What Does BZ Mean?

Bravo Zulu when conveyed by flaghoist, morse code, or voice comms at the end of a mission means Well Done. It was introduced between allied forces in World War II.

This blog is a BZ to you.





Empowering Future Emergency Managers With Western Illinois University

Robin was recently joined by Dr. Jamie Johnson from Western Illinois University (WIU) to discuss how real-world technology is shaping emergency management education. Dr. Johnson shares his firsthand experience integrating D4H into WIU's curriculum and discusses how D4H is bridging the gap between the classroom and the field by giving his students hands-on experience for their future roles as emergency managers.

Teaching Emergency Management at Western Illinois University

Dr. Jamie Johnson is a Professor and Assistant Director at WIU, he teaches Emergency Management and Homeland Security at Western Illinois University. The curriculum provides a wide range of classes, including all hazards, covering weather-related incidents, like earthquakes and flooding, tactical version classes dealing with terrorism, and more.

Western Illinois University logo

Dr. Jamie, started his career teaching martial arts tactics to law enforcement agents, the military, and the government. Through his collegiate studies, he transitioned into the field of health science, where he dedicated many years of work. His first job teaching as a professor was for the sports medicine department, which led Dr. Jamie to find his passion for teaching. His background in health science led him to pursue Public Health preparedness, ultimately guiding him into emergency management in the aftermath of the events of 9/11 and he has been teaching emergency management ever since.

D4H in the WIU curriculum

D4H has been integrated into the WIU curriculum for the Emergency Management and Homeland Security program. As a major, the students will receive both, the tactical and the operational (also known as a strategic track). The operational part focuses on natural disasters, teaching the students the science behind natural disasters and how to survive them. The tactical part covers human accidents for example train derailments, and how to respond, it also covers terrorism, and how to work with tactical teams helping them to respond to those types of incidents. Lastly, the tactical track covers the war effect, working with the military emergency management. The Emergency Management course aims to be comprehensive, ensuring students graduate with a diverse array of skill sets.

D4H at WIU

Western Illinois University enhances the educational experience of students enrolled in the emergency management program by immersing them in a virtual Emergency Operations Center (EOC) environment, that is fully active and fully functional. The EOC has been completely renovated, retaining only the original structure of the building. All the equipment provided to the students is brand new, enabling them to utilize a comprehensive array of resources similar to what they would encounter in the field, including access to the D4H software.

WIU students have the opportunity to utilize both D4H Incident Management and Incident Reporting as part of their coursework. Students are assigned diverse roles within a structured lab system, each equipped with individual computers. A central main lab, positioned at the forefront of the classroom, serves as the focal point for collaborative work and instruction with D4H.

WIU students and D4H

Using Incident Management students at WIU work with fictional emergency scenarios, using D4H, the incidents range from shooting, civil unrest, severe weather, plane crash, and more. The students utilize the Situation Report SITREP functionality in Incident management, making sure to provide detailed documentation of the incident that occurs, such as weather impact. Dr. Jamie Johnson builds his complex templates using D4H for his students, and he received support to get his templates started during his implementation with D4H.

"During my D4H Implementation process, I was walked through everything and the training I received was phenomenal"
— Dr. Jamie Johnson, Professor and Assistant Director at Western Illinois University

A module used by the student and team and WIU is the Mapping Module. The map enables students to visualize all simulated incidents occurring across different locations simultaneously, facilitating comprehensive monitoring and analysis.

"I love the D4H map, it is a phenomenal tool."
— Dr. Jamie Johnson, Professor and Assistant Director at Western Illinois University

Another important tool used by the students learning the D4H software for emergency management is the D4H Mobile App.

"I can take control of anything that the students are doing and talk to them on that SITREP which is brilliant, and I can do the SITREP right from my phone."
— Dr. Jamie Johnson, Professor and Assistant Director at Western Illinois University

Emergency Management Students at WIU

The enrollment in WIU's emergency management program encompasses a diverse mix of students, ranging from recent high school graduates, additionally, the program attracts seasoned emergency professionals, such as firefighters, police captains, and doctors, with decades of experience, seeking to transition into roles as emergency managers, or add to their skill sets or broaden their expertise.

"The more students that we can educate the safer we are as a community"
— Dr. Jamie Johnson, Professor and Assistant Director at Western Illinois University

2024 is only the third year of the emergency management program within the School of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration at WIU. Within the emergency management program, approximately 130 students are currently enrolled in majors and minors combined. In total, the Law Enforcement and Justice department boasts an enrollment of around 1400 students.

When educating students about D4H, Dr. Jamie initially anticipated potential difficulties for individuals aged 40 and above in grasping the technology. Yet, upon delving into the D4H platform himself, he recognized its well-defined structure, empowering users with comprehensive control and intuitive navigation.

WIU students and D4H

The future of Emergency Management and technology

Recognizing the diverse needs of organizations, Dr. Jamie emphasizes the importance of equipping his students with both writing skills and technological proficiency for emergency management. This ensures they possess the capability to operate effectively, whether with or without reliance on technology.

Based on his professional insight and industry expertise, Dr. Jamie foresees a continued upward trend in the integration of technology within emergency management.

"The better and easier the platform is to use wins."
— Dr. Jamie Johnson, Professor and Assistant Director at Western Illinois University

Climate-related emergencies preparedness

Drawing on his industry expertise, Dr. Jamie underscores that flooding emerges as the deadliest natural disaster amidst the rising incidence of climate-related events Worldwide. The United States is experiencing increased weather-related disasters, resulting in billions of dollars in damages. Dr. Jamie is teaching his students that climate-related incidents are going to continue to increase, and they as future emergency managers must be prepared.

"The all hazards approach must be taught"
— Dr. Jamie Johnson, Professor and Assistant Director at Western Illinois University

Watch the full interview on Youtube: Watch Now


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