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2009 NASAR CONFERENCE May 29, 2009 Little Rock, Arkansas “Regardless of What You’ve Heard, NIMS is Not a Four Letter Word” - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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2009 NASAR CONFERENCE May 29, 2009 Little Rock, Arkansas “Regardless of What You’ve Heard, NIMS is Not a Four Letter Word”. or “The 5 Minute ICS Class”. By: Fred Mullen Franklin County OEM SAR. Produced by: Melissa Francis. Objectives.

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2009 NASAR CONFERENCE May 29, 2009 Little Rock, Arkansas “Regardless of What You’ve Heard, NIMS is Not a Four Letter Word”

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2009 NASAR CONFERENCEMay 29, 2009Little Rock, Arkansas“Regardless of What You’ve Heard, NIMS is Not a Four Letter Word”


“The 5 Minute ICS Class”

By: Fred Mullen

Franklin County OEM SAR

Produced by: Melissa Francis


  • Explore distinction between/among Political, Agency, Incident Command Structures

  • Discuss difficulties in teaching and learning

  • Examine Barriers to Implementation

  • Review Important Local Cases

  • Demonstrate the 5 minute ICS Class

  • Demonstrate the 1 minute Advanced ICS Class

Who’s In Charge?

  • Political Structure

    • Day to day operations

    • Declared Emergency

  • Agency Structure

    • Chiefs, Directors, Captains, etc.

  • Incident Structure

Who’s In Charge?

  • Incident Command Structure

    • Made up of Agency Personnel

    • Mission driven

    • Most qualified person for function

    • Assignments not dependent on agency or rank

    • IC answers to AHJ

    • Not known by name or rank but by a “skills bundle”

Political Structure

  • Elected Officials

    • Primary Concern—get re-elected

      • Missions to go well

      • Look good while going well

      • Avoid looking bad if things go badly

    • Bureaucracy— cut through or use

    • Back Channels

    • Influences Everything

    • Personality Driven

Agency Structure

  • Appointed Officials

    • Primary Concern—get boss re-elected

      • Missions to go well

      • Give boss and subordinates credit when going well

      • Take blame and explain inadequacies when going badly

    • Secondary Concern—Budget Impact

      • Success usually breeds bigger budget and more influence

      • Smart ones will use failures to breed bigger budgets

    • Image Driven

Incident Structure

  • Overhead to Crew Member

    • Primary Concern—get re-tasked

      • Missions to go well

      • Give boss and subordinates credit when going well

      • Take blame and explain inadequacies

    • Mission Driven

Sometimes it’s simple…

  • Example: Sheriff makes a car stop

    • Political—Sheriff is out working.

    • Agency—Sheriff made a car stop, I better make one…

    • Incident—Single Resource

      • Results:

        • No Ticket Issued—ball scores and cattle prices discussed.


        • Felony arrest made

Sometimes it’s not too confusing…

  • Example: 2 Fire Engines at a dumpster fire

    • Chief and Fire Fighter on 1st Engine

    • 2 Fire Fighters on 2nd Engine

    • Agency—Chief on scene

    • Incident—Chief probably IC

    • Political—mayor probably not coming down for a photo op.

Sometimes it’s complicated…

  • Example: 9-1-1 Call: “My 6 year old daughter has been missing on the Ozark Highlands Trail for 45 minutes”

    • List of who will not be there is shorter than the list of who will be there.

    • No single agency or discipline can handle this incident.

Traditional CommandChoosing Process



Works Most of the Time…

  • Major shortcoming is that folks from one discipline has not learned to supervise or be supervised by ones from another discipline

Better Way

When we all know there’s a better way

hint, hint: ICS

…why don’t we use it?

Barriers to Implementation

  • Cultural—Political and Agency

  • ICS training process and materials

Barriers to Implementation

  • “What we do has always worked”


    Circle the appropriate choice

    • Nobody

    • Only 1 person

    • Only a few people have been killed by our team so far.

KEY—Examine near misses in light of how ICS might have helped

  • Quail Ridge Road and Valley Creek Story

Barriers to Implementation

  • “If its guys from one agency or discipline we know how to work together on anything—like magic”

    (If this were only true)


    Magic… stand by for tragic

KEY—When does it not work like magic?

  • LEO Fatality Story

Barriers to Implementation

  • “I don’t want to use ICS terms on the radio”


    Embarrassment—people will think I’m trying to be a big shot or know it all if I use those terms on the radio.

KEY—A little discomfort now while you transition or continual embarrassment as missions go poorly.

  • Quail Ridge Road and Valley Creek Road Story

Barriers to Implementation

  • “You put too big a load on 1 person, we’re just volunteers.”


    Remove the ambiguity so I cannot use the fog of battle as an excuse.

KEY—Ask had you rather be in charge with everybody having an assignment and knowing their superior or letting people freelance?

  • VFD Fatality Story

Barriers to Implementation

  • “My agency has jurisdiction, no need to get briefing from these volunteers.”


    These slobs have been here 2 hours and haven’t done a darn thing—I’ll show them how to git-r-done!

