Hi! And welcome to episode one of the EM Weekly podcast. I am your host Todd DeVoe, and thank you for being here today. So, why EM Weekly? Well, we’re gonna discuss topics that anyone involved in emergency response, disaster response, crisis response and managing these issues, and leadership, in general, will want to learn about. We discuss, things such as, volunteer management, disaster recovery, mitigation, and continuity of operations. If you like these topics, we’re really going to get into them deep at times. So, this is the place that you want to be.
I’m looking at the EM Weekly as an extension of a classroom. As a professor in emergency management, I continue to teach my students on a daily basis, right? I have them calling me, e-mail me, years after they’ve graduated and moved out from our program, just talking about different things that are going on, and that was the idea that we had here for this podcast. So, parts of this podcast are gonna be focused on the emergency manager as that palace we’re training and education meets the real world. At EM Weekly, we’re gonna take questions from listeners at the ask Todd tab at www.emweekly.com, just hit the ask button, there’s a section there that you can ask any question that you have regarding EM Weekly. And also, I’ll have some college instructors here to discuss EM education, on the direction of our education programs, and we’ll also have world-class trainers from all disciplines to discuss ongoing training programs, and keeping EM in the EM’s profession. This is our craft, right? So, we’re gonna talk about technology. We’re gonna bring the latest technology that will make our jobs more proficient and productive, including things like communications, tracking system programs, programs that you can use to write your IAP, and your after action report, and to make some tasks quicker, easier… things like assessment tools, and more. We’re gonna take book reviews… I love to read, I really do, I read everything that you can possibly think about. But anyway, I also wanna take time to share these books that are found that were really important to me, and if you guys again go to EMWeekly.com and click on the ask button and you have ideas and suggestions, I will always be happy to take them. I also wanna hear your comments on books that I read and different opinions, I will definitely put those on later podcasts and also at the… in the blog section. You know, reading is not just fun, some of the books such as, “One Second After”, for instance, that’s one of the books we’re gonna discuss, even though it’s an older book. There are really principles that you can take in there of response and also recovery that you don’t think about as emergency managers on the outside. I also wanna discuss, so leadership books that are out there, there are some really good ones specifically associated with a disaster response, an emergency response, you know, all the way from things that are happening now, the new trends that are going on, and there are some really good leadership books out there that I wanna discuss. And I wanna bring these authors on as well, and interview them.
We’re also gonna take the best of what we’ve done here at EM Weekly and we’re gonna create a quarterly magazine, EM Quarterly, and again, here’s an opportunity for emergency managers to express themselves, if you guys are interested in putting articles in the EM Weekly… EM Quarterly. You’re welcome to please, send us and ask again, or you can e-mail us at our e-mail addresses, and the blog, of course, a lot of this stuff are going on the blog, cause you can’t have a website today without a blog, and not only the blog will have articles in there, but will also have the transcripts that we have from podcasts, so if you wanna read them, you can always go back and take a look at that information that we’re sharing there. All the links to the technology, and also the books, and the other things that we’re gonna be doing with EM Weekly, we’ll go into that section. And interviews! We have lined up some of the leaders in our industry; we’re gonna ask them what they do, how they do it, what their best practices are, we’re gonna pick their brains, we’re gonna see what’s going on inside their head. And we have a bunch of guys and girls lined up right now that are gonna take us and make us better emergency managers all the way around, cause these guys have been doing it, and girls have been doing it, and I’m excited about having a lot of the people who have agreed to come on the show already, I’m excited with the fact that we’re just launching and we already have 20 people that have agreed to be interviewed, and that is a testament to this platform, because like I said, we haven’t even rolled episode 1, cause this is episode 1 that we’re talking about here, right, and we already have those guys and girls lined up to you to talk to us.
In the News! So, we’re gonna do… EM Weekly here, we’re gonna do In the News, which is… we’re gonna talk about the responses that are going out there, large scale response, we’re gonna be talking about people that went to the Katrina, we’re gonna talk about people that went to Sandy… you know, the world events that are happening around the world, including the Greek Crisis that’s going on of the refugees… these are all topics that are in the news that are really important to us, as emergency managers and again, to see what’s going on from the people that are in the front lines would be the best.
The Volunteer Spotlight. We’ll discuss various volunteer programs around the world. Volunteers make up the bulk of disaster responders, so topics we’ll discuss will be about their manager, programs, best practices and more. So, if you think your program should be spotlighted, please contact us again at www.emweekly.com, at the ask button, and as soon as you comment we’ll get back to you, and again you can always reach out to us via e-mail as well.
