The Importance of Skill & Equipment Redundancy

Equipment redundancy[3] mitigates mechanical failures or technical issues. This level of protection can be accomplished with multiple units of the same communications gear. It can also be achieved using different equipment that offers the same or similar capabilities as the primary unit.

How to Build Skill & Equipment Redundancy

When it comes to building skill redundancy, cross-training[4] is the name of the game. Sometimes you are fortunate enough to work with equipment suppliers who run train-the-trainer courses. These periods of instruction are invaluable. Seek companies with this service first[5]. In other cases, you will be left with little more than a manual to help guide you through the operation of new gear.

Regardless of which level of support you have, it is crucial that every member of a team can operate the equipment they will rely on to accomplish the mission. Perhaps even more critical is ensuring the team can troubleshoot any issues.

Take the time to train as many people as possible on new communications gear. If you have benefited from a train-the-trainer course, make sure you set up in-house training secessions with your newly created trainer soon after completing the train-the-trainer course. Doing this will ensure the information is fresh in their mind when teaching others in your organization.

Combining classroom and hands-on training[6] is vital. Talking about communications equipment is not the same as physically using it. Take the time to cover the material in class and through individual hands-on engagements.

Finally, remember to have a plan for keeping the skills sharp. Schedule refresher courses as needed with a frequency of at least once a year.

Equipment redundancy is achievable in one of two methods. First, you can purchase additional units of the same equipment. Having a spare unit is often the most expeditious solution when there is an equipment failure. This, of course, is not always feasible.

A second option is to have other equipment that has similar capabilities. For example, a typical military squad may carry field radios, individual team member radios, and a secure satellite phone to talk with higher units. Each device can reach other assets but utilize different channels. If the squad enters a dead zone for the field radio, they can still communicate with their other radios or secure satellite phones.

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