FEMA IS-200.C: ICS 200 Study Guide And Test Answers

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FEMA’s IS-200.C, also known as “Basic Incident Command System for Initial Response,” is a training course developed by the Emergency Management Institute (EMI). It forms an essential part of the curriculum for professionals working in emergency management and response.

The course’s main purpose is to provide individuals with a foundational understanding of the Incident Command System (ICS), and how it can be effectively used during the initial response to an incident.

The course has been designed to provide training on and resources for personnel who are likely to assume a supervisory position within the ICS. The core of the course revolves around concepts of leadership and management, delegation of authority, incident or event assessment, planning process, incident resource management, and demobilization.

FEMA ICS 200 answers

The structure of the FEMA IS-200.C course is divided into several modules, each focusing on different aspects of the ICS. This modular approach ensures that individuals gain a comprehensive understanding of the system, allowing them to apply the learned principles effectively in real-world emergency situations.

The modules are designed to progressively build upon the knowledge gained, providing learners with an increasingly nuanced understanding of the Incident Command System. Interactive activities and quizzes are included throughout the course to test comprehension and provide learners with practical applications of the concepts discussed.

In essence, the FEMA IS-200.C course serves as a critical educational tool for emergency management professionals, enabling them to effectively respond to incidents by understanding and employing the proven strategies and structures of the Incident Command System.

Module 1: Leadership and Management

This module focuses on the central role of leadership within the Incident Command System (ICS) and the unique characteristics of managing emergency incidents.

Understanding Leadership Within ICS

Within the ICS, leadership plays a crucial role in guiding response efforts during an incident. Leaders at every level of the ICS must be able to make critical decisions under pressure, communicate effectively with diverse teams and stakeholders, and adapt quickly to changing circumstances.

Leadership within ICS is typically defined by the role one plays in the system, such as Incident Commander, Operations Section Chief, Planning Section Chief, etc. Each of these roles carries specific responsibilities and requires different leadership styles and skills. However, the common elements among all these roles include the ability to coordinate and delegate tasks effectively, make informed decisions, and maintain calm under pressure.

Identifying Management Characteristics of Emergency Incidents

Emergency incidents pose unique challenges that require distinctive management characteristics. Some of these characteristics include:

  1. Unpredictability: Emergencies can escalate rapidly and without warning. Effective management involves preparing for a variety of potential scenarios and being able to adapt strategies and tactics on the fly.
  2. Urgency: Emergency incidents often involve immediate danger to lives, property, or the environment. Managers must be able to prioritize tasks quickly and efficiently to mitigate these threats.
  3. Complexity: Emergencies often involve multiple stakeholders, such as local, state, and federal agencies, non-profit organizations, and private sector entities. Managing these incidents requires excellent coordination and communication skills.
  4. High Stakes: Given the potential for significant harm during emergency incidents, the stakes are incredibly high. Effective managers must be able to make critical decisions under pressure, often with incomplete information.

Understanding these characteristics can help individuals within the ICS better anticipate the challenges they may face during an incident and equip them with the necessary skills to navigate these complex situations.

Module 2: Delegation of Authority and Management by Objectives

This module focuses on the processes of delegation of authority and management by objectives within the Incident Command System (ICS).

Explaining the Process of Delegation of Authority

In the ICS, delegation of authority is a key process that allows for effective management and control of emergency response efforts. It involves assigning responsibilities and giving authority to individuals or teams to perform certain tasks or make decisions. The process of delegation begins at the highest level of the organization and cascades down to lower levels, ensuring that every person within the ICS has a specific role and tasks to perform.

The delegation of authority is typically formalized through a Delegation of Authority Statement, a document that outlines the assigned authority, tasks, expectations, and any limitations to the authority given. This statement is critical for clarifying roles and responsibilities, maintaining accountability, and ensuring the efficient execution of tasks.

Describing the Purpose and Importance of Management by Objectives

Management by Objectives (MBO) is a systematic approach used in ICS to achieve the successful resolution of an incident. It involves the establishment of clear, specific, and measurable objectives that guide all actions during an incident response.

