COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS – The city and county of Los Angeles have tapped TEEX to help them train and prepare approximately 150 emergency responders who will form four Incident Management Teams to serve approximately 14 million Los Angeles area residents.
More than 100 responders have already completed the jurisdictional Enhanced Incident Management/Unified Command training program at TEEX’s Emergency Operations Training Center (EOTC) in College Station. A third group will arrive in March. The incident management training takes place in an actual incident command post at the EOTC.
Through unique, scenario-based simulations and computer-aided technologies, personnel learn by managing a realistic, large-scale crisis using a unified command approach. In this case, the simulated incident was a convention center collapse that killed dozens and injured over 1,000 people.
The jurisdictional training allows responders to learn and perform different roles within the unified command structure, and to work together as a team with people they would respond with in a real incident.
“This is truly the best simulation I’ve seen” said Donald Frazeur, Chief Deputy, Emergency Operations, with the Los Angeles Fire Department, who attended his first session at the EOTC earlier this month. “The advantage here is that all the participants are from the Los Angeles area, and we’ll be unifying with them in the future. This is the best way to accomplish working and training with others, so you get to know them and understand their abilities. These are all players who will be in our sandbox when that large incident happens.”
“And the staff here is excellent,” Frazeur added. “A lot of the trainers are from Los Angeles and are familiar with our challenges. The best group from across the country – that’s what we have here.”
Joe Castro, Battalion Chief with the Los Angeles Fire Department and TEEX adjunct instructor, says he considers Texas and California as two of the top states when it comes to knowledge and applications of executive-level incident management. He says Los Angeles used the IM/UC approach taught at TEEX as a template and has “truly become unified since first taking this course.”
“We’re now sending new leaders so they can see how this system works and learn how to work within a unified command concept,” he added.
“This program at the EOTC allows them to see the whole process,” Castro said. “We include all the relevant stakeholders from the city and the county, from the Department of General Services, the Red Cross, animal services, public works, as well as police, fire and EMS. One of the goals of the training is to teach everyone the process. Everyone leaves with sensitivity and knowledge of the capabilities of others in the group to mitigate an incident.”
Frazeur agreed: “I’ve participated at several management levels here. This process has allowed me to be in different roles, such as logistics. Any time you can do this when you’re not in a real crisis allows you to think it through. Also, the incident we’re managing spans operational periods, such as would occur in an earthquake or other major incident.”