How Improv Principles and Startup Culture Reshape Crisis Communications

Back in May RallyEngine’s Marketing Director Steve Hardy and MCSC Executive Director Amanda Pick co-presented Herding Cats, Finding Kids, and Rallying Dispersed Teams in a Crisis to a lovely audience at CPRS’s annual Ascend Summit in beautiful Banff, Alberta. Steve’s part riffed on insights gleaned from this Ipsos study of the Calgary Flood in which the importance of emergent and ad hoc teams …


What is Resilience?

The concept of resilience is key to both organizations and disaster relief efforts. Resilience, or resiliency, is an organization’s ability to react to events, predict future problems, and create value. A resilient organization is able to stay functional and ordered while enduring through changes. Resilience deals with a number of issues like preparedness, security and survivability.


Why You Don’t Need a Mass, Social, or Command Centre Alerting System

It’s generally recognized these days that there are better, more efficient, and more targeted ways to alert and inform dispersed people (colleagues, employees, executives, volunteers, partners, etc.) than with mass email blasts, manual call-trees, or public blog posts. Messages, particularly regarding sensitive or crisis situations, can and should be sent privately, smartly, and to only those to which they’re relevant. …


The Rise of the Virtual Operations Support Team (VOST)

The acronym VOST stands for Virtual Operations Support Team. VOST members are becoming increasingly critical to the successful management of emergencies and disasters. Their efforts help facilitate the recovery from these disruptions through modern communication technologies, especially social media like Twitter, Facebook and other messaging services. They provide support through internet connected devices to workers at emergency and disaster scenes, …

Business continuity lessons from the Moncton and Boston manhunts

Last week in Moncton, New Brunswick, a 24-year-old gunman went on a rampage shooting five RCMP officers, killing three of them and severely injuring the other two. The incident began at 7:20pm and the ensuing manhunt carried on for 28 hours until he was captured. As chronicled on Wikipedia: “Up to 300 police personnel were involved in the search. Pedestrians and …


Internal Communications and the Impacts on Disaster Management

Disasters present the ultimate challenge to emergency response capability. Time is of the essence, the usual communication pathways are generally disrupted, and the speedy mobilization of emergency equipment and responders may mean the difference between life and death. Even when the stakes are a lot less dramatic, an organization’s lack of effective crisis communication can have long-term negative impacts particularly …


Nenshi vs Ford: A tale of two cities’ disaster response

Comparisons between Calgary’s Naheed Nenshi and Toronto’s Rob Ford started years ago when each was elected mayor. Now, with 2013’s record breaking floods in their respective cities, they again are under public scrutiny for their handling of the disaster responses. Toronto’s July 8th flash flood swamped commuters and knocked out power for almost 500,000 people, while Alberta’s June river flood …