The Emergency Management Network
The Emergency Management Network Podcast
From the Front Lines to Frontline Careers:

From the Front Lines to Frontline Careers:

A Veteran’s Journey into Emergency Management

 Dscript produced the transcripts; some of the paragraphs were lightly edited from the audio version for easy reading. However, the spirit of the conversation is the same. There are conversations about mental health, suicide and the impact of disasters on our fellow humans.

Welcome everyone to the Emergency Management Network podcast, your go-to source for all things related to disaster management and helping you create a disaster-resilient community.thein-depth 

 Welcome everyone to the Emergency Management Network podcast, your go-to source for all things related to disaster management and helping you create a disaster-resilient community.  We are the trusted voice in emergency management as we continue to grow, evolve and enhance your listening experience. 

We're introducing a few changes that will bring even more depth and insight to the conversations that matter the most in our field.  We're expanding our format to include in-depth interviews with leaders and pioneers in emergency management. We'll delve into detailed discussions that impact disaster policy and tackle current challenges.

Topics and explore the cutting edge of our field.  We want to hear from you during this conversation and the EMN substack page, where you can read articles, leave comments, and become part of the growing community for those who want more from EMN.  We encourage you to become a paid supporter, and your contributions will not only help us keep the conversation going but also enable us to bring you more content that you love and the expert insights you need.

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The commitment helps us continue to bring these crucial discussions to you. So whether you're a professional in the field, a policymaker, or someone with a keen interest in emergency management, there's something here for everyone. Be sure to follow us on Substack and consider supporting us in accessing exclusive content and insider information. 

This week, I was interviewed by Christina Silva, who graciously permitted me to share this entire conversation.  Stepping into the interviewee's shoes was a refreshing challenge for me,  and our dialogue was genuinely impactful. We delved into some intense topics, though, including mental health and suicide prevention, with a particular focus on the veteran community.

And how they can transition and explore a career in emergency management,  a field that I'm deeply passionate about. I hope you find this segment engaging. Let's get into the show. 

You're listening to the Christina Silva Show, and we're educating our veterans with Todd DeVoe, a U.S. Naval veteran who served five years with our United States Marines as a hospital corpsman. Todd is the chief of the Emergency Management Network and Editor in Chief because he has been concerned about emergency management as a scholar, contributing author, and specialist developing new programs for many years.

We will hear exposés about Todd's military career as a U. S. Navy Corpsman and why he's committed to emergency response with his heart. Welcome to the Christina Silva Show, Todd. 

Thank you very much. Thank you for having me. I appreciate you. I appreciate your service as well. 

Semper Fi. Semper Fi. So we will take you back to why you joined the Marine Corps and what you remember most about the Navy, not the Marine Corps, but serving Marines. 

I was considering joining the service when I joined—okay, so I'll go back to the beginning. I went in a little bit later in life, in 1991. There were two reasons I joined. Once the Gulf War broke out, I wanted to be patriotic and do my job. And we chit-chatted a little bit.

Do my duty to the United States. On the other hand, I was already an EMT in the civilian world. And I said, okay, I want to be a medic, right? I was surprised to find out what a corpsman was. I had no clue. Sure. So, I went to the Marine Corps office and had other opportunities to train in different parts of what hospital corpsmen could do. We get the responsibilities as Navy corpsmen as young kids, right? We have these 18-year-old kids. It's 20-something-year-old kids that are going through school, and the next thing they're doing is minor surgeries on Marines. That's what I want to do.

So I want to be, I want to be, and we're talking about career paths. And I said, Oh, I want to be a medic. And the recruiters like we need those. The Navy does that for us. And we chit-chatted a little bit. Then I walked down the hallway, popped my head into the Navy recruiter, and said, Hey, yeah, there were Marines over there.,

So they got this job called a corpsman, a medic, and the Navy recruiter, of course, was like, yeah, come on in. Of course, they did. Yeah. So we had that conversation. And I joined, and then, so that was August of 91. I went to a delayed entry program that was shipped out after the war and shipped out to boot camp in  March of 92. I finished that and went to core school. On the EMN substack page, you can read articles, leave comments, and become part of the growing community for those who want more from EMN.  We encourage you to become a paid supporter, and your contributions not only help us keep the conversation going. We're educating our veterans with Todd DeVoe, a U.S. Naval veteran who served five years with our United States Marines as a hospital corpsman. Todd is the Chief of Emergency Management Network Editor in Chief because he has been concerned about emergency management as a scholar contributing author, and out of core school, he went camping, or I'm sorry, to Portsmouth Naval Hospital for a little bit of additional training. Then, I went to FMF over at Camp Pendleton. From then on, I stayed with the Marines for the rest of my career. 

Wow. Portsmouth is a beautiful place. 

We are talking about Virginia Beach. Is that right? It was Virginia 


Nice shame on you. That's great. Thank you for deploying. Thank you for your service. That's a big job, right? 

You know what? That's what I wanted to do, right? That was my goal intention. I wouldn't have done it any other way.

I had other opportunities to do different training to other parts of what hospital corpsmen could do. My Army and Air Force brethren will probably disagree with me, but Navy medicine is the best in medicine. And I don't mean this because of the career of inner, departmental arguments, right?

We get the training and responsibilities as Navy corpsmen as young kids, right? We have these 18-year-old kids. It's 20-something-year-old kids that are going through school, and the next thing they're doing minor surgeries on Marines in the combat area.

And so that's a lot of responsibility on these kid's shoulders. I was a kid doing it, and it was wild. C corpsmen are the best rate in the Navy, and it's the best. Being with the FMF corpsman is the best job in the Navy. 

Thank you, Todd. Thank you for sharing that.

You are returning to your first response after training to help someone survive. Thank you.  

So, I joined the Slingerlands Fire Department as a volunteer fire department in upstate New York outside of Albany when I was 18. And so yeah, I went through the fire academy and started doing a probationary year with the Slingerlands Fire Department.

