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5 Ways Modern Technology Optimizes Blue Skies Preparedness

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For emergency agencies, taking advantage of Blue Skies to focus on training is ideal when preparing for life safety. Though with a pattern of continuous disasters and the addition of necessary certifications added annually — that idea may prove difficult to achieve. Former FEMA Deputy Rich Serino said during our recent Essentials of Disaster Preparedness Webinar that we're "living in a nearly continuous disaster cycle with fewer and fewer Blue Skies."

The numbers speak for themselves as we recorded checking in almost 500,000 hours of training in core competencies for over 30,000 continuing education courses, conferences, industry events, and training opportunities. 

Challenges With Preparing for Emergency Responses

As mentioned earlier, the emergency response community adds millions of certifications, and advanced and in-demand skills, to necessary credentials for emergency professionals every year. Still, that doesn't account for many common emergency management roadblocks during the response and recovery process, including:

  • Lengthy registration and check-ins 
  • Delayed site access authorization
  • Disconnected multi-agency deployment and communication
  • Incomplete situational awareness
  • Disorganized shelter and meal distribution staffing and tracking
  • Incomplete shift and activity tracking
  • Prolonged and confusing cost recovery applications
  • Denied or appealed FEMA reimbursements

The historically time-consuming and paper-based process for tracking training, certifications, and assets halts efficiency and leaves emergency responders filing paperwork instead of focusing on other mission-critical objectives.

Embracing Technology to Empower Emergency Management

The good news is that there are purpose-built solutions for emergency management that support response and recovery during both Blue and Gray Skies. Merits digital technology supports every phase of the disaster cycle and empowers emergency responders to capture new skills and certifications, prepare for emergencies with actionable data and analytics, ensure volunteer responder hours are tracked, and so much more.

With our technology comes a team of expert and dedicated professionals that work with your agency to:

1. Verify resources and register ahead of time

Instead of agencies waiting to arrive on the scene and check criteria for personnel, you can ensure all personnel meet eligibility criteria by pre-validating their volunteer credentials on the digital platform. The component supports autonomy, allowing for control of site access, speedy check-ins, and accurately reports volunteer shifts, activity, and meals.

When agencies pre-register their responders, volunteers, and assets before hurricanes strike, they can control the deployment of responders and assets where they are needed most.

2. Connect seamlessly before disasters

Typically, emergency responses pull resources from neighboring areas. Merit technology enables cross-agency sharing, uploading the skills and expertise of all volunteers and responders, no matter their home base. This spread of information helps strategize resources and as a plus, comes with automatic reports of accurate audit trails for the resources used.

3. Capture program-wide insights for data-driven decisions

Central and digitized program data gives you the ability to measure things you couldn’t measure before to make well-informed decisions rooted in real data points, especially relevant for emergency management and life safety services. Agencies that embrace technology can measure hours, meals, certifications, and more. Dashboards and automated reporting allow for accountability and transparency and help make informed decisions backed by data.

Think of the quality data and analytics the platform provides as an opportunity to share your agency's story — providing visibility to preparedness and competencies. During times of response, your state or county's integrated resources can be displayed in near real-time as actionable deployment information.

4. Improve efficiency

States lose millions of dollars annually due to untracked hours, disconnected systems, and human error on paper forms. Switching to customizable digital activity forms dramatically reduces these risks, including the simple improvement of bypassing rain-soaked papers, illegible handwriting, or incorrect options to speeds up successful and more comprehensive FEMA reimbursement applications.

5. Secure all private information on a compliant platform

Storing sensitive agency and partner information on paper brings high risk for agencies. Using trusted technology that endorses SOC2, HIPAA, and FERPA-compliant platforms avoid the risk of costly data exposure, systems breaches, and litigation. 


Purposeful Technology + Emergency Management = Improved Response and Recovery

As hurricane season approaches and emergency agencies must use Blue Skies minutes to prepare, they also must utilize technology to provide:

  • Rapid, strategic disaster response
  • Comprehensive, real-time oversight of multi-agency collaboration
  • Accurate documentation of responders
  • Complete incident for future planning, prevention, and protection

Use technology that reflects emergency management's persistent mission — helping people more effectively and efficiently. Ready to discover how Merit technology serves and supports the emergency management process? 


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