Volunteers Providing Emergency Communications for Multnomah County, Oregon

Staying Calm During a Crisis

We’ll have a full training on this topic at the September meeting. In the meantime, here is some food for thought. As emergency amateur radio operators, we are called on to pass information during crises/disasters. Our roles don’t include a lot of decision making. Exhale.

The bare minimum here is to show up, team well, and get the job done. Know how to use your equipment, where to be, who to connect with, and who is in charge. If any of these concepts cause you angst or raises your blood pressure, that’s your first area of focus. Spending some time and energy there will increase your confidence and reduce your stress in an actual event.

Here are some basic pointers for managing yourself as the pressure increases:

  • Take care of your body. Make sure you have ample food and water as well as clothing matched to the environment. Get adequate rest before, during, and after.
  • Know how to operate your equipment. If you don’t or you’re having an off day, you can still be helpful. Volunteer for a role you feel more comfortable doing.
  • You need to be able to accept and follow directions, given directly.
  • Know when to take a break (self or other directed), when to ask for help, and when to offer.
  • SLOW down. Equipment fails; you don’t have to.
  • Don’t ask “what if?” If you can’t avoid this common pitfall, try changing it to “how?”

Most people are prone to increased stress in stressful situations. It’s not rocket science, it’s life preserving. It’s your job to know and work with your triggers in stressful events/situations. Sharing these with your team lead in advance can assist with assignments and practice opportunities during drills.

Teaming well and taking care gets the job done.

In September we’ll go over both in-the-moment and long-term strategies/concepts for maintaining calm during stressful events.