Terrorism is any action taken for the purpose of instilling fear in others and has been around for at least 25 centuries. Famously, a Chinese warrior described it in his famous work, the art of war, stating kill one, frighten ten thousand. While terrorism is unpredictable and, for practical purposes, unpreventable we can fight back with the kind of knowledge one gains from the incident command system training course.
Every government and many large organizations have had a section dedicated to responses to crises for many years, activating it whenever a natural or man-made disaster occurred. This process worked reasonably well, as long as the incident could be handled with the resources of the affected area. Unfortunately, the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah building building demonstrated the approach in place at the time was inadequate.
The explosion at the Federal building caused massive casualties, fire and structural damage on an enormous scale. With media coverage readily available, it quickly became national news, drawing attention from all across the nation. Formally and informally teams of trained professionals converged on the site to render whatever assistance the local jurisdiction needed. What they discovered is there was no way to communicate with locals, delaying or preventing available assistance.
In hindsight it was abundantly clear that there was a problem with how those professionals trained and equipped to help in an emergency worked across geographic and bureaucratic lines. The realization that a regulated structure was needed to handle crises as they occurred. Having unique, disparate structures in each municipality and company made working together harder than is should be.
One of the most important problems that had to be fixed was the inability to communicate between responders. The solution was to dedicate frequencies to police, firefighters and emergency centers across the nation, so that radios in one are were still functional in another. This seemingly simple answer was difficult to implement, as frequency bands are limited and extracting a set for government was not universally welcomed.
The genesis of a national incident management system, was the answer, and it would be implemented across the country in all fields. Not only would national, state and municipal governments abide by the structure, but so would private organizations. It even extended into the Department of Defense, with the National Incident management System replacing the traditional military Battle staffs, Crisis Action teams and other constructs.
The evolution of this concept provides a standardized approach across all disciplines to make cross functional support feasible. It establishes a common language so that local or discipline specific jargon does not confuse workers from different areas and organizations. It also sets up specialized expertise in components that can then be added quickly and seamlessly to the overall response team.
The new system allows the assembly of a team of experts with exactly the right expertise to fit whatever disaster confronts the Nation. It can be expanded, contracted or transformed to handle the unique circumstances of each situation. Having the trained professionals available to run the system at any time anywhere requires leaders in many areas to accomplish the incident command system training course.
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