HICS provides hospitals and health systems with the tools needed to respond to any type of emergency, either internal or community wide.
The incident commander is responsible for leading the HICS team, which has 22 individuals evenly assigned to Team A (first shift) and Team B (relief shift). Each HICS team member is selected to fill a very specific role, including safety, security, operations, logistics, medical and more. These 22 people will work in tandem until HICS is no longer in effect.
The HICS team is most often assembled in times of a natural disaster such as a hurricane. In situations like those, the HICS team is generally well-informed upon arrival and they are ready to implement plans. June 12th would prove to be very different. The team was responding to something we had never experienced before.
Over the next 36 hours, the HICS team would be tested to new limits as they responded to lead our team through one of the nation’s largest mass-casualty events.
The HICS team documented five operational objectives:
- Provide a safe environment for guests, patients and team members
- Maintain and replenish supplies during the incident
- Offer assistance to guests/families using Family Assistance Area
- Maintain appropriate staffing for quality care during incident
- Manage communication
Although seemingly simple in theory, each of these objectives held great weight. It would take incredible collaboration and discipline to fulfill these objectives.
As incident commander, you are trained to remain calm. The pressure is intense. You take on the role knowing everyone is watching to see what you will do and how you will respond. Later they may evaluate and speculate about why you did what you did, but in the moment, you are the chief. You are leading a team of leaders. Together, you do what you need to do. You trust your gut, trust your team and rely on your training.