|Emergency and Disaster Training Exercises - Lifeboat. TR. EX. 29 (Northgate Training, 13 p.)|
Skills Consensus decision-making. Leadership and group work. Selection and the importance of a job description.
Timing ½ - 1 ½ hours.
Numbers Up to 24.
Summary A useful introduction to some ideas on selection or leadership. Also a good summary exercise focussing on human resources.
Lifeboat is a group exercise that focusses on people. It can be used in a number of ways. Here are three main ones:
1. As an examination of the recruitment and selection process, particularly in relation to the importance of a job description.
2. As an example of situational leadership. What qualities are required? What attributes of a persons personality and skills demonstrate leadership qualities?
3. As an exercise in consensus decision-making.
The Exercise Itself
Lifeboat consists of four sets of six A4 Briefs. Each contains the details (including photograph) of a person. The details include the following:
· photograph, name, age, occupation
· personality description written by the person
· list of skills possessed, also written by the person
· a view of the person written by a friend or relative.
The front of each Brief is identical and describes the basic context of the exercise. The six individuals are on board a vessel that is about to sink. All passengers and crew are to take to the lifeboats.
The question is: which of the six individuals is best suited to be leader in this situation?
Participants in this exercise work in groups of 3-4. Each group receives a set of the six Briefs as well as a ranking form. Their task is to rank the individuals in order of suitability as leaders in this particular situation.
The six individuals all know about the situation and their comments are written accordingly.
Once the rankings have been made a discussion on how the decisions were arrived at can usefully take place.
Disaster Managers need to possess a wide range of skills. In order to test your skill in role-casting can you please read the attached six descriptions and rank them in order of their crisis management skills. Which person would in your view be best qualified to be a leader in the disaster of a ship sinking (as described on the first sheet).
Rank your worst choice as No 6 and your best as No 1 with the rest set in ranked order. Note, that there is not necessarily any single answer - your lists will vary in the light of various perceptions and experiences.
HOW IT WORKS
What to do
1. Issue each group with a set of the six different Briefs.
2. Issue each group with a Ranking Form.
3. Explain the purpose of the exercise. Participants should study the descriptions of the people on the Briefs. They should then rank them on the Ranking Form. The ranking should reflect participants choice of person to be in charge of a lifeboat following an emergency at sea.
In other words, participants should assume they are on board a vessel which is also carrying the people on the Briefs.
The person they feel would be best to be in charge of the lifeboat should be placed first, followed by their second choice and so on.
All passengers on the vessel will be ultimately saved. Participants are simply noting their individual choice of ideal leader for the lifeboat.
4. List each groups ranking on flipchart and lead a discussion on the exercise.
The discussion needs to be tailored to fit the particular way the exercise is being run.
1. If you are using Lifeboat to examine recruitment and selection issues then you might wish to focus on some of the following ideas:
· did groups formulate a job description or job profile and then seek to match up the candidates with profile?
· if a job description was not drawn up, on what basis was selection made?
· did groups use a particular agreed set of criteria against which to make their selection?
· what attributes were valued most?
· how did groups resolve conflict and disagreement within the group?
· did the photographs have a major effect on selection?
· did the relatives or friends comments play a large part in the deliberations or did groups rely on what the individual wrote about him or her self?
· did groups consciously look for evidence of particular skills?
· were groups aware of any prejudices in their minds?
2. If Lifeboat is to be used as an exercise in examining leadership then here are some potential issues:
· what are the skills required of a leader in this situation?
· how can we be sure the individuals have these skills?
· what particular qualities will be required?
· are various qualities transferable to different situations?
· did groups take into account the likely reaction of the individuals who would have to serve under the leader?
· does a leader need to have particular skills or just be good at managing others?
· did groups consider the persons ability to get on with people, organise and motivate others and to communicate as well as the ability to lead and make decisions?
· what exactly do we mean by leader?
