EIIP Virtual Forum Presentation — January 30, 2008

Emergency Management: Principles and Practice for Local Government
Second Edition of the 'Green Book' from ICMA Press

William L. Waugh Jr., Ph.D.
Professor of Public Administration, Urban Studies, and Political Science
Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University

Kathleen Tierney, Ph.D.
Director, Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center
Professor of Sociology
University of Colorado at Boulder

Amy Sebring
EIIP Moderator

The following version of the transcript has been edited for easier reading and comprehension. A raw, unedited transcript is available from our archives. See our home page at http://www.emforum.org

[Welcome / Introduction]

Amy Sebring: Good morning/afternoon everyone. On behalf of Avagene and myself, welcome to the Virtual Forum. We are glad you could join us. Our topic today is "Emergency Management: Principles and Practice for Local Government," the Second Edition of the 'Green Book' from the International City/County Management Association (ICMA).

"Founded in 1914, ICMA (International City/County Management Association) is the premier local government leadership and management organization. Its mission is to create excellence in local governance by advocating and developing the professional management of local government worldwide." ICMA hopes that this volume will become the standard text and reference for emergency management in the early years of the 21st century.

Now it is my pleasure to introduce today's special guests. We are delighted to have both co-editors here with us today, both of whom are well known and highly respected experts.

Dr. William Waugh, Jr. is Professor of Public Administration, Urban Studies, and Political Science in the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University and is internationally recognized for his work on disaster policy and local and regional capacity-building to deal with hazards and disasters. He has been a consultant to government agencies, nonprofit and private sector organizations on terrorism, the management of large-scale disasters, local government administration, strategic management, strategic planning, emergency planning, and professional development.

Dr. Kathleen Tierney is a Professor of Sociology and Director of the Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The Hazards Center is housed in the Institute of Behavioral Science, where Prof. Tierney holds a joint appointment. Her research focuses on the social dimensions of hazards and disasters, including natural, technological, and human-induced extreme events. You can hear Dr. Tierney on our Preview Podcast for today's session, which is linked from our home page.

More biographical information is provided on today's Background Page, as well as links to the book's Web page, Table of Contents, Foreword, and excerpt.

Dr. Waugh will start off our session by providing some background information on the ICMA green book, and this new edition, and then Dr. Tierney will follow with a description of the content. Welcome to both of you, and thank you very much for being with us today. I now turn the floor over to Dr. Waugh to start us off please.


Bill Waugh: The 1991 ICMA green book on emergency management has been the standard for practitioner handbooks and textbooks in the field. Tom Drabek and Gerry Hoetmer did a tremendous job. A 2006 analysis of the California emergency services system, the Little Hoover Report, used the text as the benchmark against which programs should be measured and students still use the text as foundation for research.

It was a real challenge to bring together scholars and experienced practitioners for the second edition. Work on the new edition began in 2003 and continued until it went to the publishers in the fall of 2007.

Progress was slow and became slower when editors and authors were distracted by major disasters and major competitions for research funding. Much was learned from the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004. Much was learned during and after Katrina, Rita, and Wilma in 2005 that had to be incorporated into drafts. Our topics were moving targets.

The task environment of emergency managers has also changed significantly since 1991. Terrorism has become a major focus since the mid-1990s and certainly after 9/11. The world of emergency managers changed on 9/11 and changed again when Katrina made landfall.

The national priority has been on dealing with the threat of terrorism and state and local priorities have been on dealing with the more common and certain threats of natural disaster, in addition to terrorism. Capturing the changes in the social and political context of emergency management was a challenge for the authors. Summarizing the research and the lessons learned from disasters since 1991 was also a challenge.

Readers should note the addition of chapters on new information technologies, social vulnerability and special populations, budgeting and finance, health and medical preparedness and response, and collaboration and the expansion of coverage of coordination and organization. Much has been learned in the past sixteen years.

Emergency managers today are also linked to the nation’s Homeland Security effort and have to reconcile their communities’ priorities with those of the national security establishment. Balancing local needs against national priorities has been frustrating for many.

Dealing with the cultures of national security agencies has also been frustrating for local emergency managers who have to communicate openly with the public they serve, have to rely on nongovernmental organizations for critical resources and expertise, and necessarily have to work in partnership with their state and federal counterparts to assure effective coordination of programs.

