As we [CrisisGo] were planning this series back in late November and early December 2022, we all thought we would be discussing the importance of relationships and how important it is to this topic, but none of us thought I would be writing this on Valentine’s Day. A day where we celebrate lasting relationships that we have developed and nurtured to be “life-long” relationships that are meant to be mutually beneficial to all parties involved. As for me, I recently celebrated my 35th wedding anniversary. Was it easy? No! Was it worth it? Absolutely! Was it a 50/50 shared relationship? Absolutely not! Were there times when we didn’t like each other? Again, absolutely! Then how did we make it work (thus far)? And I use the parenthesis to mean this is still an ongoing process and we are still working on making it work. Which is also the answer to the last question; we are still working together on making it work for all of us. I say all of us, because the success, or failure, of our relationship has an impact on more than just the two of us. The reason I give you this part of my story is because it demonstrates how much work goes into a relationship (partnership) that we want to succeed. Now look at those relationships that are absolutely necessary to establish for your safety and the safety of your organizations; even if you have political and/or philosophical differences. Oh, did I mention that we are almost polar opposites politically? Yet, we still make it work and have for more than 38 years in total.
In keeping with this theme, finding and creating is much like dating. If you are looking for the right relationship, you have to know what characteristics you are looking for and where you might best find those people. You have to go to those areas and introduce yourself and explain what you are looking for. Now this is the point where the reference to dating will likely end. That is because this is not going to a monogamous relationship that you are entering into. You need to look for partners who have special skills, skills that enable you to succeed that only they can perform. These are professional skills and other skills they possess that are beneficial to you. If you want to relate this to the traditional relationship, it is like knowing a good carpenter or plumber, because your partner can’t or won’t do those things. Or worse yet, they try to do those things and you end up calling the professionals anyway (speaking from experience). There are many people who possess the skills, knowledge and experience to help you with most of your needs during this process. While you should not just expect them to handle your obligations for you, they will certainly make this process much easier and efficient for you.
While there are many partners (and their organizations) that you should be engaging, we will focus on just a few. Once you understand this process, then you should be able to identify those other organizations that can help you accomplish your primary objectives. Remember we are working through the three pillars of school safety (Systems, Policies, and People), as well as, the national emergency preparedness guidelines (prevention/mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery). The four primary partners we are going to explore here are the fire/rescue service, the law enforcement agencies, hospitals and mental health agencies. While we will only look into these four partner categories, we will look into other partners as needed and when appropriate in future blogs and podcasts. In this blog we will focus on two primary areas with these partners: How they can help and who are the right people to contact.
In the partnership building process it is important for you to make that first step. Most of these partners are all too willing to help you with your needs, they just need to know that you need help. When you think about it, most of these partner agencies are response agencies, responding to requests for assistance. Make that call and ask for assistance.