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WCDM 2015 Presentation: The Herd of Cats

Last week RallyEngine co-founder Steve Hardy presented The Herd of Cats to a great audience at the World Conference on Disaster Management in Toronto. He’s writing a book about the fascinating, surprisingly-overlapping worlds of entrepreneurs, improvisers, and disaster managers. Here is the session’s synopsis: The Herd of Cats: Startups, Improv, and Disasters The strange, fringe worlds of tech startups and …

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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, …

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Black Swans: Unpredictable, Game-changing, and Foreseeable (in Hindsight)

While most people have heard of the term “black swan”, few understand what it means. The phrase stems from the previously held belief that all swans were white in color, as this was the only color of swan that human beings had observed. In 1697, Willem de Vlamingh discovered black colored swans in Australia. This was the first recognized black …

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The Value of Social Capital and Emergent Groups

Last week we had the pleasure to attend the World Conference on Disaster Management (WCDM) at the Metro Convention Centre in Toronto. Great event! The diversity of delegates’ disciplines, the international perspectives, and the quality of sessions were all excellent. Although the Disaster Management field can at times be a fairly diverse mix of Risk Management, Business Continuity, Crisis Communications, Emergency …

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Are Natural Disasters Actually Becoming More Common, or Does It Just Feel That Way?

Recently, it seems like every time one turns on CNN or checks their social media sites, they are bombarded by the news of a natural disaster somewhere in the world. Massive earthquakes, 20 foot high tsunamis, raging wildfires, devastating hurricanes, severe droughts, and exploding volcanoes.  What’s going on? Are there really more disasters happening now then there were a generation ago? Depending on how …

The upside of down: why resilience is important

This is a world full of uncertainty. Nothing is stable, and the only guarantee is that everything is constantly changing. Change cannot happen if things don’t fall apart. If people don’t take action with resilience and determination, then nothing productive would ever happen. But how do you pull through when things seem like they are at their worst? How does one …

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An inside look at an incident command center

Natural and man-made incidents can happen at anytime and anyplace. Getting the word out on how to prepare for an incident is not always possible, especially in the wake of unpredictable situations such as terrorist attacks or earthquakes. In these situations, instructions normally come after the incident, which include evacuation details, emergency service details, and news updates. An Incident Command …