3. If Lifeboat is to be used as a consensus decision-making exercise, it needs to be run in a slightly different way.
First Issue a copy of the six Briefs to each individual. Ask them to rank the people.
Second Form individuals into groups and ask each group to reach a consensus rating.
Third Discuss groups results and list on flipchart. Attempt to reach a consensus between all groups.
It is now possible to compare individual decisions with group decisions. It is also useful to discuss how changes (if any) were made. What arguments were successful in making people change their minds? Did individual rankings differ markedly from group rankings? What process (if any) did individuals and groups use to reach a decision?
Of course, it is also worth looking at how the group itself worked together on the task and whether or not they had a leader.
· did the group work as a team?
· did they assess the skills present within their own group?
· did they elect a leader?
· did a leader emerge?
· did the group manage their time and their communications?
· was there a meetings manager?
· how were views voiced and reacted to?
· were decisions noted at the time they were made or were they carried in peoples heads?
What trainers say...
We used Lifeboat as part of our Effective Team Leadership programme. Not only was it beneficial from the recruitment aspect but also for delegates identifying leadership qualities, firstly those of the people on the lifeboat, then transferring the approach to analysing their own individual leadership qualities and management potential in others. A thoroughly useful, flexible and adaptable exercise that now has a permanent place on our training programme.
Blue Arrow Personnel Services
I used Lifeboat with Sales Managers and found it very useful for pinpointing potential qualities and then asking them to match these to a specific job profile.
The Training Department
We have used the exercise on a number of occasions with the people who are trained and experienced in disaster management. Lifeboat always promotes a good deal of discussion and has provided participants with some useful insights into their own values and perceptions about people, skills and leadership.
Dr Ian Davis Chair
Disaster Management Centre, Oxford Polytechnic
How to order
Phone Michael Lynch on (0225) 339733
Or write to us at
Northgate Training, Scarborough House, 29 James Street West, Bath BA1 2BT
29 James Street West, Bath BA1 2BT
Telephone (0225) 339733
1. LIFE BOAT EXERCISE
Ian Davis asks you to read the life boat exercise the evening before (Wednesday July 4) he will be giving his lecture (Thursday July 5) and answer the questions. Your answers will be discussed during the Thursday July 5 lecture.
2. IRAN EARTHQUAKE
Could you please read the Press articles on the Iran Earthquake to prepare the exercise on this subject.
You are on board a cruise ship when disaster strikes. The ship is holed beneath the water line and although there is no imminent danger. It looks as though everyone will have to abandon ship in one hours time. Life-rafts are plentiful.
You look around at the people scaled at your table. Which of them would you most like to have with you in the life-raft?
Using the attached information, rank your fellow passengers in the order you would most like to have them with you in this situation.
A life-raft in open sea will drift with the wind at half the wind speed. (If wind-speed is 6 mph the raft will drift at 3 mph).
A life-raft will be carried in the same direction and at the same speed as any marked current.
A life raft can be rowed at 4 mph in calm water.
Visibility at sea is about 15 miles on a clear day.
I am able to think and act quickly in a crisis and respond to peoples individual needs, eg keep children busy playing and laughing so they dont get upset or worried about the boat sinking.
I value and appreciate friends and family very much, making efforts to write, phone, visit, etc, to keep in touch, especially the older ones.
I love to be with people, but also need to be alone. Im very sociable and outgoing but know I can be stubborn if ideas and decisions dont coincide! I have no patience with people who are slow or boring. I love a challenge and get bored myself once it has been overcome and start looking for a new challenge.
I enjoy a good laugh - farces, people, the news, life or anything - I like to see the funny side. I have a quick temper but it disappears as quickly as it comes and I dont bear a grudge.
The skills I have which may be of assistance to the others in the lifeboat are:
1. Speak many languages - good for communication if we come across a foreign ship or even people on an island.
2. Organisational skills - can see clearly to the heart of the problem and what must be done to make things happen.
3. Leadership and public speaking - good for explaining to the others whats required of them and why, and getting them to take the relevant action.