The process of MBO typically involves four steps:

  1. Understanding the Situation: Gather and analyze information to get a clear understanding of the incident.
  2. Establishing Incident Objectives: Determine what needs to be achieved to resolve the incident.
  3. Developing Strategies and Tactics: Decide on the best methods to achieve the objectives.
  4. Preparing and Implementing the Incident Action Plan: Document the objectives, strategies, and tactics into an action plan and implement it.

The purpose of MBO is to provide a clear path for the incident response and ensure all actions taken contribute towards resolving the incident.

It’s important because it helps maintain focus, improves coordination among different teams, facilitates communication, and provides a basis for evaluating performance and progress.

Module 3: Incident or Event Assessment and Incident Objectives

This module provides learners with an understanding of how to assess incidents or events and the process of establishing and implementing incident objectives.

Describing How to Assess Incidents/Events

Incident or event assessment is a critical first step in the incident management process. It involves a systematic approach to gather, interpret, predict, and communicate the impact of an event or emergency. The primary aim is to understand the magnitude of the incident, the potential threats and consequences, and the resources needed to respond.

The assessment process includes:

  1. Initial Assessment: It involves a rapid evaluation of the incident’s size, scope, and potential impacts. It helps to activate the Incident Command System and mobilize resources.
  2. Situation Assessment: It involves gathering and analyzing information about current conditions, incident dynamics, and possible outcomes. It often includes information about the environment, affected population, infrastructure, hazards, and available resources.
  3. Impact Assessment: It evaluates the physical, social, and economic impacts of the incident. It also identifies unmet needs and resource requirements.

Discussing How to Establish and Implement Incident Objectives

Incident objectives establish the direction for all response activities. They are measurable and achievable goals that are tied to the overall incident management strategy.

Establishing incident objectives involves:

  1. Determining Desired Outcomes: Identify what success looks like for the incident response.
  2. Setting Priorities: Based on the desired outcomes, prioritize objectives considering life safety, incident stabilization, and property/environment preservation.
  3. Creating SMART Objectives: Objectives should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

Implementing incident objectives involves:

  1. Developing an Incident Action Plan (IAP): The IAP provides a coherent means of communicating the overall incident objectives in the contexts of both operational and support activities.
  2. Executing the Plan: Assign resources and tasks based on the IAP.
  3. Monitor and Adjust: Continually assess the situation and adjust objectives and the IAP as necessary.

It’s important to note that incident objectives should be communicated to all incident personnel to ensure everyone understands and works toward the same goals.

Module 4: The Planning Process

This module provides an in-depth understanding of the ICS planning process, including the steps involved in developing an Incident Action Plan (IAP).

Overview of the Planning Process

The planning process in ICS is a systematic series of activities that provides a comprehensive and coordinated strategy for managing incidents. This process ensures that all activities are goal-oriented and that resources are effectively utilized.

The planning process typically involves the following steps:

  1. Understand the Situation: Gather, analyze, and share information about the current incident situation. Identify immediate priorities and critical resource needs.
  2. Establish Incident Objectives: Based on the current situation, establish the immediate objectives for the response.
  3. Develop the Plan: Determine the strategies, tactics, and resources required to achieve the objectives. Outline how resources will be deployed and who will be responsible for the various tasks.
  4. Implement the Plan: Communicate the plan to all relevant personnel and start implementing the plan.
  5. Evaluate and Revise the Plan: Regularly review the plan’s effectiveness and revise it as necessary to adapt to the changing incident conditions.

Developing an Incident Action Plan (IAP)

An Incident Action Plan (IAP) is a formal document that identifies the incident objectives and details the activities and resources required to achieve these objectives during an operational period. It serves as a roadmap guiding the incident response efforts.

Developing an IAP involves the following steps:

  1. Setting Objectives: Establish what needs to be accomplished during the operational period. The objectives must be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART).
  2. Identifying Resources and Assignments: List all the resources that are available or needed, and assign tasks to specific teams or individuals.
  3. Creating a Communication Plan: Identify how information will be shared among team members and with external stakeholders.
  4. Establishing a Medical Plan: Determine the procedures for handling medical emergencies for both incident personnel and affected civilians.
  5. Identifying Incident Maps and Safety Plans: Include any maps or diagrams that can help personnel understand the incident area and identify safety hazards and procedures.
  6. Documenting the Plan: Ensure the IAP is written clearly and distributed to all relevant personnel.