So, this part here I always feel weird talking about, but I think it’s kind of important, specifically, since it’s our first podcast. I’m gonna talk a little about myself. So, currently, I’m a professor at a local Community College, and I teach emergency manager to homeland security. I’ve been doing that since 2007. Wow, it’s been a long time, 10 years. I also teach non-profit leadership and management at a local University here in Orange County, California. So, a little bit of my background. So, I started a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, called Upstate New York, and I started as a volunteer firefighter. So, maybe that’s a little bit why I like and understand the ideas of volunteers in emergency services. I did that for a bit, and then in 1991 I joined the United States Navy, I was a corpsman, I served in the United States Marine Core, most of my time I spent with the Marine Corps, so I know more about the Marines then I do about the blue water Navy. So, I’m a green water guy, or as they call it, the amphibious side of the US Navy. There, I met some really great people and I made some lifelong friendships with a lot of the guys who I served with, and for that I am very grateful, for everything that the Navy gave me. After I got out of the Navy, I went back to school and received my bachelors of Science, from the University of La Verne, in Public Administration. And a few years later, I went back to school and received my Masters of Public Administration with a concentration on Urban Management. The reason why I took Public Administration back then? Well there are a couple of reasons; One is, emergency management programs weren’t widely known, there weren’t a lot of them out there, there were few; and on the education side, they fell under the sociology departments or things like this, and I felt that Public Administration would give me a rounder education about things that EM played into. I truly believe this today, and this could be debated, but even for people who are looking to go into the public safety area, I think Public Administration is a great degree, I will defend that, and yeah. That’s kind of why I chose that. Urban Planning was my concentration for my Masters, was again because it really talked about things that you need to do and understand on the recovery phase of a disaster regarding rebuilding your city after your city fell apart, after a disaster say an earthquake or Katrina, for instance, there’s still a rebuilding process, and we can even apply some of those principles that we have here in Urban Planning and Urban Management into places like, slow moving disasters such as Detroit, for instance, where you wouldn’t think of it as being an emergency management need, specifically, because it’s not what we traditionally think of as emergency, but let’s think about things that are happening in Detroit. Are their services overwhelmed? Yes. Are they under funded? Yes. Do we have some serious issues? Yes. Could you use the principles of emergency management to manage that crisis that’s going on over there right now? Of course you can. And that’s why I think that with EM and education with EM are we shortening ourselves specifically on that. So, that’s really my background when it comes to my education.
So, what is my experience in EM? what did I do? How did I get there? Well, I worked for a while for a couple of local cities, and the reason why I’m kind of being vague on the cities is that… not that I’m ashamed of what I did or anything like that, I just don’t really have the permission to talk about this in the setting here, but you could probably Google me and find out the cities that I worked in for sure. But I have a lot of experience working in EM. I worked for private companies for a while when I first got out of Navy. And I went from there, I went to a local municipality in Orange County; I left that one, I went to another local municipality, working for the Police Department as their emergency manager, and I did that for a while, then I went back to education, where I am today teaching. So, a well round of background is very, very important in Emergency Management, and in some cases, people get stuck at one job or the other, they’re never growing, and we have to find ways to grow. I don’t say this as a bad thing, I have some really great friends that are great emergency managers who work for the same city for 30 years and they retired now. I have some other friends who have bounced around and are really good well-rounded emergency manager. And when it comes to crisis, those well-round emergency managers to a great job, you know.
I have friends that are in State Government and they do awesome jobs, and they’re really proud of some of the work that they’ve done in EM. I have friends that work in the volunteer disaster response and just for… full disclosure, I also volunteer for a national organization and again, I don’t wanna say their name yet, because I don’t have permission to use it, and I wanna be sure that everything that we do here, on EM Weekly, we have permission, we have the blessing of the people who we’re gonna talk about.
I don’t want to be that group that throws names and drops names without them really knowing what we are doing or without the understand of what we’re gonna be talking about. I do plan on, however, taking a really good look at policies and procedures and things that will be done, basically because I wanna make sure that we are giving the full picture here, we’re not trying to paint a rosy picture of what’s happening with EM in general, right? We wanna have a raw look at what we’re doing in this field, I think that’s really important. And the guests that are coming on, I’ve told them all: yeah, we are gonna be asking the tough questions, we’re gonna be fair here, for sure; we’re gonna dive deep into the weeds in some cases, and then some cases we’re just gonna take a high level, 10 thousand foot look at what’s going on in the industry.
