Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Good information on the Indicident Command System from shows how simple, yet robust, it really is.

Some quick thoughts on the use the Incident Command System (ICS) and the benefits of viewing ICS as a functional system as opposed to an organizational system.
Recently I was teaching the ICS module to a new group of CERT recruits in our community. As the class progressed through the evening I was made aware that several of the students were, or had previously been first responders. It also became very apparent that they had no understanding of ICS in practical application, and were taught previously that ICS was an organizational construct designed to maintain command and control utilizing existing organizational and political structures. This position was counter to the teaching of the evening and required that a new perspective and way of presenting the material be implemented. Instead of plugging names and positions into an organizational chart, which is what many view the ICS structure as, I suggested we look at the purpose for the ICS and than build upon that without consideration of existing political, and organizational hierarchy.
In reorienting the class, a new definition of what the Incident Command System "is" was proffered. The Incident Command System is a "functional" system that supports incident goals and objectives in an organic and flexible manner. The key to this new definition is rooted in the term "functional". As a I set about to redrawing the the ICS schematic on the board, one student quickly noted that the structure was identical to what we had previously been discussing. I explained that while it looked that way, we would be approaching the system differently this time. Instead of focusing on the organizational method of Incident Commander and Section Chiefs, we would instead focus on the primary functions necessary to support the goals and objectives of the incident.
First we need to identify what it takes to support the goals and objectives in addressing an incident. To this end we identify the following:
People that DO stuff in support of goals and objectivesPeople that GET stuff in support of goals and objectivesPeople that COLLECT, ANALYZE and PLAN stuff in support of goals and objectivesPeople that take care of CLERICAL stuff in support of goals and objectivesPeople that LEAD and MANAGE all of the functions necessary to support the goals and objectives.

Once the functional support components have been identified we can assign them to a formal ICS Section based on functional objective.
Function and Corresponding ICS Section:
Do Stuff = OperationsCollect, Analyze, and Plan Stuff = Planning & IntelligenceGet Stuff = LogisticsClerical Stuff = Administration & FinanceLead & Manage = Incident Command

With the formal ICS structure established, it is time to clarify roles and responsibility's of each functional component. The easiest way to do this is to begin with how the ICS is implemented. As stated previously, ICS is an ORGANIC system, meaning that it expands and contracts as needed in support of the incident goals and objectives. As an ORGANIC system, ICS is FLEXIBLE.  Remember, ICS is not a rigid organizational hierarchy. It may be that in the early stages of an incident there will be resource constraints that require one person to oversee multiple functional areas.
INCIDENT COMMAND (Leadership & Command Function): The seed to ICS implementation begins with ONE person, the Incident Commander.  The Incident Commander is responsible for the following:
Initial scene stabilizationEstablishing initial goals and objectivesSets priorities and defines the ICS functions necessary to respond to the incidentAssigns Deputies and Section Chiefs as needed
PLANNING & INTEL SECTION (Collect, Analyze, and Plan Stuff Function): The Planning and Intelligence section is responsible for collecting information, analyzing information, and creating plans and maintaining current incident status (inclusive of resource usage and allocation status). Staging and check-in of personnel is typically included as a function of the Planning and Intelligence Section, therefore it should be the first section established by the Incident Commander.
LOGISTICS SECTION (Get Stuff Function): The Logistics Section supports the overall material resource needs of the ICS. As the ICS evolves and an Incident Action Plan (IAP) begins to take shape, Logistics will be called upon to provide the material support necessary to meet the goals and objectives of the incident response. Logistics support may include:
Food and WaterShelterMedical SuppliesSpecialized EquipmentTransportationCommunicationsIT and Networking
OPERATIONS SECTION (Do Stuff Function): The Operations Section is where the primary incident response activities occur. These activities are typically carried out by Public Safety (Fire, EMS, Law Enforcement, etc…) and specialized volunteer groups (CERT, MRC, County Search and Rescue, etc…). Operations may be broken down further by functional duties and geographic responsibilities.
Remember, the key to ICS is Flexibility and it's Organic ability to grow and shrink as needed. Use what you need, nothing more, nothing less. Delineation of Branch, Division, etc… within the ICS should only be done in furtherance of meeting the goals and objectives outlined in the Incident Action Plan (IAP). If you don't need them, don't use them.
ADMINISTRATIVE AND FINANCE SECTION (Clerical Stuff Function): The Administrative and Finance Section is responsible for Records Management, Payroll, and the overall incident budget. When the operations section has long been put to bed, the Admin/Finance Section will still be sorting out paperwork, bills due, payroll issues, etc…. This is the section that will be looked to for incident review and audit materials so it is important that all ICS sections understand that …"If you didn't write it down, it didn't happen."
Putting it All Together
When implementing the Incident Command System (ICS), follow the functional steps necessary to meet the goals and objectives first established by the Incident Commander. Typical ICS development should follow a basic pattern, but is always FLEXIBLE and ORGANIC so as to meet the specific needs of an incident.
ICS is dependent upon many skilled individuals that can fill a variety of functional roles. There should be no one person that fills a role continuously or as a permanently pre-assigned position. In ICS Egos need not apply. ICS is Ego Neutral. When Egos and personalities begin to take precedence over the functional position, your ICS will fail. This is why it is important that you have multiple individuals capable of filling any of the necessary ICS functions.
In the end, ICS is not rocket science. It is a very useful tool that can be used by anyone who understands the basic functional requirements necessary for establishing goals and objectives to meet the operational needs of an incident. ICS can be complex or it can be simple, but when confronted with the confusion of managing multiple responsibilities just remember the following:
People that Lead & Manage StuffPeople that Collect, Analyze, & Plan StuffPeople that Get StuffPeople that Do StuffPeople responsible for Clerical Stuff
Remember that each function begins with "People", not a specific individual. Any person trained in ICS should be able to fill any functionally needed position. ICS is your friend. Use it, and over time it will become your best friend in time of need.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

