Contemporary Views on Emergency Management
The author of these next two week’s material, Ian Mitroff, is an interesting individual. His website calls him ‘the father
of emergency management’ or similar. While perhaps somewhat of a grandiose claim, there’s no denying that he has
been an important figure in the development of the way we think of disaster response today.
However, his message has changed. His earlier work, which was used in the presentation of earlier versions of this
class for many years, basically echoed the traditional concepts of ‘response, recovery, restoration, and mitigation’ put
forth by many authors, although probably with slightly different names or in a different sequence. He has come to
recognize that this view of the process is insufficient. Now, he asserts that emotional cognizance is a critical feature of
our ability to respond; that creativity is an under-recognized skill that must be present in planning; that one must
embrace the natural uncertainty or ‘fuzziness’ that will always be present; and that spirituality will play a significant if
not critical role in a person’s or organization’s ability to recover and heal.
It’s a perspective that the dispassionate technicians among us probably are not used to dealing with. For some, it’s
going to be a stretch. That’s ok. We refine our knowledge and skills all the time. That’s why we’re here in this setting
called academia. We also have to acknowledge and accept that the world isn’t getting any less complex to deal with,
and so the professional knowledge we need to succeed isn’t going to get any simpler either.
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