“It is amazing how, if we follow the process, we can tackle any type of incident,” he said.
For example, DNR mapping experts Corey Luoto and Holly Reed developed dashboards to track the number of vaccinations taking place and other data required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“They are wizards,” Janisse said. “It is amazing what they can do to organize this information in a useful way.”
Besides tracking data, the teams have been responsible for tracking personal protection equipment such as masks, gloves and gowns, and ordering supplies as needed to make sure the people who are administering the vaccine have everything they need.
“One issue might be that we don’t have enough wheelchairs at a certain location to meet the needs for people who might require a wheelchair, so we would order more of them for that facility,” Janisse said.
There are four incident management teams in the state: two in the Upper Peninsula and two in the Lower Peninsula. About 45 people are dedicated to the teams year-round.
Team members get training and qualifications through the National Wildfire Coordinating Group and western fire assignments. There also are several team members who are part of multistate teams, which allow them to assist on western fires each year. Since large fires are relatively rare in Michigan, being part of these other teams allows Michigan members to keep up their qualifications and get more experience so they can be effective when something does happen in Michigan.
Assignments such as the inauguration, the TCF Center hospital and Ford Field vaccination clinic are relatively new for the incident management teams. Legislation was changed in 2018 to allow the teams to become involved in natural disasters and events beyond wildfires.
Teams can vary in size. Some have a half-dozen members; others have many more depending on the incident. They most often include a leader, public information officer, liaison to work with other organizations, and people with planning, logistics and operations expertise.
All of them are necessary to a smooth operation, Janisse said.
“My saying to the team is, it doesn’t matter if they’re communications, logistics or safety, they’re never a ‘just,’ such as ‘just logistics,’” he said. “Everybody brings value to the team for its success, and that’s how we make the world go around.”