Within hours a fast-functioning organization of scores, hundreds or thousands of people are actively coming and going where once there was a sleepy school yard, city playground or county fair ground. The place has come alive; it's become a teeming city of people focused on solving a need. It is both quiet and busy, stirring yet sleepy, ever-flowing as people move through it with purpose and knowledge of their tasks and the commonalty of the Incident Command System that makes it all possible.
See in your mind's eye the literally thousands of fire fighters and support personnel, and hundreds of fire trucks, dozers, tankers and other equipment, constantly ebbing and flowing in and out of the area. Envision! Look over there, returning fire crews are too weary to walk to the sleeping area; they've slumped to the grass along side the building in exhausted asleep. Turn in another direction and see other crews headed to the staging area. Turn your head to the left and catch a glimpse of others going to the food areas. On the right, there's the communications van with people coming and going with messages about resources and assignments. A loud speaker crackles a terse call to a fire chief to report to his crew. Everywhere the excited calm evidences the quiet professionalism of the Incident Command System at work. It is a system that efficiently handles the nitty-gritty efforts that keep fire fighters functioning at the fire lines, tankers filled and flying, choppers dropping their retardant, feeds and assigns those sent to the fire lines (or quake site, or hazmat spill, or any other emergency.) There is a strong feeling of real professionalism at the Incident Base, the Incident Command Post, the Staging Areas and the Camps. People helping people under a common organization structure that WORKS, again, again and again.
End of series based on Intro to ICS, ICS 1-120. For price and availability write:
U.S. Forest Service
Boise Interagency Fire Center
3905 Vista Ave.
Boise, ID 83705