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Disaster Zone

Author: Eric Holdeman

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Disaster Zone is hosted by Eric Holdeman, an emergency manager with over 30 years of experience at the federal, state and local levels of government. Disaster Zone is a podcast that focuses on all facets of disasters; the before, during and after of events that are increasingly impacting communities around the world. Podcasts run between 20-30 minutes with a mix of guests covering a range of disasters and issues that flow from them.

Sponsors of this podcast include:
  • Dynamis, a leading provider of information management software and security solutions.
  • The Blue Cell, a by-design crisis and consequence management consulting firm.
Story topics and suggestions for people to interview are welcomed. You can contact the host via email.

Podcast listeners might also be interested in the Disaster Zone Blog which is the number one blog on the topic of emergency management here in the United States.

39 Episodes
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If you are going to invest time, energy and money into becoming more disaster resilient, what type of effort are you putting into the social capital of your community or organization? Daniel Aldrich, Director of the Resilience and Security Studies Program at Northeastern University shares in this podcast the importance of investing in social capital and how it can pay huge dividends. Having survived losing his home and all his possessions during Hurricane Katrina, he has some practical knowledge about the topic of social capital in disasters. His most recent book is Black Wave: How Networks and Governance Shaped Japan's 3/11 Disasters.Dynamis, a leading provider of information management software and security solutions, is a sponsor of this podcast.
It is now possible to get an online degree as a Master of Infrastructure Planning and Management. This podcast is an interview with Wendy Freitag, Program Director for the University of Washington’s program linked above. In this podcast we talk generally about online degrees in general, to include those in emergency management. How they compare school to school and with resident courses of study. A bit of history on higher education in emergency management is included along with more specifics on the University of Washington’s program. With all the current talk of a large infrastructure funding bill, this program might just be the ticket for your future. Note: I am on the advisory board for the degree program. This episode is sponsored by The Blue Cell, a by design crisis and consequence management consulting firm with a primary focus on education and training for government at all levels, non governmental agencies and private sector entities engaged in incident and emergency management activities.
Emergency management organizations have now been immersed in COVID-19 response for over a year. This podcast is an interview with Jody Ferguson, Director for Pierce County Department of Emergency Management. In it we explore how her department responded first to the call to help with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) distribution and then more recently with mass vaccination efforts by the county. We also discuss how she views the “distraction” of having to focus on COVID-19 versus the normal emergency management program requirements. Dynamis, a leading provider of information management software and security solutions, is a sponsor of this podcast.
In the podcast we talk about the cybersecurity threats and different approaches being used to counter those threats. Cybersecurity training is one of those and it has become something employees must accomplish as part of organizational standards. There are many mistakes that companies and governments make in their approaches to this training. Heather Stratford, CEO for Drip7 is the Disaster Zone guest. She suggests new methods for cybersecurity training. Micro-learning and the gamification of the training are two breakthrough concepts they offer. Heather was an engaging guest who knows the business of cybersecurity inside and out. Dynamis, a leading provider of information management software and security solutions, is a sponsor of this podcast.
Emergency management is primarily known as a profession that responds to disasters. Another very important aspect of the discipline of emergency management is disaster mitigation. This podcast focuses on a relatively new federal program called Building Resilient Infrastructure Communities (BIRC). Derrick Hiebert, Deloitte is the mitigation expert interviewed in this recording. He shares the key elements every organization needs to take in order to leverage the hundreds of millions of dollars that are available to government organizations and jurisdictions.  This episode is sponsored by The Blue Cell, a by design crisis and consequence management consulting firm with a primary focus on education and training for government at all levels, non governmental agencies and private sector entities engaged in incident and emergency management activities.
Virtual ICS Trainings

