Skip to main content

Training builds skills for emergency preparedness


Data Collection Specialist Lukas Kompan leans down to speak with Robert Emerson through his respirator as Kim McMahon and Jane Hartwick look on.

Data offers insight, action for enhanced supports

When an emergency arises, what is your first course of action?  Where is the nearest exit?  Who do you call, and when? 

Having the knowledge to react quickly and appropriately can be the deciding factor in averting disaster. 

To that end, Citizen Advocates’ Population Health and Planning team recently held an emergency services presentation for people supported by the agency’s Community Support and Community Living departments.

The presentation was the result of data uncovered by Population Health and Planning through Personal Outcome Measures® (POMs) interviews, showing that while all the individuals interviewed felt safe in their daily lives, around half of interviewees only felt safe because they received assistance.  Follow-up interviews found that these participants wanted to gain more independence around accessing emergency services. 

“We let the data tell the story,” said Jodie Poirier, Associate Director of Population Health and Planning.  “The data we collect and evaluate is what leads our quality improvement initiatives, whether that’s the quality of services we provide, or our agency’s business processes.  It’s all in the numbers.”

Person-to-person data collection

A POMs interview is a person-centered discovery process that helps those the agency supports live a life of their choosing and serves as a catalyst for organizational change.  The process is a program of the Council on Quality Leadership (CQL), which provides human service organizations like Citizen Advocates with a framework for quality monitoring and enhancement.  Citizen Advocates first achieved accreditation with CQL in January 2016 and was most recently reaccredited in June 2022.

“It may not look like it, but a POMs interview is data collection—one-on-one, person-to-person,” said Brittny Doty, the Data Collection Specialist who identified the need for, and planned, the emergency services presentation.  “I sit down with an individual and walk through every area of their life: what they like, what they don’t like, what they want more of, what they want less of.  It’s truly humbling to gain access to someone else’s world.”

“The coolest thing I’ve ever seen”

The emergency services presentation was led by Sandra Nichols, Senior Communications Specialist for Franklin County Emergency Services, with assistance from Lukas Kompan, a Population Health and Planning Data Collection Specialist who serves as a volunteer firefighter with the Constable Fire Department. 

Participants asked questions and presented hypotheticals to Ms. Nichols, some of which were inspired by scenarios seen on television and in film.  Discussion topics included the basics of calling 911, making a safety plan in case of a fire, proper use of extension cords and electrical outlets, and the dangers that severe weather like lightning and flooding can bring.

The presentation culminated with Mr. Kompan suiting up in his full firefighter gear, including respirator and helmet, to demonstrate that despite all the equipment, firefighters are nothing to be afraid of. 

“This is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen,” said participant Robert Emerson.

Using data to improve the present and shape the future

Established in 2020, the Population Health and Planning team’s principal focus is to aid in the collection and evaluation of data to inform improvement in health outcomes, but the team also generates reports and dashboards for Citizen Advocates’ business initiatives, working with departments across the agency from clinical services to facilities and maintenance.

“In a short time, our Population Health and Planning team has become a vital part of every aspect of our work,” said Heather Wenzel, Citizen Advocates’ Senior Director of Operations.  “A focus on data and proven results is improving the care we provide while helping us strategize for the future.”