A Prototype Training and Facilitated Environment for Improving Impact-Based Decision Support Services through Effective Messaging and Office Flexibility

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Thursday, 8 January 2015: 2:15 PM
221A-C (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Michael J. Staudenmaier Jr., NOAA/NWS, Salt Lake City, UT; and L. Wanek, C. Bell, and S. Apfel

The National Weather Service (NWS) offers training opportunities focused on developing partnerships and supporting emergency managers and public safety officials via a Decision Support Service (DSS) Bootcamp and the Warning Coordination Meteorologist (WCM) Training Course. The courses are offered by the NWS Training Center (NWSTC) in Kansas City, Missouri. Both training experiences provide a number of interactive ways for forecasters and managers to focus on effectively balancing our science with our service as we strive toward a Weather-Ready Nation. The DSS Bootcamp and the WCM Course facilitators are successful in leading discussion and providing hands-on training activities for creatively evolving our weather services while strengthening our partnerships. The only downfall to the training courses is the limited number of opportunities for forecasters and managers to attend. The limited training opportunity leaves facilitators and students alike asking “how can we effectively share this information with our staffs in a manner that promotes discussion and supports culture change long after the training is over”? In order to answer this question and meet the needs of our operational staffs, the NWS Western Region (WR) has developed a prototype DSS training experience similar to the CR Bootcamp and WCM Course. The main difference is that the facilitators are traveling to individual Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs), providing an opportunity for the entire office to participate in, and thus “own”, the DSS training experience. This training environment brings the trainer to the student (rather than the student to the trainer) and is called “The WR DSS Roadshow”.

The overarching goal of the WR DSS Roadshow is to spend quality time at individual Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs) facilitating conversation and development of action items to improve our weather messaging and services. The objectives of the DSS Roadshow are to (1) enhance our messaging of weather hazards and impacts, (2) improve our understanding of risk communication, and (3) identify some possible ‘next steps' utilizing office staff flexibility toward a whole office concept supporting Weather-Ready Nation (WRN).

Management participation will be key to the success of each visit, with local management setting the stage for their office's DSS Vision. The individual sessions presented are a combination of instruction and hands-on experience, with several breakout sessions to keep people interested and engaged. The role of the Facilitators is to spearhead discussion while allowing each office to own their experience and tailor any action items to the needs of that particular office and to WRN. The goal of the Facilitators is to create a more comfortable and trusting environment by encouraging peer-to-peer sharing and avoiding a top-down approach to change, where each student feels valued. By bringing this type of a facilitated training environment to the local office team, WR hopes to leave the office with specific actions toward enhancing the office's impact-based decision support services.