Category Archives: Incident Command Systems

Time to Get Engaged

If you’ve read my previous post, you know I’ve been thinking a lot about how I am going to engage my non-emergency minded colleagues and volunteers.  I’m always thinking about that because I know that if I can get everyone involved, resiliency skyrockets!

 

Engage!  Colleagues, that is.

This past week, I participated in facilitating a disaster behavioral health seminar and something occurred to me…they totally nailed the engagement concept!

It seems we spend a lot of time encouraging folks to take Incident Command System (ICS) courses, learn our FEMA ways, and give our jargon a special place in their hearts.  Now, I absolutely believe this is a necessity for responding to disaster.  Especially when we’re asking folks to become acclimated to a field they know nothing of and connect with on a basis of once to never.  It might seem foreign, but ICS is where it all starts!

There’s just one thing we forget to do sometimes.  To teach people where they fit in, why they fit there, and how to fulfill their specific role.

Does this go here?

At the seminar last week, they didn’t get lost in the weeds of leadership.  And what I mean is this – ICS tells us how to lead, what the overarching structure is and a broad overview of the ins and outs of organizing emergency response.  We have to know this, but we need to know more.  We need each block of that organizational chart to function independently and completely to make each branch, section and dotted line as efficient as possible.

Our speakers and our participants acknowledged the inner workings of ICS, but then did something wonderful with the information.  They recognized where they fall in the system and how they can fulfill the role they’d be given.  They focused on how to be consistent, work together, and make their branch of incident response as efficient, effective and generally as rad as possible.  Yeah, I said it.

It’s safe to say that most of our colleagues and volunteer members won’t have to lead during an emergency, so we have to meet people where they’re at when it comes to emergency information.

If I don’t make ICS applicable, if I don’t go that one step further and say, “You are here, and this is how you make your role successful so that others may be successful,” I am failing those I am asking to serve, and I’m failing those they will support.  And I really, really hate to fail.

You know how I feel, Twitter fail whale.

Not bringing the information to where people are at and giving them a reason to care and a way to be successful leaves us talking to an empty room.  And I don’t think that’s just in emergency management.

Tanya

For more information:

If you haven’t completed and Incident Command Systems courses, visit FEMA’s Independent Study website, and start with ICS 100 (b, most likely, but there are equivalents tailored to certain types of organizations).  Then give IS 700.a a go for an introduction to the National Incident Management System.  These are the basics to get you started!  If you love that, explore what other ICS courses FEMA has to offer, and in the meantime, locate your agency or local emergency manager and find out what your role might be and how to get ready for it.

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