Friday, December 10, 2010

Some lessons learned

Hello Everyone !  I've been reading sections of the DHS Inspector General on FEMA's overall state of preparedness as it relates to Emergency Support Functions ... While this applies to our colleagues to the South ... Some points are interesting and merit attention here.

I particularly like the highlights below ...

In January 2009, ESF-15 began implementing a mandatory,
agency-wide credentialing initiative to ensure that deployed
employees are qualified to perform specific duties in response to a
disaster. ESF-15 has developed a credentialing plan for 46
external affairs positions.  The external affairs cadre is typed and
credentialed at four levels:  trainee, basically qualified, fully
qualified, and expert. The goal is to have 85% of the external
affairs cadre attain basically qualified credentialing standards and
15% attain fully qualified within the first year.
FEMA has adopted several recent technologies to optimize the
dissemination of incident response information to the public.
FEMA uses nationwide social media sites such as Facebook,
YouTube, and Twitter to provide information related to disaster
preparedness, response and recovery.  FEMA has also procured
three Emergency Communication Kits.  These kits are the size of a
medium suitcase and can be carried by a single person, so they are
deployable anywhere people can reside.  These kits are specialized
units with the capability to connect to remote resources while in
the field under adverse circumstances.  The user can establish
satellite or cellular communications that can be used to set up a
mobile office with a scanner, printer, webcam, and laptop.  Other
key technological updates include Deployable Satellite Uplink
Units and a Ready Room, which allows full connectivity for 12
users to field mobile devices

So in three key areas: training, the use of social media and providing the right technology support so the most modern comms channels can be used ... they're making progress ...

I think a similar approach here would work .... train people the Ontario government to the same level of proficiency to ensure they could function effectively whenever called to fill the role of PIO. Ensure that we have common approaches and standards in the use of social media in emergencies and ensure we have the right kit and technology access to do our job !

What do you think ?

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