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“Surprisingly, it’s simple things that are often overlooked because they tend to be “assumed”.”

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John H. Clouse is completing his third decade of military service to our nation where he is a medical operations, plans, and intelligence officer. His deployments include Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, New Horizons (South America) and at the Joint Task Force (JTF) level in Operation Enduring Freedom (03, 04) Operation Iraqi Freedom (06), and JTF Katrina (Forward).

Coming together from diverse backgrounds members of The Joseph Group have successfully woven together technical and tactical experience, education, and innovation to form a team that is second to none. Their depth and breadth of professional knowledge and skills combined with a solid dose of creativity allows them to help you find solutions in even the most difficult of situations.

A veteran-owned small business, the team at The Joseph Group has earned their reputation through true and practical emergency preparedness and public safety solutions. Their clients include city, county, and state agencies; schools, hospitals, public organizations and private enterprises.

MO: How has your extensive background in the military helped contribute to the success of The Joseph Group?

John: Having started at the bottom as a field medic, I have been able to experience a majority of the “layers” in disaster response, all the way to the top (operationally). Now that I’m in a position to guide others as they build their plans for averting, mitigating or surviving a disaster, I can call on my experience as well as my education to point them in down the path to success. As the old proverb goes, “…a wise man learns from his mistakes, but the wiser man learns from the mistakes of others…”, our goal at the Joseph Group is to help make our client “…the wiser man…”.

MO: What advice would you give to a small business that does not have any emergency plans in place? What could they do to become better prepared?

John: “…The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step…” The wisdom in those words, even though they are hundreds of years old, is still very true today. Start small, but you have to start! Looking at a blank computer screen or note pad and wondering where to begin is too often the starting AND stopping point for small business owners when they try to build a disaster plan. There are too many other things (that they’re good at) to be done, so planning for bad things tend to sink low on the priority list.

The best place to begin is to ask yourself, given the long list of potential bad things that can happen to my business, what is the MOST likely thing to occur, and write it down, and then the next, and… The next step is to look at your “most likely to occur” list and ask the question, “What can be done to make this not happen, or if it does happen, to minimize its impact on my business.” Several round of this game, and you’ll be well on your way to building a disaster plan.

It’s also a good idea to ask for help if you’re not exactly sure what to do so as to maximize your time and minimize your frustration.

MO: I must confess that I had never encountered the word “moulage” until preparing for this interview. Can you share what a moulage artist does and how this type of “art” helps add and extra dimension of depth to your professional life?

John: in simpler terms, moulage is “injury simulation”. As an artist, I build real-to-the-eye simulated injuries to enhance training exercises and scenarios. As a planner and exercise builder, moulage helps me to bring a more visually engaging experience to the event. After spending a great deal of time constructing an exercise to be sure that training objectives are addressed, this is just another small dose of realism to inject as an effort to help the participants experience the best training possible.

MO: What areas do you find organizations least prepared in and what could they do to correct this?

John: Surprisingly, it’s simple things that are often overlooked because they tend to be “assumed”. How do you turn this or that on or off? Who’s the next person in charge if we can’t find “Bob”? Who has the phone number for…? What do you mean it’s all in the computer; with no electricity our computers aren’t much help!

Big things get our attention; everyone knows how to get out of the building in case of a fire. The question we forget to ask is there something that should be taken out at the same time to help “save” the business?

MO: Can you give an example of having to use creative approach during an emergency situation where you were faced with an unusual or unexpected problem?

John: During hurricane Katrina / Rita relief efforts we were faced with an overwhelming “supply and demand” discrepancy, I only had a few dozen medical personnel and five ambulances to cover a few thousand folks and a lot of real estate. Instead of using them as a single medical team, as they were use to, I broke the team apart into functional groups that I could strategically place around the city. We then set up a courier route to ferry medical supplies and to exchange personnel as needed. Instead of the unit be placed in one location, they were able to cover 16 separate missions, several of which occurred simultaneously.

MO: What inspired you to start your preparedness blog “Ready or Not…” and what kind of feedback have you received so far?

John: My blog is just another outlet for spreading the word about basic preparedness for both your business and your family. After spending months in the rescue and recovery of New Orleans after Katrina and seeing again the devastation brought on by super-storm Sandy, my goal is to help as many as I can to be better prepared for the next whatever. I don’t have all the answers, but I certainly have a lot of opinions based on my experiences and education in planning and preparation and the blog is a place to share them.


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