Planning is a critical process in Incident Command System; hence incident planning should be given great emphasis. The incident Commander has the responsibility to ensure good welfare of the personnel and also plan during emergencies and other operations (Incident Command, 2015). Knowledge of the complex water systems in water only systems is important operations involving water and distribution systems. Accurate assessments should be made and decisions made timely (Incident Command System, 2008)
Water systems involve microbiological contaminants, chemical organic and inorganic contaminants, chemical warfare agents, bio toxins, radiological contaminants. It also requires a prioritization for potential water contaminants. An incident commander needs to understand this to effectively evaluate threats of water contaminants. Threat warnings should be evaluated in accordance with previous systems to avoid false alarms.
The incident commanders knowledge in water quality parameters helps in identifying unusual cases. These parameters include turbidity, chlorine residues and acidity. The operations in planning will involve data collection to establish these parameters to provide warnings in case of emergencies. Data collection involves taking samples from various locations. The results dictate the action to be taken and the plan to be followed (Interim final, 2003)
The incident commander establishes the command structure in water emergencies. Knowledge in how water systems operate enables the determination of the responsibilities and roles of individuals required to maintain the situation. The incident planning process provides coordination of the efforts to curb water emergencies. The nature of water contamination incidences dictate there be a specific individual in water utility (Interim Final, 2003) The incident commander ensures that the adequate safety measures are put in place. Knowledge in water systems provides skills to curb water emergencies.
The incident commander changes the structure of communication and notification in response to water contamination incidences or threats (Interim Final, 2003). Planning for efficient communication is crucial. Interaction between the various levels is important in achieving optimal environment protection and public health. The incident commander develops the notification strategy of the warning. As the incident spreads, the incident commander expand the chain of command. This process requires skills in water-only systems to ensure the correct information reaches the officers (Incident Management 2012). The incident commander ensures effective communication between the various stages of response to effectively manage water emergencies and operations.
INCIDENT COMMAND. (2015). Hazardous Material Emergency Response, 1-7. Retrieved from https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/assets/docs_f_o/incident_command_hazardous_material_response_508.pdf
Incident Command System (ICS). (2008). Incident Command System Training, 8-14. Retrieved from http://training.fema.gov/emiweb/is/icsresource/assets/reviewmaterials.pdf
Interim Final,. (2003). Module 1: Water Utilities Planning Guide. Response Protocol Toolbox: Planning For And Responding To Drinking Water Contamination Threats And Incidents, 22-30. Retrieved from http://www.epa.gov/watersecurity/pubs/guide_response_module1.pdf
Ready.gov,. (2012). Incident Management | Ready.gov. Retrieved 7 July 2015, from http://www.ready.gov/business/implementation/incident
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