This is the week where students review both FEMA’s Whole Community approach and Amanda Ripley’s video on her book “The Unthinkable”. I often wonder if students see the connection between these two assignments. While the Whole Community approach is about preparedness and “The Unthinkable” is about response, there is still an element of community for those who must react to the immediate situation. Community can mean so much more than where we live or work. It’s the dynamic connections of where we are at any point in our day – and whether we are treating those connections as transactional or relational. As one of my former CEOs once said, we are all smarter together!
Whenever I reread the FEMA article, there is another old saying that comes to mind: Everyone’s favorite radio station is WIIFM (And at this point, some students are saying – what’s a radio station – especially now that Tesla and others have decided to start eliminating access to AM radio stations in their cars). And if you were curious as to why radio stations (at least those east of the Mississippi) start with W, you can get the Readers Digest version here.
At any rate, if you haven’t heard this, WIIFM stands for What’s In It For Me – which is how we tend to listen to anything. In a quick internet search, I couldn’t find any reference to the radio station joke so I think that has fallen by the wayside. But people totally understand how WIIFM is used in marketing including when you’re looking for a job. And for those who learn best from video, here’s a brief explanation.
Several of you picked up on that throughout your comments on the Whole Community Approach article. As I mentioned in my response to one student, we can also look for individual state and local products that might be more tailored to our needs. Local knowledge is always going to be key to our success in managing risk.
The other thing that strikes me whenever I review this article is the relationship between emergency management and ecosystems – recognizing how complex they are and requiring a deep understanding of the many factors at work.
Whenever we do the Amanda Ripley assignment, I often share that I found myself in the category of a disbelieving participant in the 2011 Earthquake that impacted DC. I was in an office building and watched the columns shiver. My initial reaction was “Did I just see what I thought I saw?” Not an unreasonable response given I had never before had the experience of being in an earthquake that was large enough to feel. I think this is also related to my lack of response experience. It was easy for me to resonate with many of Amanda’s findings – about children being more confident in their knowledge because they haven’t been socialized to be quiet or doubt their abilities – as well as understanding how to better apply preparedness in my life. Although now that I’ve moved to VT, I can’t say I’m any more prepared for an EQ than I was before.
At any rate, I truly appreciated all of your reflections and insights this week. Thanks for sharing!