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Two Emergency Response Scenario Case Study

The Incident Command System (ICS) provides guidelines that highlight problems and coordination of incident response resources. The ICS has become the most used system of coordinating events in the world.

The ICS has five elements, which include command, planning, operations, logistics, and finance and administration. The event at scenario 1 heavily borrows from the ICS in order to draw a concrete response action plan (McEntire, 2007).

Response action plan

Recognition: the regional incident commander has recognized the hazardous event of two trains’ collision. A chemical hauler and a high speed commuter train collide near the intersection of a major interstate highway in a very congested area. The response effort then commence in earnest in order to save lives.

Search and rescue: most disaster result in victims trapped under debris. The involvements of hazardous materials released by the hauler train require organized search and rescue. Search and rescue should focus on three main areas. These include locating the victims, rescuing the victims from traps and providing initial first aid treatment in order to stabilize the victims’ conditions (Coppola, 2007).

The incident Commander must take note of the citizens who might come to the initial rescue. Rescue process must be performed within the next six hours in order to prevent further loss of lives and damages to property. The Incident commander must plan for more organized and technical search and rescue efforts through his formal search and rescue team to replace unequipped civilians.

He must ensure that the search and rescue team have full cache of equipment and supplies. The team may focus on general search and rescue, and in the case involving Boron trichloride, he must call in chemical specialists and urban search and rescue for swift action.

Allocation of scarce resources: emergencies raise issues concerning scarcity of resources. The incident at scenario one is no exception. Therefore, the incident commander must allocate scarce resources using ethical and clinical guidelines.

Critical supplies that may be in short supplies include medication for the survivors, surgical supplies, and rescue team personal protective gears. The Incident Commander must ensure that these resources have controlled distribution to serve the majority.

First aid medical treatment: the incident commander must note that the accident involves wounded people whose number may be above normal. Therefore, the victims may overwhelm the capacity of local clinics and hospitals. This is a case of mass casualty event.

The regional incident commander must make arrangement quickly to locate the injured victims, provide them with the first aid to maintain their conditions, and move them to nearby facilities for treatment needed to save their lives.

The nature of chemical, Boron trichloride needs immediate onsite first aid and fire suppression. In order to avoid depletion of resources, the incident commander must take into account the supplies of basic first aid supplies, medical technicians, and transportation in a busy interstate junction to access adequate facilities for further treatment.

Evacuation: the Boron trichloride seeks for immediate evacuation of the victims due to possibilities of fire breakout. The incident commander must move the victims away from the site of collision and its consequences. Evacuation will reduce the effects of many disasters by simply removing the victims from the site of risk.

Disaster assessments: the incident commander must assess the extents and impacts of train collisions. The incident commander must begin collecting data for information needed to facilitate the response processes. The Incident Commander must be able to know at any given moment what is taking place, where it is occurring, what the responders need, and what resources are available.

The nature of incident at scenario 1 may increase in complexity due to its size and scope. In order to ease the task, incident commander must group the assessment into two groups. Situation or damage assessment to determine what has happened as a result of the two trains collisions. This will enable to determine geographic scope of the disaster, how it has affected people and structures.

Therefore, he must seek data related to the area affected, number of people affected, number of injured (morbidity) and killed (mortality), types of injuries and illnesses, conditions and characteristics of the victims. At the same time, data on medical, health, nutritional, water, and sanitation conditions of the victims are also necessary.

The need assessments also involve a collection of data on ongoing or emerging hazards because of spread of Boron trichloride, damage to infrastructures and critical facilities, since the area is interstates connection point, residential and commercial structures affected, vulnerability of the affected population to ongoing, or expected related and unrelated hazards, and current response effort in progress.

The need assessment involves the collecting data on services, resources and assistance the incident commander will require in addressing the train collision disaster.

Treating the hazard: the consequences of the two trains collision may persist for a long duration due to chemical spreading around the scene. However, the incident commander must ensure that the responders must limit or eliminate the spread and hazardous effects of Boron trichloride. He must call in specialists with special equipment and training on the chemical managements.

Responders must suppress fire, ensure hazardous Boron trichloride containment and decontamination, arrest of flows, remove snow and ice, manage possible public health consequences, and enforce the law to curtail rioting and looting.

Provision of water, food, and shelter: the disaster is most likely to isolate the whole area for a long period of time. However, victims of the collision must drink, eat, and given shelter in cold winter season if they are to survive. The incident commander must plan for the interrupted normal supply line, and limited provisions of supplies to the victims.

