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Great Lakes Technical Rescue

Sound Off


Incident Command System

Posted on November 29, 2013 at 5:31 PM Comments comments (6063)
The Incident Command System (ICS) has been around for many years yet we still struggle with it's implementation. There is an ICS component to nearly every technical rescue class offered. We too discuss ICS during our classes. Why is this? It is because ICS is so important to the safe, efficient, and effective execution of rescue operations regardless of discipline. We need more people to take up the torch of ICS. This is a discussion that must continue to be pushed locally and nationally by all jurisdictions within the emergency services.
I have had the pleasure of working for fire departments in California, Illinois,and now Wisconsin. The single biggest obstacle to ICS implementation was jurisdictional pride. I heard things like "we already do (this) well...we don't need to change" or "that is for large fire departments". Neither is reasonable or logical. I believe it was Warren Buffett who said "if you are doing things the same way you did them ten years ago, you are doing them wrong". ICS can be used on something as simple as planning a child's birthday to a large scale natural disaster or terrorist incident.

The best things to happen within the realm of ICS and emergency response are the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS) and Shared Services. Due to budgetary/political pressure public safety departments, jurisdictions, and municipalities are now forced to look outside for help/assistance. As we further develop these relationships, ICS will become even more critical to interoperability, safety, and efficiency. It is a positive born from a negative; as budgets get smaller and smaller, ICS can allow for the virtually seamless transition from a group of individuals to a highly functioning response team. All the pieces are there. The directions are clear. If we allow pride, tradition, or ignorance to dominate our decision making, then we will continue to experience the same frustrations. If you always do what you have always done, you will get what you have always gotten.