Use of Incident Command System in disaster response underway
ILOILO CITY, Aug 3 (PIA) -- The use of the Incident Command System (ICS) in the Philippines as a tool for on-scene disaster response and management in consonance with the countryâ€™s disaster risk reduction and management law is underway.
The use of the ICS mechanism is also within the framework of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-United States (ASEAN-US) Cooperation on Disaster Management Program which was adopted during the first ASEAN Committee on Disaster Management Meeting (ACDM) in Brunei in 2003.
As the country adopts the ICS system, SSupt. Joseph B. Bacareza, head of the Health and Emergency Management Division (HEMD) of the Bureau of Fire Protection and member of the ICS National Cadre, said at the ongoing ICS Basic/Intermediate Training Course here that trainings have already been held for the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, some Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils as well as the national offices of some national government agencies.
These agencies include the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Department of Tourism (DOT) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Bacareza, who is the lead trainor in the course, said trainings have also started at the level of local government units (LGUs) with the cities of Olongapo and Bacolod and the town of Surallah, South Cotabato as pilot areas. Similar trainings will also be held for other LGUs, added Bacareza, who is a medical doctor by profession.
ICS is a standard, on-scene, all-hazard incident management concept that can be used by all disaster risk reduction and management councils or emergency management and response agencies and can be used for routine incidents as well as major disasters such as typhoons, floods, disease outbreaks, hostage-taking, and even planned events such as fiestas and concerts.
Activated at first response, ICS allows users to adopt an integrated organizational structure to match the complexities and demands of single or multiple incidents without being hindered by agency or jurisdictional boundaries.
In her message at the opening of the three-day training from August 2 to 4, Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Regional Director and RDRRMC chairperson Rosario T. Cabrera said ICS could also address some persistent issues and problems arising at on-scene level such as who is in-charge, especially when the incident involves multi-agency participation and multi-jurisdictional, too many responders, too many people reporting to one supervisor, unclear lines of authority, no check-in procedures for responders, and unclear incident objectives.
Cabrera said the on-scene disaster management tool has proven to be an effective disaster response mechanism at the scene level and has been used by the United States and adopted by a number of countries.
Members of the RDRRMC Committee on Disaster Response participated at the training at Amigo Terrage Hotel. The training was designed to enhance the understanding of participants of ICS as a disaster response tool and the role of the system within the broader framework of the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management System.
The NDRRMC chaired by defense secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin has issued a memorandum circular earlier this year on the implementing guidelines on the use of ICS in disaster response and management in the country. (JCM/JSC-PIA6)
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