Mediocrity in ECom?

Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not. It is the first lesson that ought to be learned, and however early a man's training begins, it is probably the last lesson that he learns thoroughly.


We all seem to have problems with training. Some with obtaining quality training, some with holding regular training, and others with any training at all. These are all subjects that we address regularly and I believe we are gaining on appropriate resolution of those issues. We are not where we should be, but we are gaining.

7/4/06 Update
It is quite evident that far too many ECs and ROs looked at the statement above and thought to themselves "Good. I don't need to do anything." The advances in training have totally ceased! "Strong statement!" you say. True, but how many districts in Colorado have more well trained people than they did in 2004? How many RACES groups have a higher percentage of well trained people than in 2004? Answer to both is none.

It would seem that if you pat someone on the back for making good progress in training they think that no further effort is needed. TOTALLY wrong! The primary problem is that the people who were well trained have found something else to do because they are not being listened to. The training that has been ongoing is simply bringing new people up to where the people leaving were at. To keep well trained people you need to listen to what they say, a.k.a. heed their council. You don't, they leave.
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My main concern are those people that believe Emergency Communication training is like riding a bicycle. You know, once you learn you never forget. We have all heard them. They whine about additional training, or worse yet whine about skill maintenance. They usually start with one of a only very few plaintive cries:

The last excuse is the single worst in that what was "good enough" thirty years ago is no longer good enough. 1970 technology is just that, 1970 technology. We now have Packet, PSK31, ATV, a veritable ton of TOR modes, the internet, lap-top computers that can fit in your pocket, Incident Command System plus later versions, and greatly improved communication techniques. The very best we could do thirty years ago is equal to mediocrity now. Why is that "good enough" for so many?

Perhaps I am myopic but I believe it is because virtually every one of us has worked an event, be it emergency or public service, where we were severely understaffed. The legacy of that under staffing is being perpetually apprehensive that we will not be able to support another event of that magnitude. WAKE UP! It is far worse to try and support an event with "just enough" people that are not properly trained, than to support an event with fewer well trained people than we want or need.

I think it is time to slowly evolve into an organization that REQUIRES participation and training. We must not be in that position next week, or next month, but we DO need to be making progress in that direction by next year. If we do not evolve into an organization that requires training and participation, we will either have no organization at all, or we will have one that is mediocre at best.

7/4/06 Update
Missed that chance COMPLETELY!
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Do we want mediocrity to be the ECom norm? It seems many do.

Pat Lambert, WØIPL
Colorado ARES
Training Manager