TACTICS or STRATEGY? – March 2022


TACTICS or STRATEGY? by Jim Mullen Emergency Management, Once Removed Tactics are knowing what to do when there is something to do. Strategy is knowing what to do when there is nothing to do.” Savielly Tartakower (professional chess player). While I lacked the patience or even the inclination to play chess, Tartakower’s observation struck a responsive chord when I stumbled upon it recently. Over the course of my career, I attended - mostly through compulsion – many formal strategic planning sessions/exercises/workshops. Now, they were not all bad, but most resembled exercises in “group write,” with attendees debating alternate phrasings of the [...]

TACTICS or STRATEGY? – March 20222022-03-11T00:32:26+00:00

A Perverse Meritocracy


A Perverse Meritocracy By Jim Mullen Emergency Management, Once Removed A tsunami warning for the West Coast of the United States following the 2011 Sendai earthquake presented a  challenge in public messaging about the safety of our citizens because of false projections that toxic materials were en route to our coast. As Washington State‘s Emergency Management Division (EMD) director,  I  recommended that the state’s response be viewed credibly and headed by a state agency (Natural Resources or Health) that had relevant expertise and resources. My boss, the Adjutant General, took it to the Governor. He reported back that “EMD will [...]

A Perverse Meritocracy2021-12-15T18:58:06+00:00

Interdependencies – November 2021


Interdependencies by Jim Mullen Emergency Management, Once Removed The 1950’s health crisis was a crippling and killer disease, polio, that parents feared every time their children complained of headaches, tiredness, stomach pain, etc. Once developed, polio vaccines were quickly embraced, administered in schools; that health crisis was abated.  We depended on and trusted medical science to free us from polio. In that same era, Cold War science fiction movie scriptwriters - largely to avoid “Red Scare” condemnation promoted by conspiracy theorists of that day - created “otherworldly” threats, requiring that the nations of the world unite to “save the planet”  [...]

Interdependencies – November 20212021-11-09T21:14:53+00:00

What Now? – June 2021


What Now? By Jim Mullen Emergency Management, Once Removed We must have an unflinching but hopeful and constructive post – COVID assessment. Can one prepare a useful and truthful COVID -19 after-action report to spur national planning for the next pandemic in our volatile political climate? How to minimize the impulse to reproach or defend while maximizing emphasis on the measures that should be taken next time? Regular readers must be aware of where I would place much of the responsibility for the scope of the COVID -19 disaster. But, in this instance, I would strive to curb that inclination [...]

What Now? – June 20212022-02-24T00:16:06+00:00

A Commencement Address to Graduates in Emergency Management


A Commencement Address to Graduates in Emergency Management Congratulations! You have completed a step most of your future colleagues have never done - achieving formal academic training in your chosen profession before entering it. As a result, you know a fair amount about the issues and challenges many of us had to learn on the fly. Hopefully, you also will benefit from being exposed to the errors we have made along the way. One problem you will face is that entrenched emergency management shops may not know how to react to you. You have energy and ideas and likely [...]

A Commencement Address to Graduates in Emergency Management2021-06-22T22:49:53+00:00

Interview Transcript featuring Jim House


Interview Transcript featuring Jim House Linda Crerar: Welcome. And good afternoon. My name is Linda Crerar and I am the Director for the Washington State Center of Excellence for Homeland Security Emergency Management and our Center serves as a lead for all of our all-hazard emergency management programs. And in the coalition of all our 34 community and technical colleges in the state with over 500,000 students. The Center serves as a clearinghouse, but it also helps all of our all-hazard emergency management programs to prepare a skilled workforce to maintain our national security and effectively respond to all-hazard [...]

Interview Transcript featuring Jim House2021-06-08T18:20:36+00:00

Jim House Interview Now on SoundCloud!


We are excited to share our podcast interview with Jim House! Jim is the Disability Integration Manager for Coalition of Inclusive Emergency Planning at WA State Independent Living Council (WASILC). We want to thank Jim and Kim Conner, Executive Director for WASILC, for taking the time to talk with us last month and informing our readers and us about the organization and its resources. To learn more about WASILC, check out their website at: https://www.wasilc.org/

Jim House Interview Now on SoundCloud!2021-05-26T17:46:32+00:00

ADA Thoughts: Outlooks By Jim Mullen


By Jim Mullen It is frustrating when the obvious is missed. The challenges a disabled citizen encounters merely trying to access entry into an office, navigating stairs and hallways are always in plain sight. Those few individuals over the course of my career with whom I worked that experienced those difficulties always seemed cheerful, resilient, and capable of overcoming obstacles in their path. They seemed to be coping, rarely seeking assistance or support. So, no problem? As an emergency management director in Seattle and the State of Washington, ADA issues were seldom raised. Government facilities were regulated by agencies that [...]

ADA Thoughts: Outlooks By Jim Mullen2021-04-28T22:50:59+00:00

Featured Interview: Jim House


By Linda Crerar Society continues to be reminded of the importance of making emergency planning efforts inclusive of people of all ages and abilities as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. ACL. I interviewed Jim House, disability community leader working to ensure that people with disabilities are included in emergency preparedness efforts. Jim House is the Emergency Planning Disability Integration Manager working with the Coalition on Inclusive Emergency Planning (CIEP). (www.wasilc.org/coalition-on-inclusive-emergencyplanning ) CIEP is a statewide cross-disability advisory group that works with state and local emergency stakeholders to build disability accessibility and inclusion into all [...]

Featured Interview: Jim House2021-04-29T20:15:01+00:00

A Retrievable Legacy for Disaster Mitigation – March 2021


A Retrievable Legacy for Disaster Mitigation By Jim Mullen Emergency Management, Once Removed In 1997 James Lee Witt, Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), established a pilot program to reduce the human and economic cost of disasters. The purpose: incentivize the government, private sector, and the public to collaborate on the identification and reduction of a community’s most serious natural disaster hazards. That initiative was Project Impact. Seattle in late 1997 was among 7 jurisdictions chosen as a pilot site to demonstrate the effectiveness of Witt’s vision. As a chosen “pilot” jurisdiction, Seattle’s Office of Emergency Management OEM), where [...]

A Retrievable Legacy for Disaster Mitigation – March 20212021-04-07T22:06:08+00:00
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