Training and Education
Public safety personnel are among those most likely to contend with potentially dangerous levels of traumatic stress in the wake of a disaster. The degree to which disaster-related stress is experienced as a harmful influence varies according to a number of individual and situational factors. Included among these determinants is the extent to which the individual is prepared for the event. Although each disaster unfolds differently, there are some generalizable ways in which public safety personnel can help to minimize their psychological impact. One of the ways in which they can prepare is by attending disaster-related training and coursework. Here are some facts about disaster preparedness training;
- The psychological impact of ANY stressful event (like a disaster) is reduced if you are trained and educated to react to it.
- Disaster preparedness training often combines an array of topics and methods to prepare you cognitively, emotionally, and physically for disasters.
- Physical and cognitive response preparedness can increase emotional preparedness through the proficiency they enable (and vice-versa). For example --if, enabled by preemptive classroom and field training, you rescue people from waterborne risks when flooding occurs, you will experience less total subsequent emotional traumatization than if you had been able to rescue no one.
- Disaster training is available from a variety of training facilities, institutions, and agencies. Online coursework is also offered.
- Your family and loved ones will worry less if they know that you are trained to stay safe during disasters.
- Attention Administrators & Supervisors! Disaster preparedness exercises and information involving coordination of different agencies can make your agency better able to contend with this inevitable aspect of disaster relief operations (a phenomenon known in some fields as ‘the second disaster’).
- Attention Administrators & Supervisors! Having trained personnel at ALL levels of your department can reduce the stress YOU encounter during and after a disaster.
A diverse array of training is offered at the federal and state level to help prepare public safety personnel for disasters. Some resources are listed below. Be sure to also check with your agency's designated training coordinator for places where training and coursework can be found.
- The Georgia Public Safety Training Center offers classes to prepare public safety responders, supervisors, and administrators for disaster operations.
- The National Incident Management System Incident Command System (NIMS ICS) conducts training that emphasizes coordination among agencies.
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency's Emergency Management Institute (FEMA EMI) offers disaster training, both online and at their facility.
For anyone interested in pursuing accredited/certified education and training from places other than those traditionally used by public safety in Georgia, a number of colleges, universities, and institutions offer various courses and programs.