Wednesday, July 7, 2010

From Hurricane Katrina to BP

In light of the ongoing BP oil disaster and experiences the wildland fire community has had with national disasters such as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, this January 2010 video with FEMA's Craig Fugate which is located on The Washington Post's "On Leadership" website should generate some interesting discussion in our leadership circles.

Here are a few quotes and topics that may "spark" your interest.
  • "I think that you go big."

  • "Respond like it's bad; gear down."

  • Use of thunderbolt drills: "You've got to allow them to fail. If we're not exercising to the point of failure, how do we know when it breaks?"

  • Government-centric response to disasters

Check out the video for yourself at

After you have watched the video, consider yourself as a wildland fire leader in the interviewee seat. How would you respond to Steve Pearlstein's questions? They are adapted below:

  • What did the wildland fire service learn from Hurricane Katrina?

  • What do you think about the effectiveness of emergency preparedness drills?

  • How do you feel about pushing your team to the point of failure?

  • What lessons learned from our involvement in all-risk incidents can be translated to a business/non-emergency oriented organization in terms of something really bad going on?

  • What are your feelings about what Fugate calls a government-centric response to disasters?

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