This emergency response plan is subject to annual revision and the applied changes to be noted below.
Record of changes
Incident command structure is an organized system that enhances a central command of all relevant departments in response to an emergency. The idea was mooted in the United States of America at a Phoenix AZ meeting of fire Chiefs. ( Rion,2008). The main goal of establishing Incident Command system was meant to mitigate wildfires or had engulfed states of California and Arizona. During its subsequent operations, the executive and operations managements realized that the system failed to effectively respond to disasters due to communication and managerial loopholes rather than an inadequacy in resource allocation. The system was later incorporated in the National Incident management system and following the federal government’’ directive to adopt an emergency response system as a qualification to receive funds from the government’s kitty.( Rion,2008).
The response structure has been adopted United States and United Kingdom and its positive results in disaster preparedness and mitigation has prompted most countries, companies and non-governmental organizations worldwide to revise their disaster management system to incorporate Incident Command System (ICS)
California State is mapped on the west coast in the United States .According to the federal government’s census statistics; the population was estimated to be 38 million people. It is in third largest state after Texas and Alaskan with an approximation of 403,667 square kilometers. Therefore, it is imperative to establish a comprehensive emergency response plan that would be subject to review in subsequent emergency response operations to accommodate current and future social and economic trends.
Hierarchy of responsibilities
Emergency operations and response structure
The incident commander is the person bestowed with the overall responsibility of controlling all relevant units in case an emergency occurs. He stipulates procedures on what steps should e carried out initially and the subsequent actions that should ensue. The local police chief will assume the role of the command system but could be replaced by the local chief officer. The incident commander ensures that all resources are distributed based on the state of emergency. Additionally, Incident commander acts as the overall regulator especially when there is a necessity to restructure the system to adhere to the current situational trends. The commander shall be responsible for establishing and implementing the incident action plan as well as constituting a command staff of competent officers as required by the situation.
Further, the commander on receiving an emergency alert shall report the situation to the 911/ECD unit and automatically assume full control of the situation. The incident commander shall responsible for establishing an Emergency Operation Center (EOC) at the scene, where he shall exercise oversight rules to mitigate the situation. The incident Commander’s office shall be coordinated under three main departmental officers. These officers include Liaison, safety and the public information officers. (Luttrell, Butcher, & SafetyMax Corporation (2000).
Liaison officers: The officer shall be a link between the commander’s office and other agencies to enhance the effectiveness during emergency operations and disaster mitigation.
Safety officer: The officer shall be responsible for conducting field studies to assess safe and unsafe areas within California estate. He will then deliver a report to the incident commander for further action.
Security officer: California state government will appoint a police officer who shall be responsible for securing all emergency operation centers (EOM).The officer shall also represent the police force participation in disaster operations.
Information officer: The assigned officer shall draft press releases and forward them to the media for public address. In addition, he will be responsible for onward communication to other agencies form the Incident commanding officer.
Scribe: The incident commander shall maintain a time schedule for all activities to avoid overlap and as well as harmonize all the strategies proposed in the bi-monthly meetings with intent to establish a comprehensive project schedule. (Oklahoma,2006).
The staff in this department will be responsible for implementing the Emergency Operations action plan and ensure all agencies participate effectively without overlapping each other’s functions. The incident commander shall assign an operations officer who shall spearhead the operations of the department. Additionally, the California state governing authority shall appoint the deputy police chief within the locality of the emergency scene to oversee the full operations of the emergency response in liaison with the Emergency Operation’s officers. To ease the functioning of the operation's department, the officer in charge shall harmonize all bestowed functions into the lenient and manageable departments. The following sub-departments shall be formed:
Fire service unit
In every emergency operations center, fire unit is appropriate because it is the most susceptible emergency situation that engulfs most business premises in California State. This unit shall be responsible for mitigating fire disaster response situations.
Law enforcement unit
The unit shall participate in enforcing orders during the emergency period .Further, the unit officers shall liaise with the California state government and the region where the incidence occurred to ensure that rescue operations do not infringe on the citizens civil rights.
Medical service Unit
The unit shall be responsible for liaison with health providers to obtain drugs and another medical assistance for the victims. Additionally, the unit shall facilitate the establishment of mobile clinics within the precincts of the disaster scene to ease efficiency and cost effectiveness.
Shelter provision Unit
Under the directions of the operation's office, the shelter provision unit shall assess and determines the number of victims and their degree of assistance. The unit shall liaise with the planning and logistics unit to procure material resources needed for humanitarian assistance.
Planning section is responsible for gathering and dissemination of information across all the relevant parties. In addition, the planning officers are required by the California state government department on internal security to provide an updated report on disaster preparedness to enable them receive state funding. Moreover, it shall ensure that the EOC plan is in compliance with the Department of Home Land security obligations. This is an intelligence unit that ensures effectiveness of the operations.
The unit officers shall conduct research on the current status of the scene and finalize the report for submission to the incident commander. (Oklahoma,2006). The document shall be replicated to all other departments to enhance symmetrical information during the operations. Upon approval by the incident commander, the IC shall mandate the planning officers to conduct a plan for all required resources during the operation.
Technical specialist Unit
The unit shall be responsible for conducting stringent issues that shall be difficult for every other department. It is a strategic approach to ensure that an oversight and impartial officer can suggest any change of procedure.
