Realism provided by Nusura’s Simulation Deck Technology

Animated Don't Panic

All organizations these days are subject to crisis and emergency management disasters. Those that take the time to plan for their worst-case scenarios and be prepared in advance will survive and even thrive. Those that believe it “can’t happen to us” will not.

Perhaps equally important, whether they are nonprofit organizations, local, state or federal agencies, large or medium size businesses, or universities and colleges, those folks that don’t understand the impact that social media can have on crisis and emergency management are destined to suffer even more serious consequences than they may realize.

It has been said that imagination is the true sign of intelligence. When it comes to technology and crisis and emergency management, which is evolving daily at speeds often beyond our comprehension, there can be no argument that imagination often makes the difference between the mundane and the next level of creativity.

Recently we teamed with a relatively new company based in Denver, Colo., Nusura, Inc. – “nusura” is a Swahili term meaning “one who survives” – this company is one of the newest innovative companies on deck offering a way for organizations to test their social media and public outreach skills through the use of a training tool they call SimulationDeck.

SimulationDeck is a secure Web portal that replicates online communications tools, including such social media as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well as organizational websites and blogs.

As many of my readers know, for years my firm has offered strategic crisis planning and issues management alongside emergency operations planning, training and webinars. When we were asked by a client to consider how best to bring them into the real world of social media we sought out and found Nusura, Inc. The teaming partnership has resulted in a significant contract with a federal agency. We believe our combined resources, talents and experience and a similar set of values on how to handle clients and business in general brought us to the front of the bidder pack.

Nusura’s president is Jim Chestnutt, an experienced public information officer formerly with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Chestnutt and his team of former FEMA employees set out to train people on how to get information out to their stakeholders in a timely, accurate and coordinated fashion during emergencies.

We saw benefit and value to application of their technology for not just life-threatening situations, we also saw the benefit to planning for the always prevalent developing crisis around such internal issues as reorganizations, downsizing, sexual harassment charges, ethics charges and legal entanglements that any organization can face.

Chestnutt and I both found that in after-action reports from actual and exercise events – be it an internal crisis or an external emergency – that the public information function in major exercises was not being tested in a realistic way, which is what set me out to find a way to correct the issue for my clients.

Chestnutt says that the pressure created by mock media and those tasked with testing the public information element in mock exercises didn’t compare to the reality of handling even a small emergency.

Nusura, Inc. has former public information officers and field agents from all levels of government who have experienced all sorts of internal and external crises and emergencies. SimulationDeck is the creative offspring of this group of talented professionals to mimic what happens online and in the media during an actual crisis or emergency.

The simulation Web portal has nine websites which emulate social media sites: SimulationBook includes Facebook’s core features; Bleater simulates Twitter; the blogging platform is called Frogger; their YouTube look-alike is Ewe Tube; there is a site for agency or organizational news; incident information; the Exercise Times Daily, a Web-based newspaper that features live reader comments; SimDeck News, a Web-based TV station; and KEXN Radio.

SimulationDeck doesn’t require special software, so it can work on any platform or Internet-connected device. Chestnutt notes that one person working the SimulationDeck could act as 10 people. This person can file a newspaper article, then post on the agency’s website and then act as the Governor’s press secretary and announce a surprise press conference.

Chestnutt told emergencymgmt.com that “Things happen instantly, and any simulation player can generate an enormous amount of injects, as fast as they can type and enter it.”

The tool was recently used during the Vibrant Response 13, a U.S. Army North national-level field training exercise that had 9,000 service members and civilians from the military, as well as state and federal agencies.

Dan Manuszewski, Chief of Public Affairs for the U.S. Army North, told the editor at www.emergencymgmt.com that it’s increasingly important to practice all forms of communications and that includes social media as it becomes increasingly popular.

We note that many of our college and university clients, who have been reluctant to engage in social media as a communications tool, are becoming aware of its importance when they see that their students and staff are more quickly informed through Twitter and Facebook Smartphone communications than the organization’s systems. We see great opportunity to bring these folks and many other organizations and agencies into the real social media and mass media world through such applications as SimulationDeck.

Like it or not, social media is becoming a major communications platform, especially for the current generations. Those organizations that fail to train their employees in the proper use of social media are doing a disservice to the employees and their stakeholders.

Manuszewski says that we need to make sure we understand the entire information environment – from the traditional media to the media that people are using now, like social media.

Chestnutt says that the company is listening carefully to feedback from its users and continually making improvements.

