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The MPA in Emergency and Disaster Management
Disaster Central
MCNY's Emergency and Disaster Management Blog

FEMA L363 course, “Multi-Hazard Emergency Planning for Higher Education.” Hosted at MCNY

March 4, 2013

From February 5-7 2013, Metropolitan College of New York hosted the three-day FEMA course, “Multi-Hazard Emergency Planning for Higher Education.” Nearly over a dozen colleges and universities from within the Tri-State area attended. The instructors used highly interactive presentations coupled with numerous individual and small-group practice activities and class exercises to ensure that participants developed a high level of mastery.

Group picture of the participants and instructors of the FEMA L363 course hosted at MCNY in February, 2013

Group picture of the participants and instructors of the FEMA L363 course hosted at MCNY in February, 2013

The course was specifically designed to highlight the importance of an emergency plan that meets the unique needs of an Institution of Higher Education. In addition, the instructors guided attendees on how to identify hazards that presented risks for Institutions of Higher Education; provided suggestions on creating partnerships with stakeholders; the steps necessary to identifying and assembling a planning team; the process involved in developing or revising a multi-hazard Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) in addition to developing and implementing a strategy for training and testing the EOP and shared some lessons learned on how to engage the academic community in the essential elements of emergency planning.

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Posted by Ali Gheith in Disaster Central. Comments Off

Ali Gheith is the Director of MPA in Emergency and Disaster Management at Metropolitan College of New York.

Joe Flood of “The Fires” – Part II

December 8, 2010

Joe Flood - The Fires

“Standing on the roof or floor above a blaze is the most dangerous place a fireman can position himself. Before the terrorists attacks of September 11th, 2001, the deadliest day in the history of the Fire Department of New York came when the first floor of a brownstone apartment building collapsed into a burning basement below, killing twelve firemen. Most of the deadliest blazes for American firefighters… were all collapses. But getting above the fire is precisely what the “Truckies” of a ladder company like Billy O’Connor’s do for a living.” –Joe Flood, The Fires


Chris Horan — On Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010, book author Joe Flood stood at a podium in the front of a packed room at Metropolitan College of New York, reading from the first chapter of his book, The Fires. His audience was composed of Emergency Management students and professors from the graduate program at MCNY, as well as visiting guests from the field.

The opening chapter of the book, from which Mr. Flood was reading, tells the story of a city in turmoil and its’ firefighters during a period of history the FDNY refers to as “The War Years”. During this period, budgetary limitations, mistakes, and corruption left the city vulnerable to a plague of fires which turned areas, including large portions of the South Bronx, to ashy rubble. The city was struggling to manage and contain fires, poverty, crime, and outbreaks of disease. At that time the city was in the early stages of using computational analysis to make policy decisions, with The Fires taking a look at the work of the RAND Corporation and the role it played.

Putting down the text, Flood points out that he originally was motivated to look into the possibility of racism being behind the politics that allowed so many fires to burn, but that as he researched more deeply, he found that truth to be far less complicated; it was political ineptitude. The use of computational analysis is important, he argued that policy decisions cannot be based on numbers alone; they lack “humanity and context”. Flood found that a “utopian, machinistic policy”, wherein computers could solve all of mankind’s trouble, was in vogue at the time. Use of these new ideas and techniques to counteract the policies of poor spending, left effects that can still be seen in the five boroughs today, in neighborhoods that never truly recovered.

The evenings’ discussion touched on race, politics, disease, pestilence, firefighting procedure, and economics from a period in time many modern New Yorkers may have forgotten. The dark times for the city in the 1960’s and 1970’s cannot be summed up in one book, though the smell of charred wood and ruined lives rises from the very pages of Joe Flood’s work. However, standing before his attentive audience, Mr. Flood was able to give life to a reality modern New Yorkers, in this field and others, hope never to see again.

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Posted by Disaster Central in Disaster Central, Events, Government. Comments Off

Disaster Central is also a resource for information relating to MCNY’s MPA program in Emergency Management and Homeland Security, as well as providing insight and commentary on the topics of Disaster Management, Emergency Management and Homeland Security.

Joe Flood of “The Fires”

November 16, 2010

Metropolitan of New York (MCNY) MPA Emergency & Disaster Management announces reading/talk with book author Joe Flood (joe-flood.com) of “The Fires on Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010 from 6-8 PM at 431 Canal Street – Room 11K.

A former Bronx-based journalist examines the epidemic of fires that swept New York City in the 1960s and ’70s. Flood focuses on John O’Hagan, the fire commissioner who presided over the worst of “the Wars,” as the era is known in FDNY lore. Ambitious and self-educated, O’Hagan came up from the ranks to become the youngest chief in the department’s history.

When reformer John Lindsay was elected mayor in 1966, O’Hagan, who strongly believed in the use of statistics and systems analysis to organize the department, became one of his leading allies. The new mayor sought the advice of the RAND Corporation, the legendary think tank that had made its reputation analyzing nuclear warfare for the Air Force. On the surface, it was a perfect alliance. RAND needed new clients, Lindsay needed a blueprint for rational government and O’Hagan needed support for his ideas for making firefighting a scientific discipline. But as Flood shows, the reformers’ characteristic weakness was a lack of the local knowledge that had been the bread and butter of the machine politicians they had ousted.

The author writes that harried fire captains, given stopwatches to time how long it took their men to reach a fire scene, often lost or broke them, then submitted figures they thought made them look good. RAND whiz kids used simplified formulas to analyze the flawed data they received. O’Hagan, eager to help Lindsay cut the city’s bloated budget, used the RAND results to close down firehouses he already ‘knew’ were underperforming-which often turned out to be the ones where union leaders were based.

Flood casts a wide net, looking into New York machine politics, the development of systems analysis, the dynamics of urban growth and an array of unexpected byways of NYC history. While his conclusions perhaps go to far in generalizing from the excesses of Lindsay and RAND to condemn liberal reformers as a group, Flood provides a riveting look inside one of the most challenging eras of recent NYC history. Important reading for anyone who cares about cities and how they are governed.” -Kirkus

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Posted by Disaster Central in Disaster Central, Disaster Preparedness, Emergency Management Planning, Events, Natural Disasters. Comments Off

Disaster Central is also a resource for information relating to MCNY’s MPA program in Emergency Management and Homeland Security, as well as providing insight and commentary on the topics of Disaster Management, Emergency Management and Homeland Security.

MPA Emergency and Disaster Management Program has reached another milestone!

September 28, 2010

The program recently hosted the Certified Emergency Management designation prep class and examination and the following professors, alumni and students have passed: Prof. Joan M. Thomas; Jean Paul Roggiero; Derek Powers; Prof. George Contreras; Ruben de la Concha; Matthew Khaled

Having this designation is a major accomplishment for any Emergency Management practitioner and more and more is becoming a professional hiring requirement.

With this in mind the EDM department will continue to sponsor prep classes and proctor exams and is now holding documentation review classes for students, faculty, staff and alumni of MCNY.

For more information, please contact program director Ali Gheith at

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Posted by Disaster Central in Disaster Central, Emergency Management Planning, Events. Comments Off

Disaster Central is also a resource for information relating to MCNY’s MPA program in Emergency Management and Homeland Security, as well as providing insight and commentary on the topics of Disaster Management, Emergency Management and Homeland Security.

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