And after I was done with this, the chief of the Sonoma's fire department said, Hey, we're, we want you guys to go to EMT school. So, back then, you didn't have to be an EMT to be a firefighter.  And so a group of us went to EMT school. Let's say there were six or eight of us. I don't remember. 

We went to EMT school, and then we were doing, so I was, what, at that point, I was probably 19. And yeah, it just started there, and I fell in love with that side of the fire service. I loved it—doing medical. And I still do to this day. That's the part that I enjoy.

There are different reasons for this. One is that you're directly helping people in their time of need. You're walking into their house, into their or to where they're at their lowest when they're at the most need. Whether it's a trauma, a medical emergency, or just somebody in need, they think they have a problem; maybe they don't.

We need to treat them all like they do. Have that; give them the dignity and respect that they are having the issue. Even though you know in your heart of hearts, sometimes you're like, okay. I'll tell you a funny story. We had this girl screaming at me that she was choking.

And I know she's not choking. She scratched her throat, but she felt something was in there, but there was nothing in there. And I'm like, okay, you're not choking, you're okay. And she's ah, I'm choking. She's mad at me.  And so she just wanted to go to the hospital. Alright, okay. Get you in the ambulance, and we'll take you to the hospital.

And we got her to the hospital, and she didn't get taken in the back right away or anything like that. But, we could have just said, lookit, you're full of poop, been rude to her. And be just like, okay. And that does nothing for her; she won't trust us again when there is a real emergency.

And she will feel disrespected that we are going through that process. And so you have to go through that. This is what we do: we build those bridges between, especially in the government service as first responders. We build; we are the bridge between the public and what they feel the government services are.

Unless you're building a house, you don't deal with public works or maybe the parks department. But you'll definitely see fire trucks and police cars driving around your city. Those are services that they pay for, and they expect us to be able to come to them in time of need.

So, we build those bridges between government and public services. And those of us who are in this business, even though maybe they don't know it, some of them, right? The guys who want to become firefighters or police officers may not think of themselves as bridge builders.

But once you get into it for a while, you go, oh yeah, I see now my connection between the community and what we do. And that's a critical step. For those of us in the Uniformed Services, you must understand that we are those bridge builders. And that we are still public servants.

We have a tough job, and sometimes it's not easy, right? We see the worst of the worst at times. We see death regularly. And sometimes you may come up and talk to somebody, and there may be somebody in uniform, and they may be a little aloof. It's because there is that as well, right?

But we still are that bridge, and people understand our connectivity. And so today we have our open house, it's packed out there, and kids are out there, the bounce house, the clamming of the fire trucks, and getting little badges and things and that's what it is.

It's about community, building that community. That's what I love about the community—the service. 

Most definitely. That is an incredible story. Thank you for willingly giving your life to serve. When you get that training and understand the character you're receiving from building and continually educating yourself on the different strategies, methodologies, and techniques that the fire department and police departments use, being a first responder becomes rewarding, and there is risk involved, much like the story you mentioned.

So, trauma requires you to know how to serve others and how to take care of yourself. Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, tell me what you, your departments, and your military comrades have done over the years to stay healthy socially, mentally, physically, and spiritually.

I attested to what I was talking about just a minute ago, saying, hey, sometimes you might come over to a police officer or firefighter, and they feel a little, maybe a little distant. And that's a bit of that. It's a little bit of the, over the years, you can see as I've learned, and I'm fumbling this a little bit, but I want to give the audience an accurate picture of the mental health issues, right?

So we see every day. We're pulling something, and we take a pebble with us every call we go on. And you put this in your backpack, right? And somebody who's got 30 years on the job, they've run thousands of calls, and they've picked up thousands of pebbles. And so that little, you might have a few in your bag, and you go, Oh, I could handle this.

But it becomes very heavy once you get a thousand in your bag. And so that's the mental things we take home. I had a conversation about this the other day. How might we need to learn what our breaking point is? It might be something simple that you go on to, and you go, that was so overwhelming.

And the rest of us on that call are like, this was just a nothing call. It's just all right. But something that clicked with you is different from the rest of us. And so everybody experiences that call differently. And a good example would be running on a before I had children.

The call involved children; you'd still be slightly more excited than a regular call. But at the end of the day, it was a baby call or a kid call or whatever, and it's you're excited, you're sad, and you don't want things to occur.  But after having kids, Each time you run on a kid call, you go, oh my God, that could be my kid.


Maybe it looked like your kid or your neighbor's kids, or you started seeing it in a different light than it is when you're single without children. And that baby call you're on for you might be like, okay, it's. It's not a big deal, compared to everything else to the person who had maybe somebody, a baby that looks like that baby or a child, perhaps even an adult child, but the child reminds them of their adult child when they were that age.

It reflects differently. And so we have to understand this. One of the things that we need to do is to be our brothers and sisters' keepers, right? Yeah. We need to pay attention to somebody who comes into work regularly, is always happy and cheerful, or is kidding around doing whatever.

It starts coming into work, and you see their attitude change. A little bit, maybe not a lot, but the smile isn't as bright as it used to be. You can see they're forcing that smile across their face. And that's the time to pull them over and say, Hey, I'm here for you.

What's going on? Let's talk. And maybe sometimes, and they might hate you for this. I'm being serious. When you say, Hey, I'm, you speak to a supervisor and say, Hey, this guy or gal needs to go and see services because they're just not being them. And they might force them into to see counseling, and they're going to be pissed.

But that's the stuff that saves lives. I was forced to go to counseling after a very traumatic call. And I thought this, and everybody on the call was forced to go to counseling.  And I thought that was like, okay, man, I don't want to be here.  I've been doing this for a hundred years.

I've seen worse than this, but that's when I learned the pebbles of the backpack story. And going through that counseling just goes, Oh man. And that you physically feel the weight come off of your shoulders. It's like you're holding onto it. And it's just like it physically feels like you're being held down, and when you go through the counseling and understand that other people have gone through this, It's okay to have these feelings, And that life just comes off of you.