Virtual ICS Trainings

2021-03-2343:35

One of the outcomes from the coronavirus pandemic is that our normal training sessions have been disrupted. People can’t gather into classrooms. A solution to that issue, and one that will be used going forward is virtual training that goes beyond the online Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) self-paced learning. This podcast is an interview with Todd Manns, Owner and Managing Partner of The Blue Cell. In this session we discuss what their course offerings are and how the instruction is conducted. There are many benefits, to include being able to mix and match attendees from different areas of the country and from different disciplines.  This episode is sponsored by The Blue Cell, a by design crisis and consequence management consulting firm with a primary focus on education and training for government at all levels, non governmental agencies and private sector entities engaged in incident and emergency management activities.
The coronavirus pandemic has multiple impacts to our society, ranging from medical, economic, education—you name it, nothing has remained the same. All this physical change has impacted how people interact and relate to one another. The social impacts to people have been huge. Besides the coronavirus itself there have been political and racial tensions in the United States. Tim Bayer, a Lutheran Pastor discusses those impacts and how best we can muddle through these events, not knowing how things will be different when we come out on the other side of these events. This episode is sponsored by The Blue Cell, a by design crisis and consequence management consulting firm with a primary focus on education and training for government at all levels, non governmental agencies and private sector entities engaged in incident and emergency management activities.
The blood supply for a community, region or state is critically important. This podcast is an interview with Curt Bailey, President and CEO of BloodWorks Northwest  Their territory covers eight million people in the states of Oregon and Washington. Consider this a Blood 101 class on all aspects of blood collection and use.  It amazing all the blood products that are collected in just one donation. They like everyone else, have had to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic by adjusting how they collect blood and developing new blood products. One of those being the use of Covid-19 Convalescent Plasma in the treatment of people hospitalized with the disease. Dynamis, a leading provider of information management software and security solutions, is a sponsor of this podcast.
One of the outcomes of the coronavirus pandemic is the need to maintain social distancing. An innovation borne out of this is organizations have begun using technology to conduct virtual exercises. My guest for this podcast is Kyle McPhee, Director of Preparedness for Hagerty Consulting. Topics discussed include what technology solutions work and what the benefits and challenges are for doing virtual exercises. I also ask Kyle about career opportunities for new college graduates with emergency management degrees getting into the consulting industry.This episode is sponsored by The Blue Cell, a by design crisis and consequence management consulting firm with a primary focus on education and training for government at all levels, non governmental agencies and private sector entities engaged in incident and emergency management activities.
Everyone is in Sales

