So now we talk about organization. No, not a boring eyes glazing over type of article…an article about how you can save lives, including your own.
“What the heck?” you might be asking right about now…I don’t blame you.
When was the last time you went to an activity or event that was just so poorly organized you simply had to roll your eyes? I am talking food was cold, it started late, the agenda was a mess, and it dragged on forever. And, when it was all over…it utterly failed to accomplish what is was supposed to?
Or, how about the last time you attended (hopefully not led) a planning meeting where it was chaos and you really didn’t get any decent planning done? You know what I am referring to…lots of talk, little action, and in the end…no solid plan.
These are all organizational issues. Rather, I should say indicators of poor, or non-existent, organization. Here’s the rub…what if this was happening during a emergency, disaster, or worst of the worst…during a grid-down event? How do you think that would work out for you and all the others involved?
Let me really try to insult you…Would you even know where to begin to actually organize after a grid-down? Yes, I am sure many can go into details about what needs to be done, but how about how to organize to get it done?
Let me go over some basics:
- You must have a leader. Someone must be able to motivate people to accomplish goals. Notice I didn’t say…set goals. Goals should be developed by the leadership based on needs of the group. Then those goals are prioritized. Then the leader steps in to motivate folks to accomplish them. In some cases a leader must work and lead the effort to identify those goals and prioritize them. Leadership!
- The next most important organizational need is “operations” and I include a very wide variety of tasks within the category. But, essentially it is the labor pool for getting things done, but the people must be efficiently organized. Operations!
- In order for any operational task to be successfully accomplished, especially in the long-term, you need logistics. Security can’t be effective if people don’t have weapons, ammo, flashlights, batteries, food to eat, a way to stay out of the weather, communications, etc. The whole group can’t survive long is you can’t eat or provide medical care. So logistics is right up there after operations. In other words…logistics’ sole mission is to support operations. Logistics.
- Next is an easy one…planning. Today can usually pretty much take care of itself with existing resources. But, what about tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year? There has to be planning, and part of planning is being able to describe where we are today…in order to know what we need for tomorrow. Planning!
- Administrative…yeah, there is a need for administration tasks. Someone has to keep track of stuff, money, bartering, claims, etc. Admin handles that. It isn’t fancy, it isn’t filled with glory, it isn’t high profile…but there is the need for record keeping and administrative work. Administrative!
- And there may come a time where sensitive information is vital to the success, possibly even the safety, of those involved. The need may grow so large, or the sensitivity so great, that a dedicated staff Information & Intelligence people may be required.
So here is a pretty good idea of what is needed in any emergency, disaster, or grid-down. Now remember, a single person can handle multiple organizational positions for small emergencies and/or disasters. If it is a large incident, such as a 1000-person camp, then you have a single person in a single position so they don’t become overloaded and burned out..
Mission – All service and support needs are provided by the Logistics Section.
• Acquires, stores and distributes supplies.
• Acquires and maintains facilities.
• Provides all transportation needs.
• Provides communications capabilities.
• Provides food services.
• Provides medical services.
Mission – The Planning Section collects, evaluates, processes, and disseminates information.
• Collects and process situation information.
• Supervises preparation of the Incident Action Plan.
• Tracks all resources.
• Determines need for any specialized resources for future operations.
• If requested, assemble and disassemble operations units not assigned to the Operations Section.
• Establish special information collection activities as necessary.
• Assemble information on alternative strategies.
• Provide periodic predictions on incident potential.
• Report any significant changes in incident status.
• Compile and display incident status information.
• Provide maps as needed.
Mission – Manage all financial and administrative aspects of an incident.
• Run the commissary.
• Establish monetary & barter policy, and oversee related disputes.
• Handle all other financial aspects of incident.
Mission – Responsible for all tactical activities outside of camp.
• Reducing the immediate hazards.
• Saving lives and property.
• Establishing situational control.
• Restoring societal “norm.”
Mission – The individual responsible for the overall management of the incident.
• Sets objectives & goals.
• Responsible for, and authority over, all incident personnel.
So, about now you are thinking this is pretty good organization. Yup, it is! It is called Incident Command System (ICS) and it is used by every emergency responders all over the country and in most of the world. There is a reason for that…ICS works and it has been proven for decades to work…don’t reinvent the wheel.
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