Delivering Emergency Management Training

5 June , 2018

Emergency Management Training is a broad subject and one that has changed massively as technology has evolved. Today, we are dealing with far more threats and threats of a more diverse nature. The field of emergency response and management is becoming increasingly diverse and there is a lot of demand for trainers - both those who design online courses and those who design courses for face to face delivery.

Understanding Threats

There are three key areas that are covered under the topic of emergency management - emergency operations centers, homeland security, and hazardous materials. Within those key areas there are some specialised fields and specialist courses - for example, a company that works with hazardous, volatile chemicals would want a highly specific course, while a company that deals with toxic waste might want a different course. An events management firm that gets a lot of bomb threats would need specialist training in that area.

Know Your Audience

To deliver good training, you need to do more than just know your subject well. Anyone can read the manuals and then repeat them verbatim, but it is important that the content is delivered in an engaging manner so that the attendees remember it.

A lot of the people who go on emergency management courses are people whose main job is something entirely separate to that field. They may appreciate the importance of it, but at some level, it is simply a distraction to them. A good trainer is able to deliver the information that the trainees need to know, in a meaningful and memorable fashion, so that after a short course they go away with the skills that they need to handle the emergency management part of their job.

Safety, in general, is one of those areas where there is the danger of companies resenting the idea or paying lip service to it. With good training, it becomes easier to get people engaged with the idea of emergency management, so that they have some enthusiasm for making best practices a default part of their job.

Helping People Keep Each Other Safe

One of the key areas of emergency management is the idea of using ICS to manage "non-disaster" events. The term "non-disaster" covers events such as parades, conventions or sporting events - any scenario where a large number of people will gather for short period of time. Large events are sometimes the target of attacks, and any scenario where large groups of people gather carries with it the risk of frayed tempers and crowd control issues. In addition, if there were a fire, flood or other issues during an already large gathering, then the potential impact of that incident would be greatly amplified.

Your job as a trainer is to explain the implications and to get the trainees to understand how good disaster management practices can make life stress-free.   Face-to-face training can be incredibly successful, especially if the group is large enough to include role-play exercises with the kinds of personalities that you are likely to deal with in an emergency situation.

Disaster management can include everything from the "on the floor" crowd control skills to bomb threat procedures, suspicious item procedures, what to do in the event of a fire, flood or chemical spill, and how to handle out of control crowds, riots, or other similar issues. Depending on the industry in which you operate, and the level at which you are teaching (basic skills, legislation, public safety), as well as the level of employees that you are working with, you could be delivering courses that will take a lot of time and study.  

Teaching a one-day course in "keeping crowds calm" or a course for building supervisors that covers evacuation plans, disaster recovery, and other topics, is rather different to teaching for a higher level of authority. A skilled trainer understands how to break the content down and explain it in a way that is relevant to the room, and how to tie it into topical issues as well.

There is a lot of value to going on courses yourself to see how other trainers do it, and then taking notes and considering what went well, and not so well, with the courses.