Gulf Coast – An inbound Motor Tanker experiences a loss of propulsion, resulting in the Captain’s quick decision to drop anchor outside the entrance to the port. As the ship continues to drift, the anchor is drug over an underwater pipeline, cutting it open. Shortly thereafter, dark oil and heavy odors are reported by the vessel to the local authorities. There is now oil in the water…
Fortunately, this was only a drill, but the scenario could be all too real as recent events reveal. Preparation for such an incident is critical to response efforts to identify, contain, and mitigate damage to the environment, industry, lives, and livelihoods.
Emergency Management Services International (EMSI) recently conducted a suite of incident management courses on the Gulf Coast for an oil and gas client to aid responders in preparation for similar events. In addition to our client, many other stakeholders participated to help develop and reinforce the unity of effort concepts. Critical to real world responses is the cohesion and familiarity with partners during an incident; when an incident occurs is not the time to start finding your friends and allies. Upon completion of the courses, EMSI aided in conducting a multi-day exercise to give students the opportunity to practice their skills in a simulated disaster situation and to better understand the Incident Command System (ICS) as it unfolds during an incident.
The courses focused on ICS position specific training to develop students’ skills and knowledge for their assignment in a response. In total, twelve different courses were taught during the suite for a total of 312 students. Course offerings included:
ICS-342 Documentation Unit Leader
ICS-349 Environmental Unit Leader
ICS-403 Public Information Officer
ICS-430 Operations Section Chief
ICS-440 Planning Section Chief
ICS-450 Logistics Section Chief
ICS-460 Finance and Administration Section Chief
But unlike a normal convening, each course converged at different periods to work alongside other positions in the organization, much like they would during a real world incident, emphasizing communications across the incident organization. The emphasis on interactions between the various roles allowed participants to better understand how to quickly perform their functions in a team environment to mitigate the effects of the incident. By using a realistic scenario during training, including the demands and meetings that go along with it, the training was able to provide students with hands on practical application to further emphasize concepts learned in the classroom. In addition to the core knowledge required for each role, the training focused on the leadership and collaborative responsibilities of these positions, as many will oversee and lead during an incident. Participation in the exercise immediately following training built confidence in the students’ roles and application of ICS concepts learned during the classes.
Many of the course offerings were filled to capacity. Additional demand for several courses required EMSI to expand its class sizes to accommodate additional students. EMSI has now taught our newest course, Environmental Unit Leader, three times and it continues to evolve as our students bring real life experience to the class gained over decades’ of responses, garnering even more interest after each offering. Beyond the course material, the collective knowledge and shared real world experience found in each of these courses was truly amazing.
Through activities like this, EMSI is helping to create a pool of professional incident management personnel who can respond from anywhere and any organization to assist in response efforts and all speak the same language.
EMSI routinely delivers training in “suite” format, offering multiple ICS position courses in a single location at one time. The depth and experience of our highly skilled cadre of instructors affords us the ability to offer over a dozen courses at once. Recognized as a premier ICS provider, EMSI specializes in developing and delivering scenario and activity-driven system, position, and team training. If your organization is interested in training like this, contact EMSI to learn more about our training services and opportunities.