Closed, centralized decision processes are ineffective in an environment that requires the sharing of information and flexibility in operations. In some measure, those lessons have been learned over and over again but not heeded by federal officials.

We hope that this volume also reflects changes in the profession of emergency management as it comes into its own. Local emergency managers have critical roles to play in managing risks to their communities, including serving as advocates for effective land-use regulation, building standards, building codes, and community preparedness.

Educating elected officials and the public is essential if they are to understand the role of emergency managers. Emergency management is not emergency response. Emergency management is helping to manage risks to life, property, and the environment and it is a central function of government.

Now I will turn the session over to Professor Tierney to provide a little more description of the content of the book.

Kathleen Tierney: Hello everyone. I am very pleased to be with you today to present an overview of the contents of the book.

Emergency Management: Principles and Practice for Local Government, consists of 16 chapters divided into three parts. Part 1, "Context and Organization of Emergency Management," contains five chapters:

Chapter 1, the introductory chapter, written by co-editor William Waugh, is entitled "Local Emergency Management in the Post-9/11 World." It highlights how emergency management concepts and practices have evolved as a consequence of post-9-11 policies and programs.

Chapter 2, by Claire Rubin, provides a short history of the US emergency management system and discusses the context of local emergency management.

Chapter 3, by Frannie Edwards and Daniel Goodrich, is entitled "Organizing for Emergency Management." It provides a general overview of roles and functions associated with the discipline.

Chapter 4, by David McEntire and Gregg Dawson, discusses the intergovernmental aspects of emergency management. It focuses on such topics as the federal system, networks for emergency management, and the need to bring about needed changes, such as greater recognition of the importance of emergency management and greater budgetary support for emergency management activities.

Chapter 5, by Ann Patton, outlines the concept of "collaborative emergency management," which includes partnership building, public engagement, and the productive use of volunteer resources.

Part 2 of the volume contains chapters on concepts and practices related to the four phases of the disaster cycle--mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery--as well as selected topics in these areas.

David Godschalk is the author of Chapter 6, on mitigation, which covers a range of topics, including why mitigation is important, the mitigation planning process, federal mitigation programs, and the need to integrate mitigation and sustainability strategies.

Chapter 7, "Planning and Preparedness," by Michael Lindell and Ronald Perry discusses the state-of-the art in preparedness guidance, plan development, and related topics.

In Chapter 8, "Applied Response Strategies," author Richard Rotanz provides an overview of the types of demands that disasters generate and the types of resources, strategies, and tactics needed to cope with those demands.

Chapter 9, "Disaster Response," by Ronald Perry and Michael Lindell, also discusses the many challenges associated with disaster response and provides an overview of key elements of post-9/11 response programs, including the National Incident Management System and the Urban Areas Security Initiative.

In Chapter 10, authors Erik Auf der Heide and Joseph Scanlon discuss in detail the role of the health sector in disasters. The chapter emphasizes the importance of integrating medical, mental health, and public health planning with broader community planning efforts.

Chapter 11, by Brenda Phillips and David Neal, focuses on post-disaster recovery and provides information on the process and dimensions of disaster recovery, as well as resources that are available to support recovery. The chapter also emphasizes the need for pre-event planning for post-event recovery.

Part 3, "Major Issues in Emergency Management," contains chapters that deal in depth with both major emergency management challenges and emerging trends.

In Chapter 12, William Nicholson reviews legal issues in emergency management. The chapter includes discussions on legal issues that arise at different disaster phases, laws specific to emergency management, as well as topics that have grown in importance in recent years, such as laws and procedures governing quarantine.

Chapter 13, "Identifying and Addressing Social Vulnerabilities," was written by Elaine Enarson. The chapter gives emergency management students and practitioners an overview of the concept of social vulnerability-who is vulnerable to disasters and how and why they are vulnerable-and presents strategies and tools for reducing social vulnerability.

In Chapter 14, "New Information Technologies in Emergency Management," co-authors Susan Cutter, Christopher Emerich, Beverley Adams, Charles Huyck, and Ronald Eguchi provide an overview of information technologies, tools, and applications that can be used during different phases of disasters.

Also discussed is the fact that while technologies are becoming ever more advanced, significant barriers remain that can prevent emergency managers from using new tools to their greatest advantage.

