Campus News

Security's McAllister Serves as Dep. Planning Chief for Coast Guard Drill

Story posted March 25, 2010

Associate Director of Security Carol McAllister is wearing multiple hats these days in the name of national security.

In addition to her duties at Rhodes Hall, McAllister is serving as deputy planning chief for the U.S. Coast Guard’s Spill of National Significance (SONS) drill taking place March 24-25, 2010, off the coast of Portland, Maine; Portsmouth, N.H.; Boston, Mass.; and in Washington, D.C.

Carol McAllisterThumb.jpg
Carol McAllister

A SONS is defined as a rare, catastrophic oil spill event that captures the nation's attention due to its actual damage or significant potential for adverse potential impact.

McAllister is involved in the largest command post in the exercise, one comprising 460 participants.

"We're taking the competing demands and interests around one problem and trying to make sure we're coordinated and responding as fast and efficiently as we can," said McAllister during a break. "Being involved in any drill tests our own understanding of the processes, and it tests our expectations of the processes."

Utilizing Incident Command System (ICS), the standardized set of personnel, policies, procedures, facilities and equipment integrated into a common organizational structure designed to improve emergency response operations, is nothing new for McAllister. Involved with ICS for years, McAllister has taught the concept and its implementation, and helped bring elements of it to the College in the name of preparedness. She says drills like SONS help internalize the structure.

"If you've worked through some of the issues ahead of time, the process becomes an internal checklist. When it's familiar, you think more clearly and are better able to assess the challenges in a crisis."

SONS 2010 is a full-scale Department of Homeland Security Tier II exercise intended to implement oil spill response plans that initiate a response organization including a local Unified Command, National Incident Management System (NIMS) Area Command and National Incident Commander (NIC) response organization in accordance with the NCP and National Response Framework.

SONS exercises take place every three years.

Click here to learn more about SONS.

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