Dr. L. Darryl Armstrong, Armstrong and Associates, is a consultant and counselor. He can be reached at drdarryl@aol.com or 1-888-340-2006 or www.ldarrylarmstrong.com

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Plan for the “Extreme Case” – Prior to a Hurricane

Emergency checklist
As Hurricane Irma approaches, we thought we would share some smart hurricane
preparation tips. The key is to be prepared, have a plan, know where to go and try
not to freak out. Stay calm and plan for the worse case scenario.

1. For a big storm like Irma, you need enough water to drink for 7 days.
The water does NOT have to be bottled. You can simply buy water containers
and fill them with tap water.

2. Buy plastic sheeting and duct tape. Use the plastic sheeting to line the
tub. Then you can fill your tub with water without it leaking out. You’ll
use this to flush the toilet and for basic cleaning if the water goes out.

3. Have enough food on hand to eat for 7 days – food bars and other
packaged food is good.

4. Buy a large number of Ziploc-like plastic bags – large and small. You’ll
use them to protect papers and other valuables AND you’ll fill them 3/4
full of water and stuff the freezer full. Do that by midweek to be sure
they are frozen when/if the power goes out over the weekend. It will keep
the refrigerator colder. Do NOT set your fridge on the lowest setting.

5. Get a portable radio that receives AM and FM. NOAA radio is good, but
doesn’t get you information on evacuations and other instructions. Get
batteries.

6. Get LED flashlights and/or lanterns. They run forever on fewer
batteries. But you still need plenty of extra batteries.

7. Get large plastic boxes. If you put your valuables, photos, and papers
in plastic bags inside the boxes, they will likely be okay. Put the bins in
a high place, second floor, or safe room if you don’t plan on taking them
with you.

8. Do your laundry this week! Lol

9. Start running your ice makers now and bagging the ice in freezer bags.
Fill as much space in between your freezer items with these bags as you can.

10. Freeze regular tap water for pets, cleaning or drinking in
Tupperware plastic-type containers. REMEMBER to leave a small bit of space between
the top of the water & the lids so the ice expands but doesn’t crack the
container.

11. Start using up your perishables to make more room for ice in the
freezer.

12. Fill up all vehicles with gasoline, check tires & oil.

13. Get your cash from ATM, at least enough for 7-days to get you through tolls and gas out of  town. Call your bank if you plan on leaving the state so they don’t freeze
your card for out-of-area “suspicious” transactions.

14. Screenshot all of your important docs & send to your email. Take
originals in sealed bags or plastic bins.

15. Prepare pet / livestock food & supplies. Vet records in case you need
to shelter then at a storm-safe facility.

16. Make evacuation plans and share with family members so they know where
you’re headed.

17. SECURE ALL FIREARMS & AMMUNITION PROPERLY.

18. Gather old rags & beach towels for use on your windowsills. Even with the best windows & shutters, water seeping from the wind pressure happens. A few damp towels
is better than soaked drywall or floors!

19. Shutter windows and doors and bring everything outside into your garage 
or house NOW. Do not wait until the day before. Better to get done early
and relax than wait until it’s too late, ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE MANDATORY
PERSONNEL (hospital employee or first responder).

20. If you don’t already have your hurricane supplies get them now. Shelves are already empty in most places.

Although these are great tips, please rely on official
preparation, evacuation and emergency information available at the National
Hurricane Center and Ready.gov
<https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2FReady.gov%2F&h=ATMT9P9j1MvB9pcIiqMI5TZFuowiDiazB7MNymZrpFM8ZnfhD9daQNLPlLL9WM0hdIESr07SwIBroDVHDglqdvZfWjGgWYfnHsB5PwOx-j4X9mwrfEXQBHWP8vvI3upjHkfqdjF9g1AfjQTUCovBjIhVvXf9KhQ6vflGW2GtKMoKGXX-Y7dW0UvFCSeKgSEoMU3Rsi2Ab5G5didxdgNmPqgvGy-0V4NBw_HxgM75l2QYmSbUiEBJMKK6y7aNcH41ZgkfBjo-8h12h8mesR9U-PsiQvq4TArNQ5JznLA2EymydIwY0GM>

Kathy Griffin, a victim?  How  lawyers tried to reposition pathetic behavior for their client

The Kathy Griffin debacle is the drama of the week for Hollywood celebrities attempting to regain purchase with the American public. Posing with a decapitated head of the President with blood dripping to the floor and a smirk on her face, Ms. Griffin somehow equated this with comedy and art giving no concern to the horrors that many families who have been defiled by ISIS in the same manner nor the trauma brought upon the President’s son.

