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CAP Talk  |  Operations  |  Safety  |  Topic: Safety & Emergency Management Inquiry
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MovingOnToOtherThings
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,300

« on: August 07, 2018, 09:31:56 AM »

I will be attending my first Faculty Conclave with one of the schools I teach for August 28th and 29th.  During the discussions the school likes to ask if people that work in the industry have any recommendations, trends, or needs that could be addressed or discussed that can help the school serve the students better. These are my questions and not the schools.

So here are my questions:

From the Safety Side

1)   Is there a particular subject or focus within safety that you feel is missed from the academic side?
2)   There are plenty of classes on Management Practices and Organization Development. Do you feel that one specific to ‘Safety Cultures” and the concepts of safety leader vs safety manager would be beneficial to those in the field?
3)   Is there a way to engage people in safety that does not seem like you are an “overseer” or “buzz kill” while trying to help people be safe?

From the Emergency Management Side

1)   Is there a particular subject or focus within emergency management that you feel is missed from the academic side?
2)   Volunteers can play a large part in Emergency Response. Do you feel that a class or Continuing Education option about various volunteer organizations and their capabilities would be beneficial?
3)   Fredrick Community College offers an Associates of Applied Science degree in Emergency Management in part by using FEMA ICS classes. There is a charge for the transfer and you have to take Module tests to get credit. Are there any individuals you know that have taken advantage of the program and earned the AAS? Is it beneficial?

https://www.frederick.edu/programs/public-safety/emergency-management-online.aspx

*** Please know these are general questions and not specific to any organization***
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TheSkyHornet
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,574

« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2018, 10:08:20 AM »

Is there a particular subject or focus within safety that you feel is missed from the academic side?

I think this may be a bit too broad of a question. Safety subjects in academia will vary depending on the forum and the course models used. Safety in aviation and safety in construction may differ from a scientific environment approach (i.e., medical or laboratory-based experimentation). Environmental/ecological public safety may have interfaces with but can significantly differ from emergency management (as I see is the talking point in a later question).

There is no "Safety Industry" in the sense of safety management. Quality assurance, root cause analysis, corrective action and mitigation...these are pretty universal. But the physical efforts to run safety programs can differ vastly depending on the industry, or even working environment/locale.

My safety education in college was heavily focused on accident investigation and root causes. I knew nothing about quality assurance auditing when I started in my current job.


There are plenty of classes on Management Practices and Organization Development. Do you feel that one specific to ‘Safety Cultures” and the concepts of safety leader vs safety manager would be beneficial to those in the field?

"Safety Cultures" is probably not something I would expect to be a semester-long class. I think it's something that needs to be re-discussed with each safety focus. In a common HFACS investigation, looking at the safety culture of the organization is key to determining 'what went wrong' in a mishap. That's an investigation. Now how do you address that on the QA or QC side? There are different times to look at the culture of an organization. So I see it as a module of a specific course, not necessarily a stand-alone topic.

Is there a way to engage people in safety that does not seem like you are an “overseer” or “buzz kill” while trying to help people be safe?

Absolutely. How you approach safety matters can severely impact the success or failure of your approach.

You have to first understand that you'll never win everyone over. So have a contingency: do you continue to push the agenda with someone else (say, escalate the matter up the chain), or do you let it go and move on? This often comes in the form of existing policy in the organization, especially in regard to risk tolerance.

This, again, is a very broad topic. Your role in safety will differ depending on your job position, your corporate climate, and the industry in which you work. For example, something such as an OSHA 'housekeeping' item of compliance may be a "You have to do this or else we'll get fined" item, or "If you don't do this and someone gets injured, it can cost you thousands in lawsuits and insurance premiums." So there's that approach. But say, for aviation safety, you may have a greater flexibility in achieving regulatory compliance. Part of that environment means that you have to convince people that your recommendation is the better route to go both operationally (financially) and safety-wise.

The best approach for any safety compliance representative is to be a part of the team from a sideline perspective, identifying the standards and the methods for compliance, and assisting management in their understanding that your role is to verify their options against the standards so that you are within tolerance limits and performance. Just be prepared that in some industries, such as construction, you may have significant increases in costs by "overbuilding" (even if safer, it may not be legally required)...so you'll have to make that sale.

I find, in most cases, safety is less of a "no" culture and more of a "why? convince me" culture.


Is there a particular subject or focus within emergency management that you feel is missed from the academic side?

