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Incident Command System (ICS): 5 Major Components

July 25, 2013 - Kestrel Management

Regardless of the size of the incident or the number of private businesses and governmental agencies involved in the response, all incidents require a coordinated effort to ensure an effective response and the efficient, safe use of resources. A formalized management structure lends consistency, fosters efficiency, and provides direction during an incident.

The Incident Command System (ICS)–a nationally recognized process for leadership and management of incident response and recovery–offers organizations of all sizes a proven way to respond to and recover from incidents, manage company risks and events, and strengthen business continuity.

Model Tool for Incident Command, Control & Coordination

ICS is the model tool for command, control, and coordination of a response and recovery, and provides a means to coordinate the efforts of individual companies and agencies as they work toward the common goals of stabilizing the incident and protecting life, property, the environment, and business sustainability.

The ICS organization is built around five major components that apply during a “routine” emergency, when preparing for a major event, or when managing a response to a major disaster.

 1. Command function is directed by the Incident Commander, a fully qualified person who is charged with managing the incident. Incident command/management encompasses establishing command, ensuring responder safety, assessing incident priorities, determining operational objectives, developing and implementing the Incident Action Plan (IAP), developing an appropriate organizational structure, maintaining a manageable span of control, managing incident resources, coordinating overall emergency activities, coordinating outside agencies’ activities, authorizing information releases to the media, and keeping track of costs to return to a sustainable environment. The Incident Commander’s three major incident priorities include:

  • Protecting the life safety of the emergency responders and the general public
  • Stabilizing the incident
  • Minimizing damage to property

 2. Planning function includes the collection, evaluation, dissemination, and use of information about the development of the incident and status of resources. Planning also includes creation of the IAP, which defines the response activities and resource utilization for a specified time period through a standardized planning process.

 3. Operations function is responsible for carrying out the response activities described in the IAP. This includes directing and coordinating all operations, assisting in the development of response goals/objectives, requesting/releasing resources, and providing situation and resource status updates.

 4. Logistics function provides facilities, services, and materials, including personnel to operate the requested equipment for the incident. This area is significant in long-term or extended operations when more resources are required.

 5. Finance/Administrative function is critical for tracking incident costs and reimbursement accounting. Unless costs and financial operations are carefully recorded and justified, reimbursement is difficult.

Your Business Continuity & ICS Resource

Kestrel’s core team comprises senior consultants with extensive environmental, health & safety (EHS), quality management, operational risk management, and emergency response experience. We add to that expertise an industry leader with hands-on experience developing and establishing the ICS, serving as an Incident Commander, and instructing the complete ICS training coursework.

Our team can help you develop the systems and plans you need to effectively manage your business risks–no matter the size or complexity. For more information, contact us at 608-226-0531.

Submitted by: Tom Kunes

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