[NEWS] RP to use new emergency response system

(Note: From the MindaNews news service. Not yet available as of posting time at http://www.mindanews.com. Here is one for the National Disaster-Consciousness Month this July.)

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 30 June) — Disaster coordinating councils will
institutionalize the use of “incident command system” (ICS) around the country to make emergency responses more organized and effective, the chief of the Southern Mindanao regional Office of the Civil Defense said.

OCD Regional Director, Carmelito A. Lupo told MindaNews Friday that the OCD will coordinate with Regional Disaster Coordinating Councils to train representatives from their provincial and city level counterparts “to mainstream ICS from the regional to the barangay level”.

The OCD and its support government agencies briefed representatives of News organizations here to commemorate also the Disaster Consciousness Month.

According to an Internet posting, the ICS is a management system first used in the United States to organize emergency response. It was designed to offer “a scalable response to incidents of any magnitude”. It was developed inthe 1970s, when California was battling significant wildfires.

Emergency managers learned that the existing management structures-frequently unique to each agency – did not scale to dealing with massive mutual aid responses involving dozens of distinct agencies,” the Internet webpage stated.

ICS was developed by various agencies to “provide a consistent,Integrated framework for the management of large, multi-agency emergencies”.

Lupo said the guiding point to the ICS is the emergence of an “incident commander” who will be the point person for the specific emergency situation.

The point person, Lupo said, will manage the actions to be taken and shall coordinate the efforts done by all agencies involved in responding to the emergency situation.

At present, Lupo said, efforts are often uncoordinated, “thus the emergency response is not smoothly carried out.

In this way, we will carry the command center from the head office to the field where emergency responses are carried out, he said.

But Lupo said the ICS, already used by some emergency response groups like Davao City’s 911, is nothing new. “We just have to enhance the system and make it work,” he said. He said they will mainstream the system in partnership with the local government units, with OCD providing technical support.

The OCD executive said the ICS will make emergency response management more organized and effective in the Philippines. Lupo, who is also the executive officer of the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (RDCC), said six Filipino directors of OCD went to Vietnam this year to attend an ICS training organized by a disaster-preparedness unit in the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean). He joined the OCD regional directors in an echo training conducted by the group.

He said the initial plan was to start training representatives from the provincial and city coordinating councils, at least in Region 11, in July. But plans may proceed only in August due to changes made in the training module, which shall be given to representatives from the local police, fire bureau, health office and from the mayor’s and the governor’s office.

The ICS was also among the emergency response measures recommended by the task force investigating the February 2006 Ultra stampede that killed 74 people. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)

About mindanaw

A Journalist from Mindanao

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