4. Knowledge of nutrition - may help in rationing or cooking foods found in the wild!
5. Know lots of songs to sing and keep people cheerful!
6. Use to doing things like knitting, sewing, decorating, etc, so could be helpful when practical skills are needed.
Lyn first strikes you as being very tall, well-dressed, extremely attractive with an outgoing personality and a sense of fun.
She is a very intelligent woman, gifted with languages, and worldly-wise as a consequence of her travels to and work in other countries, although does not flaunt her knowledge.
Also, she is the kind of person who would not shy away from a challenge, whichever direction that may take.
Lyn is a very strong person both mentally and emotionally, a person who would be strong in a crisis.
Lyn is an assertive person, used to dealing with all levels of people and a good communicator. Because of her strength and assertion I think she could appear a little intimidating to male members of the population.
She has lots of friends, likes cats and people - Lyn in warm and a loyal friend.
Hobbies/Sport: Squash, cricket, rugby, DIY.
Recently remarried. I enjoy spending time with my three young children. Also have two children by my first wife. Proactive at work, natural leader. Have to meet and work with all types of people.
Active sportsman thriving on physical aspects of games. Philosophy: work hard - play hard.
Submarine service background means I can adjust quickly to different situations. For instance generally relaxed with a sense of humour but calm, serious and alert in an emergency. Straight talker - good listener to other peoples ideas. Enjoy responsibility and decision making.
Generally patient but will not suffer fools lightly, eg: everyone makes mistakes but will not sit back and allow someone to repeatedly make the same mistake.
Royal Naval College - O Levels: Mathematics. English. Geography, Navigation.
City & Guilds RN Communications (includes signalling & morse code).
City & Guilds Radio Television & Electronics.
Diploma Institute Training & Development.
Industrial Doctor analysing business and people problems.
Development of people and methods of work.
13 years Royal Navy, 7 years submarines.
Promotion from seaman to Petty Officer.
Telegraphist to Special Duties List of Officers.
Borneo Clasp and Medal.
Roger is a very confident, positive and methodical person - he has plenty of common sense and can cope, in my opinion, with any task or situation he finds himself in and will cope probably better than anyone I know. He is very critical and expects people to be as capable as he is. Sometimes he feels he would like to take over if he doesnt think the job is being done properly (which in my case is often!!) Roger is very reliable and honest - totally trustworthy; and physically very strong and fit.
My personality is ideally suited to cope in this situation. My balanced approach to problems, together with my natural ability to relate to others, will be essential In this crisis.
I can be argumentative (so Im told!) or just plain cussed, but I am also a generally fair, kind-hearted and sentimental person with a balanced and tolerant view. I am good-natured and outgoing, enjoy meeting people and discussing life, Id love to be rich and not have to work.
I am a family man with a tremendous pride in my children and their achievements. I dont wear my heart on my sleeve but my emotions run deep.
I like to be a leader and am ready to take risks, usually Im lucky - throw your lot in with me and we will survive.
Presently I am 48 years old and the Managing Director of the commodity trading arm of a large international group. We specialise in supplying and shipping bulk cargoes of raw materials used in the food industry around the world. I am a widely experienced business manager, and have worked all over the world.
As a result my skills are varied but in a situation such as this, hugely valuable. Interpersonal skill are needed to manage a company successfully and the same skills would be needed to manage a group of survivors form a shipwreck. The ability to communicate with all the survivors, assess their various skills, strengths and weaknesses and delegate to them the various jobs needed for survival. I would be ideal for this and feel without such a person the operation could well fall.
In recent years I have been involved in the fishing industry, have been on small fishing boats, managed a factory ship off West Africa, and even experienced a vessel sinking, after it was pulled over by a shoal of fish.