You're like, I can breathe again. You're like, wow, this is what it means to have that lifted off your shoulders, that pebbles Taken out of the backpack. 


And so that thousand pounds is still heavy, right? It goes down to 500 pounds because you won't get rid of it all, but it's not like weighing you down anymore.

That's why I recommend that everybody, whether peer group counseling or direct counseling, reach out for counseling. We're losing too many veterans, and we're losing too many first responders to suicide. And we can't; we won't be able to save everybody just like everything else, right?

Some people will just do it, but we can let them know that they're not alone in this fight. And that maybe, just maybe, they'll make the decision to talk to you instead of doing something drastic. So that's what we have to do; we have to be there for each other. People from the outside aren't going to understand this, right?

We're going to have people who never served in any capacity, whether In public safety or military, who do not understand what that weight on our shoulders is, but amongst the uniformed services and those who've served before, can understand what this is and to be there for each other.

And I think that's critical. And I do appreciate everybody who's out there doing this and going to save, there's PTSD hotlines. There are suicide hotlines, people who are there to listen and to talk and utilize those things. And don't be ashamed of doing it. And so that's my message to my fellow brothers and sisters out there that are serving.

Thank you. Mr. Todd DeVoe is a veteran of our Navy service who still cares about emergency management. And that's putting your life on the line twice for us. And we cannot thank you enough. That's why in May, there are many critical holidays, such as Mother's Day and Memorial Day. If you're out there listening, maybe your mother has already gone to the heavens, and there's help for you.

Say hello to someone else's mom, call a friend, and have dinner with your friends. Don't ever give up, but just get involved. That is why Todd will share with us at the end of the show, which is an excellent way for you to get involved. We will talk about a couple of important people, mentors, and military comrades in your life who have impacted you. Thank you for being so vulnerable and adult enough to share that you, too, had to go to counseling.

Who would you like to talk about today? That's been important in your career your personal and professional life to get you where you are today.  

In the military, I'm still tight with these guys who I served with. And I want to say, Aaron Siebert, who retired as a Navy chief.

He and I started together. We were both E2s or 3s when we met. We went through FMF together, served over in Okinawa, and served on a couple of deployments together. Then I got out, and he stayed in. He was embedded with Iraqi forces. He actually took a mortar shell, and he almost, as he tells the story, had his last rites read to him twice.

He still has shrapnel throughout his body right now, but he's out there, and he's working with PTSD, the PTSD Foundation of the United States, USA. And he also does some stuff with this nonprofit called Warrior Built. He continues to give, and there are two reasons why he gives.

One obviously is because he needs to give, right? That's just if he doesn't, I think he's a lost soul. And the second thing is that he sees the importance of this brotherhood and sisterhood that we're in. That we're home when we're together, right? And sometimes we're lost when we're not.

He gives that space for us to come home and be with each other, in a space where we can say these off-color jokes and rub each other. Give each other noogies and whatnot. No one's going to think of us any different; we're for in public, and people are like, what the heck are those people talking about, so that's, and he's been great, and I'll tell you when we were in some like really gnarly situations he would tell these stupid jokes. These are before dad jokes were dad jokes. He would tell these silly jokes in the most inopportune, inappropriate time, and we're like, Aaron, what the f k is your problem, man?

We would laugh, and it would cut that tension. I don't think he even realized that was going on, and I love this man to death. I would step in front of a moving train to save that guy's life. He's one of the guys who really makes you go; okay, life isn't always serious, but we could be in the worst situation.

But we're going to find some humor in it. We're going to get through this, and we will get home, and that's the idea. They are in emergency management, and this guy is 100,000 percent different from anything I think of. Politically speaking, what he did to get where he's at in his life is he's never really been in the military.

He was a hippie back in the sixties, a peace, love, and freedom type of guy. His name's Keith Harrison. And when I first broke into emergency management, this guy's a large dude. He was like, she's I think it was like six, four, six, five, larger than life, and he has the biggest laugh that you'd ever see.

So I was on a conference call, and they said, Hey, we need some people to get involved in the it's called CISA, the California Emergency Services Association. And he's, yeah, we're looking for people to get involved in the legislative affairs, right? And I'm a public policy major. I forgot out of the Navy.

I use my GI bill to get educated. And I want to reframe it to say educated, right? Because I will tell you,  I am going to walk this back a bit. I will take the guys who I served with in the military. And I don't give; I'm trying to keep this PG; I don't give a care in the world to what the civilian population thinks of what military guys are. 

Some of the smartest,  most dedicated, most talented guys I've worked with were in the military. And when I say, I'm giving a differential between educated and brilliance. Because educated means that we went to school and did paperwork. Right? Brilliance is just somebody that has it. I've worked in higher education and with PhDs that were  not as smart as the guys with whom I was served in the military.

And we joke about knuckle draging Marines and stuff, but I tell you. Not with me you don't. Just kidding. But yeah, and that's what I'm saying: these guys are brilliant. So when I say I got educated, I just got a piece of paper behind my name, right? And so you know.

I was like, public policy sounds, sounds up my alley. I love this type of stuff. I'm a poli sci guy. So I said, I'll do it. And so I started working with Keith and learned so much about inside baseball, the history, where we're trying to go, what the sacred cows are, and where we need to sometimes.

Stop and listen,  right? Don't go in there. I was a young guy, fresh out of the military, going in there, bowling at a Chinese shop, freaking, I can do this, we're going to do it my way. No. There are times when being quiet, sitting back, listening, observing, and then acting. And Keith instilled that into me.

And he's just a fantastic guy. He worked for Cal OES, he worked for LA City, he's just, he's a brilliant guy to talk to, he's a clever guy to argue with, as I said, he's very far to the left of the political spectrum,  as I joke with him, he's, maybe not even joke, I say he's my resident communist, but, I'm more on the libertarian side of politics. So we have some great conversations, and it's never hostile. It's always with love and understanding and that's why I took a lot from that from Keith and saying, Hey, I can have a discussion with somebody completely different than me and walk away and still have mutual respect and relationships with them. It doesn't have to be, I see today in world where people don't get along because they choose red over blue or pink over red, yellow or whatever and.