I'm not sure that I've seen something "missed" necessarily in teaching emergency management. I think it's more of putting people into the perspective what what emergency managers do. It's a subject that's fairly difficult to teach on paper without practical exercises (drills, etc).

Emergency management classes are great as workshops. They're dull as PowerPoint lectures, and far less effective.


Volunteers can play a large part in Emergency Response. Do you feel that a class or Continuing Education option about various volunteer organizations and their capabilities would be beneficial?

For emergency managers:
Understanding their available resources is absolutely crucial. I do think it would benefit emergency management agencies to know more about the volunteer organizations at their disposal. That said, it may go along with the need to interface training (joint training) with that organization.

For students:
As a general overview, it helps. I'm not sure it's necessary for the members of CAP to, say, know about state special SAR response teams aside from a cooperative interface on joint missions. Education as an option is never a detriment.


Fredrick Community College offers an Associates of Applied Science degree in Emergency Management in part by using FEMA ICS classes. There is a charge for the transfer and you have to take Module tests to get credit. Are there any individuals you know that have taken advantage of the program and earned the AAS? Is it beneficial?

Didn't know anything about it.
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MovingOnToOtherThings
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,300

« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2018, 01:23:14 PM »

Is there a particular subject or focus within safety that you feel is missed from the academic side?

I think this may be a bit too broad of a question. Safety subjects in academia will vary depending on the forum and the course models used. Safety in aviation and safety in construction may differ from a scientific environment approach (i.e., medical or laboratory-based experimentation). Environmental/ecological public safety may have interfaces with but can significantly differ from emergency management (as I see is the talking point in a later question).

There is no "Safety Industry" in the sense of safety management. Quality assurance, root cause analysis, corrective action and mitigation...these are pretty universal. But the physical efforts to run safety programs can differ vastly depending on the industry, or even working environment/locale.

My safety education in college was heavily focused on accident investigation and root causes. I knew nothing about quality assurance auditing when I started in my current job.


There are plenty of classes on Management Practices and Organization Development. Do you feel that one specific to ‘Safety Cultures” and the concepts of safety leader vs safety manager would be beneficial to those in the field?

"Safety Cultures" is probably not something I would expect to be a semester-long class. I think it's something that needs to be re-discussed with each safety focus. In a common HFACS investigation, looking at the safety culture of the organization is key to determining 'what went wrong' in a mishap. That's an investigation. Now how do you address that on the QA or QC side? There are different times to look at the culture of an organization. So I see it as a module of a specific course, not necessarily a stand-alone topic.

Is there a way to engage people in safety that does not seem like you are an “overseer” or “buzz kill” while trying to help people be safe?

Absolutely. How you approach safety matters can severely impact the success or failure of your approach.

You have to first understand that you'll never win everyone over. So have a contingency: do you continue to push the agenda with someone else (say, escalate the matter up the chain), or do you let it go and move on? This often comes in the form of existing policy in the organization, especially in regard to risk tolerance.

This, again, is a very broad topic. Your role in safety will differ depending on your job position, your corporate climate, and the industry in which you work. For example, something such as an OSHA 'housekeeping' item of compliance may be a "You have to do this or else we'll get fined" item, or "If you don't do this and someone gets injured, it can cost you thousands in lawsuits and insurance premiums." So there's that approach. But say, for aviation safety, you may have a greater flexibility in achieving regulatory compliance. Part of that environment means that you have to convince people that your recommendation is the better route to go both operationally (financially) and safety-wise.

The best approach for any safety compliance representative is to be a part of the team from a sideline perspective, identifying the standards and the methods for compliance, and assisting management in their understanding that your role is to verify their options against the standards so that you are within tolerance limits and performance. Just be prepared that in some industries, such as construction, you may have significant increases in costs by "overbuilding" (even if safer, it may not be legally required)...so you'll have to make that sale.

I find, in most cases, safety is less of a "no" culture and more of a "why? convince me" culture.


Is there a particular subject or focus within emergency management that you feel is missed from the academic side?

I'm not sure that I've seen something "missed" necessarily in teaching emergency management. I think it's more of putting people into the perspective what what emergency managers do. It's a subject that's fairly difficult to teach on paper without practical exercises (drills, etc).

Emergency management classes are great as workshops. They're dull as PowerPoint lectures, and far less effective.


Volunteers can play a large part in Emergency Response. Do you feel that a class or Continuing Education option about various volunteer organizations and their capabilities would be beneficial?

