Formal Agreements Are Not Enough

Unified Command is Critical

Great to see formal agreements between Public Safety officials in the City of Houston as highlighted in this story from Police1. The story is Task force calls for unified command center in wake of Astroworld tragedy:…/task-force-calls-for-unified…/. It’s not enough.

It’s not enough to have a piece of paper that says agencies will do something. Something has be done. There have also been two mechanisms in place for a while now. These could have helped reduce impact if not prevented this and similar tragedies that occurred at special events.

The first is leadership. It is a leadership failure to not require all agencies to train, practice and plan together for all special events in a jurisdiction and to respond together to critical incidents.

The second mechanism is call All-Hazards Incident Management. It is the concept of applying Incident Command System (ICS) principles to real training and real-world events and incidents. Within the theories and practical processes of ICS, Unified Command is central. It means the leaders from agencies will create a combined leadership team and work together to plan, practice and partner across all Public and Private sector partners involved in special events.

I am passionate about this. Why? Because unfortunately I’ve been the participant in events that went bad. What happened? Failures in leadership and collaborative planning processes.

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How do you get there?

I submit to all Public Safety agencies that read the @police1 story to not be the next headline. Start working together now. How do you start?

  1. Make a phone call to your other Public Safety partners and build the relationships.
  2. Get real training. Beginner level ICS doesn’t cut it. Public Safety needs to be trained up and practice how to use the techniques.
  3. Practice All-Hazards planning cycles on pretend and little events.
  4. Require any assigned Public Safety rep to be actively involved in the training and planning.
  5. Don’t copy and paste the plan from last year. Work the process for real.
  6. Keep. Working. Together.

Godspeed to all the Men and Women in Public Safety on the streets and in the call centers and to the Private sector partners that put on special events for us all to enjoy.

  • Have a plan
  • Stay informed
  • Get involved



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