Chapter 15, by Richard Sylves, deals with budgeting challenges and strategies across the phases of disaster. The chapter contains detailed discussions of different types of grants and funding sources, fundraising strategies (e.g., taxes and fees, privatization and coproduction), and funding opportunities presented by post-9/11 homeland security programs.

Chapter 16, the concluding chapter, co-authored by Dr. Waugh and myself, takes stock of where the nation currently stands with respect to the profession of emergency management and discusses directions in which the profession is moving. Also discussed are lessons learned from the Hurricane Katrina Experience and the ongoing need to debunk myths about disaster-related behavior.

This new edition of Emergency Management: Principles and Practice for Local Government is comprehensive, up-to-date, and information rich. Rather than featuring long continuous blocks of text, the volume contains a large number of sidebars that

  • highlight innovative approaches to addressing disaster-related issues
  • discuss lessons learned from past disaster events
  • provide extensive lists of resources, and
  • offer concrete guidance on how to evaluate emergency management activities in areas such as hazard mitigation.

Chapters are very readable but are also extensively documented, and further readings are suggested for each chapter. This concludes our introduction and we will be happy to respond to your question and comments. I turn the floor back over to our Moderator for the next portion of our program.

Amy Sebring: Thanks very much to both of you. Now, to proceed to your questions or comments.

[Audience Questions & Answers]

Erik Janus: How much, if any, of the new National Response Framework is captured in this edition? Will there be a revised edition?

Bill Waugh: The initial draft of the NRF is discussed but the last draft was well after the book came out. I don't know whether ICMA will revise the text at any point.

Roop Dave: Dr Waugh’ s statement, that Emergency Management is not responding to emergency but preparing community resilience, is befitting for emergencies due to natural disasters, but does not fit with the emergency as a result of terrorism. Do you feel we can separate both of these situations, emergencies due to natural disasters and due to terrorism?

Bill Waugh: In many respects I think that terrorism is a hazard like other hazards and resilience can be increased to assure quicker recovery.

Kathleen Tierney: The overall message of the volume focuses on the need for state-of-the-art comprehensive emergency management that at the same time recognizes that events of different types and different severity call for different management strategies.

Ric Skinner: Do you address the role of GIS, interoperability and CAP compliant systems in horizontal & vertical information sharing and between civilian and military domains (as we did in CWID 2007)?

Kathleen Tierney: Issues of technology and interoperability are addressed at various points in the volume.

Rick Tobin: Wow! What a plethora of great talent for that book. Is this text now being implemented as a core resource for college curriculum for those schools teaching the new wave of emergency managers?

Bill Waugh: The book is being adopted by many programs already. I would expect that it will become the core text for many courses.

Kathleen Tierney: The last time I checked, the book was not yet on Amazon.com, but there are many people trying to find out how to get it.

Bob Cullins: I have the new edition. Is there any plan to do an ICMA training package like the first one? With case studies, teaching outline, exam questions, and video?

Bill Waugh: There has been some discussion of support for instructors. The book will also be a core text for the FEMA Higher education projects course on "The Principles of Emergency Management" which is now in development.

Kathleen Tierney: I would be delighted if that were the case.

Roop Dave: How much preparation of government can be said to be "adequate" disaster preparation?" Is there any benchmark available for preparing governments? I am asking this question because despite all preparations, I have seen governments failing in delivering effective emergency response everywhere in the world.

Kathleen Tierney: Various chapters in the book deal with "best practices" and what we would expect to see if emergency management activities were proceeding effectively.

Andrew Wilson: Dr. Tierney - I see you have Joseph Scanlon as one of your contributors. How much of this book is squarely focused at the U.S. situation as opposed to a more generic international focus?

Kathleen Tierney: Andrew, the volume is meant to apply mainly to challenges here in the U.S., but there is a great deal of information in the book that pertains to findings related to disasters from around the world.

Bill Waugh: The material is also filtering into training programs for the leaders of emergency management programs in other countries. Much of the material, I think, is also applicable to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other countries with similar political contexts.

Erik Janus: "Extensive lists of resources" have been a great boon, but also somewhat distracting. Were any efforts made to focus these resources and, thus, try and reduce "information overload" for the practitioner?

