Emergency Management Once Removed by Jim Mullen

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Jim Mullen has spent 25 years in emergency management, including 12 years at the local level as director of the City of Seattle’s Office of Emergency Management and 8 and a half years as Washington State’s Emergency Management Division Director. Jim retired from state service in March 2013. Jim also served as President of the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) from January 2011 to October 2012. He is currently sole proprietor of “EM Northwest Consulting” based in Seattle.
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Information on this Blog is provided with the understanding that the authors and publishers are not engaged in rendering professional advice or services. As such, it should not be used as a substitute for consultation with an professional adviser. Opinions expressed here represent the viewpoints of individuals authoring the blog and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the Center of Excellence.


WTO and Y2K: The Story I Was Never Asked To Tell – Part 3: WTO “Planning” vs “Seminars in Crisis and Consequence Management”

Whether in internal SPD meetings leading up to the WTO conference, or when the Mayor’s Office met with the SPD planning team, it was clearly SPD’s preference that OEM kept any concerns to itself.
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WTO and Y2K – The Story I Was Never Asked To Tell – Part 2: Pre WTO & Y2K Environment

The Seattle’s Office of Emergency Management’s (OEM) organizational location in the City hierarchy is important in understanding the events that unfolded. From the beginning of my tenure as Director of OEM, it had been an ongoing struggle to maintain...
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WTO and Y2K: The Story I Was Never Asked To Tell – Part 1: WTO Planning

Seattle’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) had only learned of the pending (November/December 1999) WTO Conference in March 1999. When “planning” did begin, it was clear that Emergency Management’s inclusion was tolerated rather than welcomed.
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WTO and Y2K: The Story I Was Never Asked to Tell – Background Information on WTO and Y2K

In early 1999, concerns surfaced across the public and private sector that the turn of the century would require a rewrite of coding for a number of computer operated machines. Among the darkest predictions if this was not adequately addressed...
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Now for Something Completely Different: The Story I Was Never Asked To Tell

Emergency managers often scorn the intrusion of "politics" or "politicians" into their work. Untimely "special" requests during regular business and even during a crisis feed the instinct of most emergency managers to "lay low" in a political environment.
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Give “Electeds” Their Due – Emergency Management, Once Removed, July 2019

Emergency managers often scorn the intrusion of "politics" or "politicians" into their work. Untimely "special" requests during regular business and even during a crisis feed the instinct of most emergency managers to "lay low" in a political environment.
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Dividing the Burden – Emergency Management, Once Removed, June 2019

Whose responsibility is it to restore the social equilibrium in a post-disaster environment? It is not solely the government’s role to provide the “answer” in difficult times. Each of us has a role.
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Climate Change and Emergency Management – Emergency Management, Once Removed, May 2019

At the 2007 National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) Annual Forum, I persuaded the Chair of the Preparedness Committee to allow a presentation on climate change at the Committee’s meeting. The expert proved uniquely qualified to describe the looming threat...
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A Problem or an Opportunity? – Emergency Management, Once Removed, April 2019

The Disaster Reform and Recovery Act (DRRA) addresses longstanding issues in the disaster management system. Pre - Disaster Mitigation (PDM) is touted as a high priority for attention – so far, so good. Here is the problem...
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Emergency Management, Once Removed, March 2019

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), formed post 9/11, consolidated 20 plus federal agencies under a single Cabinet-level Secretary. There were naysayers among the ranks of emergency managers. I was one of them.
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Just One More Thing – Emergency Management, Once Removed, February 2019

As the Washington State Legislative Session kicked off, the Seattle Times listed several topics that were the highest priorities for consideration. They were, in no apparent order: K-12 funding; Special Education; Climate Change; Opioids and Behavioral Health; and Public Records...
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Wishin’ and Hopin” – Emergency Management, Once Removed, January 2019

Local and state elected officials searching for 2019 New Year’s resolutions to commit to might consider this modest list...
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You Can Observe a lot by Watching – Emergency Management, Once Removed, December 2018

When one retires, or in my case, semi- retires, Yogi's comment begins to make a lot more sense. When you work in a particularly stressful or responsible job, dealing with emerging issues can limit one's scope, a bit like being stuck in a traffic jam on I-5...
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“Us” and “Them” – Emergency Management, Once Removed, November 2018

It’s not uncommon for individuals or organizations to attempt to elevate their own standing by demeaning the contributions of others. In the long run it’s a losing game. Those that employ "us" vs "them" as a tactic can only inflate...
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Lucky Me – Emergency Management, Once Removed, October 2018

Sometimes big problems start with smaller, seemingly manageable problems that, through inattention, or a failure to take immediate protective measures, morph into serious issues. Emergency managers’ usefulness to society at large accrues for their ability...
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Emergency Management and Homeland Security: Which Is More Important? – Emergency Management, Once Removed, September 2018

Natural hazards, perhaps because they come and go and soon slip from public view, does not have the “sizzle” terrorism provides for politicians and public safety interest groups. Emergency management’s methodical approach to prepare for, mitigate...
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Why Recovery Exercises Fall Short – Emergency Management, Once Removed, August 2018

Recently I attended an Initial Planning Meeting for the Central United States Earthquake Consortium 2019 exercise ominously entitled "Shaken Fury". The discussion as it related to the acknowledgment of challenges that proposed scenario poses for recovery officials...
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Recovery Redux Plus a Footnote from June – Emergency Management, Once Removed, July 2018

One might think, for example that Hurricane Maria was all over shortly after it passed through Puerto Rico. The "official" death toll, 64, led the president and others to comment that it could have been a lot worse. It apparently was a lot worse.
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To stay or go? Emergency Management, Once Removed, June 2018

Emergency managers are not strangers to the "stay or go" dilemma. In my career, during but also before entering emergency management, I myself sometimes felt like, well, a lot of federal Administration employees may currently feel these days...
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Hey, What About Us? – Emergency Management, Once Removed, May 2018

With the current federal government seemingly in perpetual crisis, how can emergency management compete for attention to its’ needs? Let’s be honest: the current spate of investigations, accusations, counter-accusations, all against the backdrop of midterm...
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