Training for ETECS members usually falls into one of two general categories of skills & knowledge: Operational & Organizational.
Operational Training: Acquiring Operational Competencies
Learning to communicate effectively using various amateur radio modes is the core of our local training activities. Some of our training methods include:
- Monthly training net
- Ad hoc exercises & technical meetings
- Annual simulated emergency test
- Regional amateur radio exercises
- Participation in served agency exercises
- Publication of policy, practice and procedure documents via the W5ETX Yahoo group.
Organizational Training: Understanding Served Agencies
ETECS served agencies vary in size, complexity & mission and almost all ETECS served agencies have adopted the Incident Command System (ICS). The ICS can serve to mitigate differences of our various customers through the use of a common organizational ethos and methodology during an emergency. Amateur radio serves at the pleasure of our served agencies; we have no legitimate purpose independent of those we serve. Therefore, amateur radio operators should familiarize themselves with and learn to effectively interface with our customers.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency developed a comprehensive national approach to incident management known as the National Incident Management System (NIMS). One of the most important ‘best practices’ that has been incorporated into the NIMS is the Incident Command System (ICS), a standard, on-scene, all-hazards incident management system already in use by firefighters, hazardous materials teams, rescuers and emergency medical teams. The ICS has been established by the NIMS as the standardized incident organizational structure for the management of all incidents. More information on NIMS & ICS can be found here.
ICS is the model tool for command, control, and coordination of a response and provides a means to coordinate the efforts of multiple, independent agencies as they work toward the common goal of stabilizing the incident and protecting life, property, and the environment. ICS uses principles that have been proven to improve efficiency and effectiveness in a business setting and applies the principles to emergency response.
Why do we need to know about ICS? We live in a complex world in which responding to emergencies, from single-car accidents to large-scale disasters, often requires cooperation among several agencies. In an emergency, you and other ETECS members may be called upon to help with the response. Given the current movement toward using an ICS structure for all emergency response, it is likely, therefore, that we will be asked to function in an ICS environment.
Some of the basic concepts/goals of the ICS include:
- Common, plain-English terminology
- A modular organization that can expand or contract as needed
- Unity of command with a unified command structure
- A manageable span of control
- Comprehensive resource management
ETECS urges all members to complete ICS training as follows:
- IS-100.B: Introduction to Incident Command System
- IS-200.B: ICS for Single Resources and Initial Action Incidents
- IS-700.A: National Incident Management System (NIMS) An Introduction
- IS-800.B: National Response Framework, An Introduction
Complete information on FEMA training is available here.