By Tom Carr, VP Patrol Operations (tom.carr@skipatrol.ca) 

CISM – critical incident stress management

Patrolling and helping injured people often gives us a huge emotional lift when we use our skills. This can also be very stressful; more so if there is a serious injury or fatality. Across Canada, zones and divisions have patrollers that have taken CISM training and when patrollers are involved in a significant incident someone can contact the local CISM group and have trained individuals bring those involved together for an intervention. 

Currently, not all patrollers have access to this program. Brian Bennett and Hélène Fortier are jointly responsible for CISM nationally and are working to ensure training is available to members. The preferred system is to have a point of contact for CISM assistance within the zone or the division for all the zones within that division as applicable. 

Brian and Hélène are running a CISM course in early October, with the date to be confirmed shortly. If you are interested, check with the CISM team leader for your region to see if you can help and then contact Brian or Hélène to be added to the course. There is a small cost to cover materials and the course will be held virtually over 3 days. 

Patroller recognition

The national data base system (NDS) had an application that made submitting awards easy. Once the nomination was submitted, the application allowed the selection committee to view, grade and discuss submissions in a way that made the process simple and very fluid. With the introduction of YETI, a new application is being developed to replace the NDS version. The goals include having it ready for this season and making it usable by national, division and zone levels for their awards programs, including some flexibility to allow different groups to tailor some parts as required. Once the application is completed details will be released on how to submit nominations or how zones and divisions can set up their patroller recognition programs. 

Craig Taggart has completed his term as CSP Recognition Committee chair and will be succeeded by Nancy Price-Hutley. Craig modernized the nomination process to clarify what information is required and the selection committee members now see nominations with similar areas of information to help them base their decisions. COVID-19 created many challenges, including properly recognizing patrollers receiving awards. Craig worked with the zones and divisions so patrollers were recognized locally by their peers in keeping with regional COVID-19 protocols. As Nancy takes on the role of chair, Craig will become the patroller recognition advisor, working with divisions to help those that wish to review or expand their recognition programs and revise award criteria to ensure a robust awards program at the division level. If this new role is seen to be valuable, the then national patroller recognition chair will move into that role at the end of their term. 

Zone president quarterly update and patrol leader update

Communication is something we continue to fine-tune so that the information that you need or want is available. I have experience at all levels and in each role, I have worked with some really great, devoted people. A common theme is to balance doing work with letting people know what you are working on. Information that is old news to me or may not even be current as we move on to the next task is new, interesting, and needed by the members. Many times discussions on a subject have been ongoing for months and the trap is to presume that everyone outside the meetings already knows about it is not interested. When that happens, members that need the information think that they are being left out of the loop. 

To help sharing of project information, national started hosting what are essentially quarterly zone presidents’ updates during the past two years. Each national vice-president gives a brief summary of happenings since the last meeting and plans for the next few months. There is a financial update if timely, and the directors and chair of the board address any ongoing issues. The meetings have evolved to add two to four hot topics that are addressed in detail. In the past, lack of information led to lengthy meetings at the national annual conference, but no more. 

When the co-executive directors were hired, Mark Brown held a national patrol leaders’ meeting. On request a second such meeting was held this past spring. The topics were very similar to the zone presidents’ update so to avoid duplication and to bring the two groups together, a joint meeting will be held on October 20th at 8:00 p.m. EDT. The main topics on the agenda are patroller recognition, retention tools, pro deals and human resources issues. Details and the link to join the meeting will sent out in the latter half of September. If this meeting is well received, patrol leaders will be invited to the zone presidents’ update twice yearly.

Patrol Operations Update

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