If you desire to invest in yourself to expand both your knowledge and skills, here are a few suggestions:
- American Red Cross or American Heart Association – CPR, first-aid, and AED skills come in handy for both the working environment and personal life. Take the training for yourself first then go the extra mile and become an instructor. You then have the skills and flexibility to conduct emergency preparedness and response classes for your organization.
- Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) – Where else can you acquire skills to respond and recover in an emergency situation and get to know your neighbors and others in the community? CERT training is free and is offered at the county level. Participants are trained in the areas of fire suppression, search/rescue and medical triage. In addition, there are refresher courses offered on-line and /or in person. Training to become a CERT instructor is also available. Many of these skills can be incorporated within your corporate emergency preparedness and response plans.
- Conferences – Conferences are excellent opportunities to learn the latest techniques, network with others, and establish relationships.
- Government/Emergency Management Agencies, Fire Departments, etc. – Establishing and maintaining relationships with these organizations provide a wealth of information about the community in which you work and live. This information can be incorporated into your emergency response, crisis management, and business continuity plans. You can learn from the experiences of first responders as they encounter disaster situations on a frequent basis. In addition, they are equally eager to establish relationships with local businesses.
- Industry Magazines – We all have busy schedules, so don’t just look at the pictures … read the articles. If a certain article hits home or you would like more info, reach out to the author.
- Internet – There is a vast amount of information that is available on the Internet. Here are a few of my favorite sites:
- www.who.int; www.cdc.gov; and www.pandemicflu.gov
- Local Emergency Planning Commission (LEPC) – Become involved with your LEPC. This is a great venue for the public and private sectors to come together and learn of current events, network together, and establish new relationships.
- Local User Groups – Take a look in the back section of this magazine. DRJ has been a supporter for many of the various industry user groups. Find one near you and become an “active” member by attending such events and sharing your knowledge or learning from others.
- Mock Exercises – Inevitably, you will hear of an upcoming exercise opportunity. Where applicable, volunteer to be a role player or an observer. You will receive a vast amount of knowledge. Or better yet, continue to mature your corporate exercise program through the various types of exercises (e.g., walk-through/tabletop, simulation, modular/component, functional, announced and unannounced).
- Universities – Many universities are offering certification courses in crisis management, emergency response, etc. This is just another venue for learning. Graduate degrees in business continuity are also available.
- Webinars – Various vendors and organizations offer education Webinars (on-line learning events). Some are free; others are offered for a price. This is an excellent educational tool if you are unable to leave your work area for an extended period of time.
The views and opinions are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of KPMG LLP.
"Appeared in DRJ's Spring 2007 Issue"