Remember that an IAP is a dynamic document that should be revised and updated regularly to reflect changes in the incident situation.

Module 5: Incident Resources Management

This module focuses on the management of resources during an incident, including understanding how resources are managed and identifying different types and sources of resources.

Understanding How to Manage Incident Resources

Managing resources effectively is critical to the successful resolution of an incident. Resource management in the Incident Command System (ICS) includes processes for identifying, categorizing, ordering, dispatching, tracking, and recovering resources.

Key aspects of resource management include:

  1. Resource Identification and Ordering: Resources needed to respond to an incident are identified and ordered through a standardized process. This involves determining the type, quantity, and capabilities of resources needed.
  2. Resource Dispatch and Deployment: Once ordered, resources are dispatched to the incident site. During deployment, resources must be tracked to ensure they arrive safely at the correct location.
  3. Resource Tracking and Status Reporting: Resources must be continually tracked and their status reported to ensure they are used effectively and safely. This includes tracking their location, maintaining resource status, and reporting this information to the appropriate sections within the ICS.
  4. Resource Demobilization: Once resources are no longer needed, they must be demobilized, or returned to their original location. This includes the recovery of resources, a final status report, and any necessary restocking or repair.

Identifying the Different Types and Sources of Resources

In the context of incident management, resources can include personnel, teams, equipment, supplies, and facilities. Resources can come from a variety of sources, including local, state, and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector.

Types of resources may include:

  1. Personnel: Individuals with specific skills or qualifications needed to perform tasks or roles during an incident.
  2. Teams: Groups of individuals who work together to perform a specific function, such as a search and rescue team or a medical team.
  3. Equipment and Supplies: Any machinery, vehicles, tools, or materials needed to support incident management activities.
  4. Facilities: Places where different incident management activities occur, such as command posts, staging areas, or shelters.

Different incidents will require different types and amounts of resources. The Incident Commander or other members of the ICS team should have a thorough understanding of the resources available and how to obtain additional resources if needed.

Module 6: Demobilization, Transfer of Command, and Closeout

This module discusses the final stages of incident management, including the demobilization of resources, the transfer of command, and the closeout process.

Steps for Demobilizing Incident Resources

Demobilization is the process of returning resources to their original location or status once they are no longer needed for the incident response. This should be a planned process, outlined in a Demobilization Plan, to ensure resources are released in an orderly, safe, and cost-effective manner.

Typical steps in demobilization include:

  1. Assess Resource Needs: Determine which resources are no longer needed and when they can be released.
  2. Create a Demobilization Plan: This plan should outline the priorities for demobilization, special procedures, and the responsibilities of personnel involved in demobilization.
  3. Communicate the Plan: Ensure that all personnel understand the demobilization process and their roles in it.
  4. Implement the Plan: Begin releasing resources as outlined in the plan, starting with those no longer needed.
  5. Monitor the Demobilization: Keep track of resources as they are released and ensure that any issues are promptly addressed.
  6. Complete Documentation: Record all aspects of the demobilization, including resources released, dates, and any issues encountered.

Explaining How to Transfer Command

In ICS, command may need to be transferred during the course of an incident. This might happen if the incident scope changes, if the Incident Commander is no longer able to serve, or if the incident lasts multiple operational periods.

Transfer of command should be a clear process and include:

  1. Incident Briefing: The outgoing Incident Commander should brief the incoming commander on all aspects of the incident.
  2. Notification: Personnel, cooperating agencies, and stakeholders should be notified of the change in command.
  3. Introduction: The incoming Incident Commander should be introduced to key personnel and cooperators.

Describing the Closeout Process

The closeout process involves finalizing all incident-related operations. This includes ensuring all tasks have been completed, incident objectives have been met, and all documentation has been finalized.

The closeout process usually involves:

  1. Final Incident Action Plan: A final IAP should be completed detailing the remaining tasks and responsible parties.
  2. Final Documentation: All incident-related documentation should be finalized and filed appropriately.
  3. Review and Evaluation: Conduct a review of the incident management process and evaluate performance. This is often done in an After Action Report and Improvement Plan.
  4. Rehabilitation: Restore all impacted areas and resources to their pre-incident conditions, as much as possible.
  5. Recognition: Acknowledge the efforts and contributions of all personnel involved in the incident management.

