Training is the most important part of an Emergency Communications Organization. Without it the organization will not be able to meet its responsibilities, nor meet the usual expectations of the sponsoring agency. Untrained is unprepared.
The EMCOMM organization has the responsibility to be prepared for the mission which it is given by its sponsoring agency. It will usually be to handle emergency communications in a fast, efficient and accurate manner, which can include many variables, depending on the agency served, and its hierarchiel structure. (That is, a local city government may have a different need than a county; or a rural government contrasted to an urban one. This requires practice. Practice takes time. And time seems to be the one thing everyone is short of.
Leadership of your EMCOMM unit must use all of its abilities to insure that the lack of time for training of unit personnel does not cripple their overall effectiveness. Therefore, a good Training Manager is the key to a good training program.
That, and a good Training Plan, can help put everything into perspective.
THE TRAINING PLAN
The training plan covers every position in the organization. ALL personnel, whether leaders, administrators, operators or whatever, require training. Everyone has a job to do and needs a source of information to assist in the learning of that job.
The Operations Guide, Operators Incident Handbook and Training Manual and the many ARRL publications are excellent references. Equipment and software have operations and users manuals that will require reviewing. The EMCOMM Bulletins contain valuable training references. (See source at the end of this bulletin).
Experience is also a source of information. An excellent source of experience is participation in training sessions and exercises. These will have to be planned and provided so that all individuals who need specific training get it.
Keeping track of the training, who takes and completes it, and their abilities as a result of it is vital data that the unit needs to capture and retain. It can be done in several ways: a secure Web site can let each participant log their own participation; a matrix in a word processor or database can make an easy-to-use tool. This type of record is critical to management of the unit and serves to show the sponsoring agency the preparedness level.
It should be obvious that the Training Plan will be custom to the unit and its sponsor, although there may be common aspects or elements. Select an astute and questioning person for the training plan preparation, and utilize that talent to assure that the plan works. Utilize another person - with skill in people management and motivation - to 'manage' the process of actual training.
A Resource Management Plan is required in order to provide you with a means to provide your sponsoring agency with the resources (personnel and equipment) to handle the emergency communications for any type of exercise or incident.
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