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Jay Hopkins founder Error Prevention Institute

Error Prevention Training
Jay Hopkins

Hi - I’m Jay Hopkins, the founder of the Error Prevention Institute. I often get asked about the origins of the EPI Error Prevention Training.


I come from an aviation background. In fact, I hate to admit it, but I have been a pilot for over 50 years.


I was one of those kids who loved flying, loved aviation. Before I even had a driver's license, I got a job at the airport in Syracuse, NY, polishing airplanes, fueling airplanes, and sweeping the hanger floor. I got paid in flying lessons – one lesson every two and a half days.


I earned my student permit, my private license, and eventually went on to get my commercial, instrument and instructor ratings, and finally received the highest rating of all – airline transport pilot.


I had my own flight school and charter business in Upstate New York. After that I did a lot of other instruction, charter, and corporate flying, and even a little commuter airline flying.


Then I got a really interesting job training corporate jet pilots in those ten million dollar simulators, first of all on Learjets for FlightSafety in Tucson, AZ, and then I helped to open up SimuFlite Training International in Dallas, TX, instructing on Learjets and Westwinds.


Following that I was selected as the manager of Military Instructor training for CAE Link and literally travelled around the world training US military instructors how to teach what they call aircrew coordination training, which is similar to error prevention training. I trained two instructors for every FRS in the Navy and Marines – That’s the fleet readiness squadrons, where the aircrews receive their specific aircraft and mission training.


I also trained the Naval Training Command, the Air Force Training Command, the Army National Guard Bureau for the entire county, and the Army Apache Training Brigade.


Eventually I got done, was laid off and started my own company providing reduce human error training to civilian pilots, initially mostly to the EMS industry who fly the helicopters for the hospitals.


Back then this was a new industry, and a lot of the helicopters were crashing, which of course did not help the patients. So, the objective of the training was to reduce the accident rate, and the title on the handout said Preventing Pilot Error; but everyone has their piece of the error prevention pie, so the EMS doctors, nurses, mechanics and administrative personnel were also present.


During the breaks, doctors would come up to me and say, “This is great stuff. I’m going to use this in my surgery.”


Nurses had a similar response to the training… “I love this, it will help me be a better nurse.”


So I began to recognize the broader application of this training, and developed generalized courseware that was appropriate for anyone in any occupation.


Over the past 30 plus years we have trained everyone from the New York City Fire Department to the Washington State Loggers Association; from the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department to NASA. In fact, this training is required for almost all of the 15,000 Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company employees across the country.


The response to this training has been overwhelmingly positive. Organizations that keep detailed records report that their incident and accident rates have plummeted. Even more exciting to me are the stories I get back from people who say this training helped them to avoid a serious mistake, injury, or accident, and in a few cases even saved their lives.


I’m excited that with the new Champion Program, EPI can now make the benefits of error prevention training available to everyone.


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