Situational Awareness and Emergency Preparedness are Balancing Acts


As we approach the close of this calendar year and look forward with optimism to what 2021 may bring, this is a good time for reflection. As a public sector employee, there were many occurrences in 2020 that I found to be predictable and just as many that frankly were not. I am a lifelong learner and specifically a student of leadership, situational awareness, and emergency management. All those disciplines require pre-planning and being prepared for whatever may come.

Let’s take a look at emergency preparedness. We had a collection of wildfires here in Northern California starting in August that directly impacted family members and close friends I used that opportunity to conduct an audit of personal emergency supplies our family set aside for such an event that might require a quick evacuation. While I found that many of our emergency supplies would have been usable, I also found that certain items had not lasted and simply needed to be discarded.

Magnify that lesson for a public safety agency or business with numerous employees and multiple significant events throughout the year and you will quickly see how emergency preparedness can turn to being ill-prepared. In 2020, we not only saw wildfires that ravaged California, but add in the Covid-19 pandemic, a presidential election, demonstrations, and protests surrounding law enforcement and more. Many public safety agencies quickly realized that their supplies of masks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment were in short supply and the increased demand caused prices to spike.

I found much of the same reflection in the situational awareness realm. Many public safety agencies have used the catch phrase “situational awareness” to indicate they need to be and are more prepared than ever for anything. As a public safety employee for 25 years, I know full well that public safety employees simply cannot be and should not be “on” 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Situational awareness needs to mean more than being hyper focused and being prepared for the worst.

Where can I get help? 21 CLETS LLC offers training and guidance in emergency preparedness and situational awareness. We have created a new training course that will provide the tools and the balance in both readiness and making sure you and your employees are not so hyper focused that you will burnout. California POST-certified instructors Ryan Harder and this author are here to partner with you, your agency, or your business with initial course offerings in February and April 2021. We look forward to seeing you at one of our upcoming Situational Awareness training courses.