Haywoods Path to Success

October 22, 2012

Haywood County is a rural area in the mountains of western North Carolina with a population of approximately 70,000 people. Like other jurisdictions we having been steadily working toward NIMS compliance. In early 2008, we saw the need to develop a local Incident Management Team in order to assist local Police and Fire Chiefs with managing incidents such as large fires, search and rescues, and flash flooding. Even in a small jurisdiction it is imperative to have access to a skilled group of folks to support Incident Management efforts. Ever since then we have hosted the entire gamut of position specific courses, as well as participating in the AHIMT course as a small team. Monthly team meetings and practicing at planned events helped us brush up on the skills of the "planning process", but we were looking for an opportunity to showcase our talent in the ICS positions with a cadre of evaluators that could provide constructive advice and sign our Position Task Books. We contacted Richard at Wiland Associates with our dilemma and he immediately went to work developing a 3 day scenario based workshop to accomplish our objective. In late August 2012, our team successfully completed the AHIMT workshop. During the workshop our team was faced with critical decisions and time sensitive tasks that challenged our ability to work together as a team and follow the process of developing the Incident Action Plan. From development of SMART objectives to media briefings to the operational period briefings, the team worked hard and learned lessons that we won't soon forget. After the workshop, the team members received good feedback on our position task books, but most importantly we matured greatly as a team. We learned that becoming an Incident Management Team was much more than taking a bunch of classes as individuals! Team dynamics cannot be learned in a class, they must be learned through real world exercises with strong and experienced facilitation and evaluation. Wiland Associates provided this opportunity for us and we were extremely happy with the turn-key job. Thanks to Richard Andring and all his staff on helping advance the Haywood County Incident Management Team to next level of our team development process.

Greg Shuping
AHIMT Incident Commander
Haywood County, NC

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