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Forest Service helps integrate Incident Command System in Disaster Response Systems in Oman

Group photo
USDA Forest Service team with workshop participants from Oman’s National Committee for Civil Defense. USDA Forest Service photo.

OMAN – Four USDA Forest Service technical experts recently traveled to Oman to support the National Committee for Civil Defense by delivering a 3-day training on Incident Command System for senior-level government personnel, highlighting how ICS functions and helps improve coordination before, during, and after an emergency incident.

The team included National Incident Management Organization Safety Officer Terri Knauth, Region 1 Forest Fire Management Officer Laura Ward, Africa and Middle East Program Manager Alison Holt and retired volunteer Ron Bertsch. The specialists also facilitated a 5-day workshop that will support initial development of an operating manual and incident management team Standard Operating Procedures for Oman. Knauth and Bertsch had previously worked in Oman in 2011. Knauth says of the reunion, “It was impressive to see how far along the NCCD has advanced their knowledge of ICS concepts. Their level of engagement during the scenarios was high and they worked extremely well within their teams.”

Since 2011, the USFS Office of International Programs, through support from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, has collaborated with the Sultanate of Oman on disaster management issues. Currently, the Forest Service is working with Oman’s National Committee for Civil Defense, the governmental coordinating organization overseeing all national disaster response, supporting efforts to update the Sultanate’s disaster management planning and response systems while developing improved training programs on these new systems. The program has introduced U.S. systems and best practices to stakeholders across Oman’s disaster management and response sector.

The NCCD is currently adapting and integrating ICS into Oman’s National Emergency Management System, which will enhance the delivery of emergency services and promote efficient use of resources during disasters, improving coordination between stakeholders throughout the sector.  Speaking of the technical support from the USDA Forest service, Captain Alyaqdhan Al Siyabi of NCCD says, “This partnership is beneficial to NCCD because the knowledge gained by the instructors in term of practical and theoretical experience helped in the overall development of a National Emergency Response Plan to deal with major incidents.”