The Incident Command System (ICS) is a standardised, all-hazards incident management approach that integrates all facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures and communications. It enables a coordinated response among various jurisdictions and functional agencies, both public and private. And it establishes common processes for planning and managing resources.
Utilities across the United States are increasingly adopting ICS, as confirmed by a study commissioned by MacroSoft and available at Electric Energy Online. Although progress has been made, obstacles remain. Not surprisingly, budget is an issue. So is the hurdle of field communications, especially with people from other organisations.
And the challenge of training emerged as a recurrent theme. FEMA's training, unhappily, is focused on community-based first responders, with little customization for utility realities. Experts warn that regular formal training is essential. During an incident, procedures must be followed out of ingrained habit, since there is no time to open and review a training guide.
Many survey participants identified automated systems as a key enabler.
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