Santa Clara County, California

Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS)
Introductory Course of Instruction

Module A2: Introduction to SEMS Components and Features

A2.1: Five basic components of SEMS

SEMS integrates several of the state's primary emergency response programs. The primary components of SEMS are:

*FIRESCOPE (Firefighting Resources of California Organized for Potential Emergencies) is a cooperative interagency program established by the fire services.

This section discusses each of the components briefly to provide you with a better understanding of their role and importance in SEMS.

The Incident Command System (ICS)

The ICS was developed as a part of the FIRESCOPE program during the 1970's by an interagency working group representing local, state and federal fire services in California.

After field tests, ICS was adopted by the fire services in California as the standard all hazards response system ICS also has been adopted nationally by the federal land management agencies as the standard for response to all wildland fires.

A national generic version of ICS has been developed by a Multi- discipline working group. This system will be used in the State's Field Response Level Approved Course of Instruction. A module on Mutual Aid and a module on EOC Operational Area and ICS Coordination have been added to that curriculum.

Multi-agency Coordination

Multi-agency or inter-agency coordination as it applies to SEMS, means the participation of agencies and disciplines involved at any level of the SEMS organization working together in a coordinated effort to facilitate decisions for overall emergency response activities, including the sharing of critical resources and the prioritization of incidents.

Multi-agency coordination is generally that which takes place among agencies within a jurisdiction. For example, between. police, fire, and public works departments working together at an EOC. Inter-agency coordination is generally that which takes place between agencies in different jurisdictions or between agencies at different levels. For example, a county sheriff municipal police and national guard.

SEMS Guidance and the Approved Courses of Instruction all describe how Multi-agency or inter-agency coordination takes place at the various SEMS levels.

The Master Mutual Aid Agreement

A Master Mutual Aid Agreement in California was originally signed in 1950. Under this agreement, cities, counties and the State joined together to provide for a comprehensive program of voluntarily providing services, resources and facilities to jurisdictions when local resources prove to be inadequate to cope with a given situation. A copy of the California Master Mutual Aid Agreement is attached to the Student Reference Manual.

Written mutual aid plans and operating procedures have been developed for several discipline specific mutual aid systems that function on a statewide basis within the Master Mutual Aid Agreement. The fire and rescue and law enforcement systems are examples which we hear the most about. Emergency Medical, Coroner and Search and Rescue systems also exist. Public works and building officials mutual aid systems are under development.

Operational Areas

An Operational Area is one of the five organizational levels in SEMS. An. Operational Area consists of a county, and all political subdivisions within the county area. The governing bodies of each county and of the political subdivisions in the county may organize and structure their operational area. The county will be the lead agency for the operational area unless another arrangement is. established by agreement.

The operational area is used by the county and the political subdivisions within the operational area for the coordination of resources and information, and to serve as a link in the system of communications and coordination between the state's emergency operation centers and the operation centers of the political subdivisions within the operational area.

OASIS Operational Area Satellite Information System

The Operational Area Satellite Information System (OASIS) is a satellite based communications system with a high frequency radio backup OASIS provides the capability to rapidly transfer a wide variety of information reports between OASIS user agencies. In SEMS, OASIS can be viewed as both a communications network and information dissemination system linking three of the five SEMS organizational levels.

The communications components to the system include a satellite system in each operational area linked to selected state, federal and local agencies. The information processing component of OASIS contains fifteen forms which provide a rapid and accurate means of transferring information between locations on the OASIS network.

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