Incident Command System
The campus will respond to crisis situations using the standards of the nationally recognized Incident Command System (ICS). The Incident Command System enables one or more responding agencies to initiate and conduct coordinated response to an incident. The priorities of ICS are life safety, incident stability and property conservation.
ICS is a management system that can be used to manage emergency incidents or non-emergency events such as celebrations. The system works equally well for small incidents and large-scale emergency situations. The system has built-in flexibility to grow or shrink based on current needs. It is a uniform system, so personnel from a variety of agencies and geographic locations can be rapidly incorporated into a common management structure.
In terms of ICS response during a crisis requiring response by local emergency personnel, the command of the incident will be relegated to the proper emergency response authority. Webster University personnel will concentrate on the safety of the campus community and property and provide assistance and support to the responder as requested.
Hallmarks of an ICS approach
ICS has a number of features that work together to make it a real management system. Standard management functions include:
Command/Management: Sets objectives and priorities and has overall responsibility at the incident or event. The individual designated as the Incident Commander has responsibility for all functions. In a limited incident, the Incident Commander and one or two individuals may perform all functions. In a larger emergency situation, each function may be assigned to a separate individual.
Operations: has the primary responsibility for developing the operations portion of the EOC action plan; assigns personnel in accordance with the action plans; supervises operations and determining the need for additional resources.
Planning: is responsible for collection, evaluation and dissemination of information related to the crisis and for the preparation and documentation of EOC action plans. This function also maintains information on the current and forecasted situation related to the emergency.
Logistics: is responsible for providing service and support, supplies, equipment, personnel and other resources. This function contains communication, maintenance, facilities, supplies and HR.
Finance/Administration: Provides accounting, procurement, time recording, and cost analysis.
Common Features of an ICS
Common Terminology: used for is used for organizational elements, position titles, resources, and facilities. This facilitates communication among personnel from different emergency services, agencies, and jurisdictions.
Modular Organization: Based on the type and size of the incident. Responsibility is top down and can expand as needed.
Use of Position Titles: use of distinct titles for all positions.
Unified Command Structure: Unity of command means that even though an incident command operation is a temporary organization, every individual should be assigned a designated supervisor. Chain of command means that there is an orderly line of authority within the organization.
Incident Action Plans: This is intended to provide supervisory personnel a common understanding of the situation and direction for future action. The plan includes a statement of objectives, organization description, assignments, and support material such as maps. An Incident Briefing Form may be used on smaller incidents. Written plans are desirable when two or more jurisdictions are involved, when state and/or federal agencies are assisting local response personnel, or there has been significant turnover in the incident staff.
Manageable Span of Control: Span of control is the number of individuals one supervisor can realistically manage. Maintaining an effective span of control is particularly important where safety is paramount. If a supervisor is supervising fewer than 3 subordinates or more than 7, the existing organization structure should be reviewed.
Organization Facilities: Names given to various facilities ... i.e. Command Post, Staging Areas, etc.
Integrated Communications: This includes synchronizing communications systems used throughout the university/college; interfacing disparate communications as effectively as possible; planning for the use of all available systems and frequencies; and requiring the use of clear text in communications.
Accountability: Continuous personnel accountability is achieved by using a resource unit to track personnel and equipment, keeping an activity log, ensuring each person has a single supervisor, check in-out procedures, and preparing assignment lists.
Emergency Operations Center (EOC): Overall management of the event shall be centralized in an Emergency Operations Center. The primary role of the EOC is to bring together all relevant information about the crisis into one place, organize that information and facilitate the coordination of resources needed to respond to the emergency. The EOC shall be located away from the affected area so as not to interfere with the Incident Command Post yet close enough to obtain information. The EOC shall have multiple forms of communication available, be capable of 24 hour operations and shall be secure from unauthorized access.
Activation of the EOC may occur when the size of the incident requires logistical support beyond what is available on-scene. It may also be activated when the emergency is likely to be of long duration and/or the magnitude of the event requires a unified command approach.