Kathleen Tierney: Erik, I think you'll see that the format of the book facilitates focus. For example, resources and additional readings accompany each chapter.

Bill Waugh: Information overload is a problem, but, at the same time, providing too little information can be frustrating. I expect that many of the readers will be high end users in the sense of wanting more rather than less info.

Roop Dave: Would a ‘common pool’ approach for natural disaster management, focusing on Public-private Partnerships help in reducing chances of failures compared to a ‘totally government’ based approach?

Kathleen Tierney: Roop, can you clarify what you mean by "common pool"?

Amy Sebring: Kathleen, I think the question goes to participation by the private sector and enhanced coordination there. This is a newer emphasis in the book, is it not?

Kathleen Tierney: Oh yes, by all means. In fact, that is an overall theme of the book.

Bill Waugh: One of the themes throughout the text is the breadth of the emergency management system and the necessity of collaboration. Collaboration is a very hot topic in public administration and there is clearly a need to get away from the cavalry approach to emergency management.

Ric Skinner: I'm particularly interested in resolving the weaknesses and gaps we see in hospital/healthcare preparedness. Do you address that level of detail?

Kathleen Tierney: Ric, the chapter on health care is very comprehensive. Again, one big emphasis is on the need for integrated planning across sectors, rather than stovepiping or isolating the health care sector.

Bill Waugh: Erik Auf der Heide and Joe Scanlon address the topic to some extent, but it is a problem that continues. Public health and medicine have become major players.

Mike Morrill: The rumor mill has it that the Feds are going to start auditing municipalities for their emergency management programs. Does the book discuss evaluation standards at all?

Bill Waugh: The book does address the development of standards, including EMAP and NFPA 1600. EMAP is discussed in terms of its new direction independent from NFPA. I don't remember whether there was mention of other possibilities, such as requiring local investments based upon tax bases or other measures of means.

Rick Tobin: I didn't see a specific notation on standards and the wrestling match now going on about who should set what standards, who has to follow them, and the financial implications of standards compliance. Is that covered?

Kathleen Tierney: The "wrestling match" really started to heat up after the book went to press. Rick, we recently covered the standards controversy in an article on the Natural Hazards Observer.

Bill Waugh: Clearly there are other standard setting bodies getting into the act, including ASTM which is looking at EOCs.

Richie: In regards to the use of the book for universities and colleges, Adelphi is using the book as a required text for most of the graduate certificate and soon to be developed masters

Kathleen Tierney: Hey, Ritchie, I figured that was you! Glad to hear that about Adelphi!

Isabel McCurdy: Kathleen, could you clarify "state-of-the-art' on the comprehensive of emergency management, please?

Kathleen Tierney: Isabel, by "state-of-the-art," we mean the best knowledge and research findings currently available on the art and science of emergency management. To a great extent, talking about new and innovative approaches involves showing how they differ from both traditional views on emergency management and (importantly) programs that are currently being promulgated or advocated.

Bill Waugh: The boundaries of emergency management are difficult to draw. We tend to take an expansive view of the role and responsibilities of emergency managers.

Kathleen Tierney: Earlier Bill mentioned that the "cavalry" approach to EM is outdated. New perspectives involve such notions as collaboration, public engagement, and attention to social vulnerability.

Bill Waugh: Also, a problem we had to deal with in the book was making it as applicable to small jurisdictions as well as large.

Bob Cullins: On pg. 10 of the new text, I like the statement " (we have) a system where everyone can say no but no one can say yes." Comments?

Kathleen Tierney: That's in the sidebar on local government's role. The implications of that are obvious. The comment was made in the context of a discussion of the National Response Plan.

Bill Waugh: That was a speech by Bob O'Neill, the ICMA director. That observation also means that collaboration is essential to get buy-in - which was Bob's theme.

Amy Sebring: If I may ask a related question of my own, in the organization chapter, are there specific recommendations to local elected officials, city/county managers as to their responsibilities and/or organizational placement of the emergency management program?

Kathleen Tierney: Amy, these topics are discussed. Indeed, the volume places a good deal of emphasis on what are (or should be) considered "core competencies" for emergency managers--and those competencies are broad.

Bill Waugh: An idea that is emphasized is that the emergency manager should not be the Lone Ranger. Public officials, citizens, and others bear some responsibility.

