New words for a city boy - Incident Management Teams
The new buzz in New York these days are IMT's. I learned first hand in New Orleans what they do and how they help. This is a heads up in case you run into one... ;)
There are two types of Incident Management Teams (IMTs): Type 1 and Type 2 used to manage large incidents. Some areas have Type 3 IMT's to manage smaller incidents that extend for multiple operational periods. The teams consist of members from federal, state, county and local agencies. Many teams have trainee positions for persons who have not yet met all the training requirements for their position.
As a general rule, Type 1 National Teams manage large fires and disasters with over 600 people assigned and address the most complex logistical, fiscal, planning, operational and safety issues. Type 2 Teams generally manage less complex fires and disasters, generally less than 500 people, and address less complicated management issues. Both Type 1 and Type 2 teams are managed on a rotational basis through the nine Geographical Areas. While the National Type 1 teams are on rotation throughout the year, Type 2 teams are only activated during the fire season. Nine Geographic Areas (GA) advertise vacancies on teams within their area and select new team members from the nominations received. Vacancies are generally announced through the agencies within the GA, some Geographic Area Coordination Centers (GACC's) have placed recruitment information on their Websites. In addition to the core IMTs, many subordinate positions are required to manage an incident. Dispatch centers will search the Resource Ordering and Status System (ROSS) for available individuals to fill orders placed by the Incident Management Team. These may be Incident Command System positions identified in the Wildland and Prescribed Fire Qualification Guide (310-1) or Technical Specialists.
Back home in Gotham -- The FDNY's Incident Management Team (IMT) have been assigned in the past to a Type I IMT that have been activated for fires and disasters thoughout the US. They have been involved in the planning, safety and management of multi-agency resources firefighters battling the fire and disasters on the frontlines. The FDNY is the only structural firefighting team in the country with the training and capability to be assigned and activated to this type emergency incident.
Since 2003, more than 150 Department members have received extensive classroom and field training from federal instructors in utilizing IMTís to manage large-scale, long-duration disasters. That same year, members received hands-on training at major forest fire sites in the Western states. FDNY members are also specifically trained to handle the management and logistics of large-scale disasters in urban environments. The development of the IMTís and training on the Incident Command System is an outgrowth of the Fire Departmentís Strategic Plan created in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.
NYC Firefighters Get Wilderness Disaster Training
July 27, 2006 -- Five New York City firefighters have traded skyscrapers and subways for pine trees and canoes as they learn about big-time disaster management from an elite team of wildfire experts in the north woods of Minnesota. They hope their training in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness will help them effectively manage the worst type of disasters back home. ``It's an eye-opening experience,'' said Capt. Patrick Cleary, commanding officer of Engine Company 59 in Harlem. ``I've seen a different management style. ... I've seen people come together from all different agencies from all different areas, and it works.'' Pairing forest experts with big-city firefighters may seem odd, but officials say the matchup makes sense. Wildfire experts have been using an ``incident command system'' for years to respond to large-scale disasters and situations involving multiple agencies and complicated logistics. Members of the wildland fire community took their skills to New York after the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. One team helped coordinate the city's response, while another team, currently in the Boundary Waters, worked on supplies. ``They filled a void,'' said New York Deputy Chief Bob Maynes. ``In standard New York City emergencies, there's probably nobody better'' than the city's firefighters, he said. ``But once the Trade Center happened, it was something we weren't used to. ... We had a deficiency in multi-operational, very complex operations.'' A 2002 report that examined the response to the World Trade Center attacks recommended the Fire Department develop its own incident management team, specifically focused on urban terrorism. An agreement was set up to begin training with the wildland fire community, Maynes said. Training started in 2003 and is ongoing, Maynes said. In addition to the five firefighters in Minnesota, seven are currently in Oregon and two were just returning from Arizona, he said. The department now has its own Incident Management Team, which was deployed to New Orleans to assist officials after Hurricane Katrina. And Maynes said the lessons learned in the deep woods could benefit every major city. ``In New York, we expect another attack sooner or later,'' Maynes said. ``We do see this as a glaring need nationally. There are attempts for us to help train (people in) other urban areas.'' In Minnesota, Cleary and his colleagues are shadowing members of the Pacific Northwest National Incident Management Team 2. This team is one of 17 national teams with that high-level of expertise in managing complex disasters. Besides wildfires and the terrorist attacks, this team has also responded to Hurricane Rita and to the explosion of the space shuttle Columbia. Cleary, who has been a firefighter for more than 15 years, is training with the public information officers on the expert team. ``There's a reason why New York City sent five of us here,'' he said. ``These guys are the best at what they do.'' When he arrived to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, which spans about 1,500 square miles along the Canadian border and holds hundreds of lakes and rivers, Cleary said he was overwhelmed to see the operation at work. The incident management team had set up ``a little city, and everything they need to support this operation to put this fire out is here,'' he said. ``It's hard to imagine that they can get this much done this quickly, but they are the best.'' The fire began July 14 with a lightning strike, and quickly multiplied in size due to weather conditions and because the fire happened in the ``blowdown area,'' an area hundreds of thousands of acres wide that contains trees that had been toppled in a 1999 storm. Those millions of trees have been drying out on the ground ever since, creating perfect kindling for an intense fire. In recent days, the fire had been 45 percent contained, and had only spread to about 50 square miles, including 39 square miles of land. As part of his training, Cleary hosted an information meeting for local residents and business owners. The situation was different from what he's used to, but he said it went well, and the public wants to be informed. ``I think they were just amused by my accent,'' he joked. ``Honestly, New York City firemen will get anything done at any time,'' said Cleary. ``What these guys provide is a system for getting things done more efficiently in the long run. ... Everyone has a job. There are no egos. You are here for a team.'' He's anxious to share what he's learning with his colleagues. And as for the Boundary Waters: ``It's been a great experience. It's been a beautiful country, and I'd like to come back and visit with my family someday.''