Know Your 17th District: Incident Management

Click on the thumbnail to view a video about the Coast Guard 17th District Incident Management branch.

Click on the thumbnail to view a video about the Coast Guard 17th District Incident Management branch.

“You never know what’s going to happen when that phone rings,” said Lt. Sara Morin, a command duty officer with the Coast Guard 17th District.

Responding to the unexpected is a way of life in the command center, the communication hub for every search and rescue case the 17th District manages

A few floors above the idyllic downtown of Juneau, Alaska, sits the command center and the district’s incident management branch. For the most part life in the small capital city moves on unaware of the search and rescue, medevac, pollution response and other various emergency situations being coordinated from the unassuming federal building.

“We get a lot of routine correspondence, or the phone rings and you pick it up and it’s someone having the worst day of their life,” Morin finished.

The incident management branch, a part of the larger response department at the 17th District, has the important role of connecting leadership to units in the field that perform Coast Guard missions in Alaska.

The department functions much like it would at any other district in the Coast Guard, but the difference becomes apparent when Alaska’s size is considered.

“The moving pieces are on a whole different scale when it comes to District 17,” said Lt. Cmdr. Doug Watson, the incident management assistant chief. “It’s not out of the ordinary for us to fly a 1,200-mile search and rescue case.”

With an operational area encompassing 3,853,500 square miles, a team dedicated to managing the deployment of air and surface assets is critical.

“It’s a really challenging district to be in for all the Coast Guard responses,” said Morin. “But the Coast Guard has been operating up here for a very long time and the people who are up here are excited to be here and are ready to rise to the challenge.”

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