Benefits of Training & Drill
Trainings and drills serve as an important component of disaster preparedness. Research findings have shown that training and drills are effective in preparing disaster workers both physically and psychologically for duty performance during disasters:
- Increased knowledge and skills of disaster preparedness and application in real setting
- Improvement in completing household preparations before disaster
- Enhanced psychological preparation with the AIM model (see Psychological Preparedness), by promoting anticipation, identification and management of emotional responses
- Increased confidence on responding to disaster situations
- Less fear and hopelessness in response to disaster
- Better coping of disaster
It may require extra knowledge and skills for those working on disaster scenes as first responders and healthcare workers, on top of their own professional know-how. Disaster workers need to adapt their know-how to disaster scenarios. Extra trainings in these areas will be advantageous:
Generic knowledge for disaster response
In addition to their own expertise, disaster workers can benefit from training on other generic components relevant to emergency response, e.g.
- Major incident management and strategic leadership
- Team work, since disaster response involves considerable collaboration and communication within and across teams and departments
Disaster psychosocial support
Disaster workers can help support victims' and their families' psychosocial needs to different extents. Service needs of different victims differ, depending on the influence of a disaster to individuals. For example, some of them may experience temporary emotional responses and need basic advice and tips to facilitate their own coping; while some may suffer from greater distress and are in need of more specialized psychosocial interventions by mental health professionals. Different levels of trainings are thus designed to enhance disaster workers' capacity to 1) identify victims' needs, and 2) provide psychosocial support at different levels.
In addition, stress management should be an important component of training to allow disaster workers to learn about taking care of their own psychological well-being.
The HA has adopted the model below to equip its workforce from different departments with the capacity to address different psychosocial needs of victims and their families:
Drills serve to test response plans and facilitate service planning, preparation and response in various kinds of incidents. Disaster workers can participate in the drills to practice the skills they have learned in trainings. Different parties can also cooperate based on their specific duties for better communication, response, and coordination.
Content with reference to:
-  Evaluation of disaster preparedness training and disaster drill for nursing students (Alim, S., Kawabata, M., & Nakazawa, M., 2015).
-  Evaluating the effectiveness of psychological preparedness advice in community cyclone preparedness materials (Morrissey, S., & Reser, J., 2003).
-  Disaster triage and management manual (Hospital Authority, 2014).
-  Stress inoculation training (Meichenbaum, 1985).
-  A clinical handbook/practical therapist manual for assessing and treating adults with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Meichenbaum, 1994).
-  Stress inoculation training. (Meichenbaum & Deffenbacher, 1988).
-  The psychological reality of natural disasters (Reser, 1980).
-  Coping with natural disaster warnings: The nature of human response and psychological preparedness (Reser, 1996).
-  Coping with natural disaster warnings. The case for pre-impact psychoeducational interventions. (Reser & Morrissey, 1995).
-  Evaluation of a psychological preparedness guide for coping with cyclone threat. (Morrissey & Reser, 2001) .