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International seminar on disaster management shares best practices in preparedness, coordination, and response

CALIFORNIA — The International Programs office organized an International Seminar on Disaster Management from August 7-21 in California. Twenty-two participants from 16 countries participated to learn and interact on disaster management topics including preparedness, coordination, and on-scene command and control. Through facilitated discussion, site visits, and examination of the utility of U.S. systems and approaches to their home context, participants learned about the history and current operationalization of the National Incident Management and Incident Command systems originated by the Forest Service and partners.

FS experts from the Northern California Geographic Area Coordination Center and the Klamath National Forest Happy Camp/Oak Knoll Ranger District helped host the group. Participants also met with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, multiple state and local agencies in California involved in disaster management and response, and private sector health and utility companies. They also met with Facebook at their headquarters to learn about the tools Facebook has developed to support post-disaster communication. The group was able to visit an active type 2 incident response: the Eclipse Complex fire near Happy Camp, California within the Klamath NF. There they shadowed an incident management team and met with local FS staff involved in the response.

Many countries around the world do not have coordinated interagency systems to respond to disasters, yet effective disaster response saves lives and helps countries better meet the needs of at-risk populations in crisis situations. This seminar is in line with global technical support in disaster coordination and response that the Forest Service provides through the International Programs office, in partnership with and with funding from the United States Agency for International Development’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance.

The International Seminar on Disaster Management is one of ten international seminars organized by the FS International Programs office every year. More information on these seminars is available here.

Seminar participants tour the Happy Camp Helibase on the Klamath National Forest as part of their visit to a Type 2 Incident Management Team's fire response camp. Forest Service photo.