Of course, her followers and those of her ilk also believe that an upside down crucifix in a bottle of urine should always be prominently displayed to reinforce the importance of art and their First Amendment rights of freedom of expression. Before you read further, I have been and continue to be a strong supporter of our Constitution. Many good men and women have died defending this document and your and my rights to freely express our opinions.

However, interestingly, I seem to recall from my journalism law classes that “screaming fire” in a crowded theater is not covered under the First Amendment of our Constitution nor are behaviors that can be deemed “true-threats.”

Kathy Griffin

Photo source: https://twitter.com/kathygriffin

I am sure someone as revered and influential as Ms. Griffin, who has already humiliated herself by apologizing for her tasteless art would not be held legally accountable for inciting violence, or would she?

Had Ms. Griffin stopped and exited stage left after her “eye-rolling” apology, shown some genuine contriteness and even called the President to apologize personally I postulate she might have been able to continue her moderately successful career.

Instead, taking a page from Hillary Clinton, she becomes the “victim.” She engages her lawyers. They advise her to quickly “apologize” for fear of further legal ramifications. Then as fast as possible her lawyers prepare her a script including the production of “crocodile tears” and delivering with much emotion as possible line “I’m broken.”  Ensuring she looks haggard, and with no makeup, Griffin trots out, and they stand beside her for moral support and to provide direction to observe how well she throws herself upon the victim wagon.

By the way, did anyone see how her press conference touted her legal expertise companions behind her on the marquee as if they were selling fresh meat of the week?

Kathy Griffin now proclaims through her anguish, all the while reminding folks she apologized because it was the “right thing” to do that she “feels” has been “broken” through a conspiracy of the President and all his family.

No, Ms. Griffin, you are a victim of your loutish behavior and shallow thinking. You broke yourself. You simply didn’t realize how broke you would be!

You have allowed your self- importance and belief that the art of comedy has no bounds. Perhaps, next time you should take a deep breath, sit back and enjoy the Malibu ocean view before inserting your foot into your proverbial mouth. Your sophomoric and boorish behavior should cause you some fear in reflection since you may have well crossed into the “true-threat” area of free speech which does have certain prohibitions.

There are, and always will be consequences to your behavior.

Anderson Cooper dumped you like day old milk so fast he didn’t have time to say anything; CNN drops you from the New Year’s Eve celebration after a day and a half of consideration, of course,  and I suspect there will be other consequences. Did you not learn anything from Michael Richardson affair (http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/michael-richards-my-racist-outburst-in-2006-was-a-reality-check-20152310) .

When Richardson overstepped the “societal” bounds and used the “N-word”, he was forced to apologize on national TV and do rounds with Al Sharpton, the Godfather, and Priest who can give redemption to all offenders.

All Presidents get their share of ridicule and abuse, Ms. Griffin. They are burned or hanged in effigy by protesters all the time who for whatever reason don’t agree with their politics. Your behavior went a tad bit too far.

The clarity of “true-threat jurisprudence remains a muddled mess,” even after a decade of trying to sort it out at the Supreme Court level. However, one thing I know Ms. Griffin your “shock and awe” came back to haunt you this time.

Are you a victim like Hillary? Not even close to playing it like her, kid!

Perhaps, the two of you can have tea one evening and cry over the spilled milk, and she can help you make a list of 101 reasons the public as a whole should forgive you since it wasn’t your fault but that of the President and his family.

I recommend that you look to one of your own for your next press conference statement instead of a bunch of lawyers.

“I felt ashamed for what I had done. I don’t have any excuses. I did what I did. I take full responsibility for myself and my actions. I wouldn’t pawn this off on anybody. I’m sorry it happened. And I hurt people.” Louie Anderson

Dr. L. Darryl Armstrong is a crisis prevention and management consultant. 1.888.340.2006 www.ldarrylarmstrong.com

 

Who are these people called the Millenials?

A robot woman head with internal technology

“The best crisis to manage is the one you prevent,” Dr. L. Darryl Armstrong speaking to the National Association of Environmental Professionals

You are hiring, like it or not, many members of the Millennial generation (The M-Generation). Most likely you are either a “Baby Boomer” or a “GenXer” doing the hiring. You are thinking that these people must not have grown up in the same world that you did. You think to yourself, we may have a crisis developing, and you have no idea why. You would be right in both assumptions.

