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4 Points that will make Emergency Incident Rehabilitation Functional

 Last week we talked about using the acronym LEVEL to successfully establish and plan for Emergency Incident Rehabilitation (EIR). We've also talked about LOCATE as a means to assessing the situation (LEVEL blog entry or LEVEL podcast). Now lets put it together...

 In this post will talk about my four critical points of making EIR  functional. Gathering the materials and  personnel needed to establish emergency incident rehabilitation is only part of the battle. To be functional,  EIR must become part of the greater planning process.

The four critical points to functional emergency incident rehabilitation are:

#1. Preplanning and Incident Cction Planning:
  • Make EIR  part of the pre-planning process.  Including EIR  into the pre-incident plans of any jurisdiction (and sharing that information) will make the establishment of EIR  much smoother. Plan for the site specific needs; access/egress/staging, EIR locations for various conditions, as well as traffic flow from the actual event to the EIR. 
  • Make EIR part of the Incident Action Plan. Include EIR as part of each IAP and consider its use at any event when IAPs are developed. Including EIR in the IAP will provide a much needed memory jog for officers. Being part of the IAP will also ensure that the EIR is included operational period plans and meet the need for staffing the EIR through various operational periods.
  • Include changes in weather conditions. The EIR staff must be aware of predicted changes in the weather. Temperature changes, precipitation and storms will impact all dynamics on the scene. Weather changes may also cause relocation of the EIR or the need for shelter. 
#2. Make a Commitment to EIR.
  • The first commitment to Functional Emergency Incident Rehab is to overcome the myth that surround EIR.
  • Make EIR part of your training activities and practice it during training evolutions. Doing so will help make Functional Emergency Incident Rehabilitation more of an automatic, accepted practice.
  • Make EIR a priority. Just like the Incident Safety Officer, EIR is often left as an afterthought in the command process. This simply cannot continue. The ISO and EIR are critical to the safety and survival of all responders on the scene. EIR cannot be left up to the last person to show up or simply be delegated to an untrained EMS crew while they stand-by at the scene.
#3. Accountability and Incident Safety Officer
  • The practice of assigning an incident safety officer by default shortchanges the members working at an incident and deprives the incident commander of an invaluable resource and places the EIR at significant disadvantage. The ISO should be the interface between the EIR and the incident commander. 
  • Accountability systems must be maintained for everyone...including personnel at the EIR and those staffing the EIR. Remember, accountability is for everyone on the scene. 
  • Maintain Unit Integrity and eliminate freelancing. Units should report to EIR intact and the order to report to EIR must be followed. Freelancing has no place on the emergency scene...including at EIR.
#5. Make EIR an "All Day" event.