Sure. People just don't like you because of that, and it doesn't make sense to me. But Keith taught me a lot of sayings, like, hey, it doesn't make a difference; we're all Americans at the end of the day. Yeah. And I think, and I'm gonna use a quote that I just learned from a TV show.

Wonderful. And it's it's from this TV show called Fallout.  Oh. And this kid, this character's name is Maximus, and he stands there, and he goes, Everybody wants to save the world. We just disagree on how, and I think that if we take a look at this saying everybody wants to save the world keep this keep you know attribute that everyone wants to save the world, but we just disagree how that means that we must take everybody first at saying okay I know that you are coming from a place of genuine caring that you're not trying to destroy things. Then we can move on from there, so we can always agree on that, so that's how I changed my philosophy.

After, after the military. 

And since you're PIO communications and media trained, you credited Maximus from Fallout with that quote. That's so important—mental health and knowing about your mentors. We are not all men on an island to get to our goals and missions, and we will have disagreements.

But when you're a first responder or a military member, you've got to stay goal-oriented and mission-oriented. You can't get your feelings hurt. You have to learn how to be strong and have that balance work out. Life balance and your resiliency toolbox should be full at all times. So May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

We already talked about continually educating and knowing what you want to become. It's never too late to join the military. And if you're getting out and interested in a career in emergency management, there are so many tangents and levels you can connect. However, Todd has exhibited through his two mentors that he mentioned that you can have someone show you the way, and then your natural talent will be sparked.

So if your jovial attitude has gone downhill from one day to the next, or you're seeing any signs of need, whether financial, emotional, or anything else you can do, you can use an acronym. I will give an acronym that the world can use, civilians and military, and then Todd will share one of his acronyms.

Ready, Todd? Okay. I choose. I gotta think about acronyms for a second. Okay, Navy. I'm a Department of the Navy, U.S. Marine, just for today. Todd gets to give us his acronym first. Go ahead, Todd. Oh, no. I don't know. Don't put me on the spot. Okay. Mine is ACE, which I learned from A C E., an excellent flight chief, and I will have you help me with the E.

But if you're a civilian listening and your best friend is pregnant and postpartum, and she doesn't know she has postpartum. Still, you've been noticing she's just overwhelmed with the baby; her husband's on active duty, and he can't help her with the baby, and she's sleep-deprived; first, you can.

Ask questions. Hey Jenny, how are you feeling today? How's the baby? And just with love, you can ask again about her condition. If she says, Oh, I'm doing just fine. And I don't worry about it, and I won't cook today. I'm just going to eat out because I have to breastfeed every three hours.

You want to ask more questions because you still see Jenny as not her regular self three weeks after the baby is born. The following letter is C. Ask and then care. You can care about the person but don't force them into wanting to get help. Todd, do you know what the E in ACE stands for?

I don't know off the top of my head, but I'm thinking. I want to say it's explore, but I might be wrong. 

It's explore. You're going to explore more deeply. And if the exploration block is a resistance, much like we learned in ACE, our CPR training today, which you'll hear more about. Then you want to go back to the A, C, and E in a circular motion until the person either breaks down and says, you know what?

They may start crying and say, I'm like wholly overwhelmed, Christina. I just can't take it anymore. I'm so tired. Then you can care and say, Jenny, I'm coming right over to take the baby. I'll hold the baby for three hours while she sleeps, and you get some rest.  If that is unsuccessful by the third round of ACE, hypothetically speaking, then you can get an expert involved and make that call anonymously.

Because in the world of emergency management with our certified emergency management guest, I'm not certified yet, I'm just a volunteer getting my master's degree, and Todd's my assistant. leading mentor, then you can get an expert involved and turn it over to the officials. The Veterans Crisis Hotline number is manageable now.

All you have to do is pick up your cell phone or home phone, dial 988, and then 1. It's so easy. 988, and then press 1.  Text. You can even text as a veteran or a dependent family related to a veteran. You can text 838255,  that's  838255, and in your text to the Veteran Crisis Hotline, help. That's all you have to do, and they'll have your number digitally, automatically, and they will call you back within seconds.

24 hours a day. Congratulations, Todd. Now you have enough naval time to think of your acronym. What would you like to share about emergency management with the world today? Maybe C E R T? 

Okay, absolutely. We can stick with that one. Acronyms are lovely. I joke a lot. I think there's a division in the Department of Defense where a couple of admirals don't have another job, and their job is to sit around and make acronyms.

Yeah, I will talk about that. In emergency management, we have an acronym called CERT. It's the Community Emergency Response Team, and in El Segundo, where we are today, we are revamping the team. It's not re; it's reestablishing, I like to say, right? Because it's been around for a little bit, it had a hiatus for different reasons, and we're kicking the dust off of it and making some changes.

Jason Paramedic Jason Northgrave is the lead instructor, and I'm the program manager. We're having our first revamped class starting at the end of this month. And we're right now—last time I looked, we had 45 people signed up.

It's free for most cert classes. I say most because I think there are a couple of places that may charge a little bit. It's free here in California and throughout the United States. It's a program I started in Los Angeles city after the 1985 Mexico earthquake. And what they found is that people were coming out to volunteer.

To save their neighbors, and I think everybody here that's listening to this would agree that if something happened, They would want to help their neighbors if they could, but they're coming out, and they're untrained, and they're getting injured In some cases, killed because they're doing it inappropriately So this firefighter from LA City and I forget his name off the top of my head.

I apologize. He came up with this idea. I think he was a captain. Excuse me, and he started search training. It's been a national program for many years now. It's grown from being like this obscure little program to being like this. I think every state and territory in the United States has a program up and running.