I have a keen interest in fitness, being a tennis, squash and golf player. I weight-train and run to keep fit, and would anticipate my physical fitness to be very high for my age, which is a very Important factor if we are to survive. I have also had experience of sailing small craft and built my own sailing dinghy with a friend (Fireball 99).
My experience, management skills and level of fitness would all be of extreme value to a group of people trying to survive in a lifeboat.
Close relatives comments
By his very nature, Paul has a shining image of himself as a leader of the family, husband, father, etc. He is the eldest son of three children an inevitably has always been top dog.
What he doesnt admit is that he can be excessively impulsive, sometimes selfish and intolerant of his familys behaviour. He has a cavalier approach to money and is extravagant on the one hand and reluctant to part with it on the other. His readiness to take risks sometimes worries the more conservative of us but as age and experience dawns this trait is becoming less.
He expects people to follow him with good grace and he doesnt take at all kindly to any sort of criticism. On the whole he gets along well with everyone and treats them fairly. He is confident in his own field and despite his faults, would be my first choice in the boat!
I have a good sense of fun. I love adventure. I like to think I am warm, easy going, generous and caring. I get on well with most people and am very gregarious. Im slightly eccentric at times. I am too apologetic and polite for my own good. I am intolerant of arrogance, selfishness and sexism, but am generally patient, helpful and tolerant.
Im probably a bit of a snob if Im honest (which I am!). I enjoy talking and a good drink (which I would miss on the boat!). I love food and would certainly miss that. I like a good laugh, and enjoy intelligent discussion.
I think most people I know would quite like to be In a lifeboat with me, but as Im a modest, unassuming person. I probably shouldnt admit that!
I am an ex-science teacher; biology graduate: I am at present an employee of a Wildlife Trust.
I believe that the following skills should ensure my eligibility for a place in the lifeboat. I have listed the skill in order of what I believe to be the most appropriate to the situation:
1. I am a qualified sailing instructor and am quite at home on the sea; I have a rudimentary knowledge of navigation. I can read a map. Im fit and healthy.
2. I have knowledge of survival techniques that would enable the crew to survive when rations run out.
3. Although I have no medical qualifications I have a knowledge of first aid and a good knowledge of human biology.
4. I could write a message in a bottle in English or French and know semaphore. I could flash S.O.S. using a torch.
5. I have a stoic nature and a joie de vivre that has enabled me to cope well with travelling experiences in West North Africa and Papua New Guinea.
6. Should the lifeboat reach an uninhabited island I have the skill to survive. I know how to test for poisonous plants and know about human dietary requirements.
Sue would of course be one of the first on the list of passengers to be saved. Her combination of skills and personality make it indubitably so. There is nothing she likes more than going sailing or on an adventure holiday - if this was the 19th century she would have been the first woman to discover darkest Peru, single-handed.
She has an easy-going, winning personality too, which would inspire confidence and optimism in her fellow passengers. But there will be moments in a situation like this when even Sues calm and capable exterior would surely begin to crack.
When pitted against the ferocity of the elements - the storms that would toss the little lifeboat around like a matchstick - who can say how anyone will respond, let alone Sue. I can only tell you of all those flights: have shared with her when she has been unable to consume enough duty-free whisky to wash out of her mind the thought of the aeroplane dropping from the sky. And with no whisky, and a sinking boat, all those potentially invaluable skills may come to nothing.
My skills may be few, but I think I have the right personality for such a crisis situation. I have the capacity to cope well under stress, to separate problems and tackle them with a clear head. In fact, my brain sharpens in such conditions and often reveals hitherto hidden resources.
I can remain calm outwardly even when under stress, although, having never been in a life-threatening situation, am untested in that particular area.
Im used to lots of people living closely together and can talk or remain silent as the instinct guides me.
Im prepared to listen to other points of view but am not afraid to express my own. Am ultimately prepared to give way to majority decisions but, if my overruled judgement proved to be correct, would be prepared to draw attention to that suggestion once again, at least for further discussion.
