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

A Conversation with Kay

December 30, 2010

By Matthew Ricci-

MCNY President Vinton Thompson, Dean Humphrey Crookendale, and Program Director Ali Gheith, welcomed a small number of students and faculty members from the MPA in Emergency & Disaster Management (EDM) program, who had the pleasure of being part of an intimate conversation with Kay Goss, CEM—the former Associate Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  Ms. Goss made herself available to members of the program to give the opportunity to share the work of our faculty and students, and give some feedback to how we can further develop our program.

Those in attendance included Professors Chuck Frank, Mick Maurer, Lorraine Motola, and Johnny Velez. The students in attendance were Bibi Leslie, Matthew Ricci, and Dilshad Jafarly, who were joined by alum Matthew Khaled, CEM. All were very grateful, not only for her having taken the time, but in her approachable demeanor and thoughtful advice – backed by years of pioneering the professionalization of the field.

At FEMA Kay Goss was in-charge of the National Preparedness, Training and Exercises Directorate, a position she held from 1994, when appointed by President Clinton, until 2001. She is currently the Senior Advisor for Emergency Management and Continuity Programs at SRT International, and has served as an adjunct professor at many institutions, including the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Ms. Goss who is very enthused about international programs also teaches at Istanbul Technical University (ITU) in person and via distance learning. Additionally, Ms. Goss is the Chair of the Education and Training Committee and member of the CEM Commission of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM).

The conversation started with an explanation of MCNY’s history as a program, starting with the creation of the curriculum after the 9/11 attacks, up to present day. Faculty and students discussed the program’s long term aspirations, history of overseas class projects in Israel, and future projects in Chile, England, and other countries. Ms. Goss shared the enthusiasm in further developing the program, and offered her own anecdotes about the history of education and professionalization in emergency management. The discussion was also about the successes of our six (6) international students that were brought over from Haiti to obtain an advanced degree in emergency management to implement academic concepts and theories in a practical setting once they return (to Haiti) with new skills and tools to help in the recovery effort and other phases of Comprehensive Emergency Management.

Ms. Goss also took the time to connect with each student in the room, beginning with very helpful advice of how to approach our Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) credentialing. She gave excellent advice to one student who had recently found success in creating a Business Continuity program at her organization.  This author personally benefited from her generous support with advice concerning documenting and publishing an upcoming trip to Hospital Bernard Mevs, a trauma/critical care hospital in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti.

With the program’s leadership constantly looking to stay current and find new approaches for ongoing development of the EDM program, the take away from such an accomplished and helpful woman as Ms. Goss was an extremely beneficial experience.

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Posted by Disaster Central in Emergency Management Planning, Emergency Preparedness, Government, Homeland Security, Interview, MCNY EDM Program. 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.

Tabletop Exercise at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center

October 18, 2010

The MPA in Emergency and Disaster Management Program had another successful hands-on event on October 7, 2010.  Purpose 2 students and Professor Contreras led a Tabletop exercise focusing on an evacuation due to a bomb threat for the leadership staff at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center.  Approximately 20 staff members participated including the Chief Operating Officer, Harold McDonald.

Although the event started after normal work hours on a Thursday before a holiday weekend (at 500PM), the participants were initially apprehensive about the exercise but eventually became fully engaged in the discussion-based exercise.

The tabletop exercise was facilitated by MCNY graduate students Jack Finkelstein and Cliff Miller.  The remaining Purpose 2 students, Najeeb Abubakar, Dilshad Jafarly, Madeline Tavarez and Jazzlyn Martinez, served as observers, evaluators and recorders.  It was an interesting and valuable experience for all participants.  Professor Contreras led the hotwash immediately after the exercise.  A comprehensive After Action Report (AAR) will be prepared by the class and submitted to the hospital within 30 days.

The exercise finally ended at 8:30 PM and a quick debriefing was conducted.  All of the hospital staff was motivated to have more exercises.  That being said, this tabletop exercise was a precursor for an evacuation drill to be held in November.  Hospital staff was quick to acknowledge that this exercise was a very worthwhile activity.  Among other healthcare-specific issues, the importance of the Incident Command System and NIMS were highlighted.

Congratulations to all of the members of Purpose 2 for a job well done!

MCNY-EDM Purpose 2 Students and Professor Contreras at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center

MCNY E &DM Purpose 2 students and Professor Contreras pose for a picture after a successful tabletop exercise at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center on October 7, 2010.

Staff at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center

Staff at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center participated in a Tabletop Exercise facilitated by MCNY Emergency and Disaster Management students on October 7, 2010.

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Posted by Disaster Central in Emergency Management Planning, Emergency Preparedness, Events, MCNY EDM Program. 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.

Learning to Be Your Own Best Defense in a Disaster – NYTimes Article

August 5, 2008

In the August 5, 2008, edition of The New York Times, Tara Parker-Pope published an interesting and enlightening article titled, “Learning to Be Your Own Best Defense in a Disaster.”  The article can be accessed at:   http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/05/health/05well.html?em

In the interests of enhanced preparedness for everyone, Disaster Central encourages its reader to take a moment to read it.

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Posted by Disaster Central in Emergency Preparedness. 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.

Financial Incentives

June 2, 2008

With increasing frequency, communities are turning to the tax code to affect changes in (largely undesirable) social behaviors.  Since 2002, for example, New York City has followed a policy of implementing deterrent tax rises in its ongoing efforts to end smoking in the five boroughs.  According to figures released by the New York City Mayor’s office, these deterrent tax increases have reduced smoking by some 30% – although it should be noted that there is some variance in these figures.  At the same time, the deterrent tax increases have added significant funds to the City’s treasury, with a portion of this revenue earmarked for smoking-cessation programs.

