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Quote of the Week

"You can delegate authority, but you can never delegate responsibility." Eric Holdeman [Note: This week's

"You can delegate authority, but you can never delegate responsibility." Eric Holdeman [Note: This week's Quote of the Week and EOC Tip are the same] This is an axiom that I've used many times over, especially when it comes to emergencies, disasters and EOC activations. The event may happen when you are on vacationâ€"but you still own the response!

I'm a big believer in using technology and we keep nudging towards having more virtualization in EOC activations, but I can tell you what the public's expectations areâ€"that you are present in the EOC and responding to the event. Even though you can operate remotely from the ends of the earth, having your butt in a seat at the EOC shows your commitment to the response.

Sometimes events do happen when you are gone. My recommendation is "get home as fast as you can!" Your deputy will appreciate you being there and the message is clear that you are involved and committed. Don't let the tug of holidays, family, etc get in the way of a disaster response. If you are in charge your duty is to "be present." If things don't go well, I can guarantee you that people will want to know where you were and what you were doing.
I still remember when the then Mayor of Seattle was asked where he was on the Fat Tuesday (the evening before the Nisqually Earthquake) when there was a riot and a death in Pioneer Square. He said honestly, he was at home in bed. That is not the response the people wanted to hear. Alternatively he should not be at the command post looking over the police chief's shoulder. A good place to be is at the EOC in the policy room monitoring events. The police chief did resign over the incident above and it was WTO riots and the public's perception of the mayor that guaranteed that he was not reelected.
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