Likewise, there should be nonexistent of disaster management officials needed to start provisions of immediate assistance. Incident Commander must ensure that food, water, and shelter options are available to the victims. He must focus on both short-term immediate response and long-term provision of aid. However, he must arrange for first few hours of confusion that occurs and brings about haphazard responses.

Safety and security: the incident at scenario 1 disrupted the entire social order of the affected area of downtown Oakland California. The regional incident commander must take into account that the police and other response officials are engaged to their limits, paying most or all their time and resources on managing the hazardous consequences and spilled the chemicals.

However, many security and safety problems still occur and even grow during disasters. The incident commander must be able to ensure the safety and security of the victims in commuter train, people unaffected but within the jurisdiction, and outside responders. Looting is a major challenge. Boron trichloride is a highly valuable chemical with many functions.

Criminals get power to steal from the victims, cars as well as in the neighboring businesses and homes affected. In fact, the threat of looting is the major security threat the Oakland disaster is likely to experience, and it is most likely to disrupt the evacuation and rescue efforts. Occasionally, assault on victims and response and recovery team may occur forcing the response efforts to be called off till security is restored.

Emergency social services: victims of the train collision are likely to experience extreme psychological stress. Consequences of the Oakland tragedy may results into loss of spouses, parents, children, friends and other associates. There are also losses of business for the two train companies, Boron trichloride owners and other nearby affected businesses.

The regional incident commander must arrange for proper psychological care so that victims do not slip into depression. Arranging for proper counseling will limit the extreme effects of depression. The Incident Commander must also arrange for the provision of counseling services to the respondent team because they experience emotional pain and suffering of the crash victims.

Donations management: this disaster will experience donations of all kinds. Individuals, private business, governments and religious groups will tend to donate generously to support the crash victims who may have nothing at the moment. The Incident Commander must manage what is called a second disaster due to the presence of these donations.

Cash is the most appropriate form of a donation because it can easily be used to purchase the supplies from local area. Cash is easily available and eliminates delays of transportation. Cash has no logistics-related costs and needs no storage space.

The incident manager must put up action plan to cater for accepting, receiving, accounting, and distributing cash in a transparent manner. The incident manager must handle donations well to ensure that they benefit the intended stakeholders.

Coordination: the incident commander must development an action plan for disaster coordination. Coordination is a vital and immediate component of disaster response because of the number of responding agencies that come to rescue of the victims.

In order to save many lives, property, and alleviate suffering, the incident commander must ensure successful coordination and cooperation in safe and efficient use of response resources. Coordination process ensures that there are limited wastages, infighting, nonparticipation, confusions and inefficient use of resources during emergency situations.

In order to ensure most effective coordination, the incident commander should ensure that the local government administration, emergency manager, fire officer, and police department should maintain leadership at all times.

This is because the local response leaders are familiar with the crash area, affected people, infrastructure, geography and other issues necessary for successful response. In case the local leadership is unable to take leadership coordination, then the Incident Manager should ensure that the national government takes charge.

Declaration of disaster: the Oakland California disaster is severe. The incident commander must arrange for disaster declaration. The government must acknowledge that response resources are limited and more support is necessary particularly to handle the spread of Boron trichloride. He must also put in legal requirements depending on the laws of Oakland California as established in emergency operations planning.

The incident commander must allow the local government who has primary responsibility to respond to the emergency. The approach must be step-by-step as it goes high the national ladder. This only happens when the local authority cannot handle the disaster at the local level.

The local authority must communicate this information to the local executives who then decide to declare the collision as a disaster and appeal to the next level of authority (California state government) for assistance. If the Boron trichloride is difficult to handle, then the state government must appeal to the federal government for assistance.

Press brief

“Hi, my name is John Dee, Senior Disaster Response Coordinator. I am giving a press brief concerning the Airbus 320 crash. On Friday of 16th December 2011, on or about 1720 PST, an Airbus 320 with 275 onboard missed the Lindberg Field and crashed. We suspect that the aircraft lost the field in the dense fog and lost the Lindberg Field. We have confirmed that the aircraft impacted on the vicinity of the City Hall.

The crash happened at a densely populated area of San Diego. However, we have not confirmed the extent of the damages, and number of casualties involved. We have also confirmed that the aircraft hit three building. These are the Sempre Tower, the next building to it and the City Jail. We also have the report that the Sempre Tower is on fire and in danger of collapsing.

There is aircraft debris scattered in the area around the three blocks in the northwest area of the impact zone. I must also let you that happened to have seen the crash site from my office and smell the smoke and when the building manager sounded the fire alarm system.

