Thursday, November 26, 2009

Toronto Emergency Management Symposium, Day Two

Another interesting day at the Old Mill Inn ...

Started with a keynote from Peter Power, a major player in emergency management and biz continuity planning from the UK ... ex-copper ...with lots of experience in crisis management (he co-invented the gold - silver - bronze command structure ) ... very entertaining speaker ... lots of jokes and anecdotes ... a big hit with the crowd ... perhaps a bit light on actual concrete learning ... but not the best forum for that ...

As surprising (and refreshing ... see post from yesterday) outlook on the use of social media from a member of the Toronto Police Service. Tim Burrows is at the forefront of the effective use of new tools to reach new audiences by police routine communications as well as in time of crisis. He's got a good degree of latitude from his superiors on how to do that ... find him on LinkedIn ... and here's his blog:

Speaking right after lunch was Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, Dr David McKeown. He reflected, among other things, on the communications challenges around H1N1 ... first, how you communicate about risks ... and obviously, the difficulties in putting out uniform messaging when many levels of government are involved (municipal, provincial and federal) ... his observations on the fight against the current flu pandemic somewhat restored my faith in the ability of public health officials and agencies to communicate effectively. He also gave a pretty thorough update on the pandemic situation and the efforts to immunize the population.

Some highlights:
  1. herd immunity concept ... don't need to force everyone to get immunized
  2. Toronto public health has had more than 800 meetings with groups of stakeholders since the pandemic began ... that's great outreach
  3. they undertook largest immunization campaign in their history
  4. talked about revising pandemic planning ... always had been focused on "worst case scenario" and what that entails re: school closures,workplace issues ... critical infrastructure ... but what do you do when you deal with the "best case scenario" in a not-so-virulent pandemic such as the current one? how do you revise your plans on the fly ? Jimmy Jazz has blogged on this ...
  5. it was hard to calibrate messaging ... one day ... lukewarm interest in immunization but after the deaths of two teens in Ontario ... sudden outpouring of concern and stress resulting in huge lineups to get the flu shots ... how do you adjust your messaging ?

Finally, a very illuminating presentation by a Toronto Police Service officer specializing in intel and anti/counter-terrorism. Lots of experience across the planet ... including with the NYPD ...

Some scary stuff out there ... really drove home the point about not being too complacent here in Canada about the risk/threat of terrorism ... it's here and some groups are very active ... with the G8 and G20 summits coming to Ontario next year ... that's a challenge for us at the Integrated Security Unit.

He noted some particular challenges in interoperability and cooperation between different agencies ...

It was informative and somewhat comforting to see that police and security agenc`ies are "on the ball" ! A big thanks to all of you guys and girls !

No comments:

Post a Comment