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This study guide is intended to complement the IS-100.C course, not replace it. It is crucial to go through the entire course material and participate actively in all training activities to fully understand the ICS 100 system.
The Purpose and Features of ICS
The Incident Command System (ICS) is a standardized, on-scene, all-hazards incident management approach that is used for a broad spectrum of emergencies and planned events, from small to complex incidents, both natural and manmade. It is a core part of the National Incident Management System (NIMS).
Key Features of ICS include:
- Standardization: Common terminology, modular organization, integrated communications, unified command structure.
- Scalability: ICS can be scaled up or down, meaning it can grow or shrink according to the needs of the incident.
- Interoperability: ICS allows for integration of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures, and communications operating within a common organizational structure.
- Management by Objectives: ICS is based on clearly defined objectives established by incident or event commanders.
Incident Commander and Command Staff Roles:
- Incident Commander (IC): The IC has overall responsibility for managing the incident by establishing objectives, planning strategies, and implementing tactics. The IC is the only position that is always staffed in ICS applications.
- Public Information Officer (PIO): The PIO is responsible for interfacing with the public, media, and other agencies requiring information about the incident.
- Safety Officer (SO): The SO monitors incident operations and advises the IC on all matters relating to operational safety, including the health and safety of emergency responder personnel.
- Liaison Officer (LNO): The LNO serves as the point of contact for representatives of other governmental departments and agencies, NGOs, and/or the private sector (outside of the direct incident management organization) to communicate and coordinate with.
The Planning Process:
The Planning Process involves a series of steps that should be followed to develop a sound, realistic, and achievable Incident Action Plan (IAP).
- Understand the Situation: Gather information to understand the current situation, the resources available, and the potential incident objectives and strategies.
- Establish Incident Objectives: Define what needs to be achieved operationally in order to meet incident priorities.
- Develop the Plan: Create a tactical plan to achieve the incident objectives.
- Implement and Evaluate the Plan: Assign resources, communicate the plan, and monitor progress to continuously evaluate the effectiveness of the plan and make adjustments as necessary.
ICS Fundamentals Review
The ICS organization is designed to be flexible and scalable, allowing it to adapt to the unique requirements of each incident.
When an incident occurs, the structure of the organization can expand from a very small size for small incidents (with the Incident Commander as the sole member) to a large organization involving multiple agencies and/or jurisdictions.
There are five major functional areas in the ICS structure:
The command staff positions (public information officer, safety officer, and liaison officer) report directly to the Incident Commander and the remaining sections, if established, are headed by a Section Chief who reports directly to the Incident Commander or Unified Command.
ICS identifies various types of facilities that may be used in the incident area to support incident operations. The incident facilities to be established depend on the type, size, and location of the incident. Some common ICS facilities include:
- Incident Command Post (ICP): This is the location from which the Incident Commander oversees all incident operations.
- Base: The base is the location at which primary Logistics functions for an incident are coordinated and administered. The incident command post may be co-located with the base.
- Camps: Camps are locations within the general incident area that are equipped and staffed to provide food, water, sleeping areas, and sanitary facilities to incident personnel.
- Staging Areas: Staging areas are temporary locations at an incident where resources can wait for an assignment.
The management and coordination of resources are crucial to the effective operation of ICS. Resources include personnel, teams, equipment, supplies, and facilities available or potentially available for assignment or allocation in support of incident objectives. The process of resource management includes four steps:
- Identify Requirements: Define what you need, where you need it, and when you need it.
- Order and Acquire: Order resources through appropriate channels, then track them until delivery.
- Mobilize: Deploy resources to the location where they are needed.
- Track and Report: Continuously track resources and report their status as they move through check-in and initial assignment, to reassignment, to demobilization, and finally to check-out and return to availability status.
Purposes and Principles
ICS Management: ICS is based on a number of key management principles that contribute to the strength and efficiency of the overall system:
- Chain of Command and Unity of Command: Chain of command refers to the orderly line of authority within the ranks of the incident management organization. Unity of command means that every individual has a designated supervisor to whom they report at the scene of the incident.
