Monday, January 16, 2006

What alot of training!

Last week, by coincidence, 3 separate training opportunities, organised under very different headings, came together…The well worn analogy of the London bus definitely crossed my mind as I looked at my diary on the Monday, and realised just what the week held.
In the event, the impact of the 3 days was wildly different, though I guess I’m glad I attended all of them.
Wednesday saw me in the bowels of Shire Hall, the centre of Gloucestershire’s Local Government, undergoing the first part of a two day training for “Emergency Management”. Aside from the fact that my domestic life sometimes feels like one long emergency, I signed up for this because it is only under the auspices of the “Emergency Management VolunteersTeam” that clergy can have any access to those affected by a major crisis…be it a terrorist attack or something less dramatic,- perhaps a rail crash or a serious fire. I know myself well enough to realise that I would find it intolerable to be living close to such an event and be unable to offer any sort of help…so Wednesday was the price I had to pay. I should say, loudly, that the plans in place for all and any contingency are impressively thorough…and it is good to know that if disaster does strike, someone has thought through the implications. That said, the training we were offered was for the most part frustratingly basic. Apparently, when we are fully qualified (having attended day 2) we will be competent to help those affected by the crisis complete a registration form…We may be deputed to make cups of tea. We may even be cleared to clean loos.
Not that I have any problem with any of that…but I do rather baulk at the need for 2 training days to ensure that we’re capable of carrying out these tasks. What really startled me, though, was the realisation that some people who are nominated for day 1 are deemed unready for day 2 (of course, there is always the terrifying possibility that I might find myself among these poor unwanted souls)…I honestly cannot see that I learned anything whatsoever on Wednesday that common sense had not imparted years before. I know that people react differently under stress, but to be confronted with that degree of “I” dotting and “t” crossing was a culture shock, to say the least, to one who operates largely on intuition.
I expect it was good for me!


Fiona said...

"…I honestly cannot see that I learned anything whatsoever on Wednesday that common sense had not imparted years before."

Couldn't resist an "official" reply to this one - what DID you expect from Shire Hall?

yours affectionately but somewhat bitterly


Caroline said...

i'm not official nor even a civil servant, but wierdly I can feel myself getting all defensive over your post. Must be too many years of being the daughter of the chief emergency planning officer.... but seriously, while I deeply respect your intuition and have no doubt that you would do 'the right thing', emergency responses have to be scrupulous and one stray idealist, can cause nightmares (witness the leaking of the 'all the moners survived' information at the US mine recently. I know plenty of people who whatever their profession/ experience simply would not fit in in a muli-professional emergency team. And it is about team. it has to be. Witness 'would be heros' who rush in and become just another casualty who needs rescuing. I would never have the discipline to work in the emergency services - i hat dotting i's and crossing t's. but the logistics of an emergecy on teh scale you imagine necessitates it. It is discipline pendantry that takes control and imposes safety in the disasters you're talking about. you don't argue with the chief fire officer or emergecny planning officer on scene, if for no other resason than because then you can't sue.... (;))

Kathryn said...

You're quite right, Caroline. The team work element was stressed, and is clearly crucial- and I wouldn't in any way object to taking orders on the spot. The problem, for me, was less about what we going to be expected to do and far more about the level of assumed idiocy of the training. On the whole, rather alot of it would have been patronising to the average primary pupil. Still, I suppose it's far better to spell things out unnecessarily than to risk anyone being left in doubt if a real live emergency arose...and I totally take your "one stray idealist" point, amd the US mining accident was used as an all too graphic example of why you never ever ever tell anyone anything untill it has been triplicate.
Excellent timing on the typos (I hat dotting i's and crossing t's)...That made me lol. But overall I'm chastened and less judgemental.