That's what it was the last time I looked. I know Guam has one, for sure. And there are resources online if you don't if you don't have anybody where no place to take a class; there are resources on FEMA. If you look at CERT, just Google CERT with FEMA, and it'll come right to their page.

Or you can go to ready. gov and you can find CERT that way. And there's now a national CERT organization. They will have their conference this July in Washington, D. C., which is the idea behind it. But the idea here is you'll learn how to care for your home.

You'll learn how to take care of your neighbor's home. In some cases, like what we're doing here in El Segundo, volunteer opportunities are available to work alongside your first responders in different capacities to ensure that the frontline people can stay frontline where there are jobs they might have to do.

And as I always tell my volunteers, you might not be called out to go and do cribbing on a home to save somebody's life. Number one, it's a technical skill, and even though we teach you how to do it for an emergency, that's different from what you will be doing regularly. 

You could come back to the fire station or the police department and operate in the emergency operations center in different roles over there. Or You could do firefighter support at the fire department, ensuring the bottles are being rotated out. You take the full bottles and put them out, take the empty bottles, and get them to the Philly stations. You can also drive the utility truck and make sure that the guys on the front line are getting food and water.

And support that way. And you go, okay, that's a menial job. It is not menial. These are critical jobs that need to be filled. And if you aren't doing them, we're taking a firefighter off the front line that is trained and experienced to do that job and putting them back here to do those jobs.

And so what you're doing is augmenting their ability to be on the front line and supporting them. You're not supplanting them. You're supporting them to go out and do their job, and we're back here doing all the tasks that need to be done, but this isn't. And if you think about the military, it's for every one fire, guy on the front line, or fighting, right?

There are 15 back in support, right? And so we need that support in the fire service right now. We only have so many staff members to be able to do 1 to 15. So CERT members can help us get to that 1 to 15 ratio of being able to support the people on the front line, especially during large, national, and wildland fires.

During the earthquakes, during the floods. We also have ham radio operators here who are helping out with the technical side of things. It's a team effort. And I, my team here, and also going to, We'll never be treated any different than a fully paid professional on the job because even though you're not paid, you're still a professional, and we're going to teach you as professionals and equally part of members of the team.

Excellent. It is so encouraging, Todd, that any community member in El Segundo can become a CERT. As a CERT myself for the past five years, I'm so excited that you're the leader of the team now because I see your leadership and true commitment to helping us gain the right experience and continual education to know that we're going to be able to safely protect ourselves in an emergency beginning at home.

But we can give back to our fellow community neighbors and residents because Resources and supplies are running low. So, we have a booth every Thursday at our El Segundo City Farmer's Market. Tell me more about what's happening in our booth. 

Yeah, so we're sharing lots of information at the booth. We're asking people to sign up for cert for this class. But this class, like I said, is almost complete, but that's okay.

Keep signing up because we'll still keep you giving information regarding, programming that's happening. So we're showing our volunteer programming, which is certain also race the racist program, which is ham radio operators. We're also sharing information regarding our upcoming local hazard mitigation plan,nwhicht we're updating now.

This is a massive lift for us here in El Segundo. So, we're looking at natural hazards that threaten your home, business, and ability to function here in El Segundo. And we're going to do that plan, so we're going to ask people to come out to the community meetings to help share information.

And we'll be sharing a lot of information at the farmers market as well. And if you have a community group, Say such as,  whatever, it could be the book club that you belong to. If you would like us to come speak to your book club regarding what we're doing with the natural hazard or local hazard mitigation plan, I'd be happy to come out there and speak to you.

If your church members or other service organizations would like to have me come out and speak or whatever teammates come out and speak to you regarding this and emergency preparedness, that's what we're doing with it. For me, the community outreach program is one of the most critical groups in our CERT program.

And because you all are all members of the same community. Number one and number two, You're out there sharing the information and you are a cheerleader for what we can do to become a disaster resilient community. And that's what our goal is here at El Segundo. 

Thank you, Todd. There are so many hats in so little time.

You're getting it all done, and that comes from Sure. Orchestration processes and how you learned to multitask and task switch in the military. So, the next cert program is filling up, occurring on May 31st and June 1st. It is a Friday evening to open up that training session, and then all day on Saturday for eight hours.

The following week, it will be June 7th in the evening on Friday and then June 8th, and voila, you'll have your certification as a Community Emergency Response Team member. For more information, just check out www. cdc. gov. of El Segundo dot org, and then just Google CERT in the help bar, and you'll find the information there.

Federally, if you're listening to the Christina Silva Show, you can go to FEMA dot G O V and click on the Individuals and Communities tab and the CERT program. Will appear. Todd, we're moving into the fun part. I don't know how you do it, but I guess it's the sailor in you and helping marines as a corpsman that you're ready to take off your gloves after two minutes.

Making a tourniquet, you get on the air to host as the Emergency Management Network host. Yes. Tell me. 

Yeah, I really believe that we need to have more conversations about what we do, specifically in emergency management. It's a professional learning program. Obviously, anybody can listen to it, but it's, so you're going to hear some like inside baseball.

One of the things that we do at the EMN is this thing called the policy group where we discuss disaster and policy and how the government can be better. And so, as a guy who worked in government for most of my adult life,  yeah, we how do I say this? So, as we're going through this, we need to hold ourselves accountable.

And I think there are times when we don't. Maybe other people get upset with this, but I don't take offense when citizens and residents hold us accountable. Now, I might try to answer the question, and it might not be to the satisfaction of the person I'm speaking to, but I will. If I don't know the answer, I'm going to find it.

If I have the answer, I'm going to share it. If you don't like the answer because it's not what you want, you have the opportunity to get involved in your government and change that policy. And so that's what we should do as emergency managers. We need to be open and raw about things because.

The worst thing in the world is when you're speaking to people in public about emergency management, say evacuations or, the things have gone sideways, say like Katrina or the Paradise Fire, things like this that have just, then they ask, why did this happen? The natural disaster, we can't predict.

