two different sources to obtain an understanding of how to perform their jobs.
For example, if a manager wanted to create a mission assignment in NEMIS,
that manager would need to refer to a program created guide,
Assignment for Managers Student Manual,
to understand when to create a
mission assignment, and to the online system steps to understand how to
create the mission assignment in NEMIS.
Further, system users were not provided with adequate training.
systems often are custom designed and complex, requiring significant upfront
training to understand how to use them to support emergency management
activities. Regional system users, however, said that new employees often did
not receive training before they were deployed and experienced users did not
receive training when system changes occurred.
An independent contractor, charged with documenting and evaluating
response and recovery processes during the hurricanes
reported that new
employees were deployed to the disaster site without first receiving system
training. The new employees had to be trained by other FEMA employees
during ongoing response and recovery operations. While training new
employees onsite at times may be the only option, the problem was that they
sometimes relied upon experienced system users that had not received training
on system changes and updates. The users, consequently, were not aware of
all system functions and had a low comfort level in using the systems.
FEMA regional personnel said that a lack of funding was a reason for the
limited NEMIS training. They said that they primarily learned to use the
system through on the job training rather than through formal instruction.
This lack of training had an even greater impact on temporary disaster
assistance employees. Sufficient training would have made their work more
reliable and much easier.
2. We recommend that, in keeping with legislative requirements, the Under
Secretary for EP&R direct the EP&R CIO to ensure that personnel,
through the EP&R training division, receive adequate systems training,
guidance, and communication needed to support disaster response and
recovery activities effectively.
Emergency Preparedness and Response Could Better Integrate Information Technology
with Incident Response and Recovery