Preparedness Concepts:  Incorporate Lessons Learned

Preparedness Concepts: Incorporate Lessons Learned

Working in emergency preparedness can be daunting, confusing, and even downright frustrating!  But in the end, after the disasters have occurred, we will know that all the planning, training, and exercising has hopefully paid off.  Unfortunately, there is always something that could be improved upon, as no response is perfect.  Fortunately, this improvement opportunity also allows us to take a step back and re-prioritize our goals, re-focus our energies, and Re-Think our planning choices.  Many of us will ask, "Am I on the right track?" "How can I change this and make it easier?" "Is this what I should be doing?" "Is there more training that needs to be done?"  Re-Thinking the way we think about all of our preparedness responses and finding the true value of training and exercising helps the response efforts flow cohesively.  Emergency Preparedness is hard to wrap your head around, but the concepts are crucial to learn.

“There's no harm in hoping for the best as long as you're prepared for the worst.”
Stephen King

Now, let's look at these emergency preparedness planning concepts.  We have taken a step back to Re-think our preparedness response through the evaluation process.  Now, we can take what has been LEARNED and Incorporate the improvements into our newly revised emergency plan.  We can take all the planning tools learned from developing communication, emergency management, and business continuity plans, take all the lessons learned from previous exercises and real-world events, and apply them to future training and exercising events.  We are Incorporating the concepts and lessons learned from the past, so that we can have a better response in the future, without repeating the same mistakes.

The best way to evaluate your program or response is to follow the preparedness cycle and exercise design phases developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  There are five phases of the preparedness cycle and the last one is the evaluation and improvement phase.  FEMA explains that it is during this phase that all organizations should be collecting the lessons learned from everyone that participated in the exercise or response and developing improvement plans.  There is also a place to track corrective actions and address gaps identified in exercises or real-world events.  Lessons Learned/Continuous Improvement Program (LL/CIP) is sponsored and administered by FEMA's National Preparedness and Assessment Division (NPAD), is designed as a “user-driven,” interactive program that relies upon the whole community for generation and sharing of best practices and lessons learned.

“A truthful evaluation of yourself gives feedback for growth and success.”
                                                                                                                                ―Brenda Johnson Padgitt
Tsoetsy Harris, MPH, MEP

Tsoetsy Harris, MPH, MEP

Independent Consultant

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