We can't stop a hurricane from coming in, and wildland fires will occur. But what can we do? I believe this wholeheartedly. As a matter of fact, I can. Back this up with data. There's a T-shirt that I saw and that I love. It says without data, it's just opinion.  So this data backs it up that we aren't held accountable.

Let's say accountable. People don't get mad at our response, right? They may say it's the response, but if you look at what they're mad about, it's not the helicopters in the air plucking people off the roof. No one ever complains about that. It's the recovery that really upsets people.

They think they don't know the difference between recovery and response, which are two separate phases of an emergency. But they're like, why isn't my home being recovered fast enough? Why can't I go back to my home to see what the disaster is? Why am I being held in this situation? 

Here. I don't get why I can't go, and we're not communicating well enough. And maybe, and this is the other thing, too, is the communication. I may say words that mean what I mean, right? But if you're not receiving those words in the same context of what I'm saying, there's miscommunication. And so some people in the public sector, so I told them this, right?

But it only makes a difference if your audience is receiving it. What you're saying,  right? You need to find out what the words that they understand and need to hear to, to answer their questions. And so you need to be empathetic and understanding of the person who's going through stress.  I go home at the end of the day. 

Most of the time, like during a disaster in my own home, suitable? People who have been evacuated are staying at a hotel, or at a friend's house, or God forbid, a general shelter because that's the worst place to be, right? And so they're scared, confused, and just want answers, right? And there are times when I don't have an answer.

And you have to be completely honest and say, I don't have that answer. But let's work together to find it. Let's see the solution together. No, I don't have the answer, but you can do it yourself. That's not what they need at a particular time. And we need to understand that. And there are times, and I'll tell you, that where first responders homes were burnt down too.

A friend of mine, Who was the police, became a police chief after his home burned down in a fire. And he was still responding to the other stuff, and so he was right there. He wasn't even sure if his house survived or what would happen and end up burning and during this thing.

So we're trying to find out for him; hey, what's the status of his house? While we're still doing the other job. And so these guys, gals, are still doing their job when their homes are in danger. So when you're giving them a hard time, talking to the public who doesn't understand, some of these guys aren't going home to their home either.

They're going to a hotel, or staying here in the barracks or something along that line. So they're impacted. If we have an earthquake, my home might be impacted. But guess what? We're going to be out there together, finding solutions on how to rebuild, how to be stronger. And how to come out of this together as a better community.

And I think that if they, and this is where preparedness comes into play,  right? If we're preparing for that worst-case scenario today, if we're preparing for that, 7. 0 earthquake, which doesn't happen, we'll just say that because everybody knows these numbers. 7. 0 earthquake on the Newport Inglewood Fault, which rips right, right through El Segundo, and their homes are going to fall, and it might be your home that will fall, right? But if we're prepared together for a community, for a true community, where neighbors are helping neighbors, We're neighbors for neighbors where our SIR team is coming out and where we might have to red tag that home, And we're going to have to go through insurance to get it rebuilt.

It's going to take some time, But we're going to do everything possible to keep you here in this community, right? And we're going to we're going to work together. And like I said, we're going to find answers together if we still need them, and it might not be the fun thing to do. It's going to take a lot of work to do.

But it's going to be done right. And you're going to be okay. And if, as long as you're alive, you're going to be OK. And so things can be replaced and fixed.  My thing is keeping you alive, sheltered, and fed, as well as water during that time when you're outside when you're unhoused because of an earthquake. That's what we're going to do for you.

And then we're going to help you build that home. 

Thank you, Todd, for sharing what it takes in service. We explain that our service workers, men and women in uniform, first responders, and police. Our clinicians and other agencies all working together are also victims at the same time. They may be responding to an emergency and identifying the apparent differences between the phases, from initial resilience to going out there along with that restoration process, rebuilding communities and restoring them.

and you are having the empathy to keep communicating with the public. It's essential, the context that we understand that. So in the summary of what you've explained, it shows me why you also have another role at the UC Irvine level teaching, you're an excellent teacher, teaching new certs to get involved in the program.

You're revamping and refining for us here in El Segundo. But how do you feel when you're standing in front of some students in the collegiate realm?  

I love teaching.  I love being in higher education. It's being given the opportunity to teach at UCI. I've taught at a couple of other colleges as well throughout my career.

I started teaching higher education in 2008. I also teach at a program out of Auckland, New Zealand, called the University of Research and Development UARD. And it's learning to get again, learning together. Right now, I teach master's level programming. And so we're not taking tests, right?

I'm not teaching somebody to go back and take a test. They have to research, write, read. And I challenge these students to look at things from a different angle all the time. I always joke about not wanting to read any more articles because it's been so done. 

What I mean by that is there's really not a lot of new to find, right? There were so many disasters that occurred after Katrina. The reason people pick Katrina is because there's a lot of stuff written about it, right? But you can take a look at it internationally and learn. Let's look at the Tibetan earthquake.

Let's look at Hurricane Maria in the United States, which hit Puerto Rico. Let's look at the fires that hit Australia. Let's look at the fires that hit Italy and Spain. What are the lessons that we can learn from there? One of the classes that I loveto teach  is called The Human Impact of Disaster. 

What does that mean? It means how a disaster impacts society and what changes occur after a disaster. So we look specifically in that class at Fukushima and Japan with the triple disaster, right? The earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown. And it's not necessarily that we don't talk about the response, but we never really talk about the recovery, right?

We talk about how those events impacted society and the human experience, right? When people are living in a room about the size of the tiny closet office I'm in right now, and you have four people living here, what happens? The birth rate goes down. Because it's not very intimate in here, you have a sheet between you and your kids. Not a lot of baby-making is happening. And so the birth rate and you go, what does that matter? Hugely, because if you look at the future, the birth rate's gone down. That means you're losing a generation of potential.

And you're losing a fleet of military members.  

