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Cross-Training for First Responders

Cross-Training for First Responders. By Gregory S. Bennett. CRC Press,; 283 pages; $69.95.

In his book, Cross-Training for First Responders, Gregory Bennett brings the reader through real life situations faced by first responders and, in doing so, highlights where the re­spond­ers’ training and equipment may be inadequate. His breadth of experience in the field comes from the fact that he was a police officer, a volunteer fire fighter, a trainer, and a speaker on the subject, so he knows where gaps exist in the capabilities, equipment, and training of different first responders and their agencies.

The book presents a pretty dire picture of the lack of cross-training, as well as problems with communications, inadequate equipment, and lack of interoperability that responders must deal with. When reading the opening chapters of the book, readers may feel concerned that the picture Bennett paints is bleak and that there are no avenues to find solutions to the issues he discusses.

Thankfully, Bennett’s last few chapters guide us through workable solutions to help address these gaps in a “how to” guide. In spite of the positive way forward, however, the reader is still left with the worrying thought of how the different agencies can really be brought together to work collaboratively.

The book is divided into easy-to-read chapters of 10 to 15 pages each. The author has structured the book in such a way that it can be used for education and training purposes, with a chapter summary that reviews the main issues that were captured in the preceding text.

This book provides good fundamental background knowledge for all responders and will provide them with a basic understanding of the various response agencies, their mandates, mind-sets, and approaches. At the very least, having this background knowledge may help stakeholders work towards the goal that Bennett lays out in this book.

Reviewer: Susan Gallagher is director of Susan Galla­gher Consulting Ltd. in Canada and New Zealand and an independent specialist in security management for the government and private sector. She is a member of ASIS International.