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In the occurrence of an emergency, an Incident Commander is the individual responsible for response activities, including the development of strategies, tactics, orders and resources management (“National Response Framework,” 2008, p. 50). He is the controller in the management of the site operations and coordinator of an effective response (Hammad, 2010).
In a scenario whereby a number of railroad tank cars overturned releasing a toxic gas into the air with gas clouds traveling near a large residential area and elementary school, there will be people including the school children and other special groups such as the disabled exposed to the risk of gas poisoning.
As the Incident Commander, the first step would be to notify the law enforcement agencies and other authorities with the training to anticipate and manage risks effectively. In the private sector, all stakeholders would be informed in order to assist in the areas pertinent to them. The transport sector provides quick mobility to the incident site for the rescuers and aids in evacuation of the victims (Hammad, 2010).
Transportation can be through ground, air, or water depending on the geographical location and nature of the incident. According to incident management system, “the Ground Support Unit provides all ground transportation during an incident. In conjunction with providing transportation, the unit is also responsible for maintaining and supplying vehicles, keeping of usage records and developing incident traffic plans” (“National Incident Management System,” 2008, p. 58).
Therefore, their collaboration in the evacuation of the elementary school children and other groups that cannot vacate on their own from the incident area is demanded. This would be achieved through the provision of mass transport to take the people away from the areas where the toxic gas cloud is traveling and restricting movement of outsiders into the region.
The contribution of the telecommunication sector would assist in the protection and sustenance of national cyber and information technology resources as well as oversee communications between the incident commander and other response structures (“National Response Framework,” 2008, p. 100).
I would use the available communication channels to warn citizens about the restricted areas, inform the victims and their families on the accident, and enlighten them on how to access help. It is important to maintain open communications lines with the mass media to update the citizens on the progress of the situation, answer and receive questions promptly, and dismiss/clear any rumors.
Internet and other web-based tools can be used during the incidents to help in situational awareness and crisis information management through following planned and standardized methods, which conform to the overall standards, procedures and protocols (“National Incident Management System,” 2008). Furthermore, the telecommunication sector will provide ways of conveying information in clear methods to individuals who have communication limitations such as the inability to hear or see signage.
Another major and vital responsibility is to ensure that the victims access the required utilities. This can be achieved through alerting the service providers about the occurrence of the events that might interfere with their service provision. In this way, they can raise alternative ways of maintaining a consistent and safe supply during the incident.
For example, electricity would be required to run various operations such as the telecommunication systems. Incident planning should provide an effective remediation and response planning that help to protect the security of drinking water and wastewater systems during emergencies (“National Incident Management System,” 2008). Consequently, I would mobilize the relevant authority to prevent intoxication of the water systems by the gas and ensure that there is safe water for drinking.
Some of the utilities within the area such as schools must be closed temporarily to keep children safe while liaising with the neighboring schools to absorb them from the affected institutions until the situation is controlled. The utilities responsible for waste disposal must be functional to avoid deterioration of the compromised living conditions as negligence would be detrimental to the victims’ health.
The finance section whose responsibility is financial management and monitoring costs related to the incident response requires high level cooperation from the banking sector. It is vital to authorize the relevant banking systems to release finances to the authorities involved in the response coordination.
In the case of compensation claims or during funding, the banks are also responsible for dispensing the funds to the victims mainly to their bank accounts or directly. Banks must be efficient and operational during the incidence as many citizens will need services such as withdrawing money to use during the emergency, sending money to the affected families, and depositing cash money for safe keeping.
Hospitals will be a critical requirement in the management of this emergency as treatment and first aid will be required for the individuals who have inhaled the toxic gas. Trained medical professionals would be required to deliver healthcare and provide health advice on how to cope with several health challenges arising from exposure to the incident.
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Other sick individuals in the community especially those in need of special care like the critically ill, those who require confinement, and those suffering from chronic illnesses will stilsl demand medical care during the incidence.
It is also essential to request the hospitals’ assistance in research about the toxic gas, determine the effects of the toxic gas to humans by observing affected individuals, and carry out all the necessary tests suggesting the possible medication for the cases. Hospitals will be essential in providing treatment for the individuals hurt or affected by the gas at the incident site.
I would inform the retailers about the hazardous happening and the roles they should play to support. The provision of goods and materials necessary for the upkeep of the citizens would continue under special arrangements (Brandeland & Refsdal, 2013). Basic commodities, such as food and other important stuff, would be purchased from the supermarkets and other outlets by response agents and supplied to the citizens if there are supply problems due to closure or inaccessibility.
Other facilities would be advised to avail the commodities fairly to regulate the purchase of the limited ones and avoid their depletion. Retailers who provide things such as building materials would be very efficient during this time in the provision of materials for setting up temporary residences for the evacuated individuals.
According to the framework, “Private-sector organizations play an essential role in protecting critical infrastructure systems and implementing plans for the rapid restoration of normal commercial activities and critical infrastructure operations in the event of disruption”(“National Response Framework,” 2008, p. 91.).
The collaboration of the discussed private sector is very necessary for emergency management since they all play significant roles during incidence response. Their aims are not to gain profits but to improve the quality of lives and accelerate the recovery pace for the affected communities and the nation at large.
Brandeland, G., & Refsdal, A. (2013). Risk factors in emergency response: a review of investigations of emergency response in Norway. International Journal of Emergency Management, 9(2), 127.
Hammad, K. (2010). Emergency nurses and disaster response: An exploration of South Australian emergency nurses knowledge and perceptions of their role in disaster response. Australasian Emergency Nursing Journal, 13(4), 139.
National Response Framework. 2008. FEMA,13(21), 1-83. Retrieved from https://www.fema.gov/pdf/emergency/nrf/nrf-core.pdf
National Incident Management System. (2008). FEMA, Department of Homeland Security. 73(246), 1-156. Retrieved from https://www.fema.gov/pdf/emergency/nims/NIMS_core.pdf