While reading The House of the Lord, nestled on page 123 are the words The authority coming to the church ... will be to restore the local, citywide church.

This is an interesting concept.  Is it one that mirrors the New Testament pattern and practice?

How did we stray so far from what Jesus asked in John 17?  The first century church had it down pat.

The first century church met from house to house and had no church buildings for 400 years after Jesus ascended.

We, on the other hand, have buildings on corners in the City.  These buildings are not centers of ministry.  They tend to be empty most of the days of the week.

If Frangipane has it right, this will be an exciting time to be a Christian who worships as one body.  If he has it wrong, Jesus will not be happy to see the Church divided.
Did you see this on CraigsList?

You can own a "tornado" damaged property for $899,000.

Regardless of the wind storm or tornado issue, here's some thinking to think.
The property was vacant from July 2008 until buildings began coming
back on line beginning Jan 2010 and all construction was completed in
August of this year.

That's almost two years of no income for this property. Did the
owners have good insurance? Did the owners avail themselves of the
Small Business Administration help brought to the area when the
Presidential Disaster Declaration was administered by the Federal
Emergency Management Agency?

Connect to a Tweet from Ed Kostiuk:

5,000 jobs lost, 500 businesses impacted, 1,150 injuries, 624 families
now in temporary housing in Joplin, MO.

Finally, did you know that 40% of businesses never recover from a major disaster?  In Joplin, that's 200 businesses that are closed and will likely not recover.

Is your business able to withstand an emergency? Many fail to reopen
after a small disaster, much less a federally-declared one.

Are YOU Ready?

Can you help the Small Business Administration?

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Global ALE High Frequency Network (HFN) sets a new up-time record
by operating 100% continuously on all international amateur radio
shortwave bands simultaneously 24/7/365 for 4 years straight.

Relying on HF (High Frequency) ionospheric communications, all radio
stations in this worldwide system scan the ham bands every 10 seconds,
rapidly maintaining contact through short digital bursts of signals
using a system known as ALE (Automatic Link Establishment). With about
2000 registered operators, the HFN covers a vast area of the planet.

HFN International Coordinator Bonnie Crystal KQ6XA comments, "The ALE
network was founded to foster HF Interoperability between all types of
organizations, agencies, individual ham operators and nets. While its
main focus is on international EMCOMM, this far-reaching service has
ample capacity for radio operators everywhere to use for ordinary
calling and QSOs... including some DXing. The huge success of this
network, during such low solar cycle conditions, has shown the true
strength of ALE to find and use unpredictable HF band openings that we
see all the time."

ALE was originally an expensive system for government services, but
recent innovations in digital technology have brought the cost way
down. The first organized amateur radio ALE nets began in 2001,
corresponding with the release of the free PC-ALE software controller
for ham radios. Several years of development by the 4000-member HFLINK
organization adapted ALE to be a ham-friendly, interference-free
system. In 2007, the internet- connected HFN network went into full
scale 24-hour service. HFN rapidly expanded to cover large areas of
the earth, and it has become the prime framework for ham radio
operations using the global standard ALE system. In keeping with its
roots, ham radio ALE still maintains compatibility and
interoperability with goverment ALE radios, many of which are also
available now on the surplus market and being used by hams. Nearly
every major HF SSB radio manufacturer in the world is now marketing an
ALE radio.

