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Training: The Key to Successful ICS Implementation

September 5, 2013 - Kestrel Management

A well-developed training module is vital to a successful and comprehensive emergency management program, particularly one that relies on using the consistent terminology and roles established through the Incident Command System (ICS).

The NIMS Training Program
The National Incident Management System (NIMS) Training Program identifies those courses critical to train personnel capable of implementing all functions of emergency management. NIMS represents a core set of concepts, principles, terminology, and organizational processes that enables effective incident management. Embedding these elements into an organization’s operations through training helps to mitigate risk by achieving greater preparedness.

NIMS further recognizes the role that the private sector has in incident preparedness. As such, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) strongly emphasizes the importance of NIMS training for the private sector.

Level 1: Awareness Training
The first set of classes is designed to establish a baseline awareness level for personnel that would be involved in an event or incident—from entry-level employees to supervisors to management personnel:

  • IS-700: National Incident Management System (NIMS) – This independent study course introduces the NIMS concept to all entry-level students. NIMS provides a consistent nationwide template to enable all government, private sector, and nongovernmental organizations to work together during domestic incidents. (2 hours; formal classroom or online)
  • I -100: Baseline Awareness – This course provides training and resources for personnel who require a basic understanding of the ICS, including entry-level, supervisory, and management-level employees. I-100 introduces ICS and provides the foundation for higher level ICS training. This course describes the history, features and principles, and organizational structure of the ICS. It also explains the relationship between ICS and the NIMS. (8 hours; formal classroom or online)
  • I – 200 Introduction – This course is designed to help supervisory and management-level employees operate efficiently during an incident or event within the ICS. This course focuses on the management of single resources. (8 hours; formal classroom or online)
  • I – 300 Intermediate – Team-level training includes functional exercises to build the Incident Action Plan (IAP) for one significant event or incident. This course is intended for individuals who may assume a supervisory role in expanding incidents as part of an Incident Management Team (IMT). (24 hours)

Level 2: Advanced Training
The advanced training level is designed for those members that will be part of an organization’s IMT. This team is used to manage an event or incident—from the very beginning to returning the event or incident to sustainability for the organization.

  • All Hazard Incident Management Team Training – This course is provided to students that make up the organization’s IMT. They will be introduced to the importance of developing and operating as a fully functional member of an IMT, along with getting a framework for building and maintaining interpersonal relationships and learning how to work together with other members of their team. The course offers practical experience of on-scene operations through extensive exercise during a simulated situation. (40 hours in classroom)
  • Position-Specific Training – A number of courses are available to provide members of on organization’s team with a good understanding of the duties, responsibilities, and capabilities of Command and General Staff members. Exercises, simulations, discussions, and a final exam allow participants to process and apply their new knowledge. (16 to 40 hours depending on the course needed)
    • Courses include Incident Commander, Public Information Officer, Safety Officer, Liaison Officer, Operations Section Chief, Planning Section Chief, Logistics Section Chief, and Finance/Administration Section Chief. Five Unit Leader courses are also available for personnel that want to work in those positions.
    •  Position-specific training courses should be taken by the individual that will be performing those duties and responsibilities of a particular ICS position.


Your ICS and Business Continuity Resource
Kestrel’s core team comprises senior consultants with extensive 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.

Image source: National Incident Management System Training Program, September 2011

Submitted by: Tom Kunes

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