Overview: when a jurisdiction has a situation that requires (or may possibly require) resources beyond its own capabilities it turns to another jurisdiction for help. To best achieve that, a single point of contact, SPOC, has proven to be very efficient.
The mutual aid systems developed in states where there has been considerable emergency or disaster response are a prime example of the SPOC concept.
For instance, let's look at the overall communications Mutual Aid system for ACS and or RACES and how it works in California.
If what follows seems bureacratic, recall that it is a system that REALLY works when all the players know their role. Further, it works with astonishing speed and success, although sometimes the links do break down. The situation is stated, followed by the proper action.
(CAUTION: The term "RADIO OFFICER" - widely used, widely accepted is ALSO one that CAN cause confusion. Here's why: in some states as well as some local jurisdictions there is a PAID staff position of "Radio Officer". It is a position has NOTHING to do with ACS, RACES or such programs. Rather, it may be one of jurisdiction equipment responsibility, or on a state level may be the state's chief emergency response officer. If that is the case in your area, modify the term to that it reads "County ACS or County RACES officer" or some other clearly distinct term.)
In the next bulletin, the actual "SOP" begins. At the end of the series, some actual examples of a mutual aid request as issued by local government will be included.
Continues next week.