HFN Network Manager, Alan Barrow KM4BA, said "The recent addition of
real-time maps of network connectivity HF paths, combined with
features such as ALE-integrated WINMOR/WINLINK, provides a versatile
platform for fast and reliable interoperable communications. The
website HFLINK.NET has literally been turned into a virtual
communications center at the fingertips of every ham."

All ham operators are encouraged to participate in ALE, especially
during ALE On The Air Week (AOTAW) from 5 to 15 August 2011, to
practice techniques and emergency preparedness. All modes of operation
will be used in AOTAW, including SSB (Single Sideband) voice
communications, digital modes, HF relay, HF email, and mobile texting
messages in the field. Info and free ALE software is available for ham
rigs at

To follow the operations of the Global ALE High Frequency Network,
please see the HFLINK.NET website. Data activity is primarily on the
following frequencies (kHz) Upper Sideband: 3596, 7102, 10145.5,
14109, 18106, 21096, 24926, and 28146. Selective calling SSB Voice
activity is on Upper Sideband frequencies: 3791, 3996, 7185.5, 7296,
14346, 18117.5, 21332.5, 24932, and 28312.5 kHz.

About HFN

Global ALE High Frequency Network (HFN) is an international ham radio
service organization of volunteer operators in various countries of
the world, dedicated to interoperability and emergency/relief

HFN website:
Contact: Bonnie Crystal, KQ6XA, VR2KQ6XA (HFN International ALE Coordinator)
Contact email:

Saturday, June 25, 2011

"Courting Disaster", How the CIA Kept America Safe (Regnery), has  been published.

Here is an excerpt from "Courting Disaster":

Just before dawn on March 1, 2003, two dozen heavily armed Pakistani tactical assault forces move in and surround a safe house in Rawalpindi .  A few hours earlier they had received a text message from an informant inside the house. It read:  "I am with KSM."

Bursting in, they find the disheveled mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, in his bedroom. He is taken into custody.  In the safe house, they find a treasure trove of computers, documents, cell phones and other valuable "pocket litter."

Once in custody, KSM is defiant.  He refuses to answer questions, informing his captors that he will tell them everything when he gets to America and sees his lawyer. But KSM is not taken to America to see a lawyer Instead he is taken to a secret CIA "black site" in an undisclosed location.

Upon arrival, KSM finds himself in the complete control of Americans.  He does not know where he is, how long he will be there, or what his fate will be.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

This weekend is Field Day.  That's the ONE most operated event on the amateur radio calendar.

In the League's own words:  ARRL Field Day is the single most popular on-the-air event held annually in the US and Canada.  Each year over 35,000 amateurs gather with their clubs, friends or simply by themselves to operate.

In times past, the desire for operating has conflicted with the devotion to Jesus.  

Some clubs overcome that challenge, sadly, by ignoring Jesus.  Some clubs honor His presence with a Sunday morning devotion.  Yet others have their Field Day operation so close to a church building that the operators and guests can walk over.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

National Prevention Strategy

The National Prevention Council invites you to join them for a news conference (via live webcast) in Washington, D.C., to release the National Prevention Strategy

Thursday, June 16, at 11:00 AM ET.

To view a live webcast of the event, go to:


Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Melody Barnes, Director of the Domestic Policy Council, White House

Regina M. Benjamin, U.S. Surgeon General, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Among Others

Following the event, we invite you to dial-in to a stakeholder call to learn more and ask questions.

Call in details:

3:30 PM ET, Thursday, June 16

Dial-in Number: 800-779-5194

Participant passcode: Prevention

Speaking on the call:

Dr. Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Regina M. Benjamin, U.S. Surgeon General, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Fred Karnas, Senior Adviser to the Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Jeffrey Levi, Ph.D., Executive Director, Trust for America’s Health and Chair, Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health

Please dial in early to ensure participation as lines are limited.

More information on the National Prevention Strategy and the National Prevention Council can be found at:

This first ever National Prevention Strategy, called for under the Affordable Care Act, was created to help move the nation from a focus on sickness and disease to one based on prevention and wellness. By focusing on prevention, the National Prevention Strategy will help Americans stay healthy and fit and improve our nation’s prosperity.

The National Prevention Strategy’s goal is to increase the number of Americans who are healthy at every stage of life. The Strategy’s four Strategic Directions and seven Priorities include evidence-based recommendations fundamental to improving the nation’s health.

The National Prevention Council, comprised of 17 Federal agencies and chaired by the Surgeon General, developed the National Prevention Strategy with input from stakeholders, the public, and the Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health. To succeed, implementation of the Strategy must include public and private partners working together at the national, state, tribal, local, and territorial levels.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Did you see this from the KWHW Sunrise Reporter?

