Disaster Response Command Systems
at Field-, Community- and National Levels
Rainrace emphasizes that the overall response command system for a country should focus on three key levels:
The community level, though a higher command than the field level, focuses on supporting the field operations as needed, as well as tending to other impacts that require a community response. This level should work from a pre-established coordination center managed by trained staff, that tries to stay one step ahead of the field level, anticipating their needs. The staff, through the field responders, is the eyes and ears of the operation for the national level.
The national level has the responsibility of coordinating all high level assistance to the operation; implementing government decisions, utilizing expertise from national institutions and bringing in international assistance if requested. The national level distributes and coordinates national and international aid to the various communities affected by a disaster.
The same system should be used on a daily basis as is during a disaster. A system that is only used during a disaster, is likely to become part of the disaster. The system outline is straightforward, the application is based on the cultural and national institutions and policy of a country. Information flow format between each level; what is reported, when and how, must be included in the outline.
These levels should all have the same command functions at each level; Command, Plans, Logistics and Operations.
In large scale operations responding agencies from many disciplines work together. Since they do not work together on a daily basis, there needs to be a system in place and fully prepared to ensure a coordinated response. Rainrace provides a command and coordination system (see figure below) that can be applied by all agencies, in all situations and comand levels. Urban search and rescue (USAR) involves saving people (or victims?)trapped in collapsed structures. USAR Teams around the world are at various stages of development. Some are well established but are looking towards further development. Others are just starting their operations.