Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fitness to Respond

If you're a first responder you are an athlete, and your physical condition should reflect it. Emergency operations have unique physical demands. It is imperative first responders, professional and volunteer, maintain adequate physical fitness to perform during operations.

Your fitness program should emphasizes the importance of injury prevention, strength, power, speed, endurance, and agility. It should help you become as well rounded as possible to respond when the unpredictable happens. Benefits of an effective program can include increased cardiovascular health - including lowered resting heart rate, increased ability to deal with stress - ability to maintain focus, and decreased chance of physical injury just to name a few.

With the goal being operational fitness look for or design a physical conditioning program that incorporates the following:

  • Train for Operational Fitness - Analyze the demands of operational related activities before building or selecting a program.
  • Three Days per Week - Good start point for beginners, allows for rest days between each training day.
  • Four Days per Week - For more experienced individuals, divide training between upper and lower body.
  • Manage Stress - Stresses in social life, relationships, and injuries can interfere with training, pay attention to things like sleeping and eating right and relationship issues.
  • Train Specifically - Gains reflect how you train, to be strong during operations train for strength.
  • Progress Systematically - Progressively increase the difficulty of your training at predetermined points.
  • Overload Accordingly - Make gains by pushing your body beyond what it's accustomed to.
  • Manage Diminishing Gains - Over time returns on your effort will diminish, change your program accordingly.
  • Manage Reversible Gains - Hard gains will be lost during off time, your restart-up level may be lower than where you left off.
  • Be Individual - Everyone is built differently, maximize your potential by tailoring the program to you.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Five Rigths of Communication

Effective communication can make a huge difference in all areas of life. During an emergency or disaster effective communication can have even larger impacts. In these situations communication must be: timely, accurate, absent of emotion (just the facts), clear, and concise.
  1. Right Person - Are you talking to the right person? Will talking to this person lead to your desired outcome? Could this communication be more effective if it was directed at someone else?
  2. Right Time - Is this the most effective time to communicate your message? Will what you're saying truly be heard and understood? Ensure any barriers/distractions have been accounted for before starting to communicate.
  3. Right Amount - Who hasn't been stopped by someone who took 5 -10 min to communicate something that should have taken 30 sec? There are times to be succinct and times when you must give more information to make your communication effective. Which is it? Decide before you open your mouth, start typing or writing.
  4. Right Content - Is this really what I need to communicate right now, is this what they need to hear or see? Judge carefully what will make this the most effective content to achieve your desired outcome.
  5. Right Method - What is the most effective means of getting my message across? Email, written letter, phone call, radio transmission, face to face? You have many choices - pick the right one depending on the situation, the desired outcome, who you are communicating with, and time constraints.
Practice these five strategies in your everyday communications and be prepared to respond with effective communication during an emergency.
If you like this post in any way or have gained an insight you wish to share, please leave a comment.