Health Medical
DCCC Logistic Support during a Fire Incident Paper

Delaware County Community College

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Your rural community of 10,000 main employer- a large agricultural chemical processing plant- is struck by a large fire. Due to the nature of the chemicals, the fire may last for days. Emergency Management has decided to tell citizens to shelter in place versus to evacuate. The incident has drawn responders from a large area, and most arrive ill equipped for a sustained operation. Further complicating the issue is water runoff from fire suppression into the town’s only source of water. Discuss how you would support both the citizens and the providers while being aware of sheltering, along with limited movement because of the fire. Do not be concerned about the potential exposure- focus on the logistic support.

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Running head: LOGISTICS SUPPORT DURING A FIRE INCIDENT Logistic Support during a Fire Incident 1 LOGISTICS SUPPORT DURING A FIRE INCIDENT 2 Logistic Support during a Fire Incident The case study is to suppose that my “rural community of 10,000 main employer- a large agricultural chemical processing plant- is struck by a large fire. Due to the nature of the chemicals, the fire may last for days. Emergency Management has decided to tell citizens to shelter in place versus to evacuate. The incident has drawn responders from a large area, and most arrive ill equipped for a sustained operation. Further complicating the issue is water runoff from fire suppression into the town’s only source of water.” This paper shows how I would likely manage logistics support during this fire incident by supporting both the citizens and the providers while being aware of sheltering, along with limited movement because of the fire. CHAPTER 41 Operations and Logistics James J. Rifino Disaster management is most effective when responding agencies are well trained, well practiced, and familiar with the hierarchy needed for disaster response. Before a major incident, responding organizations and personnel must be organized under a defined leadership structure to effectively coordinate and carry out the tasks needed to properly mitigate the event. One of the hallmarks of a developed country from the emergency response perspective is its ability to effectively respond to and manage a complex disaster event in an organized fashion.1,2 By definition, the Incident Command System (ICS) is a management system designed to enable effective and efficient domestic incident management by integrating a combination of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures, and communications operating within a common organizational structure. ICS is normally structured to facilitate activities in five major functional areas: Command (directed by the Incident Commander [IC]), Planning (collects and disseminates information about the incident and advises about resources), Finance and Administrative (critical for tracking incident costs and reimbursement accounting), Operations, and Logistics. These functions task individuals with different responsibilities crucial for disaster response and recovery. They can also be applied routinely for local and regional incidents, not just disasters. The Operations section is responsible for carrying out the response activities described in the Incident Action Plan (IAP). This includes directing and coordinating all operations, assisting in the development of response goals and objectives, requesting and releasing resources, and providing situation and resource status updates. The Logistics section is responsible for services and support necessary to sustain the tactical objectives of the Operations section. This includes facilities, services, materials, and personnel to operate the requested equipment for the incident. This function is most significant with respect to longterm or extended operations when more resources are required. Operations and Logistics are two completely separate functions and functional entities, but an efficient and effective Operations section at a major incident is partly dependent on a well-organized and properly functioning Logistics section. HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE History has documented disasters on many levels all around the world. Some of the larger disasters were the result of infection (North American Smallpox Epidemic of 1775, Black Death of 1348 to 1351, Spanish Influenza in 1918) as well as natural disasters (Great Earthquake of 1202, Aleppo Earthquake of 1138, volcanic eruptions in Greece and the Pacific). These horrific events killed millions around the world. Documentation of “disaster preparation” and “disaster response” internationally was very poor, essentially nonexistent. In the United States, we have documentation of a series of fires in the city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in 1803. After the devastating fires demolished the area and injured many, the Seventh U.S. Congress passed the Congressional Act of 1803, which provided relief for Portsmouth merchants by extending the time they had for remitting tariffs on imported goods. This is widely considered the first piece of legislation passed by the federal government that provided relief after a disaster.3,4 In 1900 Congress granted a charter to the American Red Cross, which had provided disaster relief following the Johnstown Flood in Pennsylvania in 1889. The charter included the mandate to “carry on a system of national and international relief in time of peace and to apply the