Disaster Zone

Embrace the Chaos

Chaos provides opportunities for adaptation.

by Eric Holdeman / January 9, 2017

I'm a fan of the Hidden Brain Podcast and have already shared at least one previous episode. Then earlier this week while trying to get my steps in, I listened to Embrace the Chaos.

The bottom line from listening to this piece is that chaos is not always a bad thing. It allows for new ideas and concepts to arise that would not have been present before.

Chaos for us emergency managers may likely come from high-impact events like disasters. We'd like things to be very orderly and according to plan — but how often does that really happen?

I'd like to advocate that it is in these times that we have the opportunity to innovate and adapt to the chaos surrounding us. We should not waste these events thinking about how bad things are and how confusing the information is, but rather we should let the juices flow and use creativity to attempt to get us out of the mess we are in.

I personally have seen this happen at least twice in my career. Once in the Army and another time when responding to a huge wildland fire threatening a city while working at Washington State Emergency Management's Emergency Operations Center (EOC). In one case it was my idea that dug me out of a hole we were in, and the other time it was two people coming to me and saying, "Why don't we try this to solve the issue?"

The bottom line is not to throw your hands up in surrender, but instead be open to nontraditional solutions.