Incident Command System Requirements in the Coast Guard Auxiliary

Perhaps one of the most important training issues confronting the Coast Guard Auxiliary is the certification of individual members in ICS or Incident Command System. Let’s talk about ICS and NIMS. NIMS is the National Incident Management System and a national plan for various responding agencies required to work together to resolve an incident, exercise or drill. Incidents can be as innocuous as an OPSAIL event or a visit by the Queen Mary II that require intra-agency coordination for a successful outcome. NIMS is a national plan, integrating many concepts for potential responding agencies and organizations in order to effectively work together.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers over 50 courses in conjunction with the Emergency Management Institute (EMI) related to ICS. The course work that applies to the Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary includes ICS 100, 200, and IS 700 and 800. ICS 300 and 341 pertains to certain members of Team Coast Guard involved in planning during an on-going incident. These courses are available from FEMA’s website.

Who should take the ICS courses depends on what you do to support the US Coast Guard. Those that pledged to perform certain duties in direct support of Coast Guard missions have gone through the extensive Personnel Security process and have received a Direct Operational (DO) designation you will need to complete the ICS 100 and 700 series. In addition, if you are a coxswain, pilot, team leader, National Staff member, or elected to a leadership role in the organization, then you will need to take ICS 200, 210, and IS 800. The reason for the additional requirement is simple. You may well be in a position to work with the Coast Guard to gather resources or be exposed to critical sensitive information and helping to manage these resources. There for you will need to know how the Coast Guard operation shifts to become a bigger part of the operational posture.

All members working in the Trident program are required to complete the additional ICS courses. Hypothetically, if you are assigned as “resource leader” or “demobilization leader” during an incident, you have the responsibility for accepting orders from the Incident Commander while directing and performing a function within a response. In order to function effectively within the system you need to know how the system functions; particularly when the Incident Commander you take orders from is a local fire or police chief. The time table is critical for the required members to complete the ICS courses both the Active Duty and Auxiliary. Keep these deadline dates in mind: ICS-100 by 30 June 06, ICS 200 by 30 Sept 06, IS 700

by 30 June 06, IS 800 by 30 Sept 06. The critical time table for each deadline has a ramification that includes the preclusion of Auxiliary members to further engage in direct operational activities with the Coast Guard. There is no consequence for completing courses until 30 December 2007 when a member will then be considered REYR (out of date) if courses are not completed. These courses are intended for all Auxiliary members potentially involved in response to incidents in a leadership role or involved in the Trident program.

Individual USCG commands may ask selected Auxiliarists to take part in ICS-300 and ICS-341 which pertains mainly to Planning activities during an ICS related incident or exercise. ICS-300 and ICS-341 requires seven full training days and is somewhat demanding but rewarding.

By Kevin J. Cady, US Coast Guard Auxiliary

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