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Friday, November 27, 2015

Preliminary Evaluation: Strategic Plan for Natural Disaster Response Training and Development

Board of Commissioners

Assignmentland Emergency Regional Authority

Preliminary Evaluation: Strategic Plan for Natural Disaster Response Training and Development

  1. Introduction
The purpose of this report is to provide the Board of Commissioners with the foundations for creating a strategic plan for training all personnel in our regional authority involved in emergency management.
  1. Guidelines for the Strategic Plan
Our purpose in establishing guidelines is to train our employees in the procedures that will allow them to respond to critical incidents with maximum efficiency. “The public increasingly expects better public sector leadership before, during, and after catastrophic disasters (emergencies) and extreme events (crises) than it has seen in the past” (Kapucu, Arslan, & Demiroz, 2010, p. 452). To do so, we will look at the National Incident Management System (NIMS) guidelines, successful incident responses, and failed incident responses.
    1. National Incident Management System (NIMS)
NIMS was developed in order to provide standard guidelines to emergency agencies, “The scope of its intended use is comprehensive, including mitigation, preparedness, response, and disaster recovery” (Buck, Trainor, & Aguirre, 2006, p.16) The key component of NIMS is in it's interoperability component.
      1. Interoperability
Due to the necessity of having multiple agencies respond to an emergency crisis, it is imperative that training provides a framework for standardization between agencies, especially in communications. “One of the most prominent issues facing the public safety community today is the lack of communications interoperability, which is commonly defined by many as 'the ability of public safety emergency responders to communicate with whom they need to, when they need to, as authorized.' Communications interoperability serves as a vital tool for public safety and public service professionals” (The Governor's Office of Emergency Services,2011, para. 2).
    1. Reviews of Successful Operations
We should look to California's emergency agencies for guidelines to develop our training plan. The success of the response to the 2009 wildfires demonstrated that their training guidelines were efficient. “Cal EMA evaluated that they had achieved successful response in the following areas; “efficient resource deployment; effective fire suppression and control, notification and alert, and sheltering operations; and well organized and rapid communications and coordination between state agencies and local governments, and state/federal partnership” (Cal EMA, n.d., p. 4)
    1. Reviews of Failed Operations
There are many lessons to be learned from the Katrina response, but perhaps the greatest failure of significance was in the area of communications; “Research since Katrina...,shows that a higher percentage of respondents blamed “lack of communication between levels of government” for the Katrina debacle than for any other reason” (Garnett & Kouzmin, 2009. p.392). Communications must be emphasized in our training plan.
  1. Expected Outcomes
In order that our training plan have any practical effect on incident response, we need to focus on the realities of our current level of preparedness and the effects the training will have on that level. “In order for response to be effective, planning and groundwork must be done to set an agreed-upon framework that will be employed in actual response efforts” (Wise, 2006, p. 312)
  1. Anticipated Challenges
Hoskin and Wood attribute the failure to implement planned change to “incomplete organizational acceptance” (1993, para. 3). Jensen applies the concept of “organizational acceptance” specifically to emergency planning. In that “not all counties in the United States intend to implement the system they are mandated to use in the way it was designed [which] has important implications for the potential of the system to act as an organizing mechanism for emergency management” (2010, p. 96).
  1. Implementation
This Board recommends the following steps be taken to implement our training plan.
    1. Review and Implement NIMS Standards

    2. Evaluate additional training requirements based upon actual response evaluations, both successful and failed.

    3. Include an evaluation monitoring process in the training plan to match expected training goals to reality.

    4. Recognize and provide additional training or resource support to agencies that may experience “organizational resistance”

    5. Include realistic training exercises that take into account day to day operations of participating agencies.

Buck, D. A., Trainor, J. E., & Aguirre, B. E. (2006). A Critical Evaluation of the Incident Command System and NIMS. Journal of Homeland Security & Emergency Management, 3(3), 1–27. Retrieved February 3, 2015 from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=i3h&AN=22625019&site=ehost-live&scope=site

Cal EMA. (n.d.). California Emergency Management Agency 2009 Los Angeles County Wildfires  after action / corrective action report: Executive summary.  Retrieved February 6, 2015 from

Garnett, J., & Kouzmin, A. (2009). Crisis Communication Post Katrina: What are we Learning? Public Organization Review, 9(4), 385–398. doi:http://dx.doi.org.southuniversity.libproxy.edmc.edu/10.1007/s11115-009-0096-5

Hoskin, R., & Wood, S. (1993). Overcoming strategic planning disconnects. The Journal for Quality and Participation, 16(4), 50.  Retrieved February 19, 2015 from http://search.proquest.com.southuniversity.libproxy.edmc.edu/docview/219116713?pq-origsite=summon

Jensen, J. A. (2010). Emergency management policy: predicting National Incident Management System (NIMS) implementation behavior (Dissertation). North Dakota State University. Retrieved February 3, 2015 from https://cms-devel.ndsu.nodak.edu/fileadmin/emgt/Final_Dissertation_Complete.pdf

Kapucu, N., Arslan, T., & Demiroz, F. (2010). Collaborative emergency management and national emergency management network. Disaster Prevention and Management, 19(4), 452–468. doi:http://dx.doi.org.southuniversity.libproxy.edmc.edu/10.1108/09653561011070376

The Governor's Office of Emergency Services. (2011). Interoperable Communications Program. Retrieved February 8, 2015 from http://www.calema.ca.gov/TechnologyOperations/Pages/Communications-Interoperability-%28CICO%29.aspx
Wise, C. R. (2006). Organizing for Homeland Security after Katrina: Is Adaptive Management What’s Missing? Public Administration Review, 66(3), 302.  Retrieved February 5, 2015 from http://search.proquest.com.southuniversity.libproxy.edmc.edu/docview/197175662?pq-origsite=summon

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