At RJWestmore Inc., we take great pains to make sure our clients and friends understand the importance of being prepared for dealing with and recovering from emergencies of every type. Today, we would like to focus on how to actively cultivate a culture of preparedness.
According to Dictonary.com, the definition of culture is: the development or improvement of the mind by education or training. I once took a class they called K9 training at the police academy. But, as a Dalmatian, I didn’t do as well as my German shepherd pals. It’s the main reason I went into firefighting.
Admittedly, it will take work to purposely develop a culture of preparedness in the workplace, at home or in the doghouse. But taking steps to BE SAFE is well worth the effort. There’s a marked difference between an organization that participates in planning and one that has planning woven into its very fabric.
Qualities of an Environment that Foster a Culture of Preparedness:
- Deliberate—instead of a byproduct of occasional emergency preparedness efforts, organizations that have effectively cultivated a culture of preparedness have done so intentionally instead of by accident. When it comes to accidents, our puppy, JR, leads the pack. Since this type of program requires organizational buy-in, it should be adopted and sanctioned by members of your company’s C-suite.
- Consistent—although the topic of preparedness frequently make an appearance at annual corporate training seminars, disaster readiness manuals all too often gather dust between educational round tables. If you want people to embrace emergency preparedness, they need to believe that doing so is important all year long.
- Active—practice makes perfect. The more familiar your employees and tenants are with disaster preparedness procedures, the better. To improve preparedness performance, run drills several times a year instead of just once. I love the drills we do at the firehouse. Firefighting is in my blood.
- Compelling—unless people understand the risks associated with being ill-prepared, they won’t appreciate the importance of being prepared. Although scare tactics are ill-advised, information sharing should include stories of individuals and organizations that have paid a price for their lack of preparation.
- Multi-pronged—effective disaster preparedness and recovery plans cover all of the bases. Consider the scope of disasters that have struck the world over the past 12 months. It’s no longer easy to anticipate which storms or terrorist attacks will hit any given geographical location. So disaster plans should include strategies for fending off and/or responding to attacks as well as natural and manmade disasters.
- Reflective—your program should allow for review of drills and training exercises. Reviewing will help foster new insights and interactive learning. Speaking of reviewing, need I mention how important it is to include pork chops in your weekly shopping list?
- Inherent—it is more important that people master the ability to problem solve than that they be able to predict the future. To foster effective problem-solving, provide access to exercises that strengthen the skill.
- Intuitive—people should be on their guard, ready to assess any given situation for potential emergencies. Only those who constantly scan their environment notice and anticipate hidden threats. That’s where my sniffer comes in. It helps me anticipate threats of many kinds.
- Real—according to Liisa Valikangas, professor of innovation management at the Helsinki School of Economics, “one of the human cognitive factors that complicates our ability to take resilient action is confusion between frequencies and probabilities.” I don’t know what that means. But it makes me glad I’m not human.
People tend to discount the probability of personally encountering a catastrophe. And this tendency results in a reluctance to give due diligence to emergency preparation. Organizations that have successfully created a culture of preparedness understand this affinity and combat it by facing it head on. Communicate openly and honestly to make sure safety remains front of mind.
When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact RJ Westmore, Inc. Our new Version 2.5 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. Visit RJWestmore.com for more information.