Emergency Management, Once Removed by Jim Mullen2020-12-01T23:54:06+00:00
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Jim has spent 3 decades 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.

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 riots and Y2K (1999) Podcast

Beware of “MDM”

In this final summary of the recent annual forum of the National Emergency Management Association held in Memphis, Tennessee in October, I found most compelling the panel discussion entitled “Combating Contested Information During Disaster Response and Recovery” addressed the emerging threat of what is called “MDM”: meaning Misinformation, Dis-information, and Mal-information.

More AI – from the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) Annual Forum, October 2023

A follow- up to my recent post (“A Thought about Taking the AI Plunge”) on the risk/reward associated embracing artificial intelligence comes from the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) October 2023 forum panel discussion on this subject.

A Thought About Taking the AI Plunge

The rising angst over the apparent advance in artificial intelligence, or AI, called to mind the limerick (“Daisy…” etc.) that HAL, the state-of-the-art computer in the film “2001, A Space Odyssey” was reduced to repeating when HAL’S human soul mate (Dave) attempted to unplug him/it (?). HAL survived, but it did not go well for “Dave”.

Security at Home

Shortly after the audacious 2008 Mumbai, India terrorist attack which took 160 lives,  a Seattle Police Department Assistant Chief mused that a similarly trained team could paralyze a city like Seattle for a “considerable” time. Mumbai illustrated how a team of well-trained bad actors could exact considerable damage.

Report From NEMA Midyear Forum 2023

The National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) biannual gatherings are opportunities for information-sharing and straightforward discussions with government and private sector leaders. State (and territorial) emergency management directors occupy unique roles. Responsible to the governor or a senior official – in Washington State it’s The Adjutant General (TAG) – they not only deal with issues affecting their respective jurisdictions (while balancing the political inclinations of elected officials), but aided by Association staff must be alert to developments on the national front that could impact local and state government.

Emergency Management: Present and Future

Educators and senior emergency management officials have pondered what would motivate a person to aspire to a career in emergency management. How do we attract bright young students while providing continuing education and growth opportunities for those already immersed in emergency management roles? This is not just a problem of the moment how can emergency management survive, and thrive, in the long term?

Definition: “Resilience – The Capacity to Bend Without Breaking”

My favorite English professor at Western Washington, Arthur Hicks, taught Shakespeare. He administered daily, graded 10-minute snap exams on some aspect of the previous day’s reading – if you did well, he would write on your paper “so far, good…but” and he would then point out additional insights (channeling Shakespeare, I presume) the student might have incorporated into the exam response. When I asked why he did that, he said there was always something more to learn, something more to uncover – “so far, good” was thus an exhortation to dig deeper, become even more proficient.

And Another Thing… (notes from a grumpy septuagenarian) – Dec 2022

As our nation lurches into a worrisome and contentious period in our history, I’ll share some less-than-earth-shaking thoughts I have had recently (if you open your window, you may hear me shouting).

Education = National Security

Education = National Security By Jim Mullen Emergency Management Once Removed As a student financial aid director at a struggling private college in Illinois in the early 1970s, I had the responsibility of ensuring that students could finance their college educations without incurring loan obligations that would inhibit their personal and professional futures while [...]

Emergency Management: Tough to Do, Tougher to Teach

Emergency Management: Tough to Do, Tougher to  Teach by Jim Mullen Emergency Management, Once Removed During the Great Depression, a young Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) interviewed for a teaching position in Texas. During his interview, when asked, “Is the world flat or round” – he replied, “I can teach it either way!” He was [...]

“You don’t need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows…” (Bob Dylan.et al.)

“You don’t need a weatherman to tell which way the wind blows…” (Bob Dylan.et al.) by Jim Mullen Emergency Management, Once Removed In this era of increasingly dangerous weather events, among the most dangerous are those slow-moving storm systems that pause over an area for an extended period before moving on or dissipating. It’s prudent [...]

Studying the Past, Confronting the Present, Shaping the Future

Studying the Past, Confronting the Present, Shaping the Future by Jim Mullen Emergency Management, Once Removed The epidemic of mass shootings (defined as incidents where four or more persons are injured) in our country are emotionally draining tragedies for which thoughts and prayers are insufficient while rational solutions seem out of reach. Those who [...]

Just in Time – June 2022

Just in Time by Jim Mullen Emergency Management, Once Removed For years, emergency managers have lamented the public’s tendency to delay the acquisition of essential supplies. Food and other daily necessities are typically not maintained beyond a brief time frame. That quick run to the store at 5pm is just one manifestation of this [...]

Recovery in Advance – May 2022

Recovery in Advance by Jim Mullen Emergency Management, Once Removed Emergency Management Once Removed periodically has cited the need for a systematic recovery process to enable appropriate and comprehensive restoration of the social equilibrium following a major or catastrophic disaster.    No matter how much assistance pours in after the fact, and no matter how [...]

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