Although some of what you read here will seem negative, try to maintain an open-mind. This description of the M-Generation is intended to be helpful and will show you how research and understanding is evolving to help us all better understand this generation.

Dealing with the M-Generation will be challenging, yet successful employers recognize the importance of learning as much about this generation as possible. Like it or not, they will be reshaping our world because by 2020 they will be 60% of our work force.

The basis of this series of six articles comes from the research, including “The M- Factor: How the Millennial Generation is Rocking the Workplace” by Lynne C. Lancaster and David Stillman (Harper Collins, 2010) and from the Internet site PWC’s report Millennials in the Work Place – Reshaping the World. We also have integrated the work from other consultants who specialize in the M-Generation and work with them daily.

Perhaps, just perhaps, if you get better informed about the M-Generation, you can prevent a major crisis from developing, or at the least, better understand how to deal with the crisis when it does. The idea is to understand and utilize the particular talents of the M-Generation because you will be hiring and/or working with people who have unique characteristics and challenging behaviors for years to come.

As a behavioral psychologist, I am fascinated by people’s behaviors and their responses to behaviors. The behaviors I see being exhibited by the M-Generation and the responses from the Baby Boomers and Gen X folks provide an extra dose of fascination.

Millennials are anyone of the 76 million young people who were born between 1982 and 2000. They are entering the work force at a rapid pace, and they are being hired by managers between the ages of 40 and 65 (the “Baby- Boomers” and “GenXers”). The hiring managers are somewhat bewildered by the people they are hiring, as well as learning that transitioning this generation into the work environment is rarely without issue and can be crisis inducing.

Why are there such generational differences between these three groups? Let’s look at the differences in the M-Generation’s cultural and historical memories. Just as World War II was only a textbook to those of us who grew up in the 1960s and 70s, the Vietnam War was is only a textbook memory to the M-Generation.

In our generation, we were just beginning to enjoy the benefits of such advanced technology as pocket transistor radios; the M-Generation is technologically savvy beyond any of our wildest expectations. Just stop and ask yourself, whom did you call to program your VCR just a few years ago?

I would suggest that there are three significant questions we must answer and understand to work with the M-generation:

  • How do they see their world and how do they process the information they see?
  • How do they expect and choose to operate in the world of work and why?
  • What do they expect to receive from their work and what do they perceive as rewards?

Research, surveys and analyses by many people more experienced than I am suggest that the good news is there are answers to some of these questions. The bad news is that many of our generation can’t relate to those answers and the M-Generation perspectives.

Some key findings to be sensitive to when dealing with the M-Generation:

  • They will share information of all types and of depth across many different platforms and with many different people – discretion is not part of their typical vocabulary;
  • They require – read – must have – personalized attention;
  • They must be always winning and be recognized for even coming to work on time;
  • They use a variety of social media and social networking, unlike any generation previously, and their knowledge and use of this technology can be impactful to an organization, as well as society at large;
  • They are talented in certain areas of endeavors and less so in others;
  • They are critical and don’t hesitate to voice their views and opinions.

Seniority and your feelings are irrelevant to many of the M-Generation. For example, they may understand how to use Microsoft Power Point, yet invariably would explain to you how to use Apple iPhoto to get better results on the presentation that you spent hours on developing.

They have trouble dealing with lines of authority, and command positions are simply irrelevant to many of them. In fact, they would without hesitation go straight to a CEO and argue their case against a change in the organization’s protocols without your knowledge.

And their parents, well, they also can be an issue. Fathers and mothers (think “Helicopter” parents) of the M-Generation have been known to reprimand employers at social engagements over incidents their children just mentioned in passing to them.

Now, having laid this foundation, allow me to caveat it by saying not all M-Generation people are of this ilk.  However, research and experience show these generalizations are not that far from the reality of their behaviors in the work place. So then, how do we deal with the M-Generation at work?

As Dorothy said in the Wizard of Oz, “Toto, I don’t think we are in Kansas anymore!

Next: Part 2 – How do we deal with the M-Generation in our work place?

 

Sources: The M- Factor: How the Millennial Generation is Rocking the Workplace” by Lynne C. Lancaster and David Stillman (Harper Collins, 2010)

 

PWC.Com – Millenials in the Work Place – Reshaping the World https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/managing-tomorrows-people/future-of-work/assets/reshaping-the-workplace.pdf