By Daryl Lee Spiewak, CEM, TEM, MEP, Lead Trainer for the CEM Commission, and Chair, IAEM-Global Communications Work Group
Last month we discussed Implementation relating to Warning, Notifications, and Communications Systems. This month continues our discussion of Implementation with a focus on Operational Procedures, covering Incident Management and the Emergency Operations Center.
According to NFPA 1600 version 2013, “Entities shall develop, coordinate, and implement operational procedures supporting their emergency management program.” These Operational Procedures “shall be established and implemented for response to and recovery from the impact of identified hazards, and shall provide for life safety, property conservation, incident stabilization, continuity, and protection of the environment under the jurisdiction of the entity.” The remainder of this standard discusses aspects of operational procedures applicable to the entity’s incident management system and emergency operations center.
The standard requires an incident management system that “directs, controls, and coordinates response, continuity, and recovery operations.” The procedures developed and implemented shall provide for “(1) control of access to the area affected by the incident, (2) identification of personnel engaged in activities at the incident, (3) accounting for personnel engaged in incident activities, and (4) mobilization and demobilization of resources.” The standard goes on to state these procedures “shall allow for concurrent activities of response, continuity, recovery, and mitigation.”
In the United States, the incident management used is called the Incident Command System (ICS). Other countries call their system an incident command system, incident management system, or something else. Regardless of its name, the system should include all the elements stated above.
The emergency operations center can be either physical or virtual, depending upon the needs and resources available to the entity. Communications must be established between the incident command and the EOC during activations. The entity must be able “to coordinate activities with stakeholders, conduct a situation analysis incorporating a damage assessment and needs assessment, and resource management.”
The standard does not describe how to do all of this, so for the exam we refer back to various FEMA Independent Study Courses such as IS-100b Introduction to the Incident Command System, IS-230d Fundamentals of Emergency Management, and IS-775 EOC Management and Operations.
The application process for both the CEM® and the AEM® does not require the candidate to address Operational Procedures specifically as one of the required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSA) components for the emergency management essay. However, it does require discussion of Response, Recovery, and Mitigation activities in addition to Protection and Preparedness. Be sure to address these aspects of Operational Procedures in your essay.
For examination purposes, candidates should be familiar with the concepts, techniques, and strategies discussed in IS-230.d, IS-244.b, and the NIMS documents. Here are two core-type questions for our analysis in this article.
1. An incident command system provides for a common organizational structure that enables effective and efficient incident management. It is designed to ensure which of the following?
a. Achievement of the entity’s strategic objectives.
b. Efficient use of resources.
c. Health and safety of the Whole Community.
d. Use of specific agency or organizational codes and acronyms.
This question is asking you first to understand the basic concept behind an incident management system, and then to choose a true statement that describes what it is designed to accomplish. The first response says it is designed to achieve the entity’s strategic objectives. An entity’s strategic objectives are achieved through a variety of actions unrelated to an incident, whereas the incident management system is designed to achieve tactical incident objectives. Therefore, this response is incorrect.
The second response is the efficient use of resources. This is one thing an incident management system is designed to accomplish.
The third response of providing health and safety of the Whole Community is not something an incident management system is designed to accomplish. Other systems and resources are designed for that mission. The incident management system is designed to protect the first responders and care for the victims of a hazardous incident.
The fourth response is also incorrect, because using specific agency codes and acronyms causes confusion during an incident since the codes and acronyms often have different definitions for different agencies and organizations. Therefore, the correct response is b. See IS 230.d.
2. Which of the following serves as a critical link in the emergency response chain, enabling incident commanders to focus on the needs of the incident while promoting problem solving at the lowest practical level?
a. Emergency Operations Center.
b. Emergency Operations Plan.
c. Incident Command System.
d. Multiagency Coordination Center.
In this question, we are asking you to recognize and know what and how the emergency response chain operates, as well as with its components. The first response seems to fit the definition provided in the question. EOCs are the link between the incident commander and the MACCs. They promote problem solving, establish priorities, manage resources, and a multitude of other tasks that allow the incident commander to focus on the incident requirements. The EOC provides a central location, where entities at any level can provide interagency coordination and executive decision making in support of the incident response. So on inspection, this appears to be the correct choice, but what about the other responses?
The second response of the emergency operations plan cannot be correct because it provides the concept and other information related to who and how the entity manages incidents.
In the third response, the incident command system is the mechanism the incident commander uses to provide the overall structure and concept for organizing and managing incident response. It is what the incident commander is focusing on, so it is not a correct response to the question.
The last response of the Multiagency Coordination Center cannot be correct, because its purpose is to provide critical support to the EOC in the form of information and resources. It also supports strategic decision making for regional events. Therefore, the only correct response is our first response a. See IS 775.d.
When reading the questions and responses, be sure you understand exactly what the question is asking of you and read each response before selecting the correct one.
Next month we continue our discussion of Implementation with a focus on Emergency Operations and Response Plans. We also will analyze some practice exam questions. As usual, please send any questions you have about the examination or the certification process to me at CEMinfo@iaem.com, and I will address them in future articles.
IAEM Bulletin, December 2016
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