ECC Team Training
Proposed NIMS Training for Wisconsin MSRC ECC Team Members
Wisconsin is currently in the planning stages for our ECC Teams to receive NIMS training. We feel this would be a good practice for other states to follow as well. The details of our proposed planning are below.
What is NIMS?
After 9/11, the federal government realized a national standard was needed to apply to all agencies responding to a disaster. In 2003, the President issued a directive to DHS to develop and administer a National Incident Management System (NIMS). NIMS standardizes the titles and duties of those administering an incident (such as the Incident Commander, etc.), establishes standardized names for locations (such as Command Post, Emergency Operations Center, Staging Area, etc.), and establishes protocols for interagency cooperation, public information dissemination, resource management, etc. This puts all responding agencies “on the same page” when responding to an incident. In addition to the overall NIMS guidelines, the structure defining the handling of the actual incident in the field is referred to as the Incident Command System (ICS). In order to receive federal homeland security funding, all state and local agencies must adopt NIMS for managing incidents, and must provide classes to their personnel to enable them to pass the NIMS and ICS exams.
NIMS & ICS Training for our MSRC ECC’s
As part of the MSRC plans adopted in each area of the state, a suggestion has been made to establish an Emergency Communications Coordinator (ECC) who would be a broadcast representative that would report to the County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) during a disaster to keep the government officials apprised on the state and readiness of the local broadcast facilities. It has been suggested that this ECC person receive NIMS and ICS training so as to be aware of what is going on around him/her when arriving at the EOC. It would gain us great respect from the local officials for us to voluntarily pass the exams they are required to pass, and it seems the least we can do after they have invited us into their EOC. At a minimum, FEMA requires local government’s “Entry Level First Responders” to pass the exams for “IS-700, Introduction to NIMS”, and “IS-100, Introduction to ICS”. While not required, the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association is proposing that our MSRC ECC’s voluntarily study for and pass these exams as well.
Study materials and access to the exams is available at the following FEMA website:
We would suggest that at a minimum, all ECC Teams across the country be encouraged to study for and pass these online exams.
In Wisconsin, we are considering the possibility of having half-day NIMS group study sessions, thinking these group sessions may be more productive than independent study. After the participants return home from the group study sessions, they would go to the FEMA website and take the exams independently.
Whatever method is chosen, we would encourage all states to pursue NIMS training for their ECC Team members who will be reporting to the EOC.