Defining Critical Incident Management
Some examples of different incidents where coordination of resources was necessary to include:
- Coordination of resources necessary to help a person in need during a natural disaster.
A prime example of this was hurricane Sam, which damaged property for up to $32.8 billion (FL, 2021). It caused over 194 deaths in its course. It required the fire department and police department to pool resources with FEMA, the Red Cross, and a range of other humanitarian causes to ensure that everyone had a safe place to stay during the hurricanes (PresidentOfYes12, 2021).
Furthermore, they also had to coordinate with civilian groups to count and manage people better, allowing for a more detailed overview of the number of people that needed help. This also allowed for better relocation to settlements and back to their homes once the hurricane was over.
- Coordination of resources needed to help coordinate the response (e.g., first responders and heavy rescue teams) for a terrorist event.
An example of such coordination includes the Boston bombings in 2013. The incident required a range of resources from the fire department, police department, federal agencies and state agencies to respond together to minimize the casualties, provide medical aid on-site, and transport those who needed it safely. (Agencies, 2014)
Furthermore, coordination was also necessary to ensure that any suspects were apprehended quickly and efficiently so that they could not harm anyone else. The police department, FBI, CIA, and news agencies all came together to apprehend the suspect here.
- Coordination of resources needed to prepare for an impending transportation accident.
The Midland train crash of 2012 was a major transportation accident where the coordinated response became necessary. It included emergency services, local and federal government agencies, NGOs and different vendors who provided support for all technical problems faced during rescue and recovery. The idea was to coordinate efforts to address the accident as quickly as possible by first removing people in the rubble and then the rubble, hence ensuring seamless train operations. (Board, 2013)
The type and level of an incident is a crucial factor that plays a role in determining how it should be reported. In the case of a critical incident, for instance, the type level on its own is considered to be one of the most important factors to consider. If the incident is at a lower triage level (Type 1), then it needs to be reported to the appropriate authority immediately and will involve less agencies working together.
If it is at a higher triage level (Type 2), then the incident should be escalated to a higher-level response team for further investigation, and will involve more agencies needing to work together. The type level also plays an important role in determining what resources are needed to respond to an incident. In cases where multiple organizations are affected by an incident, each organization will need to determine which resources are necessary and how they can best contribute.
Here is an overview of the type levels of incidents:
⮚ Type 1: An incident is a problem that occurs in one specific area. For example, this may be a problem with a computer or phone system.
⮚ Type 2: An incident may not be limited to one area, but it can still be dealt with by only one team. For example, a fire in a warehouse could only be handled by the warehouse staff.
⮚ Type 3: An incident can affect multiple areas and/or teams, such as when there is an emergency at the train station.
⮚ Type 4: An incident can have effects beyond the immediate area and time frame. For example, if there happens to be a flood in the city, all businesses will suffer some sort of impact, regardless of their location.
⮚ Type 5: An incident can also have an impact beyond the current time and place. For example, if there is an outbreak of disease in a country (or countries, such as COVID-19), this could cause an international situation that could last for years.
This shows that the higher the triage level is, the more likely it is that an incident will require coordination between different sources.
Governing Documents and Authority
NIMS (National Incident Management System) is a comprehensive, nationwide system for managing domestic incidents. It was developed in 2004 by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as part of the National Response Plan and the Homeland Security Presidential Directive 5. NIMS provides organizations with a consistent approach for responding to all-hazards incidents of any size.
The system is designed to enable organizations and individuals at all levels of government, private sector, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to work together more effectively by creating a common set of tools, processes, protocols, guidelines, and language for incident management. NIMS also helps ensure that resources are used efficiently during emergencies and crises, and that the appropriate personnel are available to respond quickly when an incident occurs.
NIMS is intended to be flexible enough to be used for any type of hazard, allowing organizations to develop their own plans that incorporate best practices and strategies based on the specific types of incidents they may encounter.
The system also includes components such as training and exercise plans, mutual aid agreements, resource management protocols, and risk assessment tools to help organizations better prepare for emergencies. By creating a common framework for incident response, NIMS is intended to improve the nation's ability to effectively respond to any type of disaster.
Hence, by working together using the NIMS system, government officials, private sector businesses, and NGOs can more effectively coordinate and collaborate during an incident. This in turn helps ensure that response efforts are conducted in a safe and efficient manner, leading to better outcomes for all involved.
NIMS is continually being updated and improved, as new strategies and technologies become available. It is designed to be used for any type of incident; from small localized emergencies to large-scale disasters. It can be used for both natural and man-made incidents, such as:
· Chemical Spills,
· Industrial Accidents,
· Technological Emergencies,
· Power Outages,
· Terrorist Attacks, or
NIMS also provides guidance on how to respond to an incident, outlining specific roles and responsibilities for Federal, State, local, Tribal, and private sector organizations. Additionally, NIMS can be used to coordinate the resources necessary to
Critical Incident Management Agencies
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, is an agency of the United States federal government that is responsible for providing emergency management and support during natural disasters and other emergencies. The FEMA director reports to the Secretary of Homeland Security and works with state, local, tribal, and territorial governments to coordinate preparedness activities.
