Reply: Well, it's possible to understand that perspective if it means to operate the radio and pass traffic only on specific frequencies. It's a concept that Amateur Radio Service licensees and Civil Air Patrol personnel have been exposed to over the years in various ways.
It can be hard to realize that what seems to be "non-communications" activities are in reality a form of familiarization (i.e., "training") in systems, protocols, habits, concepts, ideas and policies that are so vital during any extended emergency. It may be difficult for some to see how delivering equipment, building a storage shed, answering the phone, fixing the fax machine, clearing a computer problem, resetting the office copier, or changing a phone line can be beneficial to us. Yet, in specific instances, all of these can be preparatory to helping a unit to better integrate with the agency PERSONNEL without demeaning the communications unit people in any way.
A directly related factor is that, in times of stress (i.e., emergency), we always fall back on that with which we are familiar because it reduces further stress.
During an emergency is not the time to find that we have never seen the required form, can't spell the name of the sheriff, didn't know that the person who asked a question was the agency director; or didn't know the agency protocol, ignored the unwritten "don'ts" or committed some other embarrassing error we would not have committed otherwise.
Handling forms, using agency equipment and working WITH people during the weeks and months between emergencies is one of the the most valuable forms of training that a participant can get. It provides much more than so-called formal training, where there is an instructor and a demonstration of a procedure, etc.
Continues next week