Steve Reichman: Drs. Waugh & Tierney, the scope of and quantity of the information of the book has its limits. If you had had more space to insert more information, what would you have liked to have added? Were there any times you had to omit due to space concerns on the book?

Bill Waugh: I think that both of us tried to avoid getting too far down in the weeds. Too much detail gets out-dated quickly. Broader principles give the book a longer shelf life.

Kathleen Tierney: Steve, the book is now about 350 pages long. We could have gone on in great detail about the topics covered, but the book did have a budget associated with it!

Bill Waugh: There was a concern that the book be inexpensive enough to use in class.

Roop Dave: Procedures & policies are good in the pre-emergency situations for training purpose. But actually practicing these policies and procedures during emergency situation sometimes brings down efficiency! Do you agree Dr. Waugh?

Bill Waugh: You are right - particularly when jurisdictions have few or no resources. The issue is already arising among volunteer fire departments that have few training bucks and little time.

Amy Sebring: I have another related question if I may. Is there any discussion of the "one size fits all" approach of the federal government? This is part of the conflict you mention Dr. Waugh, I believe.

Bill Waugh: Yes. Many local governments are ignoring the alert levels and even declining federal money.

Kathleen Tierney: The book is aimed primarily at local government officials and students, so definitely the issue of "one size fits all" becomes important and is discussed in the book.

Bob Cullins: The book will not only be used at universities and colleges, but possibly by cities and counties to train their folks. That's why I asked earlier about a training package. Hope you can get it done.

Amy Sebring: Kathleen, how do you feel about federal, or even state or local policy, being made that is NOT based on science? I believe you use the term "evidence-based". Is this issue addressed at all in the book, for example, in the myths section?

Kathleen Tierney: It is addressed in the sense that the political dimension of emergency management is emphasized at various places throughout the volume. The role of science in policy-setting and implementation is a complex topic.

Bill Waugh: The Emergency Management Roundtable lists "risk driven" as a principle of EM. Risk driven means real measurement of risk and communities have to focus on the risk to their citizens rather than national priorities.

Amy Sebring: (Inserting a plug, we will be having a Forum on the EM principles in February.)

Erik Janus: We need to be careful to separate out those policies made using "best professional judgment" in the light of little to no data, as opposed to policies ignoring science (which can happen). Determination of risk requires data.

Bill Waugh: And worst-case scenarios are not always backed up by data.

Randall Cuthbert: Would you recommend this book for a 'Social Dimensions of Disaster' text, and if not, what would be your recommendations as the top texts for that facet of the topic?

Kathleen Tierney: I think that chapters from the book might be useful for a social dimensions of disaster course. There is a lot of research discussed in the book. However, the main focus of the volume is on emergency management. I am teaching a course on Hazards, Disasters, and Society, and I'm doing it using a set of readings I put together

Amy Sebring: I assume there are additional resources cited in the related Chapters?

Kathleen Tierney: Yes, there is a great deal of documentation.

Ryan Collins: I'm excited to see the inclusion (and the expansion of) the integration of public health, mental health, and the medical community into this text. I think it's an integral aspect of Emergency Management that is not always considered by Emergency Managers (EMs), and certainly needs to be. The problems faced by EMs revolving around privately-run hospitals and publicly-funded public health programs create innumerable barriers for EMs to deal with in preparedness, planning, and response.

Kathleen Tierney: Thank you, Ryan.


Amy Sebring: That's all we have time for today. Thank you very much Dr. Waugh and Dr. Tierney for an excellent job. We hope you enjoyed the experience. Please stand by just a moment while we make a couple of quick announcements.

Bill Waugh: Thanks.

Kathleen Tierney: This has been a great pleasure. Thank you all for your attention and participation!

Amy Sebring: The link to the ICMA press Web page for the book, where you can get ordering information, is posted on our Background Page, [and is included here: http://bookstore.icma.org/Emergency_Management_Principl_P1766C18.cfm]

Again, the formatted transcript will be available later today. If you are not on our mailing list and would like to get notices of future sessions and availability of transcripts, just go to our home page to Subscribe.

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Thanks to everyone for participating today. We stand adjourned but before you go, please help me show our appreciation to the Professors for a fine job.