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On Wednesday Feb. 10, 2015 county and local emergency management coordinators took part in a two day FEMA Incident Command System Training offered by the Hidalgo County Health and Human Services Department. The Rio Grande Valley has experienced its share of incidents where an ICS has been initiated. Due to the ICS being based upon a changeable, scalable response organization providing a common hierarchy within which people can work together effectively; the training provided the opportunity for individuals to learn new ICS procedures.
"As incidents occur the ICS changes," said Emergency Management Coordinator Rick Saldana. "It is very important to keep a span of control during these incidents and work in a uniformed manner."
The ICS is a standardized on-scene incident management concept designed specifically to allow responders to adopt an integrated organizational structure equal to the complexity and demands of any single incident or multiple incidents without being hindered by jurisdictional boundaries.
John Ovalle, lead instructor of the public program and Liason for the Texas Department of Public Safety Emergency Management Division, used examples of incidents that have occurred in Hidalgo County to explain ICS procedures.
"We learn through our career," said Ovalle. "The Alton Bus crash and flooding of Hurricane Alex are incidents where the ICS proved to be beneficial in handling the situation."
Hidalgo and Cameron County emergency management staff, along with staff from the City of Brownsville, and Mission attended the training.