Emergency Management, as a concept, employs a holistic approach to the entities and occurrences that can affect a large number of people, places and things. As a holistic approach, it is incumbent upon practitioners to, not only, understand that all aspects of Emergency Management theory are equally as important as each other, but to employ that approach as well.
Knowing how to communicate, within and across agencies that deal in emergency management, especially emergency first responders (E1Rs), is essential for critical information sharing and a coordinated, effective response to any major situation. Once we understand this as a concept, and have dedicated the necessary time, effort and resources to it, then we can and should tackle the issue of actually “communicating” with one another.
The necessity for emergency responders and managers to transition to a culture of operational interoperability represents a paradigm shift for most. The problem remains that many organizations are hampered by their continued operation in silos and their misunderstanding of one another’s SOPs. While my expertise surrounds the experience that I have had, over thirty years, in emergency first response, the principles I espouse can be interspersed across a variety of organizations, regardless of function, that work in conjunction with one another. This transference is imperative to the collective cooperation of such organizations.
Recent worldwide disasters and tragedies, from Fort McMurray, Alberta, to Paris and Nice, France and Brussels, Belgium are galvanizing the imperative of emergency responders to be able to work together. The sheer magnitude of these events and the crises they have produced, including billions of dollars of damage and uncountable deaths and injuries, simply overwhelm our capacities. We NEED one another.
When one researches or even thinks of the term “interoperability” in today’s technological age, the default is to that of communications. However, as I indicated in my last blog, those communications are rendered practically moot, if we don’t know how or want to communicate with one another.