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6. The Incident Response Teams (IRTs) at State and District Levels

The IRT is a team comprising of all positions of IRS organisation as shown in Fig-4 headed by Incident Commander (IC). The Operation Section (OS) helps to prepare different tactical operations as required. The PS helps in obtaining different information and preparing plans as required. The Logistic Section (LS) assesses the availability and requirement of resources and takes action for obtaining them. IRTs will function at State, District, Sub-Division and the Tehsil / Block levels. As per the NDMA guidelines, these teams will respond to all natural and man-made disasters.

The lowest administrative unit (Sub-Division, Tehsil or Block) will be the first responder as the case may be. If the incident becomes complex and is beyond the control of local IRT, the higher level IRT will be informed and they will take over the response management. In such cases the lower level IRT will merge with higher level IRT. When a lower level of IRT (e.g. Block / Tehsil) merges with a higher level (e.g. Sub-Division, District or State), the role of IC of lower level of IRT will change. When the Block level IRT merges with Sub-Division level IRT, IC of the Block level may play the role of Deputy IC or any other duty that the IC of higher authority assigns. This process will be applicable at all levels.

In any disaster response, the initial efforts would always be taken by the District Administration. However, when Districts are overwhelmed in any situation, the support necessarily has to come from the State and National level. While the IRS is mainly relevant at the basic functional level, it is absolutely necessary that the support functionaries from the State and the National level also confirm to the principles of IRS in the emergency support duties. This will be greatly beneficial for the proper coordination of the various response efforts at the National and State level with that of the District. It is therefore necessary to clearly understand the structure of the IRS in the context of State response. The hierarchical representation of RO with State EOC, Headquarters IRT and its lower level of IRTs at State level are shown in Fig-5.

Figure 5

At district level the IRT looks as shown in Fig-6 where District Collector is overall in charge as IC and other sub-division’s officers work as IC of the respective sub-division/ IRTs.

Figure 6

Fig-7 gives the composition of Command staff in the IRS organisation.

Figure 7

6.1 MOEF initiatives

As per Chemical Accidents (Emergency planning, preparedness and response) (CAEPPR) Rules 1996, four tier of Crisis Groups arrangement have been made. The State, District and Local are more important and the same have been briefed as:

6.1.1 Functions of the State Crisis Group (SCG)

  • The State Crisis Group shall be the apex body in the State to deal with major chemical accidents and to provide expert guidance for handling major chemical accidents.
  • The State Crisis Group shall
  1. review all district off-site emergency plans in the State with a view to examine its adequacy in accordance with the Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemicals Rules and forward a report to the Central Crisis Group once in three months;
  2. assist the State Government in managing chemical accidents at a site;
  3. assist the State Government in the planning, preparedness and mitigation of major chemical accidents in the State;
  4. continuously monitor the post accident situation arising out of a major chemical accident in the State and forward a report to the Central Crisis group;
  5. review the progress report submitted by the District Crisis groups;
  6. respond to queries addressed to it by the District Crisis groups;
  7. publish a list of experts and officials in the State who are concerned with the management of chemical accidents.

6.1.2 Functions of the District Crisis Group (DCG)

  1. The District Crisis Group shall be the apex body in the district to deal with major chemical accidents and to provide expert guidance for handling chemical accidents;
  2. The District Crisis Group shall:
  • assist in the preparation of the district off-site emergency plan;
  • review all the on-site emergency plans prepared by the occupier of Major Accident Hazards installation for the preparation of district off-site emergency plan;
  • assist the district administration in the management of chemical accidents at a site lying within the district;
  • continuously monitor every chemical accident ;
  • ensure continuous information flow from the district to the Central and State Crisis Group regarding accident situation and mitigation efforts;
  • forward a report of the chemical accident within fifteen days to the State Crisis Group;
  • conduct at least one full scale mock-drill of a chemical accident at a site each year and forward a report of the strength and weakness of the plan to the State Crisis Group.

6.1.3 Functions of the Local Crisis Group (LCG)

  1. The Local Crisis Group shall be the body in the industrial pocket to deal with chemical accidents and coordinate efforts in planning, preparedness and mitigation of a chemical accident;
  2. The Local Crisis Group shall:
  • prepare local emergency plan for the industrial pocket;
  • ensure dovetailing of the local emergency plan with the district off-site emergency plan;
  • train personnel involved in chemical accident management;
  • educate the population likely to be affected in a chemical accident about the remedies and existing preparedness in the area;
  • conduct at least one full scale mock-drill of a chemical accident at a site every six months and forward a report to the District Crisis Group;
  • respond to all public inquiries on the subject.

 

 
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