- Unified Command: In incidents involving multiple agencies, jurisdictions, or functional disciplines, unified command allows agencies with different legal, geographic, and functional responsibilities to coordinate, plan, and interact effectively.
- Management by Objectives: This includes 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.
- Flexible and Modular Organization: The ICS organizational structure is adaptable, allowing it to expand or contract to meet the needs of the incident.
- Comprehensive Resource Management: Efficiently managing resources is key to an effective ICS. This includes processes for categorizing, ordering, dispatching, tracking and recovering resources.
Incident or Event Complexity: The complexity of an incident is determined by a number of factors, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Type and Magnitude: A large wildfire would likely be considered more complex than a smaller one.
- Political Sensitivity: An incident that attracts media attention or involves multiple jurisdictions will have a higher complexity.
- Impacts: The potential impacts on life, property, and the environment can increase complexity.
- Operational Period: The length of time an incident has been active and is projected to last can also influence complexity.
- Logistics Support: The level of resources required to support the incident can also factor into complexity.
These factors are considered in determining the complexity level of an incident. The complexity level can range from Type 5 (the least complex incident, usually requiring one or two single resources with up to six personnel) to Type 1 (the most complex, requiring national resources to manage the operations, logistics, and planning).
Please note, the Type 1 to Type 5 classification system is widely used in the United States, but the classification may differ in other countries.
ICS Features and Principles
Organizational Structure: The ICS is designed to have a flexible and scalable organizational structure, which allows it to adapt according to the needs of the incident. It includes five main functions:
- Command: Responsible for overall management of the incident. The command function is headed by the Incident Commander (IC).
- Operations: Responsible for all activities focused on reducing the immediate hazard, saving lives and property, establishing situational control, and restoring normal conditions.
- Planning: Responsible for the collection, evaluation, and dissemination of operational information related to the incident, and for the preparation and documentation of the Incident Action Plan.
- Logistics: Responsible for providing facilities, services, and material support for the incident.
- Finance/Administration: Responsible for all financial, administrative, and cost analysis aspects of the incident.
In some cases, there may also be an Intelligence/Investigations function, depending on the nature of the incident. It is responsible for gathering, sharing and managing incident-related intelligence.
Common Terminology: One of the primary advantages of the ICS is that it establishes common terminology, which allows diverse incident management and support organizations to work together. The system mandates the use of common terminology to avoid misunderstanding in communication.
This common terminology covers the following:
- Organizational Functions: Major functions and functional units with incident management responsibilities are named and defined. Terminology for the organizational elements involved is standard and consistent.
- Resource Descriptions: Major resources, including personnel, facilities, and major equipment and supply items that support incident management activities, are given common names and are “typed” with respect to their capabilities, to help avoid misunderstandings in orders and descriptions.
- Incident Facilities: Common terminology is used to designate the facilities in the vicinity of the incident area.
The goal of this is to ensure clear communication across different agencies, jurisdictions, and disciplines involved in incident management and response.
Basic ICS Features
Management by Objectives: Management by Objectives is a key principle of ICS that involves a four-step process to achieve incident-related goals. These steps are:
- Understand the agency policy and direction.
- Establish incident objectives.
- Select appropriate strategy or strategies to achieve the objectives.
- Apply the necessary tactics that are most likely to bring about success.
The objectives should be SMART, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
This means that objectives should clearly state what needs to be achieved, quantify (if possible) or at least suggest an indicator of progress, be achievable with the resources available, relate to the overarching goals of the response effort, and provide a time limit within which they must be achieved.
Incident Action Planning: The Incident Action Plan (IAP) is an organized course of action developed to address all phases of incident control within a specified time. An IAP is more than just a plan. It’s a series of management by objectives that are revised and presented for each operational period. The IAP process should involve:
- Setting measurable objectives.
- Identifying resources needed.
- Defining work assignments.
- Establishing a realistic timeline.
Chain of Command and Unity of Command: The Chain of Command refers to the orderly line of authority within the ranks of the incident management organization. Unity of Command means that every individual is accountable to and reports to only one designated person. These concepts are important because they:
- Allow for decisions and requests to flow in an orderly manner.