I definitely wanna make sure that everybody understands that we are gonna be fair here and I think that that’s gonna be the difference between us and other organizations, or… other podcasts that came before us, and there’s some good workout there too. One gentleman that we’re gonna be interviewing, he has his own podcast as well, and when it comes time for him to be on, we’re gonna discuss his podcast, the work he’s been doing and how we’re gonna move emergency manager forward as a profession. And anything we take away from EM specifically is that we wanna be pushing our profession forward, and I hope that if you’re here listening today, and you continue to subscribe and listen to our podcast, that we all wanna move emergency management and emergency response agencies forward to make us all better, to learn from each other, and I think this is a community that we’re gonna create here so we can all learn from each other. I’m continuously learning, that’s why in one session we’re gonna talk about reading; I do read a lot, and I do like to see what’s going on, and what other people think and how we can implement these programs around the country, around the world.
And back to the volunteer here, I really like the volunteers. I’ve been involved with the community emergency response teams, I’ve developed two of them, and I was fortunate to have great volunteers. So, one was developed from the ground up, the other one we took an existing program and revamped a little bit and added some stuff to it, and it’s still to today’s day very successful, it’s a model for programs throughout the state. And I was again fortunate in Orange County to work with a great group of volunteer coordinators from various different cities, and we created a mutual aid program that is a model, again, it’s an award-winning program, I’m proud to say, and yeah. So, we took that program and we expanded upon it, and it’s awesome, and I get to work with guys and girls from the state of California through L.A. County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County, San Diego County, Saint Barbara County, the Imperial Counties, Sacramento County… San Francisco, I think… that’s just California alone, and we also got to teach some programs in Canada as well. In Montreal, and Calgary, were two places where I got to go and teach a great group of people on how to protect their community after disasters, you know? You don’t hear a lot about these disasters up in Canada, and to my Canadian brothers and sisters yeah, I remember what you have up there, and you guys are doing a great job up there as well with your programs and I was so excited to be able to go teach in Montreal, one of the greatest cities in the world, to go teach the program up there and it was so fun, and the people are so receptive to learning and to putting these actions… practice into actions, so… it was great, and then Calgary as well, there was another great group of people up there, and again, the hosts were wonderful and it was just such a great experience to be able to be in Canada teaching a quintessential Los Angeles started program. So yeah, these programs are awesome, and I think that if you’re here for the first time what emergency management weekly is, and what your role will be and what not, I wanna make a community here, and that’s my goal specifically with this podcast; is to make a great community of emergency managers, a great community of emergency responders, working together for the one purpose, the one goal of having safer response agencies, safer communities and to recover from these disasters in a timely manner, where we can make people whole again, or at least as close to whole as possible. I’m volunteering right now an international disaster response agency. And that’s the goal there, and it’s amazing to go to these disasters where you have volunteers that are putting their time and their efforts into cleaning up these disasters, the recovery aspect of it, and to see the hugs and tears that roll up from people’s faces, as far as the tears, and the hugs that they give out because you’re touching these people at their worst possible time, and I think that if we can keep that in mind as well, as a profession. That we really are touching people at the worst possible time in their lives, and that we have the ability to make them whole again, or at least as close to whole as possible; that’s powerful right there. And that’s why I love this job, that’s why I love being in emergency management, that’s why I love teaching emergency management, that’s why I… my friends that aren’t in the job kind of make fun of me, because I eat, breathe and sleep this stuff and… I really do. I really am passionate about this. People that I surround myself with for the most time understand that, and even though they kid me a little bit, but it is a passion, it really is, and I’m really happy to be sharing this with you, and my experiences, and I’m happy to be bringing people here to be interviewed that are gonna be sharing these experiences, and I know that the people that are listening, at least I hope that the people that are listening are gonna get that out of it too, and just be passionate about emergency management and how we can help people just across the world; not just on what we practice here for California, specifically, the big earthquake, you know, the rains, and the floods and we have them across the country and up there in Canada, and… over in Mexico and… you know, Australia with the issues that are over there with the fires and what not, and you know, the crisis that we responded to with the refugee crisis that’s going on, this is all emergency management. We could use the principles that we have here and do a lot of good.
So, anyways, I’m gonna close out right here with just a… again, thank you so much, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, and you can contact me at the ask button at the www.emweekly.com, and I’m looking so forward to meeting you guys and making this a great community.