The first module for the International Humanitarian Assistance Response Program Certificate™ entitled Introduction to International Humanitarian Response is currently under development with plans for release summer of 2022. The introductory module will consist of an overview of the topics covered in the 7-course certificate. In addition to the introductory module, the seven courses will include the following: Planning & Operations; Communications; Law & Insurance; Traumatic Loss; Survivor Needs; Self-Care, along with an Industry Specific Course featuring modules that apply to an identifiable workgroup.
In the first module, we hear from several business and industry leaders who represent robust programs within their organizations. In this article, we will highlight key points from interviews shown in the introductory module. The first quote is from a recognized industry leader in a company known for offering compassionate care on a daily basis to guests, cast members, employees, and the public at large.
"Your humanitarian assistance response plan should include both the head and the heart."
Patrick Laverty, Senior Manager, Family Assistance & Crisis Team Training, Global Crisis Management
The Walt Disney Company
Your humanitarian assistance response plan should include both the “head” and the “heart.” You have your emergency response, the logistical side. This covers how you are going to respond effectively, coordinate with local authorities, and manage an incident. And then, of course, you have the heart. How are you caring for those that are impacted, your guests, their families, your employees and their families, everybody that could be within the ripple of the crisis. We want to make sure that we're able to effectively handle both of those with the care and compassion that is needed to support those impacted individuals.
It also comes down to making sure the plans account for what your organization thinks they should do, from a logistics standpoint, but also what are local authorities going to expect of your organization? How can you partner to make it a cohesive and seamless response?
Patrick and his team train Care Team members throughout the globe with the Human Services Response™ models developed by the Foundation and have many examples of the power that one well-trained employee has to make a difference in the long-term healing of survivors. Their rich experiences in use of these concepts add greatly to the course content of the Institute modules.
“Passing the baton from hand to hand during a response with organizations all over the world is like passing the Olympic Torch.”
Ray Gonzalez, CareTeam Manager, Global Security
Royal Caribbean Group
Ray discusses the value of organizations assisting one another during a crisis. “Passing the baton from hand to hand during a response with organizations all over the world is like passing the Olympic Torch. And it’s alive.” Ray goes on to say that when companies help each other deliver compassionate care to all survivors, it helps companies who may not have a plan before the shared response learn the value of having a plan for delivering “humanitarian assistance and it then goes viral–they learn from the company responding and realize they can do it too.”
In Ray’s interview, he further discusses the universality of human needs. His experience has taught him that when bad things happen, people are far more alike than different in their needs. Ray has personally led responses to major fatal events where aviation Care and Special Assistance Teams and other industry responders came together to provide consistent compassionate responses to all impacted, including guests, employees, and all families involved.
"How do we act in a way in which our customers believe that we will take care of them and do the right thing?"
Sharyn Cannon, Chief Culture Officer, Tauck, Retired)
In Sharyn’s interview, she emphasizes how response to one incident can influence an organization’s reputation. Minutes matter, perhaps even seconds, you know, a business will have their whole reputation on the line over one incident, and all the good work that is done in a company, both in protecting their brand, protecting their revenue, protecting their legal, protecting their risks, protecting even the longevity of their company, all that can be gone in a moment, if we don't handle a particular situation, and a critical moment, the right way.
In addition to the financial risk, the legal risk, the brand risk, the employee risk, there's also even a culture risk of who we are as a company, how do we want to respond and help support our employees who are going to be on the front line? How do we want to act in a way in which our customers believe that we will take care of them and do the right thing? These are all aspects that we need to focus on as we have a plan. And it's one of the best investments we can have because all the other things that we've planned and worked so hard at can be gone in an instant if we do not handle something in the right way at the most critical time in our business.
Family Assistance Centers and Humanitarian Assistance Centres: Different Names with the Same Purpose*
“After the July 7 bombings of the London Underground and other emergencies, the ‘family’ title led some survivors (not bereaved families and others seeking help) to think that the Centre did not include them.”
Humanitarian Assistance in Emergencies: Non-statutory on establishing Humanitarian Assistance Centres
In addition to featuring interviews with experienced practitioners of humanitarian assistance, the introductory module also features an explanation of the difference between the UK’s Humanitarian Assistance Centre (HAC) and the US’s Family Assistance Center (FAC). Looking at Humanitarian Assistance in Emergencies: Non-statutory on establishing Humanitarian Assistance Centres, published by Department for Culture Media and Sport, we find the background and history of the HAC with an explanation of the difference between the two Centers.
According to the document, the concept of HACs was originally given the name ‘Family Assistance Centers’ (after the FAC set up in New York following the attacks of 9/11). British Family Liaison Officers (FLOs) escorted UK families to NY during the aftermath and took the model back in order to replicate for future mass casualties with similar characteristics. However, after the July 7 bombings of the London Underground and other emergencies, the ‘family’ title led some survivors (not bereaved families and others seeking help) to think that the Centre did not include them.
While the name of the centre was changed, the purpose of supporting all those impacted by trauma as well as providing a place where multiagency personnel and local officials can assist them is the same. Foundation leaders have had the opportunity to work with police and other officials, as well as impacted individuals in both settings. Other than the name and acronym HAC vs. FAC, we saw no difference in the immense help these centers offered those in need of assistance during and following catastrophic events.
Upcoming articles will feature more about the Introductory Module, including additional highlights from subject matter experts, thought leaders in business and industry, and survivors of multiple crises and disasters.
*Note: When referring to the US FAC, we spell it Center, when referring to the UK HAC, we spell it Centre.