Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Some Thoughts About ICS, USNG and SAR - From a Florida Firefighter

I recently received an email about a SAR effort in Florida. I believe the writer's comments stand on their own:
The last few years all of us have been advocates for a couple things; the Incident Command System as well as the US National Grid. So I wanted to share.
On or around May 18th an elderly gentleman with medical problems including Alzheimer’s wandered away from his residence here in Jacksonville Florida.
Law enforcement proceeded to conduct neighborhood searches over the next couple days with no luck.
On or around May 20th it was decided to use the Incident Command System and involve more agencies than just Law Enforcement to not only search but support the entire operation.
Jacksonville Fire Rescue including emergency management and USAR Florida Task Force 5 members were organized under the Incident Command System along with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and the search area was gridded out using the US National Grid.
USAR search teams located the missing person alive but disoriented on May 21st in a wooded area a couple miles from his home.
Today I had a chance to meet with members of the team that actually located this gentleman and I posed this question to them:
Did the well trained search team members save this gentleman’s life or did the process? The process which of course included a JSO led Multi-Agency Incident Management team; which put a system in place to support, manage and organize the search using ICS principles and a common operational grid... that not only USAR team members but GIS professionals in the Sheriff’s Office as well as some of their supervisory staff had been trained in.
Their answer was both deserve the credit, well trained searchers, fully supported by an Incident Management Team using a common operational grid saved this man’s life.
Often as Instructors, mentors, advocates, planners etc., we lose sight of how important what we do is.

This should again demonstrate that having a plan, training on that plan and then exercising that plan puts all the pieces together when necessary. It is also an opportunity to remind folks that Incident Management Teams are not just for “MAJOR” incidents and the process works for any type of incident and event.
So whether you are a Director at FEMA, a US National Grid Advocate, an Instructor, an ICS disciple or a person that writes, evaluates or exercises emergency plans...each of us hold an important piece of the overall puzzle.
So … “Head down; horns forward”
Thank you for all that each of you do on a daily basis,
Captain Bruce A. Scott, RPM FPEM
Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department
Emergency Preparedness Division

Comment: Got ICS? Then the next thing you need to ask is: Got Grid?

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