How to create emergency response training quickly
The novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, has sent many businesses into full-scale panic. One of the many reasons is that most organizations simply don’t have response plans (with robust training programs) to address this type of emergency.
Any emergency response training—whether it’s for the current COVID-19 crisis or a future event—needs to address people’s fears and misconceptions, provide specific guidance on actions to take, and equip people with trusted sources for timely information. Emergency response training must also clarify policy and procedure exceptions and highlight new health and safety measures.
In this article, we’ll provide helpful pointers for creating effective emergency response training, so that you can get critical training into the hands of your employees fast.
Use your organization’s emergency response plan as your guide
Once an emerging threat has been identified, most org’s have teams in place for assessing the risks and coming up with appropriate policies and procedures to put in place.
Ultimately, it’s the work of your emergency response team that informs the training objectives and helps determine the breadth and depth of the training content you need to create.
Identify trusted resources
Your emergency response training will likely include general steps and procedures that all teams should follow based on various circumstances. For local leaders and managers, trying to determine if these circumstances apply to their business units can get tricky—especially when information is rapidly evolving.
That’s why it’s helpful to include reliable resources your business units can refer to when assessing risk on the ground.
Why take the time to vet the reliability of resources? Letting false or misleading information find its way into your emergency response training can, in the short team, lead to confusion and panic among your workers—which actually increases the risk to your business. And in the long run, circulating false information can diminish your organization’s credibility with employees and customers.
While no single source of information is perfect for every emergency situation, here are two quick points to consider when evaluating the credibility of a source:
- Does the source have a mission to serve the public good? Organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) would meet this description since its goal is to inform and protect the public.
- Does the source rely on sharing information from credible experts who use accepted scientific analyses?
If all signs point to a source being credible, you’re all clear to include that info. And, if you’re just not sure, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and leave it out.
Make your training actionable
In emergencies, being well-informed is good—and being well-prepared is even better.
That’s the important role of training in your emergency response plan—to prepare your employees. That means you need to do more than just tell everyone to watch out and be careful! You need to break down the big picture goals of safety and security into smaller, more meaningful steps workers can take to protect themselves and others.
For example, let’s say your emergency response plan calls for people to work remotely in the event of an outbreak of illness in your office. Sharing information like the company’s remote work policy is helpful, but not actionable.
Training should take things a step further and give people actionable steps that can help them work from home more effectively. So, you could include tips and resources in your training, like a checklist of items workers should bring home every evening. That way, they’re always prepared to weather an emergency office shutdown.
Create online training
When you have all the content together, and the goals and expectations are well-defined, you’re ready to start creating your training. To reach all of your learners, online is the way to go for delivering emergency response training quickly.
Here are some ideas for making sure the training you create gets your employees equipped with the tools and resources they need to execute your emergency response plan.
Adapt an example course in two or three steps
By far, the fastest and easiest way to create effective emergency response training is to customize a Rise example course like this one: COVID-19: What You Need to Know.
All Rise example courses are carefully researched, written, and designed by training experts who know how to create compelling learning experiences. And Rise example courses use only reliable, credible sources, so you can rest assured that you’re giving your learners access to the highest quality, most helpful information—and not just a bunch of hype.
Adapting an example course is a breeze. Once you’ve found the course you need, all you do is select it and add it to your Rise dashboard. From there, you can customize it with your own policies, procedures, and branding. That’s it.
And because Rise example courses are built by pros, we’ve done all the heavy lifting on design (so you don’t have to). Courses include compelling, interactive content that gets people engaged with the material. They also include hi-res, zoomable images, and, more importantly, links to trustworthy resources your teams can use to stay abreast of the latest information, saving you hours of research time.
The following are three simple (and optional) steps you can take to make our example course on COVID-19 all your own.
Step 1: Add your own media
As you view the course, COVID-19: What You Need to Know, you’ll find the information presented with interactions like accordions and step-process blocks that help break up things for learners, so that the content is easier for them to absorb.
Most interactive blocks support rich media like audio, images, animated GIFs, and uploaded or embedded video. That means you can easily customize the prebuilt interactions in this example course, just by strategically adding your own media. Here are a few examples of things you might want to add to customize the COVID-19 course:
- Upload a video. A brief webcam video from your organization’s leadership is the perfect way to kick-start the course. By dropping a short message from your CEO into the lesson, What Is COVID-19?, you can signal the importance of training, reinforce the company’s commitment to protecting workers, and help settle employees’ rattled nerves.
- Embed video from the web. You’re in crisis mode. Don’t waste time recreating video covering content that’s widely available for free on the web. Instead, swap out the hand-washing image in the process interaction in the Prevention lesson, for example, with a free video on good hand-washing technique.
Step 2: Add more layers of interaction if needed
Want more ways to reinforce critical information? Sprinkle in more follow-up activities to test people’s understanding of key concepts. With Rise, it’s easy to blend interactive blocks with the existing lesson content. Quickly add process, knowledge check, flashcard, or sorting blocks and then customize them with your content to help drive home the key takeaways.
For example, in the How It’s Spread lesson, add a few quick knowledge check blocks at the end of the lesson to help learners process the differences between spreading COVID-19 person to person, via contact with contaminated objects, and through community spread. Or, another creative option would be to add your own myth/fact sorting activity.
Step 3: Add your own links and downloads
As we mentioned, Rise example courses come complete with links to reliable resources. But you can further customize the button stack block, as seen in the Summary lesson, with links to internal resources your teams can use to execute your emergency response plan.
Give your learners helpful job aids, forms, preparedness checklists, or other reference materials they can print out by adding a Rise attachment block to the end of this lesson. Simply upload a document or PDF to add it as a course download.
For emergency response training, time is of the essence. We hope the tips and resources we’ve shared here have you feeling up to the challenge.
Before you start creating your emergency response training, let’s review a few key points:
- Your organization’s emergency response plan is the starting point for creating training. Use the information, policies, and procedures defined in that plan to inform your training and tailor your content to your employees’ needs.
- Only use trusted resources in your training to give your learners access to reliable information they can use to stay current on the risks.
- Provide clear, actionable information and downloadable tools, so you can equip learners with the knowledge and resources they need to stay safe and minimize risk to others.
- Save time by adapting a Rise example course like this one. Customize it in minutes with your brand accent color, multimedia, and additional content.