Disaster Zone

Disaster Zone

Disaster Zone is hosted by Eric Holdeman, an emergency manager with over 30 years of experience at the federal, state and local levels of government. Disaster Zone is a podcast that focuses on all facets of disasters; the before, during and after of events that are increasingly impacting communities around the world. Podcasts run between 35-45 minutes with a mix of guests covering a range of disasters and issues that flow from them. Sponsors of this podcast include: Dynamis, a leading provider of information management software and security solutions. The Blue Cell, a by-design crisis and consequence management consulting firm. Bent Ear Solutions offers comprehensive capabilities and deep industry knowledge necessary to help you solve the most complex issues of your organization. T-Mobile for Government provides innovative connectivity solutions that help government better serve citizens by enabling agencies to work more intelligently, efficiently, and securely. Story topics and suggestions for people to interview are welcomed. You can contact the host via email. Podcast listeners might also be interested in the Disaster Zone Blog which is the number one blog on the topic of emergency management here in the United States.


April 2, 2024 55 mins

In this podcast Pete Gaynor, the immediate past Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security shares his experiences and ideas on how to hire staff at all levels. He put a special emphasis on hiring and was personally involved in the selection process for senior positions at FEMA.

Today he continues to lead by hosting training sessions on “Leading During Crisis.” You can...

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In this podcast we have a wide-ranging discussion about the importance of weather to business and government operations around the world. Getting actionable weather forecasts has never been more important. We learn how these forecasts can be both pinpoint and actionable by incorporating what is about to happen with your operational procedures to both protect people and property. 

The podcast guest is Jonathan Porter, who is AccuWeat...

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Take any emergency or disaster and you will find that communications is the key ingredient that needs to be present to have a successful outcome. Communications systems are changing rapidly to become lighter with more capabilities, including linking people and organizations with satellites. This is the topic for this podcast. Note, during the recording of this podcast we had our own “communications issues” that we had to work throu...

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March 5, 2024 42 mins

It is not often that the host of the Disaster zone Podcast learns about an organization that has the depth and breadth of International SOS, and not had any background on the organization before this podcast recording. Based on the guest’s experience with the federal government in multiple high-level positions, you will find this podcast of great interest. 

Josh Dozor is General Manager, Medical and Security Assistance Services serv...

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The National Weather Service (NWS) and their Forecast Offices around the nation are key partners for the broader emergency management community. Because of their role in natural disasters, that always have a weather-related connection, we need to have a close working relationship between the two professions. This podcast provides for a wide-ranging discussion of all things related to NWS and forecasting the weather. 

The podcast gue...

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February 20, 2024 44 mins

Do you ever feel like you don’t have the time or resources to accomplish everything that you are being asked to accomplish? If you are an emergency manager or working in another demanding profession, this is a very common feeling. We explore some personal solutions in this podcast. Meg Davis is a Certified Life and Health Coach with Windows Health Clinic based in Sonoma County, California, but has worked with clients around the wor...

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February 13, 2024 57 mins

One only has to watch or read the national news to see crisis communications being practiced. It could be a train derailment, a poor response by a government to a disaster, or a politician or well-known personality being pilloried in the press for something they are accused of saying or doing. In those situations you need to know something about crisis communications, the topic of this podcast.

This episode's guest i...

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The emergency management workforce of today continues to evolve, as does the necessary training and experience needed to be a fully qualified emergency manager. In this podcast Robin Lindsay is interviewed about what she has seen and is seeing as the workforce matures and also transitions to a new generation of leaders. Robin has a unique background in that she started in emergency management, transitioned to being a first responde...

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January 30, 2024 40 mins

This podcast is about how artificial intelligence (AI) is being used to promote disaster resilience in communities threatened by wildfire. Guy Bayes, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) works at Vibrant Planet where he is focused on using data and AI to power natural climate solutions management, in order to mitigate and roll back climate change. Guy is an engineering leader with twenty years of experience in the data space. He has buil...

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January 23, 2024 54 mins

Not everyone can lead during a crisis. Some think they can, others fear that they will not be up to the task. Sometimes the crisis finds you, whether you are ready or not. In this podcast, Pete Gaynor, the immediate past Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator shares his ideas on Leadership Essentials for Unthinkable Events.  See www.femapete.com for more information. 

Before becoming FEMA Administrator, he held lea...

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January 16, 2024 39 mins

Regulating artificial intelligence needs to be accomplished at different levels of government and within the business community. The guest for this podcast is a subject matter expert on this topic. Dominique Shelton Leipzig is the author of Trust: Responsible AI, Innovation, Privacy and Data Leadership, her fourth book. She is currently a privacy and cybersecurity partner at Mayer Brown, where she is the leader of the firm’s global...

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Some, but not all states have established some form of state representation out in regions of their states. In this podcast to speak with Darin Letzring, with the Idaho Office of Emergency Management. He is their Southeast Area Field Officer. He has been performing these functions for over five years. Darin made the transition from being in the Marine Corps to first working as a health regional coordinator. We discuss his duties su...

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Best of 2023 podcasts:  

One of emergency management’s major partners in all things concerning disasters, from the preparation phase to the response and recovery is our public information/affairs officers who support what we are trying to do in communicating with the public. It is critical that they have the knowledge and skill to perform their duties in a manner that helps, rather than hinders, our mission of protecting people, pro...

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Best of 2023 Episodes:

Perhaps you have never heard of an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) and don’t understand what the implications from one being used as a weapon against the United States or other national powers. That is what this podcast does, looking at the full impacts of such a weapon being used in the future. The guest for this podcast is 

William R. Forstchen who is a New York Times bestselling author and holds a doct...

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December 19, 2023 51 mins

Logistics is a challenging function, be it just shipping Christmas gifts from one end of the country to another. Add the challenge of logistics during and following a disaster, and the difficulties mount. In this podcast Gerardo Castillo, President of AshBritt Management and Logistics is interviewed about his experience, the challenge of logistics and some history and solutions for the problem of logistics and finding solutions tha...

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December 12, 2023 47 mins

Karen Kaiser is a currently serving Washington State Senator. She recently had a book published, Getting Elected is the Easy Part: Work and Winning in the State Legislature In this podcast we learn about her personal experiences and then also dive more deeply into her advice for people aspiring to be elected officials.  

Here is a description of her book: Across the nation every two years, first-time lawmakers enter state legislatu...

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December 5, 2023 46 mins

Small, commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) drones — classified as Uncrewed Aircraft Systems (UAS) by the FAA — are proving to be an increasing threat to the homeland. As evidenced by Hamas terrorist strikes against Israel, tactical use in the Ukrainian conflict, and even UAS operations by Mexican cartels along the U.S. Southern border, small drones have demonstrated the ability to compromise security and inflict significant damage upon...

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November 28, 2023 39 mins

Crisis management and crisis communications have become a critical skill, and not just for emergency managers. Politicians, rock stars and companies have all faced situations where they are in the hot seat. The guest for this podcast is Edward Segal a Leadership Strategy Senior Contributor for Forbes, author of the award-winning and bestselling book “Crisis Ahead: 101 Ways To Prepare for and Bounce Back from Disasters, Scandals, an...

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November 21, 2023 54 mins

In this podcast we examine the current status of policies and best practices associated with non-military drone operations here in the United States. The podcast guest is Dr. Gloria Totoricaguena, a former university professor at Stanford University and University of Nevada, Reno, and now a policy consultant in Idaho. Her clients and projects in Idaho have included the ID Office of Emergency Management and its creation of a statewi...

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November 14, 2023 36 mins

Cybersecurity training could seem as exciting as watching paint dry. However, the Idaho National Lab has found a way to make such training much more interesting. In this podcast I interview Jeff Hahn who is the project manager and Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity Engineer at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL). He leads the Cybersecurity for Industrial Control Systems (ICS) training aligned with the Department of Homeland Secu...

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