Disaster Zone

Fugate's Filosophy

Sound bites on activating and responding to disasters.

by Eric Holdeman / December 18, 2018

See below for the latest Fugate Filosophy on emergency management. I have to agree with him--mostly.

I'll add these to his below:

  • The first report is almost always wrong--in some form of detail. Don't let that keep you from activating your EOC.
  • You can only activate too late, never too early in activating the EOC. If the incident gets away from you, it is next to impossible to catch-up. Many are reluctant to activate. Don't be one of them!
  • Keep the decision to activate with the emergency management director. Don't let it be a political decision.
  • Remember, everyone gets tired and wants to deactivate early. Be smart and keep the EOC open beyond when things have stabilized. Events can change rapidly.
  • Transition the EOC into a recovery center

Here's Fugate's Tips:

"When at FEMA, I came up with the following rules-of-thumb to guide our first response decisions:

Think Big - What are the initial thoughts on worst-case impacts based on the event?
Go Big - Start moving likely required resources and teams based on Think Big.
Go Fast - Speed is key. Make quick decisions on less than perfect information in order to move out teams and resources before assessments.
Be Smart About It - Adjust the response as additional information comes in. It is always better to turn off a response than to wait for more information.

The more confident you are that your information sources will improve rapidly, the more confident you will be in using these rules-of-thumb. In your next exercise, test this out. Start by assuming that worst-case impact and observe carefully when you get information to know the real scope. What's the source? What's the confidence? How can you reduce those initial responses to fit the facts?"