same in mitigating the sufferings caused by pestilence, famine, fire, floods, and other great national calamities.” This was the socalled American Amendment calling for peacetime disaster relief.5 For the next several decades, disaster relief was expected to be delivered by charitable organizations. Military assistance, however, was provided following the San Francisco Earthquake in 1908. The next documented federal action came in 1932, when President Herbert Hoover commissioned the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC). This federal assistance lent money to banks and institutions, with the goal of stimulating the economy and is considered the first organized federal disaster response agency.6 Over the last half of the twentieth century, the U.S. federal government continued to grow, while disastrous events stimulated the growth of the idea of “disaster response” and “disaster preparedness” largely as a result of the effects of war, hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires. It is important to state that, like most laws in the United States, provisions for disaster response have been more reactive rather than proactive. Disaster response in the United States is largely legislated at the federal level, but it is also legislated at the state and local levels. Local resources and personnel are ultimately responsible for coordinating and deploying resources needed after an incident. All disasters are “local,” and most jurisdictions across the United States authorize and recognize the Fire Chief (or designee) as the IC of any incident involving imminent danger to life or property. The exception to this is any situation that is more of a law enforcement issue (e.g., sniper, hostage situation). It is the IC who has overall authority for any disaster operation, unless he transfers command to another individual. The IC must assess every situation and determine the scope of resources needed. If local resources are insufficient to manage the incident, additional manpower and equipment and supplies are typically requested from neighboring communities (a concept known as “mutual aid”). This may or may not be based on a formal agreement between individual agencies and/or political jurisdictions. For any major incident, local resources need to rely on each other as national resources typically take a few days to organize and deploy. In more progressive fire-rescue systems, mutual aid resources are dispatched according to 269 Downloaded for Ibrahim Alnami ( at Philadelphia University from by Elsevier on March 17, 2020. For personal use only. No other uses without permission. Copyright ©2020. Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. 270 SECTION IV Event-Response Topics a predefined algorithm or plan, and this concept is known as “automatic aid.” The difference is that “mutual aid” is requested once the scene is assessed and it is determined that there is a lack of resources. “Automatic aid” is requested by the service upon dispatch to a situation that is recognized immediately as requiring additional assistance not available at the time of the call (e.g., calling for a ladder truck from a neighboring town for a fire in a tall building). If regional resources do not satisfy the needs of a disaster response, the traditional next step has been to request aid from the state emergency management agency. Governors can declare a state of emergency, thereby allowing for access to necessary materials, equipment, and financial resources. The state governor may also activate the National Guard. In the last 10 to 15 years, many states have developed specialty response teams capable of mobilizing in response to a disaster. These include urban search and rescue (US&R) teams, hazardous materials (HazMat) teams, weapons of mass destruction (WMD) task forces, emergency medical service(s) (EMS) and ambulance strike teams, and similar entities. In 1996, Congress enacted the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, a mutual aid agreement that allows human and material resources to cross state lines and operate in a declared disaster situation in a “state-to-state” assistance operation when requested through the proper channels and approved by the governor of the affected state. Because disaster preparedness and response evolved out of the military in the United States, many of the Logistics and Operations processes today have roots in military practice. Throughout Europe, the European Commission coordinates emergency relief and assistance in the wake of all disasters. Floods and fires are quite common in the summer months, although all disasters are monitored for and an appropriate response is expected. The Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC) within the European Commission is a centrally based center in Brussels that monitors emergencies worldwide and coordinates European resources for relief operations. The MIC acts as a communication hub between countries after a disaster occurs, whether natural or human-made. Upon receiving a request for help, duty officers alert potential donor nations and match offers of aid to the needs on the ground. In addition to rounding up equipment and supplies, the MIC dispatches field experts to disaster sites.7 Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) is an organization that helps to reduce the impact of disasters on communities and countries in Asia and the Pacific, the most hazard-prone region in the world. Established in 1986, ADPC is an independent nongovernmental organization (NGO) that promotes disaster awareness and the development of mitigation