Officers in this unit shall be required to determine all the required resources for every department in liaison with the operation's department. The department shall incorporate determining resources that shall not be limited to medical resources, ambulances, fire brigade and other disaster mitigation equipments.
The department shall preserve all current and historical disaster files for future references. In addition, the officers shall monitor the emergency operations message center to ensure that any emergency response is addressed within the required timeframe.
The role of this department shall, under the authority of an incident commander, shall oversee the distribution of personnel and all required resources in an equitable manner.
The incident manager in liaison with the California state planning department shall appoint a geographical expert who shall provide a comprehensive demarcation of the incident area and the surrounding regions. In addition, the officer shall provide closest demarcations that could be used to evacuate the victims at ease within the California State. The officer shall provide information not limited to nearest police stations, nearest medical centers form the area of disaster.
Logistics department is responsible gathering information from all other departments in the Emergency Operations center to assess their preparedness for unforeseen contingencies and the resources required to effectively address the incidence. Consequently, the officers shall prepare a report for scrutiny by the operations and planning departments for assessment and approval before the incident manager appends signature to facilitate procurement.
This unit entails the procurement of new staff to replace those who have left the organizations. In addition, the unit shall provide the number of both paid and volunteer staff, and the deficit required to sustain the current and projected rise in demand.
This unit entails transport vehicles for humanitarian assistance, ambulances, medical supplies and transport of emergency personnel to enhance disaster mitigation.
The officers in this unit shall liaise with the finance department to facilitate the purchase of all materials needed for disaster management. The procured materials shall not be limited to disaster protective clothes and equipments, medical supplies, food and many others. In addition, the officers are responsible for ensuring that the materials area authenticated to avoid infringement of state procurement laws.
Finance /administration department
Compensation claims unit
The workers claim officer shall analyze the list of all the victims against their extent of damage and loss of property and use the necessary tools to determine the appropriate compensation plan.
The accounting officer shall be responsible for determining the hours worked by all permanent and volunteer staff. Further, he will provide a report to the incident commander and the planning department officers to ensure that proper acquisition of employees.
Cost Recovery and analysis unit
This unit is authorized by the Law due to its importance in recovering the cost after the disaster has occurred. The emergency operations center shall establish a cost recovery mobile unit at the disaster scene to facilitate recovery of the cost and assess ways of minimizing cost during the rescue operations. The unit shall coordinate with all other departments to obtain a comprehensive report.
A Scenario-Based Training
County: Los Angeles
Are of Incidence: Baldwin Park city
Situation analysis and safety management procedures
A fire has broken out at Baldwin Park city, Los Angeles County in California State. A witness calls at the California Incident Command public information office. The information officer receives the phone , notes the location of the disaster and subsequently submits the briefings to the Incident Commander. The incident Commander invites the security officer representative of the Los Angeles County police department who in turn communicates to the Los Angeles County police department. The Incident Commander then authorizes the liaison officer to draft e-mails and communicate the situation to all the other departments within the organization structure. The Incident Commander assumes full control of command authorizes safety officer to liaise with the GIT officer to go ahead and assess the situation on the ground.
The Incident Commander establishes an Emergency Operation Center(EOC) at Baldwin Park a few meters from the area of incidence. The Incident commander shifts all his operations to the EOC center until the rescue mission is complete. The safety officer in conjunction with the Baldwin Park police department collaborates in dispersing the crowd that is converging at the area of the incident. The fire service unit together with the County fire department engages in putting out the fire in readiness for rescue operations.
Upon arrival, the GIT officer and the safety officers furnishes the Incident Commander with a preliminary report on the degree of the situation and if there are any casualties. Simultaneously, the liaison officer is communicating with the medical services department e.g. the nearest hospital to avail an ambulance and provide a mobile dispensary in the area of disaster. Meanwhile, the medical service unit is evacuating the casualties as it performs first-aid and preliminary treatment of the casualties. Upon arrival of the ambulance and the medical officers, the medical services unit collaborates with the doctors and nurses to transfer severe casualties for specialized treatment and discharge those with minor injuries after they are treated.
Upon completion of rescue operations, the planning, logistics and finance departments collaborate to assess the material and the financial cost of the situation and a final communication are made by the Incident Commander. After all operations are complete, the Incident Commander submits the area of incidence to the Ls Angeles police department which shall protect the area from public interference until all operations are complete, and the area declared safe.
Within one week after the situation, all major departments shall converge to draft a post-disaster management report that will be forwarded by the liaison officer to the Incident Commander. Any other communication pertaining to the operation shall emanate from the Incident Commander.
It is my recommendation that all disaster management units should adopt an incidence command system to enhance the effectiveness in rescue operations and save on costs. The response units should ensure that all procedures are followed as stipulated, and the response structure should be reviewed frequently to reflect the current developments in disaster preparedness and rescue operations management.
United States (2007). Incident management handbook: Incident Command System (ICS). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Gantt, P. (2005). The Incident Command System (ICS) for Emergency Response: ICS for Dummies.
Luttrell, S. L., Butcher, C., & SafetyMax Corporation (2000). Emergency response plan. Singapore: SafetyMax Corp.
Rion, F. J. (2008). Incident Management System: Standard Operating Guidelines. Monroe county.
Oklahoma (2006). State of Oklahoma emergency operations plan (EOP). Oklahoma City: Oklahoma Dept. of Emergency Management.