Office of Operations
21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

4.15 What Worked and What Did Not Work

4.15.1 What Worked

Communication to the Public

The public was kept informed of the incident and the response to it via a unified information system and nightly town hall meetings. Communication as cited by participants was timely, accurate, and credible. Entities involved in the incident sent representatives to the press briefings and town hall meetings.

Quick Implementation of an Incident Command Center

An incident command center was quickly established after the incident occurred. A local building was designated as the incident command center, and phone communication, both landline and Internet capability, were installed by Aiken County communication staff as a priority.

Use of an Incident Command System

Initially, the implementation of an incident command system was disjointed due to conflicting jurisdictions and some confusion as to the actions by others. However, as the incident progressed, the incident command system developed and remained in effect throughout the incident. Eventually, the incident team achieved interagency cooperation.

Use of the 2-1-1 System for Social Services

A new 2-1-1 system was used to provide information to evacuees on the social services available to them. The 2-1-1 system moved phone traffic away from the 911 system and allowed the 911 system to remain open for emergency use. However, information has to be kept up to date as conditions change.

Use of the National Response Plan

This was the first time in the community that an incident utilized the national response plan. Entities understood and knew their roles and responsibilities.

4.15.2 What Did Not Work

Duplication of Effort

There appeared to be a duplication of effort between the Incident Command Center and the Emergency Operations Center as reported in several after-action reports.

Internal Bickering Over Leadership of Incident Command

Initially, there was internal bickering over the leadership of the incident command system. While this may not have impacted the actions of the incident command system, there was the potential for this to happen resulting in reduced capacity of the incident command system.

Not All Involved Entities Were Represented at the Incident Command Center

All entities did not appear to be represented at the Incident Command Center such as the Red Cross.

Staff Assignments

Aiken County Emergency Services did not anticipate that the staff assigned to Emergency Management Services for HazMat response had other duties and could not respond. However, others filled the need for a HazMat response.

February 6, 2006
Publication #FHWA-HOP-08-014