Transportation Agencies Prepare for Attack or Disaster
In the event of a terrorist attack or natural disaster, state transportation departments must maintain open transportation routes for critical response. To achieve this, personnel must receive effective emergency management training.
A new report from the Mineta Transportation Institute (MTI), Emergency Management Training for Transportation Personnel, documents and analyzes the benefits of an interactive approach to training for adults. This information is useful for all transportation agency training departments as they design and deliver federally-mandated courses.
Principal investigator Frances Edwards and team developed an Incident Command System (ICS) course with training materials for the National Cooperative Highway Research Program. They then taught that course to field personnel from the California Department of Transportation, demonstrating the value of interactive methods in training adults. Edwards is deputy director of the National Transportation Safety and Security Center at Mineta Transportation Institute, professor of political science, and director of the MPA program at San Jose State University.
MTI’s research findings confirmed the value of using adult education strategies to create a meaningful and effective training experience for transportation personnel working in the field, the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), and the Continuity of Operations/Continuity of Government (COOP/COG) organization. The report also demonstrates the importance of employees knowing the contents of the relevant plan and their role in the organization in advance of the training.
“The resulting national policy recommendation is that state transportation agencies will benefit from adopting the use of interactive training materials in their emergency management training courses to take better advantage of the way that adults learn,” said Edwards.
The report also recommended that agencies maintain a regular cycle of training for their personnel. “While most transportation agencies may be meeting state and federal minimum requirements,” the report concluded, “based on student feedback there is value in developing a regular cycle of planning, training, and exercising. Such a cycle will ensure that even with employee turnover, there is an adequate supply of trained staff for each element of a transportation agencies’ emergency management activities.”
The new free ICS course and training methods is designed to ensure continuity of transportation operations in case of terrorist attack, natural disaster or other emergency.