Proceedings Of The Marine

SPR 2015

Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.

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72 Proceedings Spring 2015 www.uscg.mil/proceedings There we were … trying to manage the complexities of a multi-agency, nationally signifcant response effort — using our own Coast Guard-centric approach to organization and operational execution. To those of you with enough gray hair, this may sound familiar, since during the 1980s and 90s, there were several major incident responses that ft that description. What we learned from these responses was that our approach needed help in several key areas. We needed: • a more seamless multi-agency integration model; • a way to better coordinate operational planning and tactical execution; • a system to better manage and synchronize all incident resources; • a common understanding of the incident situation; • a consistent and repeatable approach that all partici- pants understood, no matter their affliation. For many of you, the answer seems obvious — the Incident Command System! Not so fast. Remember, the Incident Command System or ICS, was only created in the mid-1970s, primarily to manage large-scale land fre response. When a Fire Isn't Just a Fire But, fortunately, Coast Guard personnel realized that, although managing wild land fres was pretty far removed from typical Coast Guard mission areas, the processes used had many similarities to the responses the Coast Guard often faced. For example: • there were multiple agencies involved; • they needed coordinated operational planning and tac- tical response management; • they had to manage the status and activities of hundreds to thousands of resources from all over the country; • they had to manage information in a coordinated way; • they needed a consistent, repeatable system. Coast Guard members, including National Strike Force (NSF) personnel, started a "grassroots" effort to use the ICS in the early 1990s, and the seed was planted. ICS Takes Root In 1991, Coast Guard Marine Safety Office (MSO) Puget Sound managed a collision case involving a fshing vessel and a container vessel using the ICS, and the NSF assisted them the following year using the ICS in other responses. MSO Detroit used the Incident Command System for a major pollution response exercise between the United States and Canada on the Detroit and St. Clair river system in Michi- gan. This ICS experience proved invaluable, as MSO Detroit soon after that needed to deal with a tank ship loaded with gasoline that caught fre in Bay City, Michigan. 1 The Coast Guard Takes the Lead Like an incoming tide, Incident Command System use within the Coast Guard throughout the 1990s touched every corner of the service. Responders recognized the value of the system in bringing order to chaos right from the outset of an incident. It became a matter of routine at some Coast Guard units, even for small-scale responses. As time went on, ICS use increased within the Coast Guard. Since the National Strike Force had a higher level of ICS knowledge and experience, Coast Guard leaders created an NSF cadre of ICS instructors to teach ICS-200 and ICS- 300 courses throughout the U.S. Moreover, Coast Guard The Incident Command System A historical perspective. by MS. KriSty l. Plourde Incident Command System Training Coordinator U.S. Coast Guard Mr. ron cAntin President Emergency Management Services International Inc. Incident Management

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