Module 7: ICS Form Review

The Incident Command System (ICS) uses standard forms to assist in the management and documentation of incidents. This module explains the purpose of each ICS form and describes how to correctly complete each form.

Explaining the Purpose of Each ICS Form

  1. ICS Form 201: The Incident Briefing form provides the Incident Commander (and the Command and General Staff) with basic information regarding the incident situation and the resources allocated to the incident.
  2. ICS Form 202: The Incident Objectives form describes the basic incident strategy, incident objectives for the operational period, and the safety message.
  3. ICS Form 203: The Organization Assignment List provides ICS personnel with information on the units that are currently activated and the names of personnel staffing each position/unit.
  4. ICS Form 204: The Assignment List form gives information on the operations strategies and tactics, identifies the Division/Group where resources are assigned, the resources assigned, and special instructions, if any.
  5. ICS Form 205: The Incident Radio Communications Plan provides a list of radio frequencies used on scene, the function each is being used for, and other relevant information.
  6. ICS Form 206: The Medical Plan form provides information on incident medical aid stations, transportation services, hospitals, and medical emergency procedures.
  7. ICS Form 207: The Organizational Chart provides a visual layout of the incident command structure.
  8. ICS Form 208: The Safety Message/Plan form is used to document safety messages and safety plans.
  9. ICS Form 209: The Incident Status Summary form is used to provide information on all resources assigned to the incident.
  10. ICS Form 210: The Status Change Card is used to track changes in resource status.
  11. ICS Form 211: The Incident Check-In List records arrivals to the incident.
  12. ICS Form 213: The General Message form is used by any ICS functional area to record incoming messages that cannot be orally transmitted to the intended recipients.
  13. ICS Form 214: The Unit Log records details of unit activity, including strike team activities.
  14. ICS Form 215: The Operational Planning Worksheet provides a display of major resources to achieve the tactical objectives.
  15. ICS Form 216: The Radio Requirements Worksheet is used to assist in planning and managing radio resources at incidents.

Describing How to Correctly Complete Each ICS Form

When completing ICS forms, it is important to follow these general guidelines:

  1. Accuracy: Ensure all information entered is accurate to the best of your knowledge.
  2. Completeness: Fill out all fields, even if the answer is “not applicable” or “unknown”. Leaving fields blank can cause confusion.
  3. Legibility: Make sure the information is readable. If the form is being filled out by hand, print clearly.
  4. Timeliness: Complete forms as soon as possible to ensure the most accurate and up-to-date information is documented.
  5. Review: Review all information for accuracy and completeness before submitting the form.

Specific instructions for each form may vary, so always refer to the form instructions or a supervisor if there are any questions or confusion.

Module 8: Course Summary

This final module aims to consolidate the understanding of the various principles and procedures of the Incident Command System that have been explored throughout the course.

It underscores the key takeaways from each module and demonstrates how this knowledge can be applied in real-world emergency response scenarios.

Key Takeaways from Each Module

  1. Leadership and Management: Effective leadership within the ICS involves understanding the roles and responsibilities of all personnel involved and the management characteristics necessary for dealing with emergency incidents.
  2. Delegation of Authority and Management by Objectives: The ICS operates through a clear delegation of authority and the establishment of achievable objectives. Both are essential for efficient incident management.
  3. Incident or Event Assessment and Incident Objectives: Accurate assessment of incidents/events is crucial in the formulation of appropriate incident objectives. These objectives guide the overall incident management strategy.
  4. The Planning Process: The planning process involves the development of an Incident Action Plan (IAP) which outlines the response activities and resources needed to achieve the incident objectives.
  5. Incident Resources Management: Incident resource management involves the careful allocation and control of resources to best meet the needs of the incident.
  6. Demobilization, Transfer of Command, and Closeout: These procedures ensure a smooth transition and closure of an incident, including the effective demobilization of resources and transfer of command if necessary.
  7. ICS Form Review: The use of standard ICS forms aids in the organization, documentation, and communication within the ICS. Understanding how to accurately complete these forms is vital to the process.