Given the success of New York City’s efforts to control social behavior through the selective implementation of the tax code, do you believe a similar model should be applied to enhancing emergency preparedness in New York City?  For businesses and other organizations, failure to implement business continuity, preparedness, response, and recovery protocols would result in the imposition of tax surcharges and increases that could then be applied to improving preparedness, response, and recovery levels in those respective firms.  In another example, those high-rise buildings that have yet to install communications systems and radio-repeaters would be assessed a sky-high (no pun intended) tax surcharge in order to force them to better protect both their tenants and our first responders and public safety personnel during response and recovery periods.  A similar plan could be applied to private homes.  After all, just as smoking represents a public health hazard, so does a lack of emergency preparedness in New York City.

How far are you willing to go to provide yourself, your family, and friends with safe working and living environments?  Do you support this initiative?  Do you believe it would improve safety and preparedness in New York City?  In terms of public health, New York City has indicated that it has no intention of “simply blowing smoke.”  Has the time come to expand this approach to achieving higher levels of emergency preparedness in New York City?  Disaster Central welcomes your thoughts on this.

Professor Longshore

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Posted by Disaster Central in Emergency Preparedness. 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.

2008 North Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Season

June 2, 2008

On June 1, the 2008 North Atlantic tropical cyclone season began.  While there have, of course, been instances where hurricanes, tropical storms, and tropical depressions have formed outside of the June-November season, the bulk of tropical systems in the Atlantic occur within this six month period.  Although the seasonal peak for New York and the northeastern United States comes in August and September, now is the time to take a moment to review your preparedness levels as they pertain to tropical cyclone activity.  The New York City Office of Emergency Management (NYC OEM) provides New Yorkers with useful information on those steps that must (not should) be taken to better protect your family, friends, and property in the event a hurricane or tropical storm “sets its sights” on the Big Apple.  Please keep in mind that a mature-stage tropical cyclone can extend several hundred miles across, so even if the eyewall should pass away from your location, you can still be affected by high winds, heavy rains, and high surf conditions.  NYC OEM’s excellent website can be accessed using the link on Disaster Central’s menu bar.  Remember, preparedness is a decision best made early, so make the decision today to be better prepared tomorrow!

Have you ever experienced first hand the effects of a hurricane or tropical storm?  If so, please share your experiences with Disaster Central.  As the lessons of Emergency Management and Homeland Security are largely experiential in nature, it’s important that readers understand the mechanics and nature of tropical cyclones – and one of the best ways to accomplish this is through a sharing of such experiences.

Professor Longshore

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Posted by Disaster Central in Emergency Preparedness, 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.

Welcome, Commissioner Bruno!

May 15, 2008

The MPA program in Emergency and Disaster Management at Metropolitan College of New York (MCNY) is pleased to welcome Joseph F. Bruno, Commissioner of the New York City Office of Emergency Management (NYC OEM), as the keynote speaker for our first annual Emergency Management and Homeland Security Symposium, to be held June 18, 2008, at MCNY’s campus in lower Manhattan.  In the time that he has served as Commissioner, Mr. Bruno and his team of professionals have worked to effectively educate the people and systems of New York City on how to be better prepared in the face of natural, human, and technological emergencies. Commissioner Bruno’s presentation is part of NYC OEM’s continuing mission to provide New York City with the finest in emergency management.  MCNY is excited by this important educational opportunity.  Thank you, Commissioner!

Please stay tuned to MCNY’s Disaster Central blog for more details (including how to register) on our upcoming symposium.

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Posted by Disaster Central in Emergency Management Planning, Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security. 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.

Welcome to Disaster Management Blog

March 20, 2008

I’m Professor Ali Gheith, director of the MPA program in Emergency Management and Homeland Security at Metropolitan College of New York (MCNY), and I cordially welcome you to our Emergency Management blog, Disaster Central. It’s a catchy name, I know, but particularly so because of the vital subject matter it covers.

Right now at Disaster Central, we’re discussing numerous general topics relating to Emergency Management and Homeland Security, such as:

  • Counter-Terrorism and Anti-Terrorism
  • Maritime Domain Protection
  • Intelligence and Information-Sharing
  • Emergency Management Planning
  • Airline and Transportation Security
  • Critical Infrastructure Protection
  • Public Sector Continuity
  • Exercise Design
  • Human Services
  • Evacuation and Sheltering
  • Emergency Preparedness

Within each of these topics, Disaster Central features themed discussions that draw upon historical, operational, cultural, economic, philosophical, technological, political, and other sources and examples to create an on-line forum for the advancement of knowledge, insights, and wisdom relating to the Emergency Management and Homeland Security disciplines.

Disaster Central also posts topics relating to past emergency management and homeland security events, including historic natural, human-made, and technological disasters. In these posts, participants can discuss the circumstances behind some of history’s catastrophes, both large and small, as well as the often-harsh lessons learned.

Disaster Central is also a resource for information relating to MCNY’s MPA program in Emergency Management and Homeland Security, and on how you can apply for admission to this selective program.

While one of the cardinal rules in politics is never make it personal, and never take it personally, Disaster Central respectfully requests that participants avoid engaging in personal attacks, threats, inflammatory language, and other unprofessional behaviors that can hinder an intelligent and relevant discourse on emergency management and homeland security topics. This includes the use of profanity. Thank you in advance for your professional cooperation, and welcome to Disaster Central, MCNY’s Emergency Management and Homeland Security blog.

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Posted by Disaster Central in Airline Security, Anti-Terrorism, Counter-Terrorism, Critical Infrastructure Protection, Emergency Management Planning, Emergency Preparedness, Exercise Design, Homeland Security, Human Services, Intelligence and Information-Sharing, Maritime Domain Protection, Natural Disasters, Public Sector Continuity, Sheltering. 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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