Unique diploma in unexpected emergencies and crisis incidents launched

A new diploma has been launched to offer organisations the opportunity to train to handle unexpected emergencies and crisis incidents.

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The aim of The Diploma of Integrated Emergency Management is to help firms better handle situations that could tarnish their reputations and threaten their survival.

FIOR, headed by two of Scotland’s experienced former police and fire chiefs, is providing a bespoke service to train managers to become confident leaders in the highly pressurised environment of a critical situation, such as a repeat of the Clutha helicopter crash, a public health scare or serious fire.

The diploma is unique in the UK and aims to “address today’s new and challenging threats to business continuity.” The programme is fully recognised by Stirling University and provides 22 weeks of tuition which is led by acclaimed experts in the field who apply “trade craft” merged with theory.

Stirling-based FIOR (Gaelic for true, strong and real) was founded in 2009 by Joe Holden and Tommy Mann, MBE, who have operated for more than two decades at Police and Fire Service executive management levels across Central Scotland, UK national and international levels. 

Since its launch, it has seen a surge in growth for its specialist services, which also includes fire safety, security planning and training.

Tommy Mann retired from the role of Director of Service Delivery with Central Scotland Fire & Rescue Service, in addition to being head of the operational firefighting response for the region.

Joe Holden retired as Chief Superintendent, Head of Operational Policing with Central Scotland Police, which saw him hold lead roles in the response and investigation of the Dunblane Primary School shooting, the policing of the G8 Summit in Gleneagles in 2005.

The pair are highly experienced and trained commanders within the Gold–Silver–Bronze command structure used by the UK’s emergency services to establish a hierarchical framework for the command and control of major incidents and disasters. 

Joe said the Diploma course offered by the FIOR team provides unrivalled “trade craft” to managers who are responsible for Incident Response handling to ensure a new crisis does not affect a firm’s decades-long reputation, or perhaps ensure it can survive a crisis.

He said: “Our team – through their impressive and long-standing careers – have gathered rare and unique experiences of leading, planning and responding to a vast array of professional challenges.

“This experience means we are able to provide companies and organisations with realistic and tested tools, training and guidance to help their people to control the inevitable crises that will occur and prevent a potential disaster in regards to people safety, reputation and business continuity.

“There are differences between being a manager and a leader. How an individual responds with the ‘golden hour’ at the start of a critical incident can make the difference between preventing a crisis becoming a disaster.

“We like to ask companies if their business could survive if it was involved in a repeat of the horsemeat scandal or what disaster recovery measures it has in place should another Clutha helicopter tragedy happen? Can they seamlessly and effectively work as part of a Gold, Silver and Bronze command structure?

“We very much believe that companies need to prepare people for the challenges and strains of leading or working within an Incident Management team and not just prepare a plan. Trained people will make a poor plan work – poorly trained people will not make a good plan work.

“Businesses also have a corporate responsibility to prepare and protect managers chosen to lead in an emergency situation from incurring significant or long-term personal damage.”

FIOR first piloted the Diploma last year, which saw eight students drawn from the public and private sectors, graduate with their qualifications.

This year the form is running a programme of bi-monthly student intakes, commencing in May. As well as including a three-day residential scenario training exercise, the Diploma gives successful students 30 access credit points to their MSC in Professional Learning & Leadership.

Dr Richard Dockrell, School of Education, Stirling University, said: “The Diploma represents a theory informed and practiced focused response to the Scottish Government’s strategy for dealing with emergency situations.

“Risk management, emergency planning and business continuity have become increasingly important responsibilities for senior managers across the public, private and third sectors, and this award goes some considerable way towards addressing these emerging developmental needs.”

Julie Manuel, Health and Safety Manager at prestige drinks giant Edrington, said of the 2014 course: “As a compliance professional in the whisky industry, the challenge of managing and resolving critical incidents in the workplace can be daunting – keeping people safe, maintaining business continuity and reputation are priorities.

“The personal experience of the trainers in managing live incidents assisted me in developing a toolkit which I could use to control a crisis and avoid that crisis becoming a disaster for my organisation.”

Felllow 2014 graduate, Derek Milne, Security Manager at The Malcolm Group, added: “Despite having a background in the emergency services, and received considerable training in the management of critical incidents, the personal development from attending the tutorial days and final residential exercise in the areas of critical decision making, leadership, corporate responsibility and personal ethics and integrity were invaluable.”

FIOR’s expertise and growing reputation as incident management trainers has seen people from a long list of blue chip clients including Edrington, RBS, Dounreay, The Malcolm Group, Standard Life, Iberdrola, National Galleries of Scotland, North British Distilleries, Glasgow City Council, Aberdeenshire Council and Tesco Bank attend their training courses.

It has also secured its largest contract win to date with Edrington, which will see FIOR deliver incident leadership training to management teams in offices in South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, China, New York, Dominican Republic and Spain over the next 12 months.

FIOR is currently offering single day training sessions on Critical Incident Leadership Training taking place in Edinburgh and Stirling on May 12 and May 13. More than 250 middle and senior managers from various sectors have already completed this course.

More information on FIOR, the Diploma and single day sessions is available from fior.org.uk.

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