and management policies in advance of a disaster. With headquarters located in Bangkok, ADPC also has country offices in Bangladesh, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), and Myanmar. ADPC raises awareness, helps establish and strengthen sustainable institutional mechanisms, enhances knowledge and skills, and facilitates the exchange of information, experience, and expertise. The organization also deploys disaster risk management (DRM) information and systems to reduce local, national, and regional risk across this large region.8 Australia has a system very similar to the United States. The states and territories have primary responsibility for life and property within their borders, and they must rely on their own plans and arrangements to respond to natural or human-made emergencies that threaten life or property. When a jurisdiction deems that their resources will not be able to effectively manage an incident it can ask for help from the Australian Government. This request is delivered through the Australian Government Disaster Response Plan (COMDISPLAN). Emergency Management Australia (EMA) receives the request for assistance and responds through the Australian Government Crisis Coordination Centre (CCC). CURRENT PRACTICE Operations Most disaster response begins with an immediate response from bystanders on the scene. Some will immediately act, and others will run. Most people, if able, call for help (911, 112, 118, 119, 999, etc.). Police, fire, and EMS personnel are usually the first responders to the incident or disaster. Those first on-scene will undoubtedly be overwhelmed, but these important rescuers need to sweep the scene for safety, assess the scope or extent of the situation, identify the number of victims, determine and summon additional resources needed, and then assess for the need for immediate lifesaving techniques. Disaster mitigation very often starts with the very first arriving group to the incident. Triage priorities change during any mass casualty incident (MCI), and personnel must be well versed and well trained with the concepts of disaster management and triage of multiple casualties. An initial command area, known as the emergency operations center (EOC), will need to be designated and set up in an appropriate area, followed by an assessment of short- and long-term additional resources needed from local, state, and federal partners. This will simultaneously include organizing an ICS. Disaster operations vary in size and complexity depending on the nature and duration of the event, as well as resources needed to stabilize the incident. The operations section is responsible for managing all operations directed toward reducing the immediate hazard at the incident site, save lives and property, establish situation control, and restore the area to normal conditions (Figure 41-1). This section establishes a methodical strategy and the actions needed to accomplish the goals and objectives set by Command (IC, Safety Officer, Public Information Officer, Senior Liaison, and Senior Advisors) to achieve response objectives. Common tactical resources required at a disaster incident include fire suppression, public health, public works, technical rescue, hazardous materials containment, and EMS. The incident itself will define the type and quantity of resources needed to attain the objectives set by command personnel. A hurricane, tropical storm, tornado, or earthquake may often require a national response and will have specific concerns and issues, but an act of war or terrorism will require other additional resources to be deployed. The ICS is the national standard for providing guidance and organization with respect to the assets needed to respond to an incident and the process of the response through all stages of the event, no matter the size or complexity. The ICS introduces a number of concepts, including “Span of Control” and “Unified Command” (all discussed elsewhere in this book). It is a flexible management structure, allowing for expansion and contraction of all sectors based on the dynamics of the incident. In Operations section Branch(es) Divisions/ groups Resources FIG 41-1 Operations Functions. Downloaded for Ibrahim Alnami ( at Philadelphia University from by Elsevier on March 17, 2020. For personal use only. No other uses without permission. Copyright ©2020. Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. CHAPTER 41 Operations and Logistics late 2004, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released the National Incident Management System (NIMS) as a template to complement the ICS. NIMS is an essential foundation of the National Preparedness System (NPS). Per the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), NIMS is a “systematic, proactive approach to guide departments and agencies at all levels of government, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector to work together seamlessly and manage incidents involving all threats and hazards—regardless of cause, size, location, or complexity.”9 It provides a common approach for managing all incidents consistently while allowing for flexibility. It is strongly encouraged and recommended that all agencies practice the basics on a daily basis with small incidents, so that a response to a larger incident is more seamless and practiced when it occurs. The Operations Section Chief is the individual designated by the IC to manage and command the Operations section. He is ultimately responsible for developing and implementing strategies and tactics to meet the incident objectives set by the IC and the IAP. This plan