FEMA also provides resources for those affected and to the different agencies involved to help manage responses to disasters, including floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, drought conditions, and other major events. These efforts and tools provided by them are essential tools necessary for disaster relief operations. They can make a huge difference in a timely response in order to protect people from harm caused by natural disasters.
FEMA also works to build stronger, more resilient communities by providing financial resources and technical assistance for hazard mitigation projects. They aim to reduce the impacts of disasters in order to help communities prepare, respond, and recover from them.
Overall, FEMA is an essential agency that provides vital disaster relief services and tools necessary for successful relief operations. Their work helps ensure that people affected by disasters can find needed aid as quickly as possible.
FEMA coordinates with state and local agencies to ensure a coordinated response to disasters. This includes providing resources, ensuring coordination, reporting to other organizations about the requirements on-site, and any hurdles present for quick response operations. In addition, FEMA works closely with state and local governments to develop plans for responding to disaster events and manage the recovery process.
FEMA also provides technical assistance by coordinating with state and local governments as well as private organizations in order to develop hazard mitigation projects that can reduce the impacts of future disasters. This includes helping communities plan for potential flooding or other disasters before they occur so that they are better prepared when one does happen.
Finally, FEMA works with governors, mayors, emergency managers, and other officials at the state and local levels in order to provide timely relief aid during disasters. This includes providing food and shelter not only to people but also animals when and where necessary.
In essence, FEMA works closely with a large number of organizations to ensure a coordinated response during disasters. They provide the necessary resources for better operations on-field and better management by all governing bodies. It also bridges the gap between different organizations by doing so and gives everyone a unified purpose to fulfill.
By working together, FEMA and local governments are able to better prepare for disasters, respond quicker when they occur, and ensure that people affected by natural disasters have the aid they need for better safety and management of human lives.
In addition to responding to major weather events, FEMA also responds to a variety of other incidents. These include but are not limited to the following:
• Hazardous material spills,
• Terrorist attacks,
• Oil and gas pipeline-related emergencies, and
• Public health outbreaks.
FEMA also provides critical services such as medical assistance and prevention tools for emergency response operations. This helps ensure that people affected by disasters can find needed aid for recovery as quickly as possible in order to protect them from any harm caused by natural disasters.
When seen from a broad perspective, FEMA works to respond to a variety of incidents, including major weather events and other emergencies. They provide resources such as coordination between different agencies and shelters necessary for quick response operations in order to protect people from harm caused by natural disasters.
Through their coordinated efforts with state and local governments, they are able to help build stronger and more resilient communities while ensuring that those affected get the timely aid they need when disaster strikes.
Preparedness, Prevention, Response and Recovery
The five phases of critical incident management are prevention, preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation.
1. Prevention is the first and most crucial phase – it's important to identify potential risks and hazards before they become a problem.
2. Preparedness is key in the response phase – make sure the team has a plan in place for when an emergency does occur.
3. The response phase is when the action happens – the team will need to be quick and decisive to minimize damage.
4. Recovery is the process of returning to normal after a crisis has passed.
5. Mitigation reduces the impact of future emergencies by learning from past mistakes.
For example, after a natural disaster, the focus will be on recovering quickly and safely. To do this, the managers will need to make sure their team has been trained in the proper protocols for responding to an emergency. The mitigation phase is all about finding ways to reduce the risk of future crises and applying lessons learned from past events.
When it comes to critical incident management, it's important to plan ahead and stay informed of any potential risks. By following these five phases, any team or manager can ensure that the organization is prepared for an emergency.
All of these phases combine to create an effective critical incident management strategy that will help protect an organization and its people. From prevention to mitigation, each phase plays an important role in helping a team or manager identify potential risks and respond quickly and effectively when a crisis occurs.
I feel that the prevention phase is the most important. This is because identifying and mitigating risks before they become a problem will save time and resources in the long run. By implementing preventative measures, a team can be proactive and take steps to reduce the likelihood of a crisis occurring in the first place. This will also give a manager or their team more time to focus on other aspects of critical incident management, such as training, emergency response plans, and mitigation strategies. Additionally, having preventative measures in place will help ensure that any future crises are managed quickly and efficiently.
In theory and practical life, countless instances showcase that the key to successful critical incident management is preparation. Managers, executives, and the organization as a whole must have a plan in place for when an emergency does occur, and stays up-to-date on any potential risks or hazards so that it can respond swiftly. A team can be prepared for any situation with the right strategy for each of the five phases.
Other phases of critical incident management are also crucial, but they would fall short with proper prevention and preparation. For instance, a swift response is meaningless if a team has a plan in place and an awareness of potential risks. Likewise, recovery would be difficult if the team was unprepared for the emergency and couldn’t act quickly. This further emphasizes why I believe prevention is the most important phase – because it starts the process of being prepared for any eventuality.
Ultimately, all five phases are essential to successful critical incident management. As a manager or executive, it's important not just to consider one phase but to ensure that an organization has plans and protocols in place for each step. With careful planning and preparation, the team will be ready for anything.