. And back to the Utopian side of things, the tracking technology, the long haul trucking. If we were to pre-stage stockpiles ready to go and in autonomous vehicle could come hitch and pull that load into an area or community that needs those resources and supplies. And then we’re really talking about having to coordinate transportation in the last couple of miles to move those goods and resources. So now we can have major staging sites that are safely outside of a dangerous area and be able to transport goods more easily. And this is the vision of the highway system back in the 50’s. So now we’re just doing it autonomously if we do it correctly.

Todd DeVoe:      So that, that’s definitely Eisenhower’s interstate system just on steroids for automated

Marry Jo Nevins:              For automated and if we can move stuff last mile, hopefully we can get stuff to people faster and move goods more efficiently into areas that need it. So, you know, even automated picking and loading of trucks, who knows the potential?

Todd DeVoe:      I mean we have drones already and everybody’s used to the drones. I mean obviously we had it for combat, but they’re being used for other things as well. Now Predator Drones that are not small, but they change the name to prep from Predator or something else in the civilian side of record. What’s it called? Non Predator drops. So, they have the flying around doing already doing traffic surveys, things like this, they’re being used commercially already. I mean, you know, you can buy one over at your local Fry’s and fly around and take wedding pictures, you know, so people are used to those automated, you know, you just put some buttons and then in the gps flies them around and does or whatever you want to do with them, but there’s even drones that you can purchase that will, if you wear a watch, you know, like a little dog or something. Right.

Marry Jo Nevins:              Or depending on the sensor package you put on it, you could put a flare package on it and see different stuff than if it was just a camera package. You could put another sensor on it that can fly into an area that potentially has a hazmat issue that’s was going to talk about the HazMat. Well, I wish I had more information on HazMat stuff, but I hear the HazMat people really liked these things.

Todd DeVoe:      Yeah. And I was thinking if you have vehicles that can go into the Hazmat area and really do the sensors and stuff, you’re going to less likely to have people get injured or killed. You know, that’s really cool.

Marry Jo Nevins:              It has the potential to save lives, but we also have to think about the dire consequences and plan for the consequences of not properly talking about emergency management needs as the infrastructure is changing, so we need to be talking with our community planners. We need to be talking with her transportation partners and not just from a standpoint of all these dire consequences will happen or this big brother stuff is happening, but we need to have those, those conversations to plan together for these particular features that could impact us positively or negatively depending on how we take those conversations and how we build the infrastructure so that people can enjoy their toys and enjoy their stuff. Believe me, if I could have a car tow me around other than I get motion sickness, it would be an interesting thing to not have to deal with the stress of commuting or to know that commuting is moving faster. It’s Walt Disney’s utopia of the people mover, but now we’re living it and are we properly planning for it? Is My only concern? Are we taking those considerations into effect as people became reliant on social media as a communication methodology, I am fearful that they will become reliant upon a vehicle that drives itself and not be able to get out of a dangerous area that they need to get out of quickly.

Todd DeVoe:      Wow, that’s crazy. Well, MJ We’re coming close to the end here. I could talk with you all night long about this. So if somebody was interested in getting hold of you, how could they find you?

Marry Jo Nevins:              , Sacramento County Office of emergency services, or LinkedIn, the twitter account for Sacramento is Sacramento’s, I tend to respond to twitter faster than I do email. Sad to say email is

Todd DeVoe:      And for those of you that are driving or your pencils not sharp, we’ll definitely have that information on the show notes and they can find those at or any listening platform that you’re using. It’ll be in the show notes there as well. So, go ahead and click on there and contact MJ if you’re looking for more information on this. Scary, but cool topic of, of the future, so toughest question of the day. What Book Books are publication do you recommend to an emergency manager to read?

Marry Jo Nevins:              Oh, so all of the books on your previous episodes that I knew about or that are in the Facebook emergency management group, I have tried to get my hands on. , right now I’m listening to the coddling of the American mind, which has some political connotations and overtones to it that, you know, depending on which side you’re on, you may or may not like, but it basically talks about the safe spaces in American education institutions and how that psychologically has changed a generations thinking. And I try and look at it from an emergency management perspective of if the way we’re educating people the way, people are looking at societal relationships and how things happen and whether or not they feel in danger based on spoken words or actual actions. We talk about dangerous stuff in our business and if it’s not considered safe, how does that impact our language that we use in talking about disaster and preparing and mitigating risk? Right. So I’m, I’m reading that book with an open mind thinking how it impacts us professionally and it’s a pretty interesting book so far, goes into some of the psychological theory and some of the issues that have been raised on different campus events, the Berkeley protests and things that have turned violent, and

Marry Jo Nevins:              maybe some impetus on how those changes and reactions to those changes have happened over time, but I’m focusing on kind of that emergency management perspective. And then there’s a book I’m looking at, I’m reading called primal leadership. It’s actually a really old book that was recommended to me a long time ago, but now that it’s online as an audible version, I’m going to be getting to that one as soon as I’m done with the coddling of the American mind.

Todd DeVoe:      Yeah. Before the, before we started recording and I were talking about the fact that I don’t read very much anymore. I listen a lot. So yeah,

Marry Jo Nevins:              I could read again in my driverless car.

Todd DeVoe:      So before I let you go, is there anything that you’d like to say to the emergency manager out there?

Marry Jo Nevins:              , you need to start looking at what technologies are coming to your community, whether you like technology or not. There are things on our doorstep that are happening and get familiar with them and work with your agencies to learn about them and how you know is your elected official advocating to bring testing of driverless cars to your community, and so you need to know about it and have a seat at the table. So build those relationships now so that people are asking you about technology and how it affects your community and their response to disasters.

Speaker 1:           Awesome. MJ it is great seeing you again, we got to do this again more than three more years later on.

Marry Jo Nevins:              Yeah.

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