Everyone is in Sales

2021-02-2341:38

No matter who you are and what you do, there is an element of salesmanship to how you interact with other people and organizations. This podcast is an interview with Jeff Kirchick, author of the book Authentic Selling, How to use the Principles of Sales in Everyday Life. In this podcast we discuss what it takes to be authentic and how incorporating listening and being empathetic can help you interact more effectively with others. Dynamis, a leading provider of information management software and security solutions, is a sponsor of this podcast.
Mike Byrne, the podcast guest has been at the center of emergency management and homeland security for decades, both in responding and recovering from major disasters while holding senior positions responsible for orchestrating assistance from a government and private sector perspective. In this podcast he speaks about his personal learning points from four major disasters that he was intimately involved with in either the disaster response or recovery phases. This episode is sponsored by The Blue Cell, a by design crisis and consequence management consulting firm with a primary focus on education and training for government at all levels, non governmental agencies and private sector entities engaged in incident and emergency management activities.
The need to achieve communications interoperability has haunted public agencies for years. The terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001 highlighted the need to improve the ability for public agencies from different jurisdictions to communicate with one another. Now today, Verizon has initiated an outreach to other companies, carriers, device makers, etc. to come together to jointly work on the issue of communications interoperability. The guest on this podcast is the individual leading those efforts. Andrés Irlando. He is a senior vice president at Verizon and the president of its public sector business and Verizon Connect. In this position he is responsible for its Federal -- both Department of Defense and civilian agencies -- state, local, education and public safety customers.Dynamis, a leading provider of information management software and security solutions, is a sponsor of this podcast.
People are often called on to deliver public presentations. Yet, the very thought of speaking in public makes many people panic. We know the power of speakers who can convey messages that are clear and convincing, whether delivered in person or online. This episode is an interview with Michael Buschmohle, President of Applause Associates who has trained thousands of speakers worldwide, including many emergency managers. He will share his shortcuts for preparing and delivering persuasive and action-oriented presentations. You can contact Michael at 425-392-1155. This episode is sponsored by The Blue Cell, a by design crisis and consequence management consulting firm with a primary focus on education and training for government at all levels, non governmental agencies and private sector entities engaged in incident and emergency management activities.
As people and organizations in the public and private sector work to prepared disaster plans, trainings and exercises they need to remember to include a focus on people with disabilities in all facets of their emergency management and business continuity program. The guest for this podcast is Linda Mastandrea, Director of the Office of Disability Integration and Coordination at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) headquarters in Washington, D.C. In the podcast we dive into different aspects of building a program that is inclusive and addresses every segment of our society. Linda provides a list of things ‘to do’ and include in your program. Dynamis, a leading provider of information management software and security solutions, is a sponsor of this podcast.
Technologies are available now that can help with many facets of emergencymanagement and business continuity programs. This is an interview with Matt Bradley, Vice President, with OnSolve a company that specializes in providing a variety technological solutions. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the newest tool being added to help organizations obtain situational awareness very early in an event. Future trends are another topic discussed, along with how moving to a virtual worker environment has complicated operations and notification protocols.This episode is sponsored by The Blue Cell, a by design crisis and consequence management consulting firm with a primary focus on education and training for government at all levels, non governmental agencies and private sector entities engaged in incident and emergency management activities.
In this podcast Deanne Criswell, New York City’s Emergency Management Commissioner discusses how the city uses a variety of legacy warning systems along with new technologies to warn the public. New York City has a significant challenge with the level of diversity in spoken languages in the city and those issues are also addressed in the podcast.This episode is sponsored by The Blue Cell, a by design crisis and consequence management consulting firm with a primary focus on education and training for government at all levels, non governmental agencies and private sector entities engaged in incident and emergency management activities.
As the Covid pandemic continues raging and businesses are being cut back, many people are working from home. Besides working online with Zoom, people are doing more and more writing. But most people are not professional writers and many find writing challenging. This episode is an interview with Michael Buschmohle, an author, book editor, and international writing instructor. He will share his proven tips for writing short, clear email and persuasive documents. Plus, how to respond tactfully to complaints. You can contact Michael at 425-392-1155.Dynamis, a leading provider of information management software and security solutions, is a sponsor of this podcast.
Eventually everyone in government or business will likely need to engage a consultant to assist their organization with an element of work that they need help with. This podcast is an interview with Brian Murphy, a Principal with BERK Consulting. We discuss a number of issues related to obtaining a consultant to perform work for you. What should you expect from a consultant? When do you use a RFP, RFI or RFQ to solicit proposals? Additionally, we discuss the working relationship the consultant and the customer should have during an engagement.Dynamis, a leading provider of information management software and security solutions, is a sponsor of this podcast.
Leading Virtual Teams

Leading Virtual Teams

2020-12-1738:01

The coronavirus pandemic forced businesses and governments to close their physical office spaces and have people begin working from their homes, with little or noplanning or preparation for this momentous change in how teams function. Betty Lochner, M.Ed., SPHR, CEO of Corner Stone Coaching and Training is the expert guest. In this podcast she shares 7 Tips for Leading Virtual Teams, a great resource for managers and supervisors who were thrust into this virtual role with no training being furnished to them. Practical tips and suggestions are provided in the podcast that can help anyone struggling to lead a virtual team in business or government.This episode is sponsored by The Blue Cell, a by design crisis and consequence management consulting firm with a primary focus on education and training for government at all levels, non governmental agencies and private sector entities engaged in incident and emergency management activities.
Glen Woodbury is the Director, Center for Homeland Defense and Security at the Naval Postgraduate School. In this podcast we explore how the programs he manages have adapted to being all distance learning and how going forward, education and training can be shaped by leveraging technology. In the second half of the podcast we explore how emergency management is evolving as a profession and how emergency management can perhaps become a meta-discipline that is used as the go-to place for all disaster phases, no matter if the issue is human caused, technological or natural disaster.  This episode is sponsored by The Blue Cell, a by design crisis and consequence management consulting firm with a primary focus on education and training for government at all levels, non governmental agencies and private sector entities engaged in incident and emergency management activities.
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