In today's government agency there are often new, interesting and complex COMMUNICATIONS facilities and systems. Some of these are as intriguing and beneficial as radio and far more challenging. This can include learning to use and keep operational such systems and equipment as copiers, computers (MAC, DOS, Unix), digital networks, FAX machines, and Public Service Radio systems -- just to name a few.
Such visibility raises the appreciation level of the unit in the minds of those who will make essential judgments in the future. Judgments based on budgets and new systems. We see this happening frequently when the units' leaders and key participants are not regularly and frequently visible; the units are allowed to die-off.
Until unit participants thoroughly understand the unwritten nuances and protocol's of the agency, it is far too easy for a participant to be the cause of the unit being left to die on the vine for lack of use because someone fouled up. After a foul-up, the agency may never speak of the situation but just let the unit die. There are too many instances of that occurring to deny that this is very unimportant.
Learning new systems like a new Lotus Notes-based RIMS (Response Information Management System), that may be used to implement a mandated SEMS (Standardized Emergency Management System), equips the participant with a better and necessary understanding of the system. It also provides potential assistance to overwhelmed staff during emergencies.