I have noticed that many of my stories, and those of others have a happy ending because of a "Plan B." What if Plan B doesn't work? Has anyone done any planning for those low percentage and high visibility calls when all the stars align just right and you are presented with a major fiasco?
Case in point the December 26-27, 2010 snow storm that hit New York City. Twenty plus inches of snow blanketed the city with amounts exceeding thirty reported in Northern New Jersey. This is a Plan B occurrence. But when did it change to a C,D, or E? When buses unable to move clogged the streets? When there were ambulances and fire trucks stuck in the street? When firefighters had to walk a block into a scene because of all the abandoned vehicles stuck in the street? When priority streets called arteries were not even continuously plowed? When 1300 EMS calls and an unknown number of other emergency calls were backlogged waiting for any unit to become available to take them (NY Post, NY Times, Phila. Inquirer)?
How do you plan, and what do you do when it's your town or city? I don't want this to become a Seven Step Process or selecting the best choice technique review. I just want to get the ball rolling for a discussion of what if based on current events. A simple way to include all levels of the group and have everyone learn something about abilities and capabilities.
I have long ago forgotten the terminology for sitting around and blurting out the first thing that comes to your mind when a problem or "opportunity" is discussed. "No answer is wrong, just shoot from the hip." Then someone writes down the answers and later they are sorted. At the firehouse it is called the kitchen table.
Here's the way our discussion went. What if we got 20 plus inches of snow? I'd ski to work! I'd find my snow shoes. I'd probably end up here for a few days.
What about as far as the department? Well. we have two four wheel drive ambulances. The medics have a Suburban. What if there are more than two calls? We could take the squad it has four wheel drive. We have those John Deere Gators we use for brush fires. Yeah, and don't forget the snowmobiles. Where are they stored? What if we have a fire too?
You get the idea. It's not a scripted show. Talk, remember, relate. We can see what didn't work on the TV and in the newspapers. You can literally go as far as you want with this incorporating outside equipment and setting up unified command etc. Just like the table top exercises that the training and planning guys do just on a different level.
Don't just sit there and say I'm glad it's them and not us. Maybe you'll even get to Plan F.
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