"Bintz was very thankful ... Insurance will cover the accident ..."

FEMA and your tax dollars were not summoned to the accident, except for the first response from police and fire. The only Federal response was from the National Guard unit that just happened to be training in the area at the time.

Don't wait six months after the disaster to call your insurance agent. The first call should be to your insurance company. The advise is for owners and renters alike.

Check your policy. The two needed items after a disaster are shelter and debris removal. Homeowners policies may have provisions to cover both.  Renters' insurance often covers the cost of temporary shelter until one can return to their home.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners offers an explanation of the disaster claims process.

Plan, prepare, practice ... Go ahead and call your insurance company while you are thinking about this part of your plan.

Paying the Price: The Status and Role of Insurance Against Natural Disasters in the United States (Natural Hazards and Disasters: Reducing Loss and ... in a Hazardous World: A Series)

Monday, June 06, 2011

In a Tweet, Social Media mentor Brian Humphrey said "The greatest danger to American society (& #SMEM) is not terrorism or global warming, but rather mediocrity and complacency."

In an online forum, one individual suggested that through the years, the Citizen had not gotten enough education.

Social Media is going to automatically face those two issues and solve them ... NOT.

We have streaming video and audio, All-Hazards radio, TV, AM and FM radio, shortwave broadcasting, IPODs, Android phones and tablets, Blackberries, SMS alerts, email alerts ... and folks on TV saying the sirens did not go off.

On the Kindle, one can get the book, "In Time of Emergency A Citizen's Handbook on Nuclear Attack, Natural Disasters". This book was originally published in 1968 and cost a whopping $0.00 (Kindle not included) on Amazon.

 This material came about 11 years before the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  The information in the book is dated but still applicable. Make a plan, build a kit that supports the plan, practice the plan ... it's
all there.

FEMA has engaged Social Media sites with a blog, YouTube, Twitter ... with both Agency and personal accounts cranking out disaster information. The National Weather Service, the Centers for Disease Control, and the National Hurricane Center have been cranking out information for years as well as recently engaging the Citizen in electronic form.

The ARE YOU READY books and videos were and still are available. Did you get yours? They are free from FEMA or you can buy a copy of the book from Amazon.

I am NOT saying that we should do less in engaging the Citizen.  I am a CHEERLEADER for Social Media, if, for no other reason, than the economy of local government is not supportive of doing more with less unless less is free.  I am saying it's time for the Citizen to wake up and smell the coffee.  Years of material, much of it free, is available in a variety of forms.  Expertise of the original Civil Defense folks is leaving fast.

The Citizen is already mediocre and complacent. The evidence of that was the phone call to the Emergency Operations Center to inquire about the Watch versus the Warning because the caller was too lazy to walk across the room to turn on their AM RADIO.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Following the #Joplin tornado, @DirectTV took a hit in @Twitter and @Facebook regarding their policy of requiring a box or a $500 fee.!/search/Joplin%20DirectTV is the Twitter search and the language in that search result is disturbing.

A phone call to DirectTV at 8887772454 resulted in Nick saying the fee can be forgiven.

However, @DIRECTV on Twitter is "Lost in Space". With ONE Tweet, DirectTV attempts to deflect the Social Media onslaught. "DIRECTV is helping customers affected by natural disasters, read more at"

The @Facebook document reveals:

Options available include:

Account cancellation - If service cannot be restored at the customer's

home due to the damage from the storm, DIRECTV will cancel the
account, and waive any fee associated with the inability to return
equipment, along with any remaining agreement on the account.

Account suspension - For customers who are without power for an

extended period, we offer to suspend their account until power and
services can be restored.

No-cost service calls - If/once service can be restored at the

customer's home, we will send a technician at no-cost to ensure the
dish is properly aligned and to fix any technical issues.

Equipment - For customers whose equipment was damaged in the storm, we

offer to waive equipment replacement costs if they continue services

If you are a customer that has been affected, please contact

1.800.531.5000 so we can remedy your situation immediately.

Only a few of the comments on the Facebook wall were appropriate.

This is standard across the industry. In other words, Dish Network would be asking the same thing and offering what they could.

I would like to brag on the ONE Twitter user who asked for verification of the truth of this issue.  The user profile states:   Freelance writer & fledgling goddess. I am an editor for Etopia Press, actively seeking submissions. 

This is an example of Social Media users who #FAIL in doing their homework AND DirectTV being less than eager to address the issue with more than ONE Tweet and ONE Facebook entry.  We all know emergency managers who are more engaged with their customers than this.

Wondering now, how many Twitter accounts will DirectTV sue for defamation of character or libel, though. 

Track this satellite (Thanks N2YO)

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