Blog 2: Communication and the Incident Command System
When examining the Incident Command System, it is safe to say that it is almost solely based on communication. The question, therefore, may not be what the role of communication is in the system, but how impacting it is. The ICS defines itself as
a standardized, on-scene, all-hazards incident management approach.
This includes establishing a universal organizational structure, a way of communication between different agencies involved in the situation, and specific ways of dealing with resources related. These incidents include natural hazards, technological hazards, and human caused hazards. Communication is not only crucial to the immediate respondents of these incidents, but also to the general public who may or may not be directly effected. This communication is even given specific guidelines which include the use of common terminology and plain english.
One of the most important things to remember when dealing with a crisis situation, no matter how big or small, is that people expect it to be solved in a timely manner. If there was not a system such as the ICS, it would be difficult for anything to get accomplished in an orderly fashion based on the lack of ability to establish what should be and should have been done.
When Hurricane Katrina flooded the majority of New Orleans in 2005, it left many people in the community as well as the rest of the country feeling that the situation was not properly handled.
Communication was provided in places where the sources of communication had been damaged or completely ruined, which prevented victims of the storm and volunteers from getting important information. The public was outraged at the government due to feelings of neglect, betrayal, and most importantly and inability to prevent and then fix the damage of the storm. Because of the inability to communicate, the system was inefficient and ultimately failed in the situation. This example highlights the importance that everyone involved in an event has the same amount of knowledge and understanding, which is all learned through communication.