Public Health Emergency Canvassing Operations Planner [Job]

Public Health Emergency Canvassing Operations Planner [Job]

A friend just forwarded me a great job opportunity in emergency health planning with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. They are looking for Post-Emergency Canvassing Operation (PECO) Planner that has both health planning, management and data/tech skills. 

This job is at the forefront public health emergency preparedness and I would encourage anyone who wants to be at the cutting edge of data in public health to apply for this position.

Read More

Can Evernote be a Planning Tool? Training? Evaluation?

I am usually very excited when new tools disaster tools come out on the market. But I am equally excited when everyday tools can be applied to the disaster context to better meet our needs and more often than not achieve significant cost savings.

In the past year, I have used Evernote religiously to capture my thoughts, research and any other type of information I can think of. I can then search Evernote with its powerful search features to inform my blog posts, support my PhD research and consulting clients, manage class assignments, and take notes...for everything.

Evernote has an easy capture tool for clipping things from the web (including PDFs) and an easy to use architecture that can easily link and/or publish notes within the program. Additionally, I can use it on ANY of my devices with online and offline capabilities and integrate it with MANY other applications. Needless to say, I am a big fan of the tool.

But I really wonder if Evernote can be used as an emergency response or continuity planning tool. According to Wikipedia:

Evernote is a suite of software and services designed for notetaking and archiving. A "note" can be a piece of formatted text, a full webpage or webpage excerpt, a photograph, a voice memo, or a handwritten "ink" note. Notes can also have file attachments. Notes can be sorted into folders, then tagged, annotated, edited, given comments, searched and exported as part of a notebook.

To put this a bit into perspective, Evernote 's motto is:

Remember everything. Capture anything. Access anywhere. Find things fast.

Hmmm....sounds a lot like a lot of our fundamental planning needs for disasters? We need to collaborate well and then access our information easily and fast. Evernote Business provides many of the collaboration features missing in the consumer product.

The incorrect approach, though, would be to ask Evernote to do everything our word processor does. Conceptually, it is an entirely different tool  that must be approached in a new way.

For example, what if we could have each note represent a chapter and all linked back to a Table of Contents note?  What if we could create a notebook solely for our base plans and then have other notebooks dedicated to our functional annexes? Add supplementary or supporting PDF, Word, PowerPoint, Excel Documents with ease?

In another case, what if your incident commander could easily look up and reference relevant procedures and protocols directly on his or her phone or tablet?  Better yet, can it provide a checklist for action within seconds?

Or what if you could get real time information back from the field by having them taking pictures, record audio or mark up a screen shot of a map directly from their phones and tablets?

Evernote is such a powerful repository of information that it can do all the things mentioned above.  I am just wondering what the workflow is for organizations with emergency response and business continuity planning needs.  Does it end up being more expensive than other tools or are there any work arounds?

What are your thoughts?  Would you consider Evernote for your organization?  Why or why not?

The 80% Disaster Solution?

I can't imagine anyone in the disaster industry wants their planning to only be 80% effective.  But, this has me wondering about how we plan and where much of our effort goes.   I can't help but think that 80% of our effort goes into planning and preparedness for the issues related to 20% of our communities.  I am sure these numbers are not exactly accurate, but in reading The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Success by Achieving More with Less, I believe there are some planning imbalances that go into our preparedness efforts.

Craig Fugate, Administrator of FEMA, spoke about this at the annual International Association of Emergency Managers Conference this past October.  His keynote addressed how we shouldn't consider special populations "special" in our planning efforts.  In community preparedness planning, all populations should be woven into the fabric of all disaster plans.  Appendicies and annexes related to special populations or circumstances should be re-captured into comprehensive all-hazards planning.

I wholeheartedly agree with him, but can't imagine that we are ready for this shift with our current planning models.  In a way, we use the appendicies and annexes to help ensure we cover our bases, like checklists, especially with our most vocal, critical, and sensational community members.  But even in our best planning, I can't say we have gotten to a 100% solution.

So here is my my case...what if we:

  • Shift to a comprehensive planning model not just for all-hazards, but for all populations?
  • Aim to achieve only 80% success because we know we will achieve 100% in the end?
  • Change our planning mindset to tackle what we can now and cover the rest later?

Will doing these things help us break down our most important issues and avoid being distracted by sensational issues?  Will our plans be more effective and reflective of what we are trying to achieve?

What do you think?