- “…The two employees who know how to operate [the county’s e-mail ’emergency alert’ system] were out of town…”
- “…A third employee who was supposed to run it said that he had never been trained…”
- “…A fourth employee who was found eight hours later knew how to operate it but failed to send out any alerts.”
- “The e-mail system is the county’s primary method for contacting residents in emergencies without relying on radio or television.”
According to the county’s homeland security director, “The system worked. We failed.” He also said, according to the Post, that no employees would be disciplined but that “he would look into training issues.”
I’m not sure what “worked” — the fact that they noticed a 48-inch water main had broken?
I don’t want to pile on here. It’s more that “training” in this context is a hidden discrimination — a sort of cognitive clown car with its doors shut. We each look at it and associate it with our own particular experience of cars, not necessarily another person’s experience and not necessarily what’s in this particular car.
My hunch is that under the “training” label, you’ll find lots of things: paper-based systems rather than automatic ones, an e-mail distribution list that doesn’t include outside addresses for the sender (so he’ll know people got the alert), competing expectations, dosages of “training” given about as often as tetanus shots…
So here’s a one-page guide to performance problem analysis, just in case the cause of the problem is not restricted to a lack of skill or knowledge. (Click for full size.)
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