The Incident Command System (ICS) was developed in 1970 after a series of catastrophic fires in the urban interface of California (Cromp, & Suberri, 2011). It is used in all government levels; tribal, local, state and federal as well as both nongovernmental organizations and private organizations. According to Cromp and Suberri, (2011), ICS is defined as a model tool for control command and coordination of the efforts towards stabilizing both emergency and non-emergency situations by protecting life, environment and property. It uses principles that help in improving efficiency and effectiveness of emergency response by integrating procedures, personnel, equipment and communication that ensure efficient incident management (Cromp, & Suberri, 2011). Therefore, ICS has become the standard of managing emergencies such as acts of terrorism, natural disasters and planned events across the United States.
The Benefits of Incident Command System
The primary benefit of ICS is that it is highly applicable. It is usually structured to facilitate activities in five major functional areas, administration, finance, logistics, planning, operations and command (Bennet, 2011). It helps in organizing both shorter and long-term operations, from sophisticated to small incidents, for a broad spectrum of manmade and natural emergencies (Bennet, 2011). ICS helps to ensure the safety of workers, faculty, students, and responders and allows for efficient use of resources. The ICS was also historically developed to address management weaknesses such as poor communication, lack of accountability, lack of integration among responders and lack of planning process (Bennet, 2011).
The ICS can be used gainfully in disaster responses and recovery, for example during multiple wildland fires, medical incidents, earthquakes, planned events, civil disturbance, collapsed buildings and in numerous structured fires (Bennet, 2011). All these incidents compete for similar resources. Incidents which are large and cause damage in a wide area such as tornadoes, wildfires, planned events, and hurricanes have many assigned incident commanders. Through ICS, area command has been used to respond various incidents such as Northridge earthquake, celebration parades, the Los Angeles Democratic Convention, Newcastle Disease, Los Angeles civil disturbances, Exxon Valdez oil spill and many wildland fires (Bennet, 2011).
A Comprehensive Strategy to Address the Upcoming Protest
A protest can take place for some reasons such as immigration legislation, race issues and school shooting anniversaries. As a police chief, I will require preparedness strategies to ensure no one gets injured during the protest.
Step One: Collecting intelligence and essential issues on the upcoming protest.
My department will start to monitor the communication among the protesters to collect intelligence and important issues such as monitoring their communication channels such as Facebook, Myspace, flyers, and the activities of their leaders (Decker, 2011). Once the reason for the protest has been identified, as the chief director of police, I will confirm the accuracy of information from the activist group.
Step Two: Planning Response Efforts.
After determining the schedule of the protest, it is essential to begin response efforts immediately. Therefore, the department of the police will have to plan better.
Step Three: Initiating the mitigation and prevention strategies.
The mitigation and prevention strategies will be essential to diffuse the protest before it occurs. For example, this will happen by giving the protesters an alternative forum for political expression, persuading the protesters not to continue with the protest, and developing an educational component to address the issues of concern (Decker, 2011).
Step Four: Bringing all interested and relevant parties to the planning table.
Initial planning needs to involve convening interested and relevant parties such as the Local emergency management agency, Media, City government, Health departments, Local businesses, Law enforcement and the community to determine how the response efforts will be coordinated (Decker, 2011).
Step Four: Developing a Plan of Action that Outlines the roles of each party involved.
All the parties that convene will have to develop a plan of action, which anticipates when the protest will take place, what will happen during the protest, how it will look like and how it will be responded to.
The police department will work to ensure the protesters are kept safe and allowed to exercise their rite of speech in a way that is respectful. For a successful response, the police will use The Incident Command System (ICS)\ response and onsite response.
The Incident Command System (ICS) Response
The ICS will serve as the central command of improving efficiency and effectiveness of emergency response. The following strategies will occur under ICS.
Bring essential roles under centralised command
The police department, district representative and incident commander will carry out the following activities: logistics, public information, finance and department and planning and intelligence (Decker, 2011). They will estimate the number of protesters and the effective measures they are needed to take.
Monitoring and communicating Intelligence from the field.
The information collected regarding the number of protesters and their marching route is communicated to the director of police, district administrators and interested parties. This will ensure that the information about the event is accurate (Decker, 2011).
Serving as the primary response locale during the protest, from start to finish.
The police department, district representative and incident commander will remain operational even after the protest to ensure that all protesters are accounted for and plan in place in case of another protest the following day.
Designating specific personnel and roles to protect protesters during the event
This process will help keep the situation orderly and safe. Using operations coordinators, the status of the situation will be monitored in an attempt to try to improve the situation.
Ensuring safety of protesters
The safety of protester has to be guaranteed by ensuring all on-site personnel have necessary safety equipment such as emergency packs/supplies, communication devices and access to necessary support (Boersma, Comfort, Groenendaal, & Wolbers, 2014).
Looking for opportunities to diffuse the Protest
The operation coordinators will try to find out the leaders of the demonstrations and try to talk to them, build rapport and come to a common understanding. This can help in convincing the protesters to stop the demonstration since their issues will be effectively addressed and solved (Boersma, Comfort, Groenendaal, & Wolbers, 2014).
After the demonstrations, the personnel and staff who were part of the planning process will ensure that everyone return to their homes. These personnel and staff will also debrief the police chief to look at strategies for improving the management of such protest. The recovery process will, therefore, become a lesson learned and translate to ways of mitigating and preventing such events in the future.
Bennet, B. (2011). Effective emergency management: A closer look at the incident command system. Professional Safety, 56(11), 28-37.
Boersma, K., Comfort, L., Groenendaal, J., & Wolbers, J. (2014). Incident command systems: A dynamic tension among goals, rules and practice. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 22(1), 1-4.
Cromp, R. F., & Suberri, G. (2011). U.S. Patent No. 7,996,465. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Decker, R. (2011). Acceptance and utilisation of the Incident Command System in first response and allied disciplines: an Ohio study. Journal of business continuity & emergency planning, 5(3), 224-230.
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