I will keep you posted with new developments as soon as we receive. I also wanted to know how you prefer to receive our press briefs via mail, fax or press conference. Thanks!”

Coordination of immediate actions

The Senior Disaster Response Coordinator shall coordinate the crash immediate response based on the Incident Command System (ICS). The ICS is necessary to provide a tool for command, control and coordination of immediate actions.

It also provides means to coordinate the efforts of individual agencies to achieve a common goal of stabilizing the emergency and saving lives, property and protecting the environment. The Senior Disaster Response Coordinator must coordinate immediate action through the following (Damon and Erin, 2009).

Command: Response coordinator must establish a framework within which a single leader or committee can control the growing disaster response effort. The coordinator must address all the activities taking place throughout the crash scene.

The San Diego crash may lead to an establishment of Unified Command for development of common set of rescue objectives and strategies, without requiring the local emergency authority to give up their power, responsibility, or accountability within their individual jurisdictions. The command structure must have representatives from all major rescue agencies.

Planning: the Senior Disaster Response Coordinator must ensure that the planning section provides support through gathering, evaluating, disseminating and using information about the progress of the incident and the functional status of all the available responders and resources. The Senior Disaster Response Coordinator must create the Incident Action Plan (IAP) to provide overall management for the response.

He must focus on collecting, evaluating and displaying incident information and intelligence. This part also looks into preparation of and documentation of IAPs, doing long-range contingency planning, creating plans for demobilization and tracking incident resources.

Operations: operations look into response plan in IAP. The Senior Disaster Response Coordinator creates operation section to coordinate and manage all the activities of the crash responders geared towards saving lives, reducing immediate hazard, saving property and focus on activities moving towards recovery phase. Operation section has emergency services, public works and law enforcement.

Logistics: the response of the crash depends on all the support and logistical provisions, which start as soon as the resources are deployed. Response tools include rescue team, equipment, facilities and vehicles.

Logistics section looks into acquisition, transport and distribution of resources, provision of water, food and medical attention. Logistics section also ensures that there are personnel to operate the equipment and perform other logistics tasks.

Finance and administration: this section tracks all the costs of the response process. The federal government must support the state of San Diego through its emergency funds. The Senior Disaster Response Coordinator must guarantee local and regional response agencies that he will cover for expenditures, supply uses, and activities.

The Senior Disaster Response Coordinator must coordinate the activities form a central location known as an Emergency Operations Center (EOC). This is where all information and communications is collected, processed and disseminated.

Crisis response plan

Situation awareness: the Airbus 320 with 275 onboard has crashed. The aircraft landed on a highly populated commercial area vicinity of the City Hall. The aircraft has hit two to three large towers. These include Sempre Energy Tower, the next building to it, and the City Hall. There are scattered aircraft debris, and the Sempre building is on fire. Therefore, there is a need for emergency response.

Emergency response: this should begin as soon as the Senior Disaster Response Coordinator has recognized the problem. The first responder at the scene of crash must make a preliminary assessment and notify the officials. The Incident Commander must take charge and direct all emergency issues. Senior Fire Officer must take control of the fire at Sempre building.

The Incident Commander takes control and establishes the resources needed. The Law Enforcement instruments will take charge of security and traffic control. The Incident Commander must ensure the removal of plane debris, cargo, and passengers’ luggage. Medical rescue team will take charge of the 275 onboard passengers involved in the crash.

All communication must be directed to the operations section in the Command Post. All the officers in charge of the response must also direct all their communication to the Command Post.

There must be coordination of air traffic next to the Lindberg Field to control airspace, keep it clear and limit the landings or takeoffs.

Recovery: this comes after the emergency response. It attempts to restore normalcy in the area of Airbus crash. It involves declaration of the disaster, controlling access and clearing the remains, debris and restoring public infrastructures.

Recovery also involves looking into insurance claims, providing social services, investigations, readjusting traffic, providing counseling services, and restoring the economic activities of San Diego crash scene.

Directions and controls: the Incident Commander must look into all activities and control them. In case of disaster declaration, the senior officials exercise all controls and give directions. They must establish Command Post near the crash scene to control all emergency operations.


Coppola, D. P. (2007). Introduction to International Disaster Management. Boston: Elsevier Inc.

Coppola, D. and Erin, K. M. (2009). Communicating Emergency Preparedness: Strategies for Creating a Disaster Resilient Public. New York: Auerbach Publications.

McEntire, D. A. (2007). Disaster Response and Recovery. New York: John Wiley.

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