Incident Command System

The Incident Command System (ICS) provides a total-systems approach for response in emergency situations that require assistance above that available from a one-organization response. ICS provides an on-scene structure of management-level positions, dividing functions into four primary areas: planning, operations, logistics, and finance (Figure1). The functional ICS components given in the list that follows provide the keys to effectively planning the management of any incident:

§  Add a Note HereCommon terminology
§  Add a Note HereIntegrated communications
§  Add a Note HereModular organization
§  Add a Note HereUnified command structure
§  Add a Note HereManageable span of control
§  Add a Note HereConsolidated action plans
§  Add a Note HereComprehensive resource management

Figure 1: The Incident Command System
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Add a Note HereWithin ICS, roles are defined and the chain of command is established, which incorporates four sections—planning, operations, logistics, and finance—under the overall leadership of an incident commander. Each of the four sections operates under its own section chief and has its own tasks or job descriptions. These tasks identify priorities that arise during a disaster event and provide for a uniformly structured response and recovery efforts. The four section chiefs are described below.

1.  Add a Note HereThe plans chief provides current information on the facility situation and projects short- and long-term needs for recovery and return to normal operation.
2.  Add a Note HereThe operations chief directs the execution of initial response functions and the reporting of results and situation status to the incident commander and other section chiefs.
3.  Add a Note HereThe logistics chief coordinates the use of existing resources and the procurement of needed resources to ensure the health and safety of residents, staff, and volunteers.
4.  Add a Note HereThe finance chief is responsible for overseeing the processing and documentation of all costs associated with the disaster and response efforts.
The Hospital Emergency Incident Command System (HEICS), described below, is one example of how ICS can be applied to healthcare facilities. Where community responder agencies are organized based on ICS, hospitals benefit from this unique system designed specifically to meet the needs of healthcare institutions.

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