Time is the most coveted resource
…We just don’t seem to have enough of it. But time is the main contributing factor that influences preparedness. In order to be ready to respond to a novel event, we must spend time training. We must train on our own to develop individual skills and train together to develop collective skills.
How much training is enough? Well, it depends on the skills being developed. Consider this- a baseball team spends over 4 solid weeks of training to be competitive. Before deploying to war, a military unit will spend 2-3 months training collectively to develop necessary survival skills. Just think of how many hours you spent in schoollaying a foundation for your chosen profession!
Developing team based skills is even more difficult. Creating training venues that effectively give people a space where they can develop effective teamwork skills (commonly referred to as storming, norming and performing) is quite challenging. Providing relevant scenarios and supporting procedures to support the team environment is also a vital part of team success.
So when you evaluate what it is going to take to be ready for a disaster, take the long view. Most companies are busy making money with a majority of their time. Since it’s not immediately profitable to act out a disaster scenario, they might be reluctant to allocate the time necessary for adequate training. Being underprepared almost always makes a disaster scenario far worse, so you must train smart.
Below are three tips to help you maximize the time you spend training.
1. Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew
Some trainers do not give adequate time, or make the mistake of trying to cover way too much ground in one session. Often, organizations try to limit the disruption to regular business caused by training by lumping it all together. Try to resist this urge. You certainly do not want to squander your training time, which is precisely what you will do if you try to cover too much ground at once.
When structuring your training, try to work it into a sequence of shorter events. If you use the sequence method, be sure to space the training sessions fairly close together. Instead of one 8-hour day, perhaps you can do a 2-hour brown-bag lunch over 4 sessions. This is a good technique to use, especially when introducing new ideas, because it gives people time to digest the idea, and follow up with questions in the next session.
2. Don’t Put the Cart Before the Mule
Structure your training so one event builds on another. Could you imagine a play without a rehearsal? Could you imagine rehearsal without reading lines first? Like building a play, your training should start with individual skills and training and work up to higher team-level skills. For example, you could use the brown-bag series to build individual awareness of the company’s emergency preparedness plan (reading lines). Then you could develop a table-top exercise, where all the players come to the table and discuss what they would do in an emergency based on an emergency scenario (rehearsal). Then, you could conduct a live drill to see how everyone performs their tasks as individuals and as a team (opening night).
3. Use Available Resources
Training is a profession, meaning there are professional resources available to assist you at every crossroad. There is a lot to know about educating people and developing high-performance teams. If you do not have a lot of training experience, seek out other resources to help you prepare.
The Federal Government has dedicated millions of dollars to helping organizations improve their emergency preparedness. There are tons of free sites that have information for your benefit. Below is a listing of agencies and websites with free information you can use to structure your programs.
Federal Emergency Management Agency – Emergency Management Institute
Independent Study Program – https://training.fema.gov/is/crslist.aspx . This lists the entire curriculum offered by FEMA via the internet. After registering, you will receive training certificates for each course you complete.
US Department of Health and Human Services – Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response
http://www.phe.gov/about/aspr/pages/default.aspx . This website contains general information on how DHHS is helping your organization to be prepared for a disaster.
Visit with Me in Person
I will be discussing Business Continuity and the new Medicare Rules governing emergency preparedness in medical facilities in several upcoming events.
Partners in Emergency Preparedness Conference,
April 18-21st, Tacoma Convention Center, Tacoma, WA www.PIEPC.org
Washington State Health Care Association Annual Convention and Expo,
May 16-19, The Davenport Hotel and Spokane Center, Spokane, WA http://www.whca.org/
Latest posts by James Rollins (see all)
- Worried About a Cyber Incident? Here’s How to Prepare - October 8, 2017
- Training Pipelines: 7 Ways to get your training investment to stick - February 12, 2017
- Dialing 911: 5 Things You Should Know About Cyber Attacks - January 19, 2017