details the objectives of the mission and how they will be met. An IAP should be written for every operational period during the disaster. Tactical decision making (i.e., how, when, and where to deploy certain resources to mitigate a disaster) is also the responsibility of the Operations Section Chief. The ability to make these decisions in a competent fashion, however, is predicated on a continual flow of information both from the field and from the command sector. If an incident spans more than one operational period (usually one work cycle), the operations chief may assign a deputy to work the opposite shift to ensure adequate time for nourishment and rest. An Operations Section Chief should be designated for each operational period. There are several goals that the Operations Chief must accomplish during the initial stages of the response to a disaster. In addition to managing all incident tactical activities and implementing an IAP, the Operations Chief must decide how much to expand his or her organizational structure to match the size and scope of the incident, and the numbers of personnel needed for assigned operations (span of control). Supervisory personnel should be titled and placed in charge of subsidiaries within the operations section by who is most qualified to perform the task rather than on a person’s rank or predisaster title. Span of control within the Operations Section is recommended to be 1:5, but may be as high as 1:10 in larger scale incidents. If this is exceeded, branches need to be established with the same concept. The Operations Chief must decide, in conjunction with the IC and Safety Officer, what degree of risk he or she is willing to assume when sending emergency responders into an unstable environment to perform search, rescue, evacuation, medical care, and mitigation activities related to the disaster event. The Operations Chief must maintain an effective line of communication with the various components within the section as well as with the other ICS sections and the IC. Finally, the Operations Chief must understand the concept of flexibility when making decisions. Disaster events may appear static to the civilian population, but emergency responders understand that these events are dynamic in nature. Changing environmental conditions, secondary hazards, fatigue, resource availability, psychological stressors, and many other factors contribute to ever-changing disaster conditions, and these conditions require adaptability and flexibility in decision-making. Thankfully, there is usually no reason to expand the operations section of the ICS for the great majority of local incidents. An event that the DHS labels an “incident of national significance,” however, may necessitate creation of divisions, groups, branches, task forces, and strike teams. These entities represent functional and geographic separation of duties. A good example of this was demonstrated after the 9/11 disaster. The fire department of the City of New York (FDNY) retained command and control of the entire incident and eventually developed a 271 “unified command structure” according to principles of the ICS. The terrorist attack claimed many lives and resulted in a disaster site that spanned 16 acres. This required a large-scale expansion of the Operations section. Divisions were created according to street names that bordered the scene. Groups included functional components such as technical rescue, fire suppression, and EMS. Branches of each group were composed of personnel attached to a specific type of resource, such as the US&R branch. Within the US&R were individual US&R task forces. EMS strike teams from FDNY and surrounding mutual aid organizations were deployed in support of US&R task forces and other specialized resources. Health and medical resources to support rescue and recovery workers on site were provided by the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) under FEMA’s Emergency Support Function (ESF) #8, using disaster medical assista ...
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Logistic Support during a Fire Incident
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Logistic Support during a Fire Incident
The emergence of disasters such as fires requires well-coordinated efforts from the
emergency response teams. However, emergencies usually occur when response teams are illprepared to tackle the event. Also, resources are generally in scarcity. Such circumstances were
similar to the events in the rural community case. On this occasion, a fire erupted in a large
chemical plant, threatening the safety of the 10,000 employees. The emergency managed called
on the citizens for support, who arrived in large numbers but ill-equipped. The fire will last for
days due to these challenges. The tragedy was further worsened by water runoff from fire
suppression into the town's only source of water. Also, sheltering in place is preferred over
evacuation. In this paper, I utilize logistics support to illustrate how, as an incident commander,
the tragedy can be overcome and protect the citizens.
Response Plan to Support for Citizens and Providers
The first thing that I would do in this situation is to acknowledge the circumstances,
including resources and existing emergency response plan. Given that the arriving response team
is ill-equipped to put out the fire, the organization's resources will heavily be relied upon to
mitigate the adverse effects of the event. On the same note, since the disaster will last for days
while causing environmental hazards, the management has prioritized sheltering the community.
