Multi-Agency Administrative Teams
A formalized multi-agency administrative team should be the mechanism for accomplishing the established goals and objectives of the program and ensuring its continuity beyond administration and personnel changes. These multi-agency teams are typically comprised of senior (mid-to-upper level management) representatives of each of the participating agencies plus private sector partners.
The Administrative Team differs from a Major Incident Response Team in that the Administrative Team is designed to meet away from the incident scene (a "conference room" team as opposed to a "highway team"). The agencies represented on both teams are usually the same, but the individuals representing those agencies may be different. However, in many instances, the individuals making up the Administrative Team will also be those on the Major Incident Response Team. This often leads to greater synergy on both teams as specific individuals work together both on-scene and off.
Regular Administrative Team Meetings
The team should meet regularly to carry out the program goals and objectives. The team should have a facilitator who prepares and distributes an agenda well before the scheduled meeting and affords team members the opportunity to place items on the agenda for discussion or action by the team. The team may make changes in procedures where it is empowered to do so or resolve issues of agency coordination or understanding that have arisen at past incidents. The team may also recommend higher-level policy and procedure changes to a high-level Program Steering Committee for action at the agency level. It may also develop recommendations for changes in state or local law where needed to enable better response or to clarify a jurisdictional or policy issue.
As part of this team's work, scene planning and training should be conducted. Administrative team members should conduct incident simulation or "in-field" training exercises.
Post-incident debriefings should be held to assess what did and did not work during recent major incident response. These may be organized following an incident or as part of the regular meeting of the teams. It is common for public safety agencies, especially fire and rescue agencies, to conduct internal agency debriefings of incidents. The multi-agency debriefing or review should be in addition to any internal review. It should be conducted at a "neutral facility" in a non-hostile environment with the intent to examine what can be improved rather than pointing blame for mistakes.
Special Events Planning
The Administrative Team should also plan for special event incident response, such as planning for major sporting events, concerts, conventions and weather-related events.
Major Incident Response Teams
One effective way to mitigate the effects of a major incident is to have a designated Major Incident Response Team. Made up of senior-level agency members from all concerned agencies, this team is available on a 24/7 basis to respond to a major incident. The members of the team should be high enough in rank or position to lead their agencies forces on-scene and command that additional resources from their agencies be brought to the scene without obtaining approval from higher-ranking officials in their agency. There is also an advantage in having the same people involved in command at an incident scene. Over time, these people develop a trust and respect for each other's abilities, judgment, and knowledge.