- Ensure that each individual has a clear reporting supervisor.
- Reduce confusion and conflict.
Unified Command: Unified Command is an important ICS principle used when more than one agency has incident jurisdiction or when incidents cross political jurisdictions.
The aim of a Unified Command is to ensure that all agencies involved understand joint plans and objectives, work together effectively despite differences in policies and procedures, and contribute to the efforts to achieve the objectives of the Incident Action Plan.
ICS 100 Test Answers Example
IS-100.C: Introduction to the Incident Command System, ICS 100.
|Which General Staff member prepares Incident Action Plans, manages information, and maintains situational awareness for the incident?||Planning Section Chief|
|If the Incident Commander designates personnel to provide public information, safety, and liaison services, the personnel are collectively referred to as the:||Command Staff|
|Which General Staff member prepares Incident Action Plans, manages information, and maintains situational awareness for the incident?||Planning Section Chief.|
|Which member of the Command and Staff interfaces with other agencies to meet incident-related information requirements?||Public Information Officer|
|The Incident Command System (ICS) is only applicable to large, complex incidents.||FALSE|
|Which General Staff member directs all responses and tactical actions to achieve the incident objectives?||Operations Section Chief|
|Which of the following are typical incident facilities? A. Point-of-distribution sites B. Camps C. Incident Command Post D. All of the Above||All of the Above|
|Which General Staff member negotiates and monitors contracts, maintains documentation for reimbursement, and oversees timekeeping for incident personnel?||Finance/Administration Section Chief|
|The Liaison Officer:||Is the point of contact for other response organizations.|
|Establishment of the ICS modular organization is the responsibility of the:||Incident Commander|
|When command is transferred, the process should include a(n):||Briefing|
|The Whole Community approach refers to different organizations within the Federal Government.||FALSE|
|Who designates the Incident Commander and the process for transferring command?||The jurisdiction or organization with primary responsibility for the incident|
|Which ICS function is responsible for documentation for mutual aid agreements?||Finance/Administration|
|The Incident Command System (ICS) can be used to manage any type of incident, including planned events.||TRUE|
|To avoid overburdening the incident command, resources should not self-dispatch (spontaneously deploy).||TRUE|
|Which NIMS Management Characteristic may include gathering, analyzing, and assessing weather service||Information and Intelligence Management|
|Who has overall responsibility for managing the on-scene incident?||Incident Commander|
|Manageable Span of Control refers to:||The number of individuals or resources that one supervisor can effectively manage during an incident.|
|Qualification, Certification, and Credentialing Personnel are part of which NIMS Management Characteristic?||Comprehensive Resource Management|
|Which NIMS Management Characteristic is necessary for achieving situational awareness and facilitating information sharing?||Integrated Communications|
|Which ICS functional area tracks resources, collects and analyzes information, and maintains documentation?||Planning|
|To ensure efficient, clear, communication, the National Incident Management System Characteristics recommend the use of:||Common terminology|
|In a Unified Command, members representing multiple jurisdictions and agencies work together to establish:||Incident Objectives|
|At the incident scene, who handles media inquiries?||Public Information Officer|
|Which ICS functional area arranges for resources and needed services to support achievement of the incident objectives?||Logistics|
|Which Section organizes, assigns, and supervises tactical response resources?||Operations|
|Which ICS functional area monitors costs related to the incident and provides accounting, procurement, time recording, and cost analysis?||Finance/Administration|
|Which member of the command staff interfaces with other agencies to meet incident-related information requirements?||The Public Information Officer is responsible for interfacing with the public and media and/or with other agencies with incident-related information requirements.|
|Check-in, Incident Action Planning, Personal Responsibility, and Resource Tracking are all necessary to ensure:||Accountability|
|The Incident Command System (ICS) is:||A standardized approach to incident management that is applicable for use in all hazards.|
|Who designates the process for transferring command?||The jurisdiction or organization with primary responsibility for the incident designates the Incident Commander and the process for transferring command.|
|An Incident Action Plan is captured and communicates overall operational and support activities for an incident.||TRUE|
|