The response teams primarily comprised of members of the region. They provide added
workforce in combating the fire. Thus, it is imperative to get these individuals to work together
in preventing the escalation of the fire.
This requirement also arises because cavalry will not appear any time soon. Explicitly
defining roles and considering alternative back-up solutions will, in this light, be pivotal in

sustaining and supporting the citizens before a more resourceful response team arrives. From
another perspective, I would consider how I would manage and supervise the massive influx of
responders from different areas. Management and supervision tasks are accountability-based, as
well as a clear-cut chain of command. Moreover, there is a need to have an orderly and
systematic planning process, which will ensure the roles of all personnel are defined while
directing staff on how to communicate effectively.
Formulation of Strategic Partnerships
Coordination of efforts from the unsolicited influx of responders will require the
formulation of strategic partnerships. From the volunteers' perspective, their r by a humanitarian
ambition. The dire nature of the emergency characterized by the spread of the rapid-fire in the
chemical plant necessitates that partnerships consist of informal agreements. Alternatively, the
responders to the disaster provide a supply chain that is humanitarian-based. As such, the
primary aim will be to alleviate suffering in an efficiently and speedily fashion while utilizing
the scarce available resources (Tomasini, 2012). Hence, I would settle for informal agreements
between the citizens and the company with the promise to safeguard their safety by sheltering
them at the facility.
Also, to consider the efforts of the volunteers, selecting technical and medical experts,
and emergency responders from the available community response team are essential. Notably,
Tomasini (2012) describes this process and is known as the building of virtual organizations
where a set of agencies come together to utilize scarce resources in disaster response and relief.
However, this process is challenging, considering the difficulties in aligning responsibilities
(Tomasini, 2012). In place of such challenges, I will take it upon myself to determine the duties




of all involved personnel and setting the timelines for each phase of the disaster operations.
Concerning the fire case, I would firstly select personnel who can be involved in putting out the
fire, then advise the rest of the entrapped citizens and staff to settle on the stairwell. The
established communication centers by logistics would instruct people to keep abreast of all the
locations of these individuals in case cavalry arrives before the fire is extinguished. The logistics
will conduct further instructions.
The coordination of efforts and efficient utilization of resources is also reliant on
relationships comprising of trust, commitment, and loyalty. It would be inadvisable to turn away
the responders because they are ill-equipped despite the existing differences, between the
facility's staff and community, and among the citizens themselves. From a commercial
perspective, a task-oriented relationship, in this case, is required. The efforts will, thus, focus on
solving the fire problem. Ensuring that there are existing trust and commitment among all the
parties involved, there is a need to establish a joint planning process and decision making as well
(Larson, 2012). About the case, I would, at this juncture, consider selecting a few representatives
from the responders and include them in the incident command system (ICS).
Incident Command System
It is crucial to establish an incident command system (ICS) considering the magnitude of
the event and the need to support citizens. Within this system, I will become the incident
commander (IC) and, as such, the lead coordinator of the response teams. An ICS is notably an
event management initiative that seeks to command, control, and coordinate emergency response
(Callaway & Robben, 2012). This system is necessitated in the fire case because it helps to
standardize the complexities above and supervision challenges. Hence, the establishment of ICS



and subsequent identification of an IC will enable me to address the issues faced within the
disaster. As the IC, I will identify three core emergency response teams. The first team will be
responsible for sheltering, the second team will contain the flow of chemicals in the sewer, and
the third team will utilize available resources to control the spread of the fire.
Clear definition of roles among the staff is further reinforced within the ICS. Specifically,
all parties at all levels are informed about their tasks and objectives. These functions will be
communicated to all citizens through the communication command center to avoid duplication of
efforts or confusion. Stipulating from the onset that the logistics section will be responsible for
overseeing the disaster operations further minimizes ignorance (Wood, 2012). This process will
allow the responders selected from citizens to follow the lead of company representatives,
thereby having a consensus on essential items and routines to ...

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