© 2004 International Disaster/Fire Training Institute Inc.


EM 270_6 Working Through A Disaster

What You Get: 66 pages in 6 Units.

See some Sample Test Questions


The purpose of the Working Through a Disaster training course is to provide front-line local government employees with an improved ability to plan for and cope with the problems of working through and recovering from disasters.

Course Objectives

Upon completing this course, the students will be able to:

  • Describe how their organizations and individual jobs relate to the total disaster effort.
  • Show courtesy when dealing with citizens.
  • Cope with angry and upset people.
  • Perform tasks that are not part of their regular work, as needed.
  • Assume increased responsibilities, as needed.
  • Form alliances with other organizations and agencies to get work done.
  • Deal with stress and fatigue in themselves, their families, and their co-workers.
  • Recognize that stress and fatigue will affect their attitudes and productivity.

Target Audience

The students for this course should be front-line local government employees performing functions that bring them into contact with the public and with employees who face greatly increased workloads as a result of disasters.

Local governments may choose to make the class mandatory for some or all employees.
To maximize the effectiveness of small-group activities, the class size for this course ideally should be between 25 and 30 students.

Note: Listed videos not included in course and not needed to complete the course.

Unit 1: Getting Ready for the Next One

This unit will introduce the students and the instructors. It will also provide an overview of the course objectives and agenda. Students will have an opportunity to describe some of their experiences with past disasters.

Unit 2: Forming Partnerships

This unit will review organizational structure and relationships between various Government agencies following a disaster. It will also overview the Incident Command System and the Federal Response Plan. Students will identify organizations they are likely to partner with following a disaster.

Unit 3: Communication: The Two-Way Street

This unit will review the importance of active listening and provide students with opportunities to practice their active listening skills. Students will practice asking probing questions to gather information from citizens. Students will also discuss the importance of observing nonverbal behaviors. Finally, students will look at strategies for dealing with the media following a disaster.

Unit 4: Making Referrals and Following Up

In this unit, students will identify appropriate referral locations and will address working with "hard-to-help" customers.

Unit 5: Dealing With Emotional People

In this unit, students will discuss strategies for working successfully with emotional people. Students will examine strategies for communicating effectively and identify a repertoire of responses to use when addressing an emotional person.

Unit 6: Taking Care of Yourself

This unit will review the typical stress reactions that students are likely to feel during a disaster (and emphasize that these reactions are normal). Students will then identify strategies to address stress issues in future disasters.


The Federal Response Plan is based on

a. Emergency Support Groups.
b. Disaster Management Teams (DMTs).
c. Functional Areas of Responsibilities.
d. Incident Management System.

One method to improve your "active listening" skills is to

a. Look directly at the person and do not take notes as this will distract you.
b. Do not anticipate what the person is about to say.
c. Understand the hearing rather than listening is just as effective when you take notes.
d. Sit to the right or left of the person speaking, this helps keep them concentrating on what they are saying.

Your ability to make referrals is greatly increase by having responses to common customer questions identified ahead of time. True or False.

Copyright © 2004 International Disaster/Fire Training Institute, Inc.
All rights reserved.
Website www.all-hazards.com
Email director@all-hazards.com

Government publications used in this document have been electronically transcribed by
International Disaster/Fire Training Institute, Inc.
Sources used to develop these courses are public domain documents.