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Incident Management Team: Staying Vigilant to Support the National Ocean Service during Disasters

JANUARY 19, 2021 — On January 13, OR&R’s Disaster Preparedness Program (DPP) hosted the first National Ocean Service (NOS) Incident Management Team (IMT) meeting of 2021.

View of a hazy skyline from a vessel.
View from a NOAA vessel of wildfires in Newport, Oregon during the 2020 wildfire season. Image credit: NOAA.

Last year was an extremely active year for the NOS IMT, with a global pandemic, a record setting Atlantic hurricane season (30 named storms), record setting wildfire disasters in the western states, and civil unrest impacts during the summer of 2020.  A special feature of this meeting was a recap of how the Office of Coastal Survey (OCS) adapted during a public health crisis to support small boat operations with their Navigation Response Teams. OCS provided critical support to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard, needed to re-open waterways and ports during post-hurricane disaster response.  Given that the pandemic will likely still be a challenge during the 2021 hurricane season, the best practices developed by OCS were shared to enhance our overall mission operations for NOS.  Enhancing NOAA and NOS’s readiness posture for the next disaster is a key component of the DPP and the NOS IMT missions.

The NOS IMT includes staff from across all the NOS program and staff offices that activate when needed in response to emergencies. The IMT will activate in response to any hazard that may threaten NOS personnel, mission, and/or infrastructure if two or more NOS program offices are involved. The NOS IMT assists with preparedness, response, and recovery activities across NOS, provides incident status reporting to NOAA leadership, and supports NOAA’s Homeland Security Program Office for all disaster activations.

In the upcoming months, the NOS IMT is completing an internal lessons learned report from last year’s hurricane season to better position NOS for the coming hurricane season, coordinating several pandemic activities, and most importantly, staying ready and vigilant for the next threat. 

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Last updated Friday, January 22, 2021 4:09pm PST