Today’s blog continues our series on emergency response planning. We will address the 5 key tasks that Incident Command System (ICS) Sections Chiefs need to address once they receive notice that the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will be activated. This checklist is a handy review for city governments, but it is also a useful tool for colleges and universities. In 2013 the federal government recommends that institutes of higher education follow the National Institute of Management (NIMS) and ICS in their Clery required emergency operations plans. Any administrators, emergency response planners and chiefs of police will find this a helpful starting point in considering how to apply the ICS structure to their school.
1) Evaluate available information: assess all incoming information, determine if the information you are receiving is accurate, and take action based on the best information available.
2) Gather your team: team members need to work together in the EOC, working in the same location is vital to clear communication and decision making. Also determine which of your resources will be required and if outside help is necessary.
3) Determine greatest threat/need and develop an operational plan.
4) Develop a response plan: the initial plan should be simple; in successive Operational Periods (OP’s).
5) Set the OP: having a schedule allows the ICS chiefs to determine the criticality of their tasks towards meeting the plan and prevents drifting through unfocused solutions.
Throughout the incident the manager must provide two things to the section chiefs and any administrative structure (such as city council or college presidents and board of directors): updated information and the operational plan.
In the context of a college or university possible options for EOC Managers might include: Provost, Chief of Police, Head of Security.
1) Track expenses, make purchases, ensure financial resources are available. Oversee administrative functions
2) Work with logistics to track ongoing purchases. Be in contact with operations, especially if any employees become sick or injured.
3) Account for every penny spent and every personnel hour worked in exacting detail and a clear format. After the disaster is over and the EOC close, the Finance and Admin Section Chief is responsible for disaster reimbursement.
4) Brief the Manager as you coordinate with logistics and operations on expected needs and current expenditures.
5) By the end of the OP: be prepared to report to the team on expenditures, injuries and illnesses.
Press Information Officer
1) Begin gathering information immediately. Activation of the EOC is your order to action.
2) Determine what information systems are available: agency website? Am radio station? All the various systems for communication should be assessed. Prepare to be creative if standard forms of communication are unavailable to stake holders and residents.
3) Begin preparing information products. You know a press release will be needed, so begin preparing one. Have options ready for the City Manager and leadership to use. Be prepared to modify or edit them as contingencies change.
4) Communicate with the ICS Section Chiefs, PIO’s of other responding agencies, and be available to the City Manager at all times.
5) By the end of the OP: have completed initial communication to the public, be prepared to assist agency leadership, and be looking ahead at possible needs so that your response time to requests is quick and accurate.
1) Oversee all activities and personnel directly involved with the disaster response: oversee, coordinate, and manage field operations.
2) Communicate with the following: other section chiefs, outside agencies operating within your boundaries, surrounding cities or agencies and the City Manager.
3) Make sure agency leadership and all ICS Section Chiefs have a clear understanding of what is going on in the field and what type of support you may need.
4) Ensure the decisions of agency leadership are translated into action and manage and coordinate those efforts with all responders.
5) By the end of the OP: be prepared to explain current status of field operations and make recommendations and projections for the coming OP.
1) Ensure the resources needed to support response and recovery operations are available when needed.
2) Receive information from Operations and Planning Section Chiefs establishing their needs
3) Communicate needs of Operations and Planning Sections Chiefs to the Finance/Admin team. Keep Finance/Admin team apprised of expenditures and resources used.
4) Work with Planning Team to create contingencies and options
5) By the end of the OP: be able to provide a realistic estimate of when the resources will become available.
Planning Section Chief
1) Oversee the preparation of plans that are needed or may become needed
2) Work with the Operations Chief: learn the current state of operations, determine what plans are needed now, and gather information needed to develop future plans.
3) Communicate with the Logistics Chief to determine resources required to support the plan
4) Communicate to all sections chiefs what your plans are designed to do and how the needed resources will support them.
5) By the end of the OP: have plans ready that will be needed during the following OP.
We hope that this breakdown of the 5 key roles of each EOC Section Chief is helpful! Please contact with questions. Happy planning!!