Incident Command System at the Weather Forecast Office (75)

Karleisa Rogacheski, National Weather Service, Eureka, California

Troy Nicolini, National Weather Service



The National Weather Service (NWS) conducts Service Assessments after significant events to learn what worked well and what needs improving. Many of the Service Assessments completed over the past seven years have included recommendations regarding NWS operations that can be addressed by adopting the Incident Command System (ICS) to manage high impact events. These include the recommendation that roles and certifications are consistently defined across the NWS, that nimbleness and flexibility is enhanced during hazardous weather events, and that capacity building should be given a high priority. These are basic tenets of the Incident Command System, which is a standardized approach to command, control, and emergency response for any sized emergency or non-emergency event. ICS is already used across almost all federal, state, local, non-profit, and tribal agencies as a result of President Bush mandating the use of ICS with a Presidential Directive in 2003. Even the US Coast Guard now uses ICS when they can work with non-military agencies. Because ICS is used so broadly it has evolved into an outstanding command system that has some benefits over other command systems. More importantly, the use of ICS by the NWS provides the opportunity for the agency to have consistency between its many operational centers, and to be consistent with all NWS partners. In fact, the need for consistency is why so many agencies use ICS. It ensures they can communicate and work together during times of crisis. The NWS Weather Forecast Office (WFO) in Eureka, California uses ICS and has found that it does provide many benefits. This presentation will discuss the motivation for adopting ICS, how it is used, and the culture change needed to implement ICS in WFO Eureka.