An ARES official with RACES responsibility asked for help regarding a mandatory training program proposed by a local agency, as the intended training had little to do with the particular program - but seemed designed to protect the agency staff rather than really help the volunteers.
Here is part of our reply:
"Remember this principle: After a problem occurs - such as the one you described - the managers tend to 'run scared' and add a 'protective step' to forms, or training designed to avoid the same 'problem' from arising again. It is a widespread human response that is not without its benefits; it just takes research to find the benefits in the seemingly draconian measure.
First: do not fall for the ideas of some responders that they do communications ONLY. Expand their beliefs to the concept that there will be a broad use of the responders in many fields of activity across the full Public Safety Communications systems. Plan to have them trained (familiarized) with work tasks, hazards and benefits of EACH activity to which they may POSSIBLY be called upon to do. Many ARES and RACES 'communicators' think that all they do is talk on the mike, use a key or a keyboard and pass messages (traffic). If that is their perception, then you are better off losing them to their ego-response - that mandatory training is unnecessary.
Continues next week