Abstract & Bio

Emergency Communications – Not Just Radio

Without fail, “communications” is listed as a problem to be solved or addressed following emergency events. Following reviews of emergency events and exercises, most communications issues are attributed to technical issues or human resource problems, which is to say, it’s the technology or the people running it. More often than not, a detailed analysis of emergency events and communications issues surrounding them show that the issues are not simply the hardware or operators, but more nuanced, showing gaps in pre-planning, lack of relationship building, organizational ignorance, generational differences and the lack of flexibility in corporate or organizational systems.

 

Using real world examples, your presenter will attempt to describe some of the challenges encountered when dealing with emergency or business continuity events, but also detail some possible technical, human resource or organizational solutions to the consistent challenge of emergency communications.

 

Merrick Grieder is the Emergency Telecommunications Coordinator for the Cowichan Valley Regional District and responsible for the radio network to support fire dispatch and life safety communications for 18 fire departments with 550 fire personnel. Merrick is also responsible for managing the regional emergency communications program and is Chair of the Mid Island Emergency Radio Coordinators, a group that looks at regional emergency communications from the Malahat to Port Hardy. Merrick holds a Diploma in Wireless Communications, a Certificate in Emergency Management and is a qualified SAR Manager and ESS Director in the Public Safety Lifeline program. Previous roles have included resource extraction, information technology, emergency management and radio communications, sometimes concurrently. When not thinking about public safety communications, Merrick attempts to catch fish and spends as much time as possible in his most important role as a husband and father of two.

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