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Improving Local Disaster Planning: A Nationwide Train-the-Trainer Project
A. L. Husband, R. N. Yeargan
The goal of this project is to improve interdisciplinary disaster planning efforts at the local level in multiple states across the nation. Objectives are to:
 enhance community resilience through local emergency planning workshops; and
 amplify effects of workshops through a train-the-trainer program.
Accomplishment of this goal will be achieved through a comprehensive host site recruitment effort, collaboration with host site coordinators, effective workshop presentations, training new instructors to conduct further workshops in multiple states, and oversight of certified trainers to maintain consistency and assure high quality delivery of future workshops. This project will provide education through interdisciplinary and multistate disaster training designed to solve the problem of local compliance with the National Response Framework. It will build upon the existing strengths of EDEN's Strengthening Community Agrosecurity Planning (S-CAP) pilot workshops.
Collaboration with federal, state, and local agencies and community leaders during the workshops will focus resources on recovery from disasters while empowering local emergency management personnel to prepare for, prevent, mitigate, and respond to all types of disasters and emergencies. Development of a sustainability plan by the local emergency planning teams created during the workshops will emphasize long-range community planning and ensure the skills acquired during the workshop will be implemented in future planning efforts.
2011 Project Description
Six Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) Strengthening Community Agrosecurity Planning (S-CAP) workshops were conducted, including deliveries in Beulah, ND; Coalgate, OK; Billings, MT; Rutland, VT; Benton, KY; and Kinston, NC. Participants received comprehensive educational materials at the workshop, including a participant manual, sample emergency operations plans, and worksheets to guide development of plans customized for their jurisdiction and a sustainability plan. Participants developed sustainability plans to ensure productive outcomes to develop or enhance their agricultural emergency operations plans.
In addition, workshop activities included delivery of the EDEN S-CAP Train-the-Trainer program to engage Extension personnel in further dissemination of the S-CAP workshops under the guidance of the National Development Team to ensure quality and consistency of delivery. The EDEN S-CAP Train-the-Trainer program included dissemination of Instructor Guides and Train-the-Trainer overview documents. The National S-CAP Teaching Team also provided consultation services with past (9), new (5), and future (5) State Trainees to assure consistent delivery of the product, maximize dissemination, and recruit new trainees. Certified trainees were provided compact discs, which include all electronic files and educational materials necessary to conduct additional deliveries of the workshops.
The EDEN public Web site and the EDEN Intranet were utilized to disseminate marketing materials developed for individuals who may be considering hosting a future S-CAP workshop, educate the public about the efforts of S-CAP, and facilitate future host sites' planning efforts through EDEN's Microsoft SharePoint system.
Data from the six workshops conducted by the National S-CAP Teaching Team indicate 90% of participants achieved a level of agricultural emergency management/planning expertise that was intermediate, above average, or expert after the EDEN S-CAP workshop, compared to 41% of participants that indicated their level of expertise was intermediate, above average, or expert prior to the workshop. According to the evaluation instrument, 94% of participants believed the workshop provided them the opportunity to meet and network with new individuals that will aid community emergency planning efforts in the future.
92% of participants responded the training established and/or strengthened their opinion that their community needs a community agrosecurity planning team. 94% of participants were motivated to collaborate with community leaders to pursue further readiness, response, and/or recovery capabilities. 95% of participants who participated in the S-CAP workshop indicated the training provided tools needed to continue development of a local agricultural operations plan and/or start a community agrosecurity planning team.
Over 2.4 million inhabitants of the counties represented at the six S-CAP workshops will be safeguarded from the negative effects of a potential agricultural disaster due to their local emergency planners' participation in the workshop and sustained efforts of community agrosecurity planning teams to enhance the agricultural component of their local emergency operations plan. The Train-the-Trainer program resulted in credentialing of seven trainees from four states (Vermont, Montana, Utah, and Oklahoma) to conduct additional S-CAP workshops within their states.
As part of the oversight of the S-CAP Program in states where workshops have previously been conducted, several outcomes were generated, including: 1) New Mexico exercised one county plan for 45 attendees; 2) Hawaii established a draft agricultural community emergency operations plan for the Big Island, hired an agrosecurity planner for Oahu, and recruited their new Extension veterinarian to be a State S-CAP Trainer; 3) Utah conducted three State S-CAP Workshops, (bringing their total number of workshops conducted to seven) and conducted two tabletop exercises and one field exercise for a total of 157 participants; agricultural emergency annexes were adopted in three counties and one city, with one county plan near completion; and Utah S-CAP outreach activities expanded their influence to China where upon invitation to the Hainan Province they presented S-CAP lessons to over 55 veterinarians and government officials; 4) Vermont plans to conduct a workshop based on the S-CAP concept to the Town Officers Education Conference in May 2012; 5) Kansas conducted four State S-CAP workshops for 139 participants and Extension personnel are actively involved with planning teams; 6) Indiana has a State S-CAP workshop scheduled for December 2011; and 7) Kentucky has begun draft development of agricultural emergency support functions in at least two counties.