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The Emergency Planning Society (EPS) Chair Jacqui Semple, explores why, for today’s resilience students, the COVID-19 crisis is a once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunity and how becoming a Student Member of the Emergency Planning Society is a springboard to a future career in the resilience profession.

No matter what subject they are studying, students cry out for “real-life” experience, relevant to their studies, whether that be through work experience, part-time positions or professional events they can attend. Not many resilience students can say they have lived through a crisis like we see unfolding in front of our eyes just now.

If we now look at the world right now, this is the real deal, and as much as we have been planning for scenarios including pandemics for many years, reality it seems has surpassed our expectations. Even as seasoned professionals this is incredibly complex, That cannot be stressed enough.

While there will be similarities in responding to this crisis, there will also be differences depending on the location. If we look at London, for example, where the scale of hospital admissions is putting its health infrastructure under incredible pressure. Other cities are expected to see larger numbers also.

In response and in preparation for these surging numbers, the Government, along with the NHS and the military, are building a 4,000 bed “hospital” in the London Excel Centre, normally a site for conferences and exhibitions. It’s a similar case in Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow. These temporary hospitals are part of the plan for where patients will go if they need ventilated support and all the critical care beds in their area are full. The planning also includes the creation of temporary mortuaries the UK, a very sad but necessary part of the response. It should be noted as this article is written, that this crisis is dynamically changing at a rapid pace.

In response to this crisis, there has been an unprecedented call to manufacturers and private sector organisations to diversify as part of the national effort – from gin makers using their stills to create anti-bacterial hand sanitiser to vacuum cleaner manufacturers making ventilators. Again, such dynamic innovation at a time of crisis – would you have simulated that?

Resilience students all over the country should be looking very carefully at what’s unfolding around them and learning from it. The appearance of COVID-19, and the country’s response, offers a prime opportunity to see how central and local government, health, transport and many, many others – including in this case the general public – have to work together and ‘combine forces’. As emergency professionals we should be asking ourselves: –

  • What has made the difference?
  • What could have been done differently?
  • What was missed?

This pandemic is providing the opportunity for us to learn from this unfolding critical event in real time and we must take note if we are to be effective in our professional careers. Learning from other crisis and emergency practitioners who have lived and breathed a variety of events in their careers is invaluable for us all whether we have experience or are just starting in the profession.

Student Memberships

The EPS has an exciting opportunity for students to access learning and practical experience from expert practitioners. Our members represent all industries and disciplines and as an organisation we pride ourselves on sharing best practice and learning, making us the society for resilience professionals.

For only £10 per year, our student membership offers access to branch meetings (which will be held virtually for the time-being), online member’s only forums, the Society magazine ‘Resilience’, as well as networking opportunities with other members, all of whom are professionals working in the resilience field.

Jeannie Barr MEPS, EPS Director for Professional Standards & Learning commented:,

 “As the professional organisation for resilience and emergency management it is important that we support the development, learning and competence of future resilience professionals and provide opportunities for sharing and learning between those working in the field and those studying to work in the field.

“Cross pollination of ideas from study and experience is and will continue to contribute to being prepared for those ever-evolving and challenging situations faced by our communities.”

Student membership includes:

  • An increasing range of available opportunities to gain new knowledge and skills
  • Access to local branches, who provide a hub to connect and share knowledge, experience, training, good practise and events locally
  • Access to electronic resources via a members-only area on the website.
  • Access to a knowledge-sharing hub
  • Reduced rates to attend the EPS Conference
  • Members’ quarterly publication – ‘Resilience Magazine’
  • Webinars from industry leaders and recognised experts in the field of emergency planning and resilience
  • Access to Mentors, discussion boards case studies
  • Access to academic papers, register and journals
  • Access to the EPS ‘learning pathway’ – identifying the future direction of learning for career development and progression
  • Consulting and contributing to strategic objectives in the resilience field
  • Accredited evidence of competence through assessment of experience and qualifications via our Continued Professional Development Scheme

There has never been a better time to join the resilience community! Go to the EPS website to join today! www.the-eps.org/join-us/student/

The Emergency Planning Society

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