Washington Firefighters Panel Concerned with Mudslide Response

In an emergency conference call four days after the Oso mudslide, a group of Washington state’s top firefighters agreed that Snohomish County first responders needed help and voted to urge them to get a more sophisticated management team, reports The Seattle Times.

The two dozen firefighters on the call said the incident-management team in place was “fractured and operating without a Delegation of Authority,” according to a draft copy of the minutes of the call.

They wanted County Executive John Lovick and incident commander Travis Hots to request a so-called “type II team,” made up of 50 federal, state and local responders trained to coordinate complex response operations, communications and general management.

Without one, requests for things such as medical aid on the debris field were duplicated or dropped, participants said in interviews.

Snohomish County officials, including a Lovick spokeswoman, said it was too soon to address questions about operations.

At an annual emergency-management conference last week, county emergency-management director John Pennington said he thought the March 22 mudslide would force officials to “take a hard look at how we look at the interface of incident-management teams” in natural disasters.

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