How do you measure the effectiveness of an emergency management program? More specifically, how do you show that the money you invest in preparedness has been well-spent? Traditionally, we have used quantitative measures because "things" are easy to measure. So we count "things" like the number of plans written, the number of exercises held, the number of brochures distributed and the number of hits on a website. But none of this really tells us if we're making a difference. Is there a better way? The International Association of Emergency Managers thinks there is.
IAEM has recently released Preparedness: A Principled Approach to Return on Investment for comment. The work is an attempt to apply the Principles of Emergency Management to performance measures for the Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG) and allow us to base our assessments on relevance rather than just numbers. My colleague and good friend, Randy Duncan, Chair of the IAEM-USA Government Committee, recently gave an excellent presenation on the new framework on EM Forum. You can find a transcript of it on the EM Forum website along with links to the slides, video and podcast of the presentation.
Listen to Randy's session, read the document and send your commentsinto IAEM by September 15. This is a major step forward for our profession and the more input we receive, the better the end result. It's an opportunity to develop measurements that are meaningful to us rather than letting them be dictated to us by legislators.
And by the way, if you're not already on the mailing list for EM Forum, you should be. The programs are highly relevant and presented by some of the top people in our profession. Best of all, it's free! Sign up today and don't forget to check out the library of previous programs.