KEY—Two hours—This is more complicated than it seems

  • LEO Hazmat Story

Barriers to Implementation

Lack of Reinforced Training

  • “Sure, I know ICS—I took the I-100 and I-200 online…”


    I am here to mess your day up

KEY—That’s going to help, but did you learn CPR, belaying, shoring, or tracking online?

Must Practice: Table tops, drills, events, monthly training session

ICS Online

Accomplishes 3 things:

  • Paper compliancy with NIMS Standards

  • Introduction to terms

  • False perception you don’t need to learn anything else about ICS

Barriers to Implementation

Lack of Follow Through

  • “Well, nobody else is going to check in, lets go get in our boat and look for the fellow.”Interpretation:

    We’re the only ones here that actually see the big picture

KEY—Your assignment success depends on other people completing theirs

  • Water Rescue Story

Barriers to Implementation

  • Training Process—I Classes

    • Overwhelming

    • Overly redundant without additional clarification or evolution

    • Online emphasized

Barriers to Implementation

  • Training Materials—Text

    • No or few case examples for primary classes

    • Explains what but not how

Two Shortcomings for Us

  • No easily definable way to communicate what is expected, required, needed on every incident.

  • Leaves Political and Agency people

    • Without understanding that they are still in control

    • How to wield that control effectively.



  • Let’s develop some classes to help people manage incidents

  • Let’s teach people from different agencies and disciplines to work together

  • Let’s teach all these people how to use a common terminology

…so far, so good….

Now—Just the Stroke

  • Let’s encourage it to be taken ONLINE by:

    • A person sitting alone with no interaction with others

    • So they can take the test over and over until they pass it without even reading the materials

Using Lessons Learned/Best Practices

  • Develop an ICS Core

    • What are the essentials of ICS that everyone on the scene must understand and utilize?

    • Had to be short or they wouldn’t listen.

    • Had to make sense—not confusing

    • Had to have something for them


  • 5 Minute ICS Class

  • 1 Minute Advanced ICS Class

5 Minute Basic ICS Class

  • Boss—Fancy Title

  • Briefing—Expect it, Demand it

  • Assignment—Understand it

  • Turndown or Accept


  • Debrief

1 Minute Advanced ICS Class

  • You May be a Boss—Get Fancy Title

  • Repeat steps 2 through 6 from Basic Course

Overcoming Barriers

“Mr. NIMS, tear down these walls!”

  • Keep it simple—teach the 5 Minute ICS Class at your next meeting

  • Give people a choice:

    • Don’t come if you don’t do ICS

    • Other places to serve

Overcoming Barriers

  • Emphasize Standard of Care

    • Always upgrade responder skills—CPR

    • Always upgrade technology—Better equipment

      ICS is a Responder Skill—it is software for the brain

Overcoming Barriers

  • Emphasize Legal Aspects

    • Homeland Security Directives

    • CFR 29 and 49

    • State Statutes

    • Local Ordinance

    • M.A. and M.O.U.

Overcoming Barriers

  • Proven Management/Leadership Tools

    • Built in Check list

      • Framework for Management

      • Framework for Leadership/Followship

      • Develops atmosphere of cooperation

Overcoming Barriers

  • Emphasize Safety and Mission Performance

  • Reduced Chaos and Reduced Pressure

  • Emphasize Grant Performance

How to Put Together 3 Interests

  • Use Agency Reps

  • Use Unified Command

  • Keep Political and Agency in loop

  • Find a chink in Agency armor

  • Find a chink in Political armor

  • Don’t oversell or undersell your capacity and ability.

Unique Challenges

  • Federal and State have 100,000’s of Responders to expose to this material and to develop paper compliance.

  • Locals—where it must actually be learned AS IS EVERY RESPONDER SKILL


  • Just like the development of any other RESPONDER SKILL you will make mistakes.

  • It will take time to get used to too like any other responder skill

    • No one would say “The new CPR is too hard, let’s do it the old way.”

  • Must train with the other Stake Holders

Influencing Politicians

  • Invite to training, drills, mocks—Use ICS

  • Emphasis that ICS is most likely method of having competent people performing a function.

  • Emphasis that needed changes are most quickly and effectively made through an ICS structure.

  • Emphasis that TRAINED MUTUAL AID PARTNERS are more likely to come help us if an effective ICS structure is in place


  • Look for receptive ears.

  • Determine a way to help it fit.

    • Spoon full of sugar

    • Scare the stuffing out of them

  • Appeal to senses, vanity, order, status, astrologers, Dali Lama, interpretative dance, anything that helps it work.

  • Simple way to get key points across


  • Emphasize agencies and individuals hot buttons.

  • Emphasize “this is a RESPONDER SKILL”

    • Standard of Care for patient

    • Safety for Responders

    • Enhance performance

  • Develop a likable ICS subject matter expert for your team

Questions / Comments

Fred Mullen

Franklin County

Office of Emergency Management

300-A Airport Rd.

Ozark, AR 72949

Office: (479) 667-4909

Cell: (479) 209-0818

Email: fc_oem@hotmail.com


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