In the post 9/11 era, ICS has truly taken off. Of course we all know the Incident Command System’s roots are from the fire service in the 1970’s. Today the training effort encompasses more than 20 disciplines in 3000+ counties, boroughs and parishes, numerous companies and industries and has crept across national boundaries and crosses all oceans.
Recently, in an article titled Capitol Police Admit Incident Command System Failed written by Eric Holdeman of the Disaster Zone Podcast, Mr. Holdeman stated “...that there was an operations center of sorts, but they did not have good situational awareness and the entire system just fell apart into chaos.” The lessons taken away from the storming of the Capitol go hand in hand with the necessity of The Blue Cell’s new ICS Complete Refresher Course.
In the grand scheme of things, being able to rattle off the 100, 200, 300, 400, 700, 800 as a verbal badge of honor is now commonplace in Incident Command Posts, training rooms and on exercises. Institutionalization of ICS, although previously a requirement of NIMS, on the other hand has been somewhat more difficult. The powers that be nationally and in many states have come to the conclusion that if you took ICS 300 five years ago, it is recommended that you retake the 3 day course again. We here at The Blue Cell do not believe that to be true!
Consider the following:
- A small number of the folks are actually required to take ICS and further, even fewer actually need to go through ICS 300 level
- An even smaller number of folks need ICS 400
- A small percentage of those who are ICS trained, at any level, don’t actually apply the concepts or are applying the concepts incorrectly - Don’t believe it? Take a hard look at the COVID response!
An annual refresher (not a ginned up exercise to look good in front of officials) makes more sense. The folks over in the world of the National Wildfire Coordinating Group figured this concept out some time ago with regard to basic firefighting skills. Police departments worldwide have basic skills that have to be re-visited once a year. Those in the Emergency Medical Service, public health, and hospitals have a series of ongoing and continuing education requirements as well.
So why not an ICS Refresher? We have created a course that is concise with basic ICS features review, current day threats, new case study, and exercise engagement.
COVID has given us a lot of things….stress, job loss, economic collapse, increased divorce rate… oh and wait, virtual capability which includes convenience and safety while learning!
If we are ever going to get better, we need to think beyond our nose and the grant requirement. The tail wagging the dog is how we have ended up where we are today. A lot of folks have taken ICS training. Many agencies are quick to say, “We are NIMs Compliant!” but in the end, having an opportunity to refresh, based on our own volition and judgement is much more powerful than rattling off numbers when prompted while knowing in our hearts we have so much more to learn and understand.
Todd Manns, Founder and Managing Partner at The Blue Cell. Todd has worked on a variety of specialized projects over the course of a varied and diverse career. Recognized for having a “can do attitude” which is the result of strong personal beliefs and values with regard to leadership, mission orientation, and accomplishment. Todd began his career began in the United States Marine Corps Select Reserves. He served as a Police Officer / SWAT Team member and law enforcement sniper, as an interim Chief of Police, and seven years as an Emergency Manager for a Fire Protection District. Formally qualified as a type III planning section chief with incident management team experience and over 25 all hazard deployments to both Incident Command Posts and Emergency Operations Center locations (local and state level). Todd, his wife, their married adult children and 5 grandchildren live in Colorado.
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