Emergency Management Evaluate the Cims Program as Term Paper

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Emergency Management

Evaluate the CIMS program as a means for implementing the NIMS

It was on May 14, 2004 when Major Bloomberg and the Office of the Emergency Management -- OEM came with the declaration of the City's introduction of the Citywide Incident Management System -- CIMS as the City's proposal for dealing with emergency recovery plans and also for managing the planned events. From that time onwards, the City's first responder agencies have carefully worked in order to develop and give the final shape to the CIMS protocol document. Mayor Bloomberg recently on April 11, 2005 approved an executive order to give operational effect to the implementation. OEM is associated closely with the City agencies to help in the assistance in the preparation of the training curricula so as to reproduce the CIMS Protocol in the training for the personnel connected with the City's incident command and emergency response program. (Citywide Incident Management System (CIMS): www.nyc.gov)

The CIMS protocol is the New York City's -- NYC accomplishment of the National Incident Management System -- NIMS. Compliance with the NIMS is a necessity for future federal domestic preparedness funding in case of local governments. Whereas the CIMS has been developed to deal with the NYC's exclusive incident management needs, its complete conformity with NIMS guarantees compatibility with the incident command systems operational in other states and federal agencies. CIMS has also been devised keeping in mind its scalability, assisting in the integration of additional organizations, like the private sector and the non-profit bodies.

The major components of the CIMS consist of (i) defining the manner in which the citywide emergencies or numerous large-scale incidents will be tackled (ii) defining the responsibilities of the agencies and responsibilities at emergency incidents (iii) establishment of the NIMS Incident Command System norm at NYC's incident management system. (iv) Defining the organizational structure of Incident Command Structure (ICS) (v) Setting up means of integrating regional, state and federal agencies into a NYC response. (vi) Describing the manner in which the operational implementation of CIMS would be done. (vii)Defining the manner in which incident operations, inclusive of Life Safety, Investigation, Site Management and Recovery/Restoration are accorded priority, and the time when they can be implemented together. (viii) Setting up a procedure for post reconstruction review and evaluation of emergency responses and executing what has been learned form experience. (ix) Defining implementation of ICS and training needs for NYC agencies involved in citywide response. OEM after due consultation with other functionaries, will recurrently take stock of the situation and update CIMS to (i) guarantee continued compliance with the federal needs (ii) make sure that it is operational with the NIMS and ICS standards. (iii) Include the best practices that have been benchmarked for emergency practices. (iv) Include interagency response protocols. (v) Include the experiences gathered from the post-emergency reviews. (Citywide Incident Management System (CIMS): www.nyc.gov) 1

2 Describe at least one criticism made of the CIMS program

CIMS's Incident Command Structure -- ICS has drawn flak in the aftermath of the 9/11 incident at the WTC due to the absence of its functioning in the hour of need. This has been documented in the testimony of Sally Regenhard, Chairman of the Skyscraper Safety Campaign to the House Committee on Government Reform. A particular aspect of the report that has been disturbing is the deliberation as regards the evacuation orders of the North Tower of WTC in the report. It has been alleged that several firefighters stationed in the North Tower at the time of the incident did hear about the message to vacate but preferred to stay inside the building before it came crashing down. The matter of the deaths of the firefighters is linked with the absence of radio communication ability. This matter has been carefully recorded in the McKinsey Report, NY Times that was published to take stock of the situation during the 9/11 events. Nevertheless, the theory that the firefighters preferred to face death has also been propounded by some public officials unquestionably with the anticipation to avert criticism for the inadequacy of the New York Fire Department -- FDNY radios and for the lack of functioning of the Incident Command Structure in NYC on 9/11 that certainly could have helped in saving the lives of several firefighters. (Testimony of Sally Regenhard member of the Family Steering Committee of the 9-11 Commission and Chairperson of the Skyscraper Safety Campaign to the House Committee on Government Reform)

However the Commission Report while agreeing that technical malfunction of the FDNY radios might be a contributing factor was not prepared to accept that it was the primary reason for the death of the firefighters in the North Tower. On the contrary, it stated that the firefighters failed to hear the evacuation order on their radios which is not acceptable. Simply declaring that the firefighters declined to evacuate WTC for whatever reason and failed to obey such a crucial order is hard to buy and is a disservice to their memory. Apart from that, a lot of surviving firefighters and other ranked officials referred to the Commission by the Skyscraper Safety Campaign has mentioned that no evacuation order was ever heard by them. (Testimony of Sally Regenhard member of the Family Steering Committee of the 9-11 Commission and Chairperson of the Skyscraper Safety Campaign to the House Committee on Government Reform)

3 Describe at least one reason why the CIMS program was designed in this particular way

CIMS has been-based broadly on the model of National Incident Command. This protocol emerged from a federal mandate which necessitated that the NYC to comply with the federal standards as stipulated in the NIMS of the U.S. Dept. Of Homeland Security. Also the adopted of the Command System and Unified Command protocols were mandated by those standards. The CIMS set of rules is a major step for command and control of serious events like terrorism, weapons of mass destruction -- WMD, and natural disasters. It is also important to completely adopt the ICS. The idea of Unified Command which is very crucial to the success of events involving mass casualties -- MCI is needed to be made the model for command while these incidents happen. (Citywide Incident Management System (CIMS): www.nycop.com)

The OEM has done both table-top as well as actual simulated disaster training exercises with all of the emergency services. The training exercises provide an opportunity to render all the emergency services the opportunity to meet one another and to exchange information. CIMS, akin to the national system, lays the importance for an 'Incident Commander' or a Unified Command Section which is supported by four important divisions such as operations, planning, logistics and finance/administration each one headed by a Section Chief. The protocol stipulates that in huge, intricate incidents which need a 'Unified Command Section', CIMS foresees 2 or more Deputy Operations Sections chief. (Citywide Incident Management System (CIMS): www.nycop.com)

CIMS is a system for managing emergency situations having a common understanding of the terminology and the roles and duties among all agencies. CIMS uses a collective lead agency / unified operations division. In majority of the incidents, the lead agency is set-up. In case of other incidents, wherein multiple agencies are needed to act on several emergency situations, a unified operations station is made. Core competencies of primary agencies will help to develop chain of command for quick decision-making and constitute the basis for implementation training. (New York City Office of Emergency Management: Testimony of OEM Commissioner Joseph. F. Bruno before the National Commission on terrorist attacks upon the United States)

NYPD is the nodal agency for dealing situations of chemical, biological, radiological nuclear events, where terrorism problems. FDNY looks at conducting fire safety operations and mass contamination in all CBRN/HAZMAT events. Presently, NYC is equipped with the Incident Management System which meets all federal mandates. Even though full-fledged implementation of such a system will take its own time and training, it has been an epoch making step on the part of Mayor Bloomberg in launching CIMS for improving the City's capability to deal with and recover from every type of emergency. (New York City Office of Emergency Management: Testimony of OEM Commissioner Joseph. F. Bruno before the National Commission on terrorist attacks upon the United States)

4 Make at least one recommendation about how the CIMS approach might be improved

Technology has to play a major part in improvement in CIMS approach for future communication and technology needs. However, the Department has dealt with the pressing needs in spheres like communications and technology, infrastructure, processes and protocols. Particularly the Department tested with success & deployed the new handie-talkie radio communication which presently support more number of channels and operate in the UHF band which permits greater penetration in buildings and permits interoperability among the Fire and Emergency Medical Service -- EMS and other providers of emergency services such as the NYPD. Apart from other technological advances, the Department requires a procedure to receive and disseminate critical information regarding…[continue]

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