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The 2022 ASIS Book of the Year Makes Emergency Management Personal

Emergencies crop up every day, and the interconnected nature of today’s world—from supply chains to social media—means that security professionals and emergency managers will need to be more prepared than ever to handle the shock waves.

To help the next generation of practitioners, a group of security experts collaborated on the second edition of Principles of Emergency Management and Emergency Operations Centers, this year’s ASIS Security Industry Book of the Year Award winner.

The first edition of Principles of Emergency Management and Emergency Operations Centers was released more than a decade ago, and times have changed, says Michael J. Fagel, PhD, CEM, one of the book’s three editors. The emergency preparedness community was still finding its footing after Hurricane Katrina hit the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2005, and as emergency planning, leadership, coordination, and communication has changed, so too changed the need for guidance.

“We keep improving the planning team and who we want to be on that,” Fagel tells the GSX Daily.

“Threats and vulnerabilities are also evolving. That was a total rewrite of those chapters because the threats of 2022 don't look like the threats of 2010 or 2011. It’s an evolving landscape. You just need to walk on the show floor at GSX to see it. I’ve been a member of ASIS for over 40 years, and I can see how the landscape changes…. You see how we’re evolving. Well, this book has done the same thing. This book has evolved because we’re talking about how your emergency operations plans must be a process. It can’t be just that book you did and put it up on the bookshelf and it's done. It’s an evolutionary process.”

The second edition of the book includes new information on terrorism and coordinated attacks, as well as a strong emphasis on public health and safety. Fagel and his coauthors added more about coordinating efforts with other departments and stakeholders on blue sky days, so that organizations are prepared for an emergency long before it strikes.

The call for greater coordination also changed the form of leadership that supports emergency preparedness, Fagel says.

This book has evolved because we’re talking about how your emergency operations plans must be a process..

“We feel this book is a compendium of how to be better prepared,” he notes. “We want to help make people think about things that they may never have thought of before. I learn every single day… Every time I teach a class, I learn.”

This philosophy of unending education has helped Fagel and his coauthors consider new angles, new threats, and new possibilities within emergency management as they wrote the book and educate the next generation of security leaders. Everyone who participated in writing Principles of Emergency Management and Emergency Operations Centers, 2nd Edition, is an educator—whether they are in the classroom or in the field.

“We want everybody to understand that safety does not stop at the doorway,” he says. “Safety belongs to every single person there.”

For Fagel, this mission is quite personal—he worked at Ground Zero for 100 days following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He says it is humbling to receive the Book of the Year award at GSX so near the anniversary of 9/11.

“That is not lost on me,” Fagel says. “That is a fitting remembrance to those who perished before us,” including Christine Petitti, who shared her expertise as a safety chief for multiple U.S. federal departments for the book before she died in 2020.

“This whole book is about survival,” Fagel adds. “This whole book is about being better tomorrow than you are today. That is the entire thrust of this volume. It’s to make the world a safer and better place. That really, truly is what drove every one of us.”

Want to learn more? Meet Fagel—as well as coauthors Rick C. Mathews and J. Howard Murphy—at a book signing on Monday, 12 September, at GSX in the ASIS Bookstore from 11:00 a.m. to noon ET.

Claire Meyer is managing editor of Security Management, which publishes The GSX Daily. Connect with her at [email protected] or on LinkedIn.