Firefighters, police officers, and nurses are coming up behind the elderly. And now you have a higher population of elderly. You don't have the youth to be able to take care of them. So we're seeing that here in the United States, right? We went from the baby boomer generation, where there were six or eight kids in a family, and I'm not even joking, right?

If we average out things,  the average, and I might be wrong, so I'm going to have to check my math; the average household was four children. So you think you have the Happy Days family, right? They had three kids in that one, but it's about four kids. Take a look at this, right?

So that means that there were some people that had six or ten, and then there were some people that may have had one or two, but that brings the average to four, right? And then you move this over to today, and we're looking at one and a half kids per family. 

Oh my.

So if we're down to one and a half kids per family and you have couples that aren't making kids, there's going to be some problems in the future. The exciting thing is that a lot of disasters impact this. Now, I'm going to tell you this as well: there's a weird when we talk about birth rates, there's an odd finding that immediately after a disaster, there is a spike in, in, in I don't mean like the day or two after, nine months after, right?

There is a spike in childbirth. Yes. And I think that's a human response to the stresses of that, that we're looking for solace and comfort, right? And then that creates babies, which may be a good thing. And maybe that's just what we think is a cycle. Yeah. The cycle that we're turned into, right?

Maybe genetically speaking, we want to reproduce what we've lost. But I think that's always fascinating. So those are some of those weird statistics and studies that we could do. And it's not just about, Hey, how do we drive fire trucks to a fire?

Yes. That's the and so I had a person ask me once, it's what, why? Why, as an emergency manager, should you care about the societal impact of disaster?  At the end of the day, I said that's what we are, right? We're helping society to rebuild, right? And you have to understand what those factors are.

And how we can help,  knowing that information. It helps us to be able to plan for and to help self society rebound from disaster. And, yeah, does it help you write your emergency operations plan? Maybe, but, not directly. Does it help you write your hazard mitigation plan?

Maybe, but not directly, right? But you keep those things in your mind when thinking of hazards and how they impact your community. And does it have an excuse me, high impact, low impact, or moderate impact, right? But you can tell, okay, yeah, sure. Like on damage to the building, it might have a high impact, right?

But it might have a super high impact when it comes to people wanting to come back. And I'm going to answer this question a little bit deeper, back to Katrina, the one I always say I don't want to hear more about. So in Katrina, New Orleans, right after the disaster, the city lost 50 percent of its population, and it's dispersed, right?

A lot of them went to Houston and Dallas; some came here to California. They were disaster refugees, right? Because they just, there was the and so once they left, right? To say, okay, let's go back home to New Orleans. Now they're established here. Their kids are now in the school district.

Maybe they have an apartment or a home that they're renting or purchasing. So now they're establishing roots because they couldn't get back home because of the impact of the disaster. Now that being said, the population has come back a bit to New Orleans, but they're still 20 percent less today than they were pre-Katrina, right?

So that's the social impact  right there of a disaster, right? Of having a city that had and what does that mean? Go, Oh, okay. That means like the tax base is lower. I don't know who moved out necessarily, but so tax base is lower,  you have work force is lower your ability to be represented in Congress possibly has been reduced, you might have lost a congressional district.

This impacts money coming back from the federal government to the state and your community. So, losing that population, even at  30%, not 50%, has a significant social impact on that community. It changes the dynamic and shape of the community. If you walk through and you go, I remember when old man Johnson lived over here.

And now where's he live? Oh, he moved to Houston after the disaster. And what happened to old, old man Johnson's house? Now it's said it's empty, potential blight, things like this, squatters, and things like that. So there's go, there's a crime associated with it. So that, that, that's what we're talking about.

So, we take a deeper look. And that's where we can h—an as emergency managers. A greater impact on how the community looks after disaster. If we understand what these social impacts truly are, I believe it will help us with recovery. Thank you. So that's where I'm at 

Thank you, Todd.

You have dozens of episodes on many podcasts you've hosted and co-hosted. So, if you're listening out there and you're interested and fascinated by what you're learning about emergency response and some of the cases that you can look into for yourself to learn about why things take longer to recover, you can visit Fema.

Gov, or you can go to another website. Federally, you can look at the Department of Homeland Security. Now, at your state, local, and city government levels, you can get involved, and that will take the pressure off of you and educate you to become a voter. Then, when you're vested in a cause, you become a victim of one of these catastrophes we've discussed today with our C.

E. M., it will help you, A, to have empathy and thanks for the taxpayers you're using to ensure that your police and fire departments stay erect. But you'll also be vested as a patriot and that Americanism is what we need. Absolutely. As things tighten up with our economy and the shifting happening worldwide, you'll be conscious about saving and being more mindful and aware of what's happening in your community.

If you thought this naval soldier needed to do more by listening to this episode, he is also doing sufficient. I want you to know about the founder in his volunteer careers at other agencies. And when I looked at the F R A E M, Todd knew what that acronym meant. And the other acronym is one where he is serving as the president.

Take it away, Todd. 

Sure.  FRAME is the Foundation for the Advancement of Emergency Management and Research for Emergency Management. That's the FRAME. Spelled wrong,  but it's we call it FRAME. So what we're looking at doing there, which goes back to what we're discussing, is increasing the academic research into emergency management and its capabilities.

And we're doing a paper competition. And the paper competition is pretty simple. Right now, the theme is, where does emergency management belong?  So what I've right now is work at the fire department. Some emergency managers work in the police department. Some work in public works.

Some work for, in weird places, for the human resources for the city. Some work directly for the highest selected officials, such as the mayor or the governor in some cases, and for states. Some work for the city manager, in some locations in some locations, the emergency manager in the state reports to the National Guard.

So it's all over the place. And so we're looking to see the best location for the emergency manager to sit? And that's the paper competition. There's a cash prize for your scholarship money to go to for, at a thousand dollars for the winner Of the paper competition will get a thousand dollars to go towards their education.

