During World War II, there was a phrase frequently used to denote what was at the time an indeterminate period of time and commonly meant in effect, until the end of the war. That phrase was, “for the duration” – since no one could really say how soon it would end or how long it would last. It’s still used sometimes to mean “until the end of something” and typically for a very long time.
Moving to present circumstances, with the extension of federal and state lock downs and sheltering in place orders through at least the end of April and possibly beyond, it looks like we will all be in this situation “for the duration” – and we are hearing a new phrase commonly in use – “the new normal.”
For emergency managers and healthcare response professionals, here are some tips and suggestions that will help for the duration, as we work through this new normal:
#1 Stay connected with mobile solutions: During the COVID-19 crisis, circumstances and information are changing almost by the minute. Emergency responders and healthcare professionals can’t afford to be cut off from critical information and resources whether working from home or out in the field. That’s why many Juvare solutions incorporate mobile apps or capabilities, including the WebEOC mobile app.
The WebEOC mobile app keeps emergency staff connected when away from their desk, and makes preparation and readiness tasks easier and more efficient. The mobile-friendly boards are easy to view and edit, and keep users informed and situationally aware during an emergency, disaster, or other event.
#2 Make sure your communications rock solid: Collaboration is key, but let’s face it, it can be a challenge with stakeholders dispersed across multiple locations not only across the country but also locally. At the end of 2019, we asked 344 emergency management pros what aspect of their emergency management capabilities needed the most improvement. The overwhelming majority said their communication capabilities could be stronger.
In the current situation, that number is probably even higher.
Without the solid foundation of a centralized emergency management platform, many organizations have communications processes working independently of each other which can cause impede effective collaboration and cause important information to fall through the cracks.
Centralized communication and collaboration platforms are key – giving everyone access to the same critical information at the same time. Platforms like WebEOC, Juvare Exchange, and eICS connect all the players and stakeholders across arbitrary borders or other hindrances.
For more, download our white paper 8 Tips to Improve Your Emergency Management Communications.
#3 Don’t discount the importance of Social Media: Using social media for emergency management and public health response can be extremely helpful in broadcasting important safety information, correcting misinformation (which is often perpetrated on social media channels), and in gaining and promoting greater situational awareness.
To disseminate, or gather, important information you have to go where the people are. Certainly, this includes traditional media such as TV, radio, and news outlets, but social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn are where people are predominantly getting their information.
Read more about “How emergency management agencies can effectively utilize social media.”
#4. Take advantage of the latest features: Are you sure that you have all the tools and features that will help you do your job? Often there are updates, add-ons, or specially offered tools that can help increase your productivity, situational awareness, and other capabilities.
Add-ons could include features and capabilities to help improve speed and efficiency in communication, data administration and planning, resource management, integration, and mapping. Contact us if you have any questions about add-ons for Juvare solutions.
Juvare also recently developed a WebEOC board to assist our clients with situational awareness, preparedness, and response related to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, which can be downloaded at no cost to current WebEOC subscribers. (compatible with WebEOC versions 8.4 and higher). Learn more here: “New no-cost WebEOC board released by Juvare to track COVID-19 cases at the jurisdictional level.”
#5 Manage your stress levels: No matter how experienced you are, no one has ever been through a crisis like this one. It’s a natural disaster on steroids. Stress levels are high. For emergency managers and response professionals, they’re even higher.
The process we’re going through now as we adjust to all the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic has been compared to the grieving process by the Harvard Business Review.
People who work to help others often tend to do so at their own expense. To be at your best – professionally, personally, etc. – you’ve got to make time and develop a process for dealing with stress. For some tips on taking care of yourself during this trying time, read our blog post “7 steps to help emergency management and healthcare professionals deal with stress during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
We suggest eating healthy, getting as much rest as possible, getting exercise, and spending some downtime exercising, reading, or listening to music. To help with the last one, check out the Spotify playlist we compiled specifically to help lighten the load, with uplifting and timely tunes.
#6 – Bonus Tip: Rely on Experienced Support: Just remember, you are not alone in working through this extraordinary crisis.
At Juvare, we are here for you with experienced, helpful support to help you deal with preparedness and response for the duration.