Monday, November 2, 2009

EPA Includes ICS Training as part of punishment in San Francisco

The San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency is being fined by the EPA for spilling 940 barrels of diesel oil into a stream that flowed into San Francisco Bay. That's 40,000 gallons. What is interesting is that in addition to the $250,000 fine (seems like might be a different level of fines for government agencies spilling fuel than private companies) is that the EPA is requiring SF Muni to get ICS training. This will "improve coordination and communication during future incidents of this nature."

In talking with some hospitals recently I am quite surprised that NIMS and ICS are not more widely adopted in this sector. In fact, outside of a some major response agencies such as Emergency Management agencies, the US Coast Guard, etc., widespread understanding, training and adoption are very mixed. I'm also finding that there are continuing problems in a variety of agencies with understanding some of the core concepts of NIMS--a primary one being Command authority and responsibility. Things just don't go very well when there is a lot of freelancing or when members of the JIC or response pick and choose when to respect the Command role and when not to.

Overall I would say that establishing the National Incident Management System and accomplishing the training levels, adoption and use that we now have vs. five years ago is a major accomplishment for DHS. But, there is still is a long ways to go and I would encourage communicators and emergency managers alike to strongly encourage private organizations, non-profits, and all government agencies such as SF Muni, to get on board as soon as possible.

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