|The "Earthquake" Group with the Cadres and City Mayor Lee.|
By: Bennie A. Recebido
SORSOGON CITY, Oct 21 (PIA) – The Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) Bicol through the Sorsogon Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (SPDRRMO), conducted on Oct. 2-4, 2013 the Basic Incident Command System (ICS) Training Course for member/representatives of the Provincial and City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (DRRMC).
Retired OCD Director of Region 10 Mr. Carmelito Lupo said the rationale behind the Basic Training Course is to organize an Incident Management Team (IMT) in Sorsogon province and in Sorsogon City. “Sorsogon is the first to initiate an ICS Basic Training Course in the Bicol Region for Local DRRMC members, and for this, we commend the SPDRRMO in collaboration with the OCD-5 for laboring hard to make this training realized” he said. Dir. Lupo is a National Cadre (expert) who belongs to the first batch of ICS graduates.
The ICS was institutionalized in 2012 based on Republic Act 10121, National DRRM Council Memorandum Circular No. 4 and Executive Order No. 82.
Three Cadres handled the discussion on the eight modules covering the three-day Basic Training on ICS. Dir. Lupo discussed Module 1 (Introduction to ICS); Module 4 (Organizing and Managing Incidents and Events); and Module 8 (Transfer of Command, Demobilization and Close out). Fire Chief Inspector Pamela Rojane Candido, the City Fire Marshall of Bago City Fire Station in Negros Occidental, Region 6 discussed Module 2 (The ICS Organization and Staffing); Module 5 (Incident/Event Assessment and Management by Objectives); and Module 7 (Incident and Event Planning). While OCD 5 Civil Defense Officer Mr. Exequiel “King” Q. Dumaguin delved on Module 3 (ICS Facilities); and Module 6 (Incident Resources and Resource Management).
Dir. Lupo said that in ICS, the term “incident” refers to disasters, calamities or occurrences, be it big or small. Incident is an occurrence caused by either human or natural phenomena that requires response action. He also stressed on the importance of following the “check-in” procedures for responders and the use of common terminologies in ICS. Check-in provides for the identity of the person(s) who will act as responders in a particular incident.
For a better recall, he underscored three important words in ICS: “On-scene”, “All hazard incidents”, and “adopts integrated organizational structure”.
“Its purpose is to ensure safety of people involved and achieve tactical objectives and efficient use of resources. This is why the objectives to be set must be Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented, Realistic and Time-Bounded (SMART),” Dir. Lupo said.
According to him, ICS is not only used in incidents but can also be used during planned or organized events like festivals. He said incident is unplanned while events are planned activities.
He presented two examples showing an ICS organizational structure during an initial response to an incident structure and how functions and resources as well as divisions/groups are added when incident gets larger or more complex. This explains better the Expanded Operations Section in a particular incident or event. He said the incident can be organized geographically with Divisions; functionally with Groups; and jurisdictionally through Branching.
Cadre Lupo further said that in an Incident Management, the team can decide whether to use a Single Command, Unified Command, Incident Complex and Area Command. He cited the search and rescue/retrieval case of Sec. Jesse Robredo as an example of a Unified Command where all agency heads involved act as an Incident Commander (IC), they only need to have common objective and understanding as to how to manage and employ strategies for the incident.
The training course likewise provided the participants hands-on activities honing further their skills in coming up with a more organized system in responding to an incident by utilizing the ICS Forms 211 (“Check-in to an incident” Form); ICS Forms 201 (Current Organizational Structure Sketch Map; Planning Cycle; and Resource Summary); ICS Form 215 (Operational Planning Worksheet); and ICS 215A (Incident Action Plan Safety and Risk Analysis Form).
According to Cadre Dumaguin, resources in ICS are classified as personnel, equipment, and supplies (PES). “To manage resources in the context of ICS, form 215 must be utilized,” he added.
ICS organizational structure provides for an IC who acts as the over-all team leader, his command staff includes the liaison, information and safety officers. It has also its respective sections composed by the Planning Section Chief who does the plan, arrangement and preparations; Operations Section Chief who identifies the needs; Logistics who orders the resources needed; and the Admin and Finance Section Chief who provides for the budget.
The Local Chief Executives like the President, Governor or Mayor are the Responsible Official. They set policies and direction in order to achieve the incident goals. They can also act as IC but they can delegate their being ICs to authorized official who have an ICS background.
Cadre Dumaguin further said that the main objective of an ICS is to save life; stabilize incident; and preserve the environment, properties and other resources. The role of the ICS is to put order into chaos.
Meanwhile, Cadre Candido said that an IC must consider assessment and safety as well as planning and resource meeting where IC assumes command and establishes Incident Command Post (ICP), immediate incident objectives, strategies and tactics.
As an activated IMT, members should know where the Incident Command Post (ICP) is. Its symbol is a square equally divided by a diagonal line and the lower half is shaded with light blue color. A traffic plan must also be made.
“Planning Section is very vital in the IMT. Whenever there is an incident, the IMT must be activated at once, and plans must immediately be made. Giving of briefing before deployment of persons concerned is very important because all the nitty-gritty will be discussed here like food, emergency needs, resources, among others,” said Cadre Candido.
She also emphasized that an Incident Action Plan (IAP) is necessary. “It is important that the incident is understood and assessed, the incident objectives and strategies are established; and tactical direction is determined. Planning for an incident can be oral or written depending on the size and complexity of the situation,” she further elaborated.
Transfer of Command were also discussed and how to demobilize an incident.
As an assessment of the participant’s learning, a 29-item exam was undertaken followed by a simple ceremony called “graduation” to culminate the 3-day basic training course.
“The 44 graduates will now compose the IMT of Sorsogon province and Sorsogon City and are qualified for the next level of ICS,” said Engr. Raden Dimaano, Sorsogon PDRRMO chief.
Meanwhile, Sorsogon City Mayor Sally A. Lee, in her message gave emphasis on the relevance of time element in DRRM. She said she wanted to accomplish DRRM Response projects which can be replicated by the province and by other municipalities in and outside Sorsogon. The Chief Executive likewise encouraged the “graduates” to support her administration in implementing the DRRM programs especially that Sorsogon is exposed to various types of disasters. (BARecebido, PIA-5/Sorsogon)