Im willing to undertake any job, even if Im unsure that I can do it well.
I have good stamina and, although despair can surface, it is usually only briefly and I adapt to changing circumstances positively as a rule.
I can control my temper and am Interested In being supportive rather than a leader.
In fact I now work as a Consultant Psychiatrist. I specialised in this a few years after qualifying. I therefore have full medical skills.
In addition. I sail my husbands boat with him.
I have always loved outdoor activities and spend a good deal of my leisure time in the Lake District where I enjoy fellwalking and pottering around on the lakes.
I have done plenty of camping and so am able to cope with a simple lifestyle, improvise meals from whatever is available and, because I have a large family, I can deal with meals for many people and can stretch food successfully. I can fish and am not squeamish about gutting.
Friends or relatives comments
A woman who cares very deeply for those close to her and her causes. Does not have the greatest wit, but does have a good sense of humour and much - intelligence and warmth. Very good at counselling positively, but just as importantly, passively by simply lending a willing ear and supporting shoulder. This is because she is so sensitive to the problems of others, and feels a great deal of frustration at her inability to rectify injustices.
She enjoys a good standard of living but is not materialistic. She commits herself wholeheartedly to any item of work and imposes on herself a standard far above what might be called her duty.
If she does have a fault, it is to take on too much and expect others to keep up with her. She can be as hard on friends and colleagues as she is on herself which can be daunting at first for those who do not know her.
Im a pretty dynamic type who doesnt suffer fools at all. However, I do get on with most people and consider myself capable in a crisis.
My employers paid for my training and put me through many tests to see if I could get on with people before I was accepted by them.
I enjoy boating and consider myself to be an expert.
I feel that by ability to lead, navigate, delegate and comfort those in need plus my knowledge of the sea, must earn me my place in the lifeboat.
Main hobby, sailing: Therefore expert in navigation and boat handling - perfect person to have in lifeboat.
A naturally assertive and dogmatic character, here you have a born leader of a group of people. Given a background of sound navigational skills under pressure, both in the air and at sea, I would consider Jonathan to be a natural leader in a lifeboat situation.
He will consider the problem logically and then act swiftly, but dont expect any emotional support or thoughtfulness alongside.
Totally oblivious, and therefore unsympathetic, to others needs on an emotional level, he may well come across as arrogant and domineering.
Jonathan will, offer his time and help if asked, most generously and will therefore be very kind. I would trust him with my life in this lifeboat situation and he would certainly generate confidence. I only hope there are no cranks, fools or injured members aboard - they would more than likely be quickly dispatched overboard.
He is extrovert, and likely to radiate towards fellow extroverts rather than quieter introverts. Jonathan is logical and not at all intuitive as regards people or situations. All in all, ideal lifeboat material.
Dr Ian DAVIS
- Hazard Mapping
- Vulnerability Assessment
- Loss Estimation
- Resource Assessment
- Decision Making
- Definition of an Acceptable Level of Risk
* Group Exercise in Assessment of Risk - specifically related to Vulnerability Analysis
THE DEVELOPMENT OF A DISASTER PREPAREDNESS PLAN INCLUDING RAPID ASSESSMENT
- Definition Roles
- Elements in Plan
- Vital Sectors
- Testing the Plan
- Institutionalising Preparedness
* Group Exercise in Preparedness Planning
MANAGEMENT OF AN EMERGENCY AND RAPID ASSESSMENT
- Crisis Management
- Emergency Operations Centres
- Assessment of Damage and Needs
- Development of Resources
- Key Principles
* Group Simulation of Crisis Management: Iran Earthquake
EMERGENCY SHELTER PROVISION
- Shelter Needs
- Functions of Shelter
- Strategies to provide Shelter
* Group Exercise
- Writing a report
- Time management
- Accountability to authorities and the recipients of assistance
- Crisis management
- Post-workshop staff development