Survey items included:
- Respondent demographics (where they normally work, what they do);
- Notification (how, when they learned of the tornadoes);
- Report information (where they were advised to report, what they were briefed on);
- Assignment (where they were assigned, what they did);
- Operations (related issues);
- Logistics (related issues);
- Administration/finance (related issues);
- Planning (related issues);
- Opportunities for improvement
- Successes; and
- General comments and observations.
A review of the employee after-action report survey highlighted successes and opportunities for improvement (see Table 1 and Table 2). The next steps in the after-action process will be to:
- Establish working groups to review and validate the report recommendations;
- Determine action items for review;
- Establish priorities for training, protocol/SOP changes and capital improvements;
- Assure budgetary commitment from public officials;
- Develop/modify plans; and
- Train and exercise (and critique).
While this article focuses on the tornado response and recovery from Lake-Sumter EMS' perspective, it should be emphasized that local fire, EMS and law enforcement agencies have a close relationship and the collective, collaborative response by all entities to this disaster was remarkable. Each public safety agency performed its role effectively under difficult conditions, and a high level of cooperation was demonstrated among the community of first responders and recovery organizations. At the time of this writing, Lake-Sumter EMS continues to gather after-action report information, recognizing that all data has not been fully analyzed and vetted.
James A. (Jim) Judge II, CEM, EMT-P, BPA, is executive director of Lake-Sumter EMS, Inc. A 35-year veteran of EMS, the fire service and emergency management, he has received numerous state and national awards for administrative and operational excellence in public safety, including the National Association of EMTs' EMS Administrator of the Year Award in 1994 and induction into the Florida EMS Hall of Fame in 2004.
Lloyd Parker, EMT-P, BS, is assistant chief for emergency preparedness and response with Lake-Sumter EMS and a team commander for the FL-6 Disaster Medical Assistance Team. He has over 30 years of emergency services experience and has worked in command positions for hurricanes Andrew, Charley, Frances, Jeanne, Katrina, Rita and Wilma.
Jim Judge will discuss his agency's response to the tornadoes at EMS EXPO, October 11-13, in Orlando, FL. For more information, visit www.emsexpo2007.com.