Field Notes

News, reviews, and advice from the desk (and field office) of Jill Missal.

Characteristics of Good Section Chiefs

Many times, clients struggle with organizing their Emergency Operations Center, or EOC.  At first, it seems difficult to assign roles to personnel when they themselves aren’t quite sure how ICS works or what the EOC is for. Once they understand the function and organization of an EOC, though, they typically know exactly who in their…

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Emergency Drills Don’t Have To Be Boring

There’s nothing like some effective moulage and role playing to make a full-scale drill fun to watch and participate in.

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The Use of Acronyms in Emergency Management

When teaching ICS, I always get a good chuckle (out of myself and my audience) by the “plain language” slide. This is the slide that tells us that when we use ICS, we should always speak in plain language and avoid the use of acronyms and codes. I like to take a quick pause at…

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Should Emergency Management Offices Be Accessible To The Public?

I recently attended a FEMA continuing education class in another part of the country. The class was held in the emergency management offices of the state and, like so many others, said offices were located in a secure facility behind armed security guards and locked doors. We couldn’t even get out of the offices without…

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Writing the Concept of Operations Section of Your EOP

When I review EOPs written by non-emergency managers, I find that most clients have an OK plan for the first few sections (Purpose, Scope, Assumptions, etc.), and then things start to fall apart and get confusing right at the Concept of Operations, or CONOPS section. This area of the EOP is problematic for almost everyone…

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The Intersection of Minimalism and Preparedness

When I teach personal preparedness classes, I emphasize what I think is everyone’s number one tool for being prepared to deal with emergencies – your attitude. I believe that with the proper attitude, one can overcome almost any challenge. You really don’t need a bunch of equipment or a stockpile of supplies, or to charge…

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How To Update Your EOP Without A Consultant

Updates and revisions of EOPs comprise one of my most substantial business lines. For anyone who has written or revised an EOP, this will not come as a surprise. EOPs hit the mainstream about ten years ago, when they became a requirement for funding for many organizations and entities.  Busy professionals who aren’t emergency managers…

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Four Technologies That Erode Preparedness

The clients I serve run the gamut when it comes to the availability of fancy office accoutrements. Like any Alaskan consultant worth her salt, I’ve slept on school floors instead of hotels and taught classes in living rooms and unheated meeting spaces, and I’ve also dressed to the nines for formal presentations in the most…

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