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Monday, July 23, 2012

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

I recently took a trip to visit the Virginia Emergency Operations Center in Richmond, Va. I love checking out the way other organizations operate. I am always hoping to glean some little nugget that will help me work smarter not harder.

The Virginia EOC is relatively new (built in the last 5 years) and has the benefit of smart space planning and new displays. When I visited, the emergency management personnel were responding to the historic power outage that struck much of East coast in late June. I was impressed (and a little jealous) with the sizeable work areas for each of the emergency support functions to operate.

My hardworking Virginia counterparts (Bob, Laura, Charmaine and Amanda) were working in the Joint Information Center, a room within their EOC This small but mighty force of multi-taskers rallied to address the concerns of the day (water availability and media inquiries) while trying to project future communication needs (staffing and food safety).

I was curious how they manage and divide the workload. I am struggling to put the finishing touches on our Arizona plan. I struggle because I like things all wrapped up with a neat little bow, which means lots of checklists). The reality is no response to a disaster is ever the same. Checklists will always need to be modified; personnel may be different.

So I guess my little nugget was more of an “aha moment” when I realized there is not a one-size fits all approach for a successful communication operation. I need to just bite the bullet and finish the plan.

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