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Consistent Training Improves First Responders' Results

Consistent Training Improves First Responders' Results

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By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest

There is a lot of discussion in emergency management about the need for continuous training to strengthen first responder teams.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends training as part of the emergency management work cycle. FEMA recommends spending a good portion of any emergency management budget on consistent training to fill gaps in the management plan and ensure that departments are ready for an emergency.

“Training provides first responders, homeland security officials, emergency management officials, private and non-governmental partners, and other personnel with the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to perform key tasks required by specific capabilities,” FEMA points out.

Veteran first responders and professional rescuers understand that in-service training sessions are important. However, new rescuers may not be aware of how quickly they can lose their skills if they don't use them or do not re-train on a regular basis.

First responder instructors need to instill a routine culture of training to continually hone the skills of their students. By developing this culture, emergency management professionals strengthen their own skills and those of emergency management as a whole.

Emergency Management Educators Should Train Students to Build a Culture of Readiness

In the academic field, emergency management professors and other educators should train their students to build a culture of readiness and a desire for constant training. While there might be an emphasis on department-wide training, educators also need to instill a culture focusing on individualized training, because first responders must maintain their skills within the emergency management profession.

Encouraging Consistent Training

Training to learn specific rescue skills can often be fun, but it takes work to maintain those skills and learn others. It is surprisingly easy to forget how to perform certain rescue tasks.

Anyone training students should also encourage those students to regularly retrain themselves. That will create an understanding among students that training can never stop; they must continually work to make themselves smooth cogs in the overall emergency response system.

An important part of any organization is its culture. It can help an emergency organization advance the goals and objectives set by the leadership. Routine and regular training is such an important component of emergency management that it needs to be instilled in everyone working to mitigate emergencies.

Allison G. S. Knox Passionate about the issues affecting ambulances and disaster management, Allison focuses on Emergency Management and Emergency Medical Services policy. Allison has taught at the undergraduate level since 2010. Prior to teaching, she worked in a level-one trauma center emergency department and for a member of Congress in Washington, D.C. She holds four master’s degrees in Emergency Management, National Security Studies, International Relations, and History; a Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security; and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Allison is an Emergency Medical Technician, Lifeguard, and Lifeguard Instructor, and is trained in Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue. She serves on the Board of Trustees for Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society as Chancellor of the Southeast Region, Vice Chair of the Tactical Emergency Medical Support Committee with the International Public Safety Association, and serves as the Advocacy Coordinator of Virginia with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. She is also a member of several committees including the Editorial Committee with APCO, the Rescue Task Force Committee with the International Public Safety Association, and the Advocacy Committee with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. She also serves as Chair of the Leadership Development Program for the 2020 Pi Gamma Mu Triennial Convention. Allison has published several book reviews and continues to write about issues affecting ambulances, emergency management, and homeland security.