Dear AHIMTA Member,
Membership on an All-Hazards Incident Management Team requires a broad range of knowledge and experience. Being on a team that is called upon to respond to incidents ranging from cyber incidents to pandemics and from wildfires to tornadoes means that as an incident manager, you need to be well rounded in your comprehension of the hazards and threats we face. As emergency responders, we build that cognitive library through training and through the experience of response, but those opportunities can be limited. A third mechanism we must build our comprehension is to learn from others through the gift of reading.
As readers we have the unique opportunity to learn about any experience and to acquire any lesson from anyone else that has decided to share their knowledge and experience through the written word. We can live vicariously through others. This means we can learn about hazardous materials response and about leadership. We can experience the challenges of a pandemic and the struggles of those involved in flood incidents. Reading will also enable us to sharpen the skills we already have and can open our minds to new innovations and creative problem-solving. In short, reading makes you a better incident manager.
Excellence in incident management means that you seek to continually sharpen your mind and improve your abilities. Making a mistake in a disaster that you could have avoided by reading is building experience and learning the hard way. Making good decisions and knowing what to do during an incident because you learned from others by reading is building experience and knowledge the easy way. For this very reason, AHIMTA has developed the AHIMTA Professional Reading List. Through this list, we hope you will find books to incorporate into your own personal development or engage in a “book club” with your AHIMT which will help your team bond and perform better.
In this list, you will notice books that are derived from a wide range of foundational subjects from psychology to mathematics. There is a heavy slant toward military based books. This is due to several reasons, the first of which is that there are not a lot of incident management team focused books in publication. Secondly, reading a wide variety of books expands the mind and allows you to blend thoughts and ideas from disparate perspectives. Thirdly, military books are beneficial as they are fundamental to methods we use, such as the philosophy of strategy, tactics, and leadership.
The publications have also been by topic and include a suggested reading level. For all incident managers, the books are listed as Foundational. The next level are front line supervisors labeled as Leaders (Strike Team Leader, Task Force Leader, and Unit Leaders). The next level are Directors (as in Branch Directors). The second highest level is the Command and General Staff and then the list tops out with Command level.
Publications in this list that are open source will be available at the AHIMTA website. Other publications may be out of print but should be available on Amazon (remember to use Amazon Smile with AHIMTA as your charity of choice). Others may be current and widely available through any bookstore.
We hope you will join us in the pursuit of knowledge and improvement of our skills and abilities through the cheapest and most available opportunity of self-improvement which is reading.
Dr. Randal A. Collins, CEM
All-Hazards Incident Management Teams Association
Inspiring Excellence in Incident Management!