Ask the Emergency Management Experts – Patrice Cloutier

Posted by: Earth Networks

Ask the Experts – Emergency Management

Emergency management professionals have a lot of different risks to worry about and solutions to consider. In this Ask the Expert series, we interviewed some of the top leaders in the emergency management field to share critical insights on weather, technology and their effects on emergency management.

Patrice Cloutier

This week, we sat down with Patrice Cloutier. Patrice works in the healthcare sector and is an independent crisis communications practitioner and trainer in Ontario, Canada. He is an expert in working to integrate social media into emergency management and BCP practices.

Formerly a civil servant, he played a lead role in the planning and delivery of emergency information at the provincial level and in crisis communication planning.

Weather-Related Challenges

Earth Networks: What do you think are the biggest weather-related challenges that Emergency Management professionals face on a daily basis?

Patrice Cloutier: Weather-related hazards are obviously a big issue for emergency management and that is also the case for the health care sector. Being able to monitor how weather events evolve is key for preparedness and staffing, for example. Ice storms and freezing rain bring their own challenges. Heavy snowfall is often accompanied by calls for assistance related to heart issues, etc.

Situational awareness should always be a key preoccupation for any emergency manager or business continuity planner. In health care as in many other sectors, weather events are key drivers for planning.

Technology & Emergency Management

Earth Networks: What role do you see data and technology playing to help mitigate these challenges?

Patrice Cloutier: Healthcare is more and more a data-driven activity. There are many direct correlations between weather events and health effects. The more emergency managers and health care professionals, including epidemiologists and risk managers, understand the impact of weather on their field of endeavor, the more prepared they will be and the more risk-based, hazard-specific plans will be developed and implemented.

Advice for Others

Earth Networks: What advice would you give to other Emergency Management professionals to help them work through these issues?

Patrice Cloutier: The key is to have the ability to alert staff and stakeholders quickly at the onset of any incident whether or not it is related to weather. The second aspect is the ability to implement any plan almost immediately. Third, and very importantly, is ongoing social listening to be able to gather intelligence shared online and on social networks that can improve an organization’s comprehension of how an incident is evolving and the impact it’s having on the communities it serves.

Learn More

Patrice’s blog, crisis comms command post, includes pieces on best practices, emergency information and social media in emergency management. It includes an open forum for exchanging ideas and experience on emergency information and SMEM, or Social Media and Emergency Management. You can find Patrice on Twitter @patricecloutier or learn more about him on his website: