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This week, BERT founder Bill Cunningham appeared on an episode of the Todd DeVoe Show to discuss the importance of leadership and planning, especially with regard to emergency management and planning. Their discussion offered a lively exchange of questions and answers. Here below are some of the highlights that came out of the conversation.

Even without an official leadership title, emergency managers act as leaders. To get the buy-in from companies and investors, there must be an effective program implemented within a broader system, and this can prove to be a challenge. At the end of the day, the objective is to save lives. If emergency management is within the Operations department or HR compared to a stand-alone department, it could make implementation more difficult. Its objectives could be lost or absorbed by competing budget demands.


Emergency management does not necessarily need a sizable investment of funds. What is more important is to have a process to build upon and to keep it moving. When an emergency management program is completely cut out, problems start and businesses fail; however, the key is to have a flexible approach that allows people to understand the process on a basic level and expand and contract the emergency response program as needed. An emergency management team and a safety team are identical, so integrating the two is an effective and efficient strategy to keep things moving.

All you need is one person taking the lead from within the company. This person should be looking at the possible potential challenges to company operations, such as a pandemic, civil unrest, economic fluctuations, or natural disasters. All it takes is one person who is always moving forward and taking the initiative. Oftentimes people will think on too big a scale, but all you need is to start simple and continuously build upon it. Do something without being a part of the problem. 

BERT started in the CERT world fifteen years ago, but has since taken the best of CERT to merge with OSHA and optimized it for businesses to give people the best resources. As an example, ICS plan resources are placed around the facility in an accessible clipboard format rather than pages upon pages within a binder on the shelf or electronically. Through this implementation, emergency management evolves from just a binder on the shelf to an active state of mind to save lives.

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