Area first responders recently completed Incident Command Training in an effort to assure an adequate, organized response to emergencies — large and small.
The multi-departmental training, instructed by Valley City Police Chief Fred Thompson, who is a federally certified incident command center trainer, addressed the organizational system mandated by the U.S. government in responding to any major disaster like a flood, a terrorist attack, or a chemical spill.
According to Gary Retterath, chief of the Valley City Volunteer Fire Department, the training was very useful. The knowledge he gained through the training could be used for any emergency, small or large. Any time there are several organizations at an emergency, be it a fire, accident, or natural disaster, being able to organize quickly, and knowing who’s in charge of multiple branches like fire and rescue, law enforcement and EMS is important.
Not only does the training help responders with how to organize, it helps them set objectives like time limits.
“It’s something we’ve always done on a smaller scale,” Retterath said.
Although the program suggested possible scenarios, Thompson likes to teach the class in a way that demonstrates emergencies that could occur in the local area, for instance a flood in Valley City.
“The students get much more involved because now they’re thinking about how would respond in their own jurisdiction rather than try to deal with some fictional place they’ve never been,” he said.
“Understanding how ICS works and how to use it makes for a much better response from the departments,” Thompson added.
“It’s not just police and fire, it’s public works, the electrical department, its the rescue squad, the finance department, the mayor and the city commission. It’s everyone.”
Thompson also believes the public sector should be involved so they know how things work.
“It made us step back and think about how we were organized,” said Retterath.
“The incident command system is used everyday, by almost everyone, you just don’t realize you’re using it,” said Thompson.
The training should be offered again in early 2013.