Rethink Incident Management Response

Irregular storms and natural disasters seem to be the norm now of days. If you review the most recent natural disasters that have affected our country, these were not the basic hurricane 101 but often compound and complex disasters.


The point is there is never a boiler plate response to a cookie cutter disaster; this is pie in the sky thinking. As a commander you are going to have to be ready to respond, training and preparation are the keys to your success. Of course review your old disasters for the historical content however it is not gospel. As the ‘big one’ slips into the long term memory so does your mitigation efforts, people move back into the low lying areas. Compare your population and service areas from then until now, probably larger and more complex. As your roadways have changed so does the response and evacuation plans.

Training and I mean more than classroom. Have you had training with meaningful exercises and tabletop scenarios that test the mettle of your municipality’s staff? One thing that I have always insisted on is give your staff winnable scenarios. Far too often the majority of these things are no win situations and nearly the zombie apocalypse with Godzilla coming down to the police station. Make them real world difficult with cascading events and increase the level of intensity as the training evolves, just keep king sized lizards out of it. 

If you are fortunate enough to have regional all hazards task forces, bring them to the table for training and evaluation. This can be free and most Homeland Security Grant programs to support local law enforcement initiates are shirking for most of the world. However if you live in or near, larger municipal areas, check to see if you are in an urban area security initiative (UASI) which affords more support. The key is to prepare now before the storm clouds gather or the grid fails. The quality statement is that the local emergency responders (you and I) are going to be the only ones dealing with this from start to up to 48 hours before any additional support from the state arrives and the federals, which could be 96 hours. Today’s leaders must do more than deal with budgets, criminality and traffic woes. We are the true first line of defense when the really bad day comes to town, train hard now and excel when faced with it.

 

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