The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Emergency Management Program held its second Voluntary Organizations Active In Disasters meeting on March 1 at the Two Waters Complex. Currently the program is in the recruiting phase, working to reach as many Community members as possible who might be interested in attending and participating in training so they can serve as volunteers to help respond to and recover from an emergency or natural disaster in the Community. The program is also looking to recruit participation from other Community volunteer programs that may already exist for other non-emergency purposes.
An overview of the Salt River Tribal Volunteer Program was provided by Salt River Fire Department Captain Robert Scabby and Community Emergency Manager Cliff Puckett.
The training is for those who want to help in any disaster or large emergency and want to be trained to have the confidence to help out in any situation when needed. “We want to get everyone confident in the training process,” said Scabby about the meetings, which will be taking place every month.
Besides encouraging Community members to be proactive in becoming volunteers, the discussion also focused on how to assemble 72-hour emergency kits, training incidents and the command system.
Puckett gave a general overview of the National Incident Management System (NIMS), which is a system developed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to be used by all levels of emergency responders across the country. NIMS components are the command and management, preparedness, resource management, communications, supporting technologies, and ongoing management and maintenance. The Incident Command System (ICS) is a management system to enable effective and efficient domestic incident management by integrating a combination of facilities. It has five major areas: command, operations, planning, logistics, and finance/administration.
The class learned about the Emergency Operation Center (EOC), which is the coordination center that will be activated during major emergencies. The EOC supports the incident commander and is usually staffed with Community decision-makers. It can be activated by certain SRPMIC executives to support or command the event. For the Community, the EOC is located in the Two Waters Complex computer lab. Another area of EOC is Emergency Support Functions, which assigns primary functions to one department, identifies specific responsibilities such as before and after an event, and identifies support agencies.
The class learned about other areas of the emergency center/areas and also common terms for the emergency sites, such as:
Command: The person that has overall strategic responsibility for the emergency.
Groups: The different functions of the site.
Divisions: Labeled North, South, East and West of the emergency locations.
Branches: These areas can be implemented to help keep the span of control at a manageable level for large events.
Staging: The resources area, where food and water or equipment are held.
The group was also shown minor-emergency notices, such as a mass email that goes out to the Community to notify everyone about an incident; for example, a water leak in VA-I, which caused the Public Works Department to shut off water for a short period of time.
Individuals asked questions such as where the shelter locations are within the Community, how many people the facilities hold, and if there were generators in case the electricity went out.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, the next class will be taking place on Tuesday, April 5, at 10 a.m. in Two Waters Building A, conference room A-109. It will be open to the public. For more information, contact Captain Robert Scabby at (480) 362-5748 or Cliff Puckett at (480) 362-7927, firstname.lastname@example.org.