Train, train, train: waging a war against complacency
Depending on where you reside in the country, you’ve seen your share of violent weather over the course of the last few weeks. Torrential rain, severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and severe flooding have plagued many parts of the south and Midwest. Other areas of the country have seen little if any inclement weather. For the most part, PSAP’s and Emergency Communications Centers throughout the United States are accustomed to dealing with the added call volume and periodic service outages associated with these types of events.
Historically, TERT trained professionals have been called upon when disasters on the scale of Katrina and Sandy strike. Fortunately, we don’t see natural or even man-made disasters of this magnitude all that often. The infrequent nature of these mega storms presents one of the biggest challenges for the TERT State Coordinator.
TERT State Coordinators are truly champions for the cause. They are the driving force behind the initiative in their respective states. Often, the only time TERT trained professionals around the state hear TERT related news outside of a planned deployment is when TERT State Coordinators send out periodic correspondence, like the bi-monthly newsletter or training announcements. Unfortunately, even with periodic interaction from the TERT State Coordinator, if TERT trained personnel aren’t being called upon every so often to assist neighboring PSAP’s following an emergency, it’s easy for those personnel (and their agency or department heads) to become complacent. As the old saying goes; out of sight, out of mind.
To keep the importance of TERT fresh and relevant in the minds of TERT trained responders throughout the country, TERT State Coordinator’s need to do a couple of things. First, check in periodically with your designated contacts at the individual county level. Make determinations on the need for additional training, and promote the availability of FEMA’s IS-144 as a FREE online solution to train newly appointed personnel. Bring TERT Team Leader’s from your state together and conduct mock deployment drills. Work with local or state emergency operations centers to incorporate elements of a TERT response into their training programs.
For the TERT mission to be successful, preparedness, awareness, and training are key. Keeping the ideals of the initiative top of mind at all times for all responders is the only way to ensure its continued success.
Serving you and the initiative,
Jeremy DeMar, RPL, ENP, COML
NJTI-TERT Chair APCO