For emergency managers:
Understanding their available resources is absolutely crucial. I do think it would benefit emergency management agencies to know more about the volunteer organizations at their disposal. That said, it may go along with the need to interface training (joint training) with that organization.

For students:
As a general overview, it helps. I'm not sure it's necessary for the members of CAP to, say, know about state special SAR response teams aside from a cooperative interface on joint missions. Education as an option is never a detriment.


Fredrick Community College offers an Associates of Applied Science degree in Emergency Management in part by using FEMA ICS classes. There is a charge for the transfer and you have to take Module tests to get credit. Are there any individuals you know that have taken advantage of the program and earned the AAS? Is it beneficial?

Didn't know anything about it.

Thanks for the reply. I appreciate the input.
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TheSkyHornet
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,574

« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2018, 02:40:55 PM »

Welkies  ;D
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Live2Learn
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 704

« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2018, 11:11:34 PM »

1)   Is there a particular subject or focus within safety that you feel is missed from the academic side?

Several years ago my immediate organization suffered four wildfire related fatalities.  Bluntly, it was a grim time.  It was interesting to me that in the rush to 'do something' management required an all hands two day safety stand down.  "Good decision" was my initial thought.  My opinion changed when the primary speaker took the podium.  He was a respected safety manager for one of our sister organization.  For the next two days he lectured the assembled fire fighters on the theme that "there are no 'accidents because all risk factors are 'controllable'."  His lectures were founded on the assumptions that all risks are knowable  - and therefore known.  And, that like a shop floor where every tool or object has its place, so it is in wildlands.

I wonder, more often than I'd like, whether this 2 dimensional view of operations environments isn't held by some academics and other safety managers. Certainly, when I see the widget oriented annual safety survey I see a lot of shop floor metrics

I think a useful conversation might be about known risks & hazards, risks & hazards we don't know but might suspect, and risks & hazards that are outside of our experiece and therefore invisible to us.  A followup discussion might be about metrics we might employ to assess our organizational & individual capability to survive & operate successfully within an environment with consequential unknowns.
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TheSkyHornet
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,574

« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2018, 10:29:34 AM »

A followup discussion might be about metrics we might employ to assess our organizational & individual capability to survive & operate successfully within an environment with consequential unknowns.

One of my work areas is to audit department heads against their performance measures.

"So what drove this number as your baseline? Why this percentage for the failure rate?"
"That's just what we've always used. It's an industry standard."

No logic to it. No idea if it's good or bad. That's just what's used.

Does it work? Perhaps. But if there's no logic behind the development of the metric, then you don't know if it's efficient. Can you lean out the process? Can you make it more effective? Maybe we're good on paper but we could be doing a heck of a lot better and we just don't realize it.


These are actually subjects that are taught at the collegiate level. They often run concurrent to a topic like risk management, but not generally in the same course itself. I may take a class on human error and safety management, while the following day, I'm in a class on lean/six-sigma methodology.

So the subjects are there. They just might not be taught in the same classroom, and they approach a common end goal but through different levels of management and focus areas.
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Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 29,347

« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2018, 11:25:30 AM »

"Why?" Is actively discouraged in a lot of organizations, because that single word
can open up hornet's nests quickly.

It's understandable that mid-level managers not specifically tasked with process improvement
might shy away from those questions if the status quo keeps things moving.

The flip side is New-COs that "question everything" resulting in little stability or time for processes to mature.

The latter is usually effective when you're trying to disrupt a market, but can be difficult to sustain long term.
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Live2Learn
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 704

« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2018, 04:22:31 PM »

Two of my favorite books (listed in the order read some time ago) are Normal Accidents: Living With High Risk Technologies by Charles Perrow, and The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassin Nicholas Taleb.  Either or both might yield interesting insights from S.O.S.'s conversation with academic peers.  IMHO, it's not the role of the worker bees or midlevel managers to imagine and prepare for the unthought of and perhaps unthinkable.  That is a leadership role for the pinnacle of the organization... where flexibility and adaptive capability is deliberately created through selection of key staff and subordinate leaders who can handle an 'outside my experience' thought or demand.
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TheSkyHornet
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,574

« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2018, 04:33:52 PM »

"Why?" Is actively discouraged in a lot of organizations, because that single word
can open up hornet's nests quickly.

Opened.  8)  >:D
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CAP Talk  |  Operations  |  Safety  |  Topic: Safety & Emergency Management Inquiry
 


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