Managing an Emergency Response Center During a Pandemic
By Jessica Lambert, GMS Central Station Manager
A few short months ago I did not foresee the sweeping changes coming our way. The unimaginable disruption that our global economy is experiencing has impacted our businesses and personal lives. The way we work, communicate, and interact with our family, friends and colleagues has changed dramatically since the beginning of this year. However, here at GMS the good news is that we had our systems and processes in place to make the changes with very limited interruption.
We take pride in operating an emergency response center that plays a critical role in protecting life and property. If we have learned anything throughout this pandemic it is that life is precious and kindness can change the world. We are standing strong and we are here for our customers.
As our Central Station Manager, it is my job to ensure we are meeting our service level goals and our operations are running smoothly. When the world is flipped upside down we must focus on getting our job done and supporting our teams to do the same. I have made it my mission to stay updated on current issues surrounding Covid-19 in an effort to be prepared for what’s coming next. I did this by routinely watching the daily news and any updates provided by our government officials. I also called our local health agency to ask general questions that ultimately would have an effect on our business operations because I knew questions and concerns from my staff would be coming. I made it my homework assignment each day to keep up with the evolving situation.
Thankfully we have a strong leadership team at GMS and we all made it our priority to implement necessary and recommended changes to tackle issues stemming from this crisis. These include no longer sharing supplies or equipment, our team members wearing gloves, cleaning work stations frequently, spacing our staff out to meet social distancing recommendations, washing hands, limiting people in common areas like the break room, etc. Beyond the changes we have made, our leadership team is meeting regularly to share information, adapt as necessary and stay on top of issues as they arise.
In addition to all of the physical changes we made around the office, I think the most important factor in managing through this uncertain time is open communication with my leadership and my team. Staying updated with the current news and data allowed me to have the proper discussions with my team and have immediate answers for them. In most cases, I proactively updated my staff which has helped to limit their overall concerns and anxiety. It also showed my team that we were taking this situation very seriously and had their best interest at heart. We are also addressing all concerns immediately, so they don’t become bigger issues or cause unnecessary confusion or stress.
We have tapped into our industry resources. For example, I have made it a priority to participate in industry meetings that The Monitoring Association (TMA) any other associations have held for their members. This allowed me to be a part of open discussions, learn best practices, and solutions to common barriers that our fellow industry professionals are facing.
In closing, I think it is important to mention that we all must lead by example and lead our teams with confidence. Anything I’m requiring my staff to do I have made sure to lead by my own actions. This is not one of those parent moments “do as I say, not as I do.” A crisis as large as this pandemic requires management to take part in every way they can.