Star Power

Using public figures as examples to teach emergency management can be a useful tool for students of leadership and management, writes fire department shift captain Randall Hanifen in EDM Digest.

He points to two very different examples of such figures -- former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and investor Warren Buffett -- as case studies for emergency management students.

In the case of Giuliani, Hanifen references the former mayor's leadership during the World Trade Center attack.

"Although Giuliani took the limelight, he had placed directors below him who could think ahead to a potential crisis and provide the information he needed in a quick fashion. Good preparation is the hallmark of crisis communication and resolution," writes Hanifen. "If you make up information or try to gain information as a crisis unfolds, the public senses the unpreparedness and loses faith in their leaders' abilities. That is what happened to Michael Brown, the former FEMA director, during Hurricane Katrina."

The other example, Warren Buffett, demonstrates the need for technical acumen in different fields to bring a wide array of expertise to challenges of disaster management. "Emergency managers once were the police and fire chiefs who were promoted to emergency management," writes Hanifen. "While there are some positives and negatives from that former practice, we now have a wide range of people entering emergency management through degree programs."