Weather Training For Emergency Managers: A Perspective From The EM Community
1) Training overviews meteorological principles while typically glossing over knowledge and best practices that would be relevant to a wide range of emergency management roles leaving managers to self-learn how to interpret for operational decision making. 2) Hazard specific training is targeted for only a few types of weather events leaving gaps of practical knowledge about other hazards needing to planned for and responded to. Many managers believe that more emergency managers should be trained in weather and the potential diversity of impacts. 3) Training often is overwhelming with meteorological depth and jargon resulting in the perception of low relevance and low retention. 4) Emergency managers believe they are not trained to adequately interpret and combine meteorological products in order to make operational decisions. Subsequently, they may have lower skill or confidence in their ability to interpret and convey weather information to others than could be maintained. 5) Training does not familiarize emergency managers adequately with the specialized language used by weather services decreasing message comprehension and application to decision making. The retention of the jargon is low and is the main complaint of emergency managers. 6) Emergency managers frequently request training for greater depth in meteorology but do so assuming it is the only way to fully comprehend the relevance of information they are provided. Their expressed desire, in contrast, is to have more direct, relevant, and simpler to comprehend information that can be passed along to an array of decision makers in their chain of command. 7) Emergency managers prefer training to be conducted with the partners they will collaborate with during real emergency events as a team building, trust building, and communication channel building experience. 8) There are serious logistical challenges for emergency managers to obtain current training including availability, getting time off, and costs. Suggested preferred modes and content of training will be presented.
These topics among other findings will be presented. The emergency management community has provided important insights that link vital training needs to operational needs. Further, the survey results show that available weather training is not fulfilling these needs. The gaps result in potential misinterpretations and passing along of wrong information, a reduction in confidence in decision making, heavy reliance on self-learning, and lowering of priority to obtain training. Recommendations by emergency managers for improving training will be presented.