Puyallup fire & rescue expands scope and effectiveness of emergency operations center team


Courtesy of Courtesy of IHS

When the City of Puyallup (Washington) Fire & Rescue Department responds to emergency events, its first responders depend on timely coordination and efficient communication support from their colleagues at the city's Emergency Operations Center (EOC). The EOC team, in turn, depends on Essential Incident Masterâ„¢ software from ESS to keep operations running smoothly.

Essential Incident Master [now Essential Emergencyâ„¢] supports both routine daily operations and real-time emergency response with a powerful combination of data, maps, modeling, reports and more. The system has been developed by crisis managers for crisis managers and has been used successfully for years by organizations around the world.

Not long ago, however, only two city employees in the Puyallup EOC were trained to use Essential Incident Master. When city officials recognized that their ability to use the mission-critical system might be at risk, Puyallup Fire & Rescue officer Amy Jackson contacted ESS to arrange Web-based training classes on Essential Incident Master, led by experienced ESS instructors who arranged flexible course schedules that facilitated full participation by Puyallup emergency services staff.

More than 30 Puyallup city employees, including first responders with the Police and Fire departments; and representatives from Parks, Finance, Legal, Library, Courts, Development Services and the City Clerk and City Manager's office received Incident Master training. Classes were conveniently scheduled during a week when all participants were available to attend.

'The classes were a great success and the feedback was tremendous,' Jackson said. 'This training gave many of those students a feeling of direction and organization so they understood what to do when called to the EOC.'

As a result of the training, Puyallup now has an EOC operation with support from nearly every city department, in accordance with the city's proposed EOC organizational plan.

Training also offered the Fire & Rescue Department staff an important value-added bonus and added return on investment.

'We found we could import all of the databases already in use in other departments into Essential Incident Master,' said Jackson. 'This would save us countless hours of data input and thousands of dollars in wages.'

And for Amy Jackson, personally, there was one more benefit. 'City co-workers can now share my workload by helping me update the system's database, so I'm a happy camper!'

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