Fundamental Principles, Convoluted Names


Warning Acronyms AheadHas your DEPO ever delivered a METHANE to the ECC, whilst the MEP was activated? Or has your ILO ever advised the SME that they need to attend the SAG regarding the TTX that happened yesterday. Or has COBRA advised that all EPO’s provide the local PIZ’s with information using the latest GIS data.

Any idea what this says…no me neither and I do it for a living. Ok I’m being a bit facetious but the point remains, why must emergency planning be littered with these types of complicated acronyms, which mean very little to anyone else.

What would a SMAC, mean to most people? A red face maybe. As emergency responders we need to ensure that we don’t alienate individuals who are not aware of these terms, or even too professionally embarrassed to ask the simple question – “Excuse me what does SMAC stand for?.” This is a real issue and one that needs addressing….Oh it stands for “Strategic Media Advisory Cell,” – basically all responding media teams get in one place to work out a plan.

Far too commonly do I sit in de-briefs with different responding agencies stating that the use of acronyms was a barrier to effective communication. What we need to achieve is a state of speaking to each other in a simple and clear way, that anyone can understand and not just one responding agency.

So when using emergency planning language, always use principle of KISS, “Keep it simple silly” my favourite FLA (Four Letter Acronym).

By Josh Adams, CSW Resilience Officer