Category Archives: Uncategorized

ICS Training Sucks… So Let’s Fix It

To be honest, a lot of EM training sucks. There is way too much linear thinking in the field and training and ways of working both need an overhaul.

Exploring Emergency Management & Homeland Security

A great many of you are familiar with the piece I wrote in June called Incident Command System Training Sucks.  In it, I identify that the foundational ICS courses (ICS-100 through ICS-400 – but especially ICS-300 and ICS-400) simply do not provide the skills training that emergency managers across all disciplines require to utilize the system efficiently, effectively, and comfortably.  ICS Training Sucks turned out to be a popular piece which had a great deal of support from the first responder and emergency management community – which I am very grateful for.  The amount of comments and feedback was indicative to me that I was on the right track and that I need to revisit the topic and explore more.

At the center of my argument stands Bloom’s Taxonomy.  Bloom’s is a learning hierarchy which helps to identify the depth of instruction and learning.  Here is Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy.  We’ll…

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California wildfires could spell disaster for local winemakers


The raging wildfires in California pose the biggest threat to residents and communities, but they also could be putting the state’s multibillion dollar wine business in jeopardy.

Vintners nears Napa Valley are concerned that the billows of smoke from the giant Rocky fire that’s so far burned 69,600 acres in Lake, Yolo, and Colusa counties could pose a risk to their grapes since the skin of red grapes—that’s now coming in contact with smoke—is used in the winemaking process. There’s worry that the smoke exposure could result in abnormal flavors. To be sure, winemakers are sending their grapes to laboratories to evaluate if the smoke is ruining their product, the Guardian reports.

California has already seen 4,200 wildfires this year—1,500 more than normal.

If the smoke proves damaging to California’s grapes, the consequences could be dramatic. The state sold $24 billion worth of wine last year, and…

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This video of a baby elephant chasing birds will make your day

Therapy for those of us who have to read about and watch videos of destruction more than we’d like….


A South African elephant is winning the Internet thanks to a video showing the baby chasing a flock of swallows in Kruger National Park

Kruger Sightings shared the video with the caption, “With this week being so sad after the loss of a great animal, Cecil the lion, we thought we would cheer everyone up with a video that will make you cry of happiness, rather than sadness.”

The video has been viewed over 1 million times.

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Washington man arrested after bizarre standoff involving banjo

Hello Vancouver!

Q13 FOX News

VANCOUVER, Wash. — A Vancouver man was taken into police custody after a standoff that featured the suspect serenading officers with a banjo, KPTV reports.

Officers were called to the 8500 block of NE 36th Circle on Sunday after reports of a naked man walking around with a knife. When they arrived at the man’s home, he refused to surrender.

Neighbors saw the man, identified by police as Andrew Helmsworth, yelling at officers, and said at one point, Helmsworth walked outside with a banjo, which he played for the officers.

Witnesses said the officers eventually subdued Helmsworth with what appeared to be a non-lethal round and took him into custody.

According to police, the investigation revealed that Helmsworth had assaulted a family member.

Helmsworth was arrested on a charge of felony assault and lodged at the Clark County Jail, police said.

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University of Saskatchewan professor calls for wildfire strategy

Global News

SASKATOON – A University of Saskatchewan professor hopes an external review is conducted on the province’s long-term wildfire strategy. Wildfires in northern Saskatchewan forced the evacuation of over 13,000 people earlier this year.

Toddi Steelman, an environment and sustainability professor at the university, said a review should be conducted on all phases of wildfire response at a local, federal and international level.

READ MORE: NDP calls for independent review of Saskatchewan Party’s wildfire response

Steelman hopes the review doesn’t just focus on this year’s wildfire situation but on the future as she expects similar fire seasons to occur.

“What the climate change models predict is that we are going to see larger wildfires and more intense fires over time and that’s exactly what we saw this year,” said Steelman.

“Really dry year, low humidity, lots of wind and it’s the perfect conditions for fire.”

The Saskatchewan government has stated it…

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Americans Less Annoyed With Facebook Than Last Year, Still Dislike LinkedIn

I don’t dislike LinkedIn. I dislike people “networking” by asking to connect to me without knowing me. That is not networking; it is artificially increasing your following.

Americans Less Annoyed With Facebook Than Last Year, Still Dislike LinkedIn

I don’t dislike LinkedIn. I dislike people “networking” by asking to connect to me without knowing me. That is not networking; it is artificially increasing your following.

Planting trees with drones

So, yeah. If you want to fly your drone around forests, this would be a better thing to do than to interfere with firefighters’ work….


Photo credit: Science Alert

New project plans to plant one billion trees a year using drone technology

Time for some industrial scale REforestation.

30 APR 2015

US-based organisation, BioCarbon Engineering, has announced that it will begin planting one billion trees per year using drone technology, in an effort to combat the massive levels of deforestation that have affected many of the world’s jungles, bushlands, and forests.

Led by ex-NASA engineer, Lauren Fletcher, the team looked at the issue of how rapidly trees are being felled, and reasoned that on their own, people aren’t able to combat the problem. So why not use technology to combat technology? “We are going to counter industrial scale deforestation using industrial scale reforestation,”they say on their website. “Destruction of global forests from lumber, mining, agriculture, and urban expansion destroys 26 billion trees each year. We believe that this industrial scale…

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Lessons From a Town That Runs on Social Media


We recently visited a small Spanish town that is using social media in a new way. Our research lab is studying the town to learn how these technologies might help communities around the world become more responsive to their citizens. This is a brief report on what we know so far.

For the last four years, a town in southern Spain has been conducting a remarkable experiment in civic life. Jun (pronounced “hoon”) has been using Twitter as its principal medium for citizen-government communication. Leading the effort is Jun’s Mayor, José Antonio Rodríguez Salas, a passionate believer in the power of technology to solve problems and move society forward.

Since launching the initiative in 2011, Rodríguez Salas has been recruiting his 3,500 townspeople to not only join the social network but have their Twitter accounts locally verified at town hall. This extra step isn’t necessary to participate in the…

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AFTERSHOCK: A Humanitarian Crisis Game is now available for order!

This looks really interesting (though a tad on the pricey side). Hat tip to Brad Sweet for the link.


We are very, very pleased to announced that AFTERSHOCK: A Humanitarian Crisis Game is now available from The Game Crafter. Click the image below to visit the order page.


Tom Fisher and I would like to thank everyone who assisted with the development AFTERSHOCK. Many of the initial ideas for this game came from participants in the “Game Lab” at the Connections 2012 interdisciplinary wargaming conference at National Defense University, which focused on humanitarian assistance/disaster relief operations during the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Special thanks are due to Game Lab co-facilitators David Becker, Brant Guillory, Ty Mayfield, Gary Milante, Joshua Riojas, and Brian Train. The game also drew inspiration from the Crisis Response humanitarian assistance card game developed by Gary Milante and from the Zombiton NHS zombies-in-a-hospital game developed with Jessica Barton.

The design of the game was refined with input from a large group of playtesters. These included attendees at subsequent Connections and Connections…

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