3 comments on “ESF, EOC, ICP alphabet soup

  1. And don’t even get me started on the public information coordination between feds and locals. My local EA Officer said in an exercise that locals would not be welcome in the federal/state JIC and would not have access to the NICCL or SICCL.

    Thanks for bringing this up again, Chief. Gotta keep pounding on it.

    -Jim

  2. The introduction of ICS in EOCs was a knee-jerk reaction that should have been thought out a bit better. Some of the conceptual advantages of ICS, such as unity of command, limited span of control, and scalability, should have been better tailored to unique emergency management purposes rather than simply foisted on emergency managers as a wholesale requirement. I think most EMs will recognize that ICS is not a perfect fit, but they maintain an ICS facade to remain eligible for grant funding. I oversimplify a bit, but not much.

    An even larger concern, I think, is keeping non-EM and non-responder folks trained to do something in disasters they’re not used to doing in peace time. In my opinion this is a huge barrier to operational readiness in an EOC or ECC and an impediment to effective local governmental response and recovery.

    Instead, I think that we should flip the switch and instead of adding “extra” disaster duties to government staff we should make it part and parcel of their normal jobs to be prepared to respond and carry out their assigned duties in “emergency mode” during disasters. It seems like a subtle difference, but not really. The current practice is often to fit square staff pegs into round emergency holes. What I’m thinking is more along the lines of giving ownership of emergency response activities to the staff who have to implement them. This gives everyone in government a real role in emergency management and avoids the perception that disasters constitute a separate, often foreign set of duties that are almost never trained or exercised except in the most diligent of communities.

    This also means retaining familiar lines of authority in the EOC. Again, there’s no reason why we can’t apply some of the beneficial concepts of ICS to existing government org charts. It’s not a perfect idea, and I’m working on refinements to it. But I still maintain that the insistence on a separate org structure with seemingly different duties during disasters causes more stress than is necessary to (non-responder) public employees and ultimately prevents us from maximizing our capabilities to mount effective response and recovery efforts.

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