That's amazing, and that knowledge never expires. Thank you to our VP of the foundation for research and advancement of emergency management and not  Last, or least, is your role as the Region 9 President of AIM. 

I am currently the president of Region 9 of the International Association of Emergency Managers. Alas, Alaska—I don't know where that came from. Arizona—I wish—that's 10, actually, but Arizona, California, Hawaii, and the Pacific Islands.

And so that's our region. We have about 800 and some odd active members with the emergency management professionals that are in the region. We're having next year, 2024  or 5, we're having our regional Symposium, which will be held in Arizona, I believe Phoenix, but don't hold me to that because the conference committee does their thing and they'll let me know where they're having it.

I just paid for it at that point. And then, so we're doing that, which is exciting. It's our second one we've had. And then we have our national conference coming up. In November, so it's going to be in Colorado Springs, so if you guys want to come back to that, please go to IAM dot com and you can find the information about the about the conferences that are there.

But it's not just about conferences; it's about this, which is where we get to have an impact on emergency management policy, so we do a lot of work in the government relations side of things between emergency managers and state and federal governments. We write letters, we have discussions, and we have access to the FEMA administrator.

We've been invited to the White House to speak about these things. I've testified in front of Congress regarding emergency management issues. So, we do that work to ensure that the profession is heard at the highest level. They also understand what we do because even elected officials don't know what emergency management is at the time.

And so, we're happy to educate them on what emergency management is and how it impacts their communities and their constituents. And so I think that we do an excellent job. We have relationships here at Region 9 with the state of Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii. And California at their local. So the CISA, the Californians the emergency management organizations called CISA, NEPA in in in Nevada in Arizona.

I forget what their acronym is off the top of my head, but they have a, they have an association as well. And so we have people who work alongside with them to help their organizations thrive as well. And we support them with both in writing letters. And sometimes financially to support them at their conferences and whatnot to make sure that we're all rising that ship together in that great ocean of emergency management.

So any emergency that you're going through there is help, and there are concerned agencies, individuals, and our leaders like Todd DeVoe, our special guest today, that are lobbying, activating, and being ambassadors for better emergency management policies, practices, and in the end, practices. Better measures for us to vote upon, but it's time to get involved because if you don't have the data to back up your complaint, then it's just an opinion.

You're listening to Christina Silva's show, One Marine to a Naval Sailor. Thank you, Todd, for joining us. And in closing, we want you to give. Are military members and families something they can feel about their service and sacrifice, from dependents to active duty men and women veterans and retirees and those that are lost and fallen for our freedom? 

We are a particular group of people, and only some take up the mantle of serving in the United States military. Less than one percent have taken the time to go out. I come from a military family. My middle name is Thayer. T H A Y E R. If you ever spend time at West Point.  

I'd like you to call me Thayer; I'm just kidding.

If you 

Spend any time at West Point, and you'll see Thayer all over the place. So that's how far back my family goes.  Military. My point about that is it's a calling. It isn't for everybody. And I would never want to go back to a time when we had a conscript. It's a place for people to learn about and serve the country. I'm a very patriotic person. While you, thanks there are, or if your family member is serving, go down to your military and family readiness center. Military, because I think our volunteer military.

It is a way to go. It's a pl for people to learn about and also to serve the country. I'm a very patriotic pers country. I think that, yo said, everybody wants to, but we disagree on how. I think everybody wants to save this country. Maybe we're not, might disagree, or sometimes disagree on how to do it, but I think the men and women serving in the United States military are the shining examples of how we can be a better United States.

Yes, we start in our local city of El Segundo, a wonderful gem in the beach cities, part of the South Bay, but I have affected the world through the military and the Marine Corps, all the way up to the Pentagon and Washington D. C. White House. I'm proud to say you can do the communications and media sectors, too.

So if you have something you're passionate about, or if your family member is serving, go on down to your military and family readiness center. And for fun, you can meet us at the Torrance Armed Forces Day Parade coming up next weekend on May 17th and 18th. And then you can also participate the following weekend in San Pedro at the USS Iowa for our Los Angeles fleet week.

And then. Remember, there's still a couple of seats left if you want to become a CERT, but if not, you can always get registered in another city, become a CERT, and return to El Segundo and keep on learning. With Todd,  you can learn much more about his background on LinkedIn. Just google Todd C.  Todd, I think you've got a lot of fires to put out, and you've got to break down Super CPR Saturday at the El Segundo Fire Department.

Thanks for joining me today. I hope you enjoyed the interview.  

So much, Christina. I believe it. Thank you for having me. It's been a pleasure. 

May God bless America. Absolutely. And be safe.  

That wraps up another episode of the Emergency Management Network podcast. We hope you found today's discussion informative.

While you there are or if your family member is serving, go down to your military and family readiness center. For fun, you can meet us at the Torrance Armed Forces Day Parade next weekend on May 17th and 18th. Then, it's a place for people to learn about and serve the country. I'm a very patriotic person. Maybe we're not, might disagree, and sometimes disagree on how to do it, but I think the men and women serving in the United States military are the shining examples of how we can be a better United States. I believe that everybody wants to, but we disagree on how. It is enlightening and engaging, and again, special thanks to Buffalo Computer Graphics and the International Association of Emergency Managers for their support. Don't forget to visit our EMN Substack page. Enjoy the conversation. See, this is where your thoughts and contributions are critical to these topics.

See, and if you enjoyed the podcast, you enjoy this, the idea of EMN and the access that you get back there, and you want to see more of this, please consider becoming a paid supporter because realistically  it is your organization. This is, I want EMN to be  part of what you are  and your contribution does make a big difference.

Thank you for listening. Stay safe out there and until next time.  Keep preparing, learning, and engaging with us here at EMN, at the Emergency Management Network. Stay hydrated. 

The Emergency Management Network
The Emergency Management Network Podcast
This podcast features strategies and advice from today’s leaders and experts in emergency management. Its purpose is to empower and enrich current and future leaders.