Applying What You’ve Learned to Real-World Scenarios

The knowledge acquired through this course can be applied in a variety of real-world scenarios, including but not limited to natural disasters, industrial accidents, and planned events. By understanding the ICS structure, roles, responsibilities, and processes, you can contribute effectively to a coordinated, efficient response.

Examples of application may include:

  • Applying the leadership and management principles learned to effectively lead a team during an incident.
  • Using the incident or event assessment skills to make accurate evaluations of an emergency situation.
  • Implementing the planning process to develop an effective Incident Action Plan during a disaster.
  • Effectively managing resources during an incident, ensuring the most efficient use of available assets.
  • Ensuring a smooth demobilization process after an event has been handled, including the transfer of command when necessary.
  • Accurately filling out ICS forms to facilitate effective communication and documentation during an incident.

ICS 200 Test Answers Example

Here are some common questions that could be included in an IS-200.C test, along with explanations of the correct answers.

  1. Question: What is the role of the Incident Commander?
    Answer: The Incident Commander is responsible for the overall management of the incident, establishing incident objectives, planning strategies, and implementing tactics.
  2. Question: What is an Incident Action Plan (IAP)?
    Answer: An IAP is a document that provides a coherent means of communicating the overall incident objectives in the contexts of both operational and support activities.
  3. Question: What is meant by ‘Management by Objectives’?
    Answer: ‘Management by Objectives’ involves a four-step process: establishing overarching objectives; developing and issuing assignments, plans, procedures, and protocols; establishing specific, measurable objectives for various incident management functional activities; and directing efforts to attain them, in support of defined strategic objectives.
  4. Question: What is the purpose of the demobilization process?
    Answer: The demobilization process ensures that resources are released from the incident in an orderly, safe, and cost-effective manner.
  5. Question: How are incident resources managed effectively?
    Answer: Effective management of incident resources involves knowing what resources are available, maintaining accurate resource status, and tracking resources effectively.
  6. Question: How does the delegation of authority aid in effective incident management?
    Answer: Delegation of authority provides the Incident Commander with the authority needed to manage the incident. This authority is given by a superior or legislating body, and provides the Incident Commander with the authority necessary to perform his or her role.
  7. Question: What is the purpose of an ICS Form 201?
    Answer: ICS Form 201 provides the Incident Commander (and the Command and General Staff) with basic information regarding the incident situation and the resources allocated to the incident.
  8. Question: What is the primary role of the Planning Section?
    Answer: The Planning Section’s primary role is to collect, evaluate, and display incident intelligence and information. It prepares and documents Incident Action Plans and tracks resources assigned to the incident.
  9. Question: What is the importance of the Transfer of Command?
    Answer: The transfer of command ensures that a new Incident Commander, when taking over the role, is fully briefed on the incident’s status, has full authority to manage the incident, and that everyone on the incident is aware of the transfer of command. It ensures a smooth transition and continuous leadership.
  10. Question: What are some characteristics of effective incident leaders?
    Answer: Effective incident leaders ensure responder and public safety, achieve incident objectives, and ensure the efficient use of resources. They are also adaptable, able to maintain situational awareness, and able to lead with a command presence.
  11. Question: Which ICS Functional Area Sets The Incident Objectives, Strategies, And Priorities, And Has Overall Responsibility For The Incident?
    Answer: Command.
  12. Question: Who generally facilitates the operational period brief?
    Answer: The Planning Section Chief.
  13. Question: When an incident expands, what typically happens?
    Answer: Only the functions and positions necessary are filled.
  14. Question: Which NIMS Management Characteristic includes developing and issuing assignments, plans, procedures, and protocols to accomplish tasks?
    Answer: Management by Objectives
  15. Question: Which of the following is NOT a recommended characteristic for incident objectives?
    Answer: Stated in broad terms to allow for flexibility
  16. Question: Which of these is NOT a tool that you would need at the incident?
    Answer: Exercise Plan
  17. Question: Which factor does not impact the complexity of an incident?
    Answer: Cost considerations of responding agencies

FEMA IS-200.C Quiz


  1. FEMA IS-200.C: Basic Incident Command System for Initial Response, ICS-200

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