1) They are flexible.
They will step in and do what is needed, as it is needed and can do so with just a few limited instructions. Here are members of the team on Sunday starting to pull together the site. The first shift on day one were tasked with site organization and the preparatory activities. Each and every team member there to help as the tent was set up on Sunday morning did whatever was asked of them – sometimes- okay, often – they were asked to do multiple things in a matter of minutes and they all went with the flow.
2) They think well on their feet.
One thing that we drill in emergency management is the use of critical thinking to craft smart solutions. Our students can think on their feet and run through the challenges in regard to different alternatives in their mind before they commit to a course of action.During every shift so far the team members on duty have faced challenges that require solutions that are sustainable over the length of the build. The site and process that I left Sunday afternoon was much more fine-tuned when I arrived Monday morning and I suspect will be even more precise when I arrive this morning. They will make choices and decisions that they have thought out thoroughly, analyzed for pitfalls and can provide a rationalization for…these are critical thinkers…these are the folks you want watching out for the well-being of your community or business.
3) They all work together well.
The team on this project spans our program – from undergraduate to graduate – from new students to those graduating this winter. At its core, emergency management is a relationship-based managerial function. Our program is purposeful in requiring students to work in groups to do discussion-based problem solving and group projects toward the end of building their ability to collaborate, build relationships and carry an equal burden when working with others.
Emergency management folks never really work in isolation so we try and ensure that these skills are reinforced again and again in our students. Those skills are evident in our team – they work across what we know in academia to be many borders – educational levels, class standings, friend networks, etc. They are bound by their shared mission and they deliver based on that – they operate as professionals.
4) They are genuinely nice folks.
There is a heightened niceness factor evident in those who gravitate to emergency management. Emergency management folks possess great heart and compassion. I think the “want to help others” gene is in every person who settles in emergency management. I often say that emergency management is sexy because you get to help people and keep them out of harm’s way without having to rush into a burning building or exchange gunfire – it is being a superhero wherein your super powers are your brain and heart. When you put those two together with the “want to help” gene it is hard to find a sour puss. Our people may seem tough at times and can very tightly manage a scene when necessary, but inside they do this because they care about the well-being of people…emergency management is not about power, it is about a commitment to people.
5) They represent the field of emergency management well.
My students make me proud. When I tell them my expectations and what I want to see as an end-product they deliver. My students – past, present and future – are bringing excellence to the field of emergency management both in their efforts while in college and as they move out into the workforce.
Take a good look folks, these students are the ones who will care enough about your community or business to craft solutions that keep you safe…these students are the next generation of emergency management – and hey, that’s great news for all of us!
Day four hundred and fifty-six of the new forty-obla di obla da