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A Coast Guard lesson in preparedness

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

Video of a dramatic rescue off the Rhode Island coast demonstrates not just the courage of the U.S. Coast Guard but also its preparation.

Executive Leadership columnist Scott Eblin, author of “The Next Level” blog, recently observed training aboard the USCG Cutter Venturous, about a third of whose crew members were first-timers.

Eblin’s observations:

√  Training starts immediately. As soon as the cutter got under way, the crew executed a series of emergency drills, starting with a man-overboard drill. The first afternoon ended with an abandon-ship drill, and the next morning started with a migrant-onboarding drill.

Minutes after the last drill ended, word came that the ship would be bringing 15 Cuban migrants onboard. It was no drill, but the real thing.

Kinks and bottlenecks are ex­­­pected. That’s because this was the first time for some and the first time working together for all.

Practice makes perfect. Giving people a chance to learn their roles, see how others perform and literally go through the paces raises competence and confidence.

√  They’re ready to improvise, which only skilled teams can pull off. The Coast Guard has checklists for everything but can depart from them when needed.

√  They debrief. Between the drill and the real deal, the crew reviewed lessons learned so as to anticipate what they would need to do over the next few hours.

­— Adapted from “Three Things The Coast Guard Does to Prepare for Emergencies,” Scott Eblin.

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