When the founder of the Society of Mary, Rev. William Joseph Chaminade offered that thought 200 years ago, he was speaking about education reform during the French Revolution. Today, the Society of Mary is better known as the Marianists who operate Colleges and Universities across the world and have succeeded by never forgetting Rev. Chaminade’s message.
Chaminade’s “New Times-New Method” model is also relevant in today’s world to emergency management.
These are new times for Emergency Managers. We face a host of emerging threats to our people, processes and brands. That is why new Emergency Management methods must be developed, practiced and utilized if we are to succeed at building resiliency in our organizations.
What’s the best way to find new methods? One way is to look and see what new people and resources have become available since your last plan review.
That is what the Marianist founded University of Dayton Emergency Management Team has been doing over the last several months during their School Emergency Plan review. My role has been to work with the Team to find new opportunities to utilize the wealth of experience, knowledge and resources that both the University and its community hold.
Along with facilitating discussions about the current plan; I participated in several site surveys and a table top exercise with the Emergency Management Team to better understand the context in which their plan is framed.
The Dayton University table top exercise was the culmination of the plan review and improvement process. The exercise allowed for the updated plan to be practiced by the Team. Another benefit of practicing the plan in the table top setting was that it allowed for not only decisions to be heard, but thought processes to be understood. Key factors like culture, capacity, and community need to be embedded into your plan. An experienced facilitator can help ensure that these essential elements are explored by the Team during a table top exercise.
By collaborating with new people and non-traditional resources, the University of Dayton Team was able to expand their understanding of their risks and also their capacity to face these risks in these new times. The collaborative table top exercise allowed the University of Dayton to discover untapped resources that will not only improve the emergency response plan; but will allow for a greater understanding of the community’s strengths and weaknesses.
“New Times” are an opportunity to find “New Methods” to address both historical and future threats. At the University of Dayton, their Emergency Management Team is based on their Marianist commitment to “Constantly seek truth and knowledge in their mission to improve the world”.
Don’t let complacency interfere with your constant search to protect your people, process and brand.
Take your old plan off the shelf and practice it with your people. You may find that there are new threats that you have not planned for; but you will probably also find that there are new people and resources that you have not included.