Ag launches online first-responders training

The Agriculture Department has launched a Web-based incident command system training program for employees who are first responders, and any other interested employees, to improve the department's effectiveness during emergencies, such as wildfires or bioterror attacks.

'This ICS training will help bolster resources to manage accidental or deliberate incidents that may threaten the U.S. food supply, critical infrastructure or economy,' Agriculture secretary Ann Veneman said. The training program, which is from the Homeland Security Department, is similar to the Agriculture's Forest Service command system, which it has used for decades in cases of disasters.

The Incident Command System is a standard incident management structure, including command, operations, planning, logistics, and finance and administration, and which provides a unified command across a range of emergency agency jurisdictions during major incidents. The courses are designed to describe responsibilities at different levels.

The incident command courses are available through GoLearn, the Office of Personnel Management's e-government training platform. Eventually, all of the ICS training courses will be available through AgLearn, the department's Web-based Agriculture Learning Service, which is Agriculture's customized version of GoLearn.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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