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This content is taken from the Coventry University's online course, Emergency and Disaster Training and Exercising: An Introduction. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 15 seconds I woke with a jolt. I was dizzy, nauseous and soaked in sweat and everything ached. A man in a protective suit shone a light in my eyes and called for help, then I passed out. Ada Williams is a charity worker in Liberia. She visits impoverished rural communities and tries to improve the lives of those who have so little. She was helping Esi, a young woman expecting twins, when she was begged by the village elder to help his son. Jabari was in a bad way. He was lying inside his mud hut. His wife pleaded for help as he coughed up blood. Ada did everything she could and promised to return with more medicine.

Skip to 1 minute and 8 seconds I remember thinking, “Am I overreacting?”, when I made the call and uttered the words Ebola virus. I’m just glad I raised the alarm when I did. I think my training and my instincts just kicked in. When governments, organisations and even individuals are faced with complex emergencies like the outbreak of diseases, like we saw with Ebola, on a wide scale it requires the effective mobilisation and coordination of multidisciplinary teams of experts and specialists and operational teams down on the ground. We need to ensure that there’s effective surveillance, which is monitoring disease outbreaks and reporting. We need to ensure that there’s effective communications and overall an effective health response and this takes a huge range of different organisations to come together.

Skip to 1 minute and 58 seconds As a result of what happened during the Ebola crisis organisations and governments have revised and reviewed their capabilities. There’s been training and exercising in order to ensure that the response is likely to be more effective should there be an Ebola resurgence in the future. Plans and procedures were changed across organisations, governments, NGOs and other agencies who responded and that means now there is a need to train and exercise both technical and non-technical skills. It’s important to remember that a lot of these skills and resources and capabilities are applicable more widely to other communicable diseases and other emergencies and disasters.

Skip to 2 minutes and 38 seconds In this short course you will: identify the role of training and exercising in risk management and emergency preparedness assess training and development as a cycle and a lifelong process evaluate some of the key challenges in exercise design, and assess the value of various types and scales of exercise. As for Ada, she’d recently trained and exercised with public health experts and emergency management professionals to cope with an epidemic. The measures brought in by agencies to monitor and control the outbreak saved many lives in the village, including Jabari’s and they enabled Ada to return to the village to finish the work she’d started.

What you can expect to do on this course

As disaster and emergency managers our aim is to identify risks, assess and prioritise them, mitigate those risks to the lowest possible level where feasible, and to prepare to manage and respond to emergencies and disasters resulting from residual risks.

For many countries, organisations and individuals, the process of developing and implementing approaches to managing risk is an ongoing and developmental process of change. In order to reduce and manage risks, we might use mechanisms such as institutional structures, legal frameworks, preparedness tools such as emergency plans, and protocols for response such as standard operating procedures. Each is developed, implemented and adapted over time. But the development, implementation, application and review of new initiatives takes knowledge, skills and the appropriate attributes of the people involved, be they professionals or the public.

In this short course, we will look at the relationship between risk management, emergency preparedness and training, and identify where training and exercising fits within these processes. Then we will look in more detail at the training cycle and good practice approaches to developing training events and programs.

In this video, Dr El Parker, principal lecturer in Disaster Management and course director for MSc programs at Coventry University welcomes you to this Coventry University Online taster course.

This short course is the introductory two-week course for a program in Training and exercising design and delivery which forms part of MSc Emergency Management and Resilience online degree at Coventry University delivered on FutureLearn.

This week:

  • Explore the meaning of capacity and the role of training for increasing it

  • Describe emergency and disaster management capabilities

  • Discuss the distinctions between the terms education, training and development

  • Examine the training cycle

Meet the team

The Lead Educator for this course is Dr El Parker, principal lecturer in Disaster Management and course director for MSc programs at Coventry University welcomes you to this Coventry University Online taster course.

She is joined by Dr Yung-Fang Chen a senior lecturer in disaster management and emergency planning.

Your associate lecturer is Gareth Black, an emergency planning and crisis management practitioner, who will guide you through the course. He is an emergency planning and crisis management practitioner. Gareth has worked with companies all over the world to improve their crisis management capabilities with a particular specialism in the health sector.

You can follow them by navigating to their FutureLearn profile page and clicking ‘follow’. That way, you’ll be able to see all the comments they make.

The content was prepared by expert practitioners in the field: Louise Elstow, Guillaume Foliot-Leprince, Adrian House and El Parker.

Checking your progress …

When you reach the end of a step and have understood everything, select the ‘mark as complete’ button. This will update your progress page, and will help you keep track of which steps you’ve done. Any steps you’ve completed will turn blue on your ‘to do’ list.

You can check your progress page by selecting the icon at the top of the step, where you’ll see what percentage of the course steps you’ve marked as complete.

Your task

In the video, you can see an example of a situation where training was vital in an emergency situation.

Introduce yourself and share why you want to learn more about training and exercising in emergency and disaster management.

Have a look at other learners’ comments. If you can relate to a comment someone else has made, why not ‘Like’ it or leave a reply? You can filter comments in a variety of ways including ‘Most liked’ and you can also ‘Bookmark’ comments.

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This video is from the free online course:

Emergency and Disaster Training and Exercising: An Introduction

Coventry University