15th Symposium on Education


Successful statewide public safety outreach: cultivating technology and andragogy in Oklahoma

Derek Arndt, Oklahoma Climatological Survey, Norman, OK; and A. Reader

For almost a decade, the Oklahoma Climatological Survey (OCS) and Oklahoma Mesonet have delivered training and data to public safety officials through the OK-FIRST (Oklahoma's First-response Information Resource System using Telecommunications) program. As of July 2005, nearly 200 public safety agencies (law enforcement, fire services, emergency management) across Oklahoma were active participants in the program, plus several in neighboring states.

In recent years, technological advancements have allowed OK-FIRST to improve and expand its data services. The implementation of a self-contained NOAAport system allows OCS to custom-process NOAA products for its OK-FIRST participants. These are packaged with products from the Oklahoma Mesonet into decision-support and self-briefing web portals that are tailored by hazard and by the participant's geographic location.

Andragogy refers to the art and science of teaching adults (as opposed to pedagogy, for children). OK-FIRST has delivered appropriate and effective training since its inception. In recent years, however, the program has undergone a focused effort to further embrace tenets of andragogy. Some tangible examples are streamlined self-directed learning modules, regionally-held recertification workshops, continuing education credit for coursework, and a re-furbished set of training materials for use in face-to-face workshops.

Four years have passed since OK-FIRST was named one of the nation's five most innovative government programs. In 2005, OCS hosted "Innovations in Managing Weather-Impacted Situations" with officials from state-level emergency management offices in ten states. The meetings were designed to help participants replicate and adapt the OK-FIRST program for use in their states. As of August 2005, four of the states have made substantial progress toward implementing or improving their own public safety decision-support systems.

This presentation and document will detail recent changes and developments in the OK-FIRST program, including: the integration of new data sources and technologies into data services and decision support; the integration of andragogy and its principles into the training and education regimen; how some participants in OCS's "Innovations ..." workshops have garnered successes in their own states.

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Supplementary URL: http://okfirst.ocs.ou.edu

Session 3, University and Professional Education
Tuesday, 31 January 2006, 8:30 AM-12:15 PM, A402

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