While it is possible the RIMS may fail, EMCOMM units cannot afford to sit around and wait for that to occur. Rather, units need to learn RIMS and become experts on it. Astute unit leaders need to find a way to provide the same format and form (as in SEMS/RIMS) via an alternative system. SEMS has raised expectations to high levels (laser-printed professional forms). These forms have become so good they save enormous time and effort, and make most response easier than before SEMS/RIMS. ACS or RACES units need to have the capacity to provide the OA and State OES with equivalent RIMS forms in the same high quality printout so that the professionals in the EOC's don't know the difference in the way the information was passed between governments. We CANNOT allow computer and internet systems to drive EMCOMM units into oblivion. We win when we join these complex, yet different, means of communications to accomplish these goals.
To those not living in this state, and/or those NOT using these systems regularly, we can almost hear your anguish and howls about how this is red tape, governmenteze, and other assertions. However, what became apparent the first year this system went into effect was that it worked faster and better than ANY that was previously in use. Like any system, it has its faults as it is a human-created system. Further, we can argue against it and decry its weaknesses, but it is the system in use and we must live with it until (maybe never) and unless (may also be never) these government systems fail or are unable to cope. It's better to work WITHIN the existing system while learning how to augment it should it fail some day, if it does - to which some will add "it will", while others will respond "don't count on it".
More likely will be occassional system overload. However, which ever of the many possibilities that may occur, ACS/RACES units MUST be prepared to handle SEMS/RIMS seamlessly. We must put the same quality of printed forms in the hands of officials no matter how difficult the communcations situation may become. When we do that we accomplish our responsibility to provide communications mutual aid at a professional level.
This should help us grasp that the ACS/RACES mutual aid process requires careful coordination between the OA and the REOC, and between the OA RO and the RACSO. SEMS/RIMS and EOC staff may not be fully prepared for handling ACS/RACES mutual aid as it would a law or fire request where ICS procedures have become ingrained over years of useage. Communications mutual aid is still evolving.
See bulletin 256 for a Mutual Aid Recap