Disasters at Work: Daniel Kaniewski


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In this episode of the Decision Corner, Brooke speaks with Daniel Kaniewski, former Deputy Administrator for Resilience at FEMA and currently Managing Director, Public Sector at Marsh McLennan. Daniel has been involved in managing some of the worst disasters in American history, through various roles at the White House, with FEMA, and in the private sector. He draws from his experience to provide us with fascinating insights about government and individual decision-making in times of crisis. Surprisingly, human behavior is one of the more predictable elements of disaster management, so if you’re keen to learn more about how governments handle emergencies and mobilize their citizens to react appropriately, this episode is for you!

Some of the things discussed include…

  • The early phases of a disaster or emergency, how a response is mobilized and why salience and intensity play a big role in shaping our reaction.
  • Communicating during an emergency, balancing a need for calm and reassurance while getting people to do what they need to do to stay safe.
  • Practical ways that we as citizens can support emergency response, without getting in the way of the professionals.
  • The ‘ramp-down’ and recovery phases of an emergency, and why they’re as, if not more important, than the initial response.
  • How the COVID-19 pandemic is unlike any disaster we’ve faced before, but the lessons we’ve learned will stand to us in the future.