A list of all the posts and pages found on the site. For you robots out there is an XML version available for digesting as well.


About me


Using Twitter data to correlate power grid malfunctions

4 minute read


There’s an increasing excitement about using new technologies - like social media and ‘big data’ - in research about disasters and emergencies. There are a large number of possible ways of approaching this question, though, so developing these methods first requires ‘pilot’ attempts at testing whether they actually work. In this post, I’ll explore an article - “Embracing Human Noise as a Resilience Indicator: Twitter as Power Grid Correlate” - that attempts a proof-of-concept for one way of applying these tweets.

Examining bushfire policy in action: Preparedness and behaviour

7 minute read


The past three years have felt remarkable for Canadian and North American observers of wildfire. In Canada, the Fort McMurray fire in 2016 was followed by two frantic years in British Columbia, each establishing records for area burnt. In the US, California has dominated the fire scene with blazes like the Mendocino Complex, Tubbs, and Camp making the flames visible and visceral to the public. This built towards a climax in and around Paradise, California, where over eighty people lost their lives in November 2018.

Clarifying Wildfire & Public Values

8 minute read


The term “values” is perhaps one of the most muddled and confusing terms in wildfire management discussions today. Sometimes it’s used to refer to tangible things, as in “we should send a crew to do values protection” (i.e., we should send firefighters to protect that house). Other times it’s used to talk about slightly more abstract - but still physical things - like the habitat of a particular species, land used for hunting, or a kind of ecosystem. And, in other situations, it’s even more ambiguous, being used to describe things like what the public “values” (i.e., priorities like preventing smoke or reducing house loses or access to old growth landscapes).

Introducing the Blog

4 minute read


I don’t like “hot takes.” In fact, I think the world is worse for having hot takes.





DEMS 3707: Disaster Ethics

Undergraduate course, York University, School of Administrative Studies, 2018

Disasters and emergencies are full of ethical dilemmas. If you can’t save everyone, for instance, who should you save? Is it okay to break laws or normal moral codes during moments of emergency? What obligations do you have to respond to a disaster in front of you – or halfway around the world? Should we prioritize protecting people from asteroids, car accidents, or heart attacks? These aren’t abstract questions of Plato and Aristotle: these are real, life-and-death decisions that force us to think about what we hold to be ethically correct and morally admirable.

DEMS 3702: Comprehensive Emergency Management 1

Undergraduate Course, York University, School of Administrative Studies, 2019

If you were responsible for protecting a city from future emergencies, what steps would you need to take and what plans would you need to create? If you were suddenly pulled onto an incident management team for a catastrophic flood, what would you need to know? If your boss told you to figure out why so many people were injured in a disaster and how to prevent it next time – would you know what to do? These aren’t silly class assignments made up to give you a grade… these are life-and-death decisions that you might be responsible for making after you graduate from the BDEM program.

DEMS 3706: Humans and Disasters

Undergraduate Course, York University, School of Administrative Studies, 2019

How do people deal with the stress and anxiety induced by experiencing an emergency? What determines which disasters we’re afraid of and which ones we couldn’t care less about? Why do so many people choose not to evacuate, even when they’re given warning? How do emergency managers make high-stakes decisions when everything is confusing and uncertain? And, how do you actually motivate people to prepare for disasters?

ADMS 4421: Qualitative Methods

Undergraduate Course, York University, School of Administrative Studies, 2019

Methods matter. Throughout your life, you are going to need to make all sorts of empirical claims. Your boss might ask you to figure out if a particular program is working. You might get told to evaluate whether your efforts to educate the public about emergency preparedness are actually effective. You might need to write a thesis, or term paper, or dissertation, or white paper about some real-world phenomenon. Or, you might be trying to figure out how to reduce risk to your responders during an emergency.