Thursday at the Governor's Hurricane Conference is a day of workshops. My first workshop of the day was my own - I was the speaker. With the scary title "Latest Developments in Resource Typing for Mass Care," I was curious as to who would show up. When I saw that my presentation was scheduled to compete with the workshop entitled "American Red Cross Roundtable," I wondered if anyone would come at all. My concern came from the fact that I expected my audience to be mostly Red Cross people.
Fortunately, there were people at the conference who weren't scared by the title but were actually interested. "Resource Typing" is a fancy term that comes from the National Incident Management System (NIMS). NIMS defines a resource as personnel, equipment or supplies. When a disaster strikes there is an immediate demand for more resources. Emergency Managers in the affected area request resources from outside the affected area. Resource Typing identifies common items that are requested in a disaster, provides a uniform description of the resource, and categorizes them by Type, or capability. A Type 1 resource has more capability than a Type 2 resource.
I have been the Chairman of the NIMS Mass Care Working Group since 2008. FEMA assembled in this group the subject matter experts necessary to resource type resources needed to perform mass care. Most of the members of the work group come from the voluntary agencies usually involved in mass care feeding and sheltering: the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the Southern Baptists and the Adventists.
The purpose of my presentation was to spread the word about what we are doing in the world of resource typing and mass care. The process has been long and laborious, but we are ready to submit some resource typing documents to FEMA for approval and distribution to the emergency management community for their use.