In this case study the importance of effective administrative communication to decision making and performance became very clear, only too late. As with too little communication, too much communication is just as bad and sometimes worse. The inability for the public administrators to establish clear lines of communication lead to the poor decisions that were made that day. Had there been clear lines of communication the decision to establish an “Incident Commander” could have been established much sooner. Once and “Incident Commander” is established then the decisions as to where to setup staging areas for law enforcement, fires, and medical services could have been clearly established to avoid such congestion in a centralized area. This could also establish clearer routes to any other areas that required immediate response. When an incident, of this magnitude, happen everyone should know who is in charge. When Rahne arrived on scene and saw the confusion and disorganization he said that he finally started screaming “Who’s in charge? Who’s in charge?” But nobody would say. Probably because nobody knew who was in charge. Another area of communication that lead to poor performance was the fact that the communication devices being used were incompatible. Even though Jeff Co representatives had attended training by FEMA it appears that they left it at that. Had they applied the training of FEMA with NIMS they would have been better prepared. They would have identified that they basically had a new school that had been turned into a war-zone. The SWAT commanders would have had better floor plans of the new additions and where former classrooms, cafeteria, and science departments had been relocated which possibly could have saved time. Instead they had to rely on a student’s sketch of the school and only one team had that.
Over all I think that the communication in this case study was ineffective. When you have to send information through more than one person the information tends to loose those intimate details. As was stated by Steve Davis, the public information officer for the JeffCo Sheriff’s Office”Radios and cell phones and everything were absolutely useless”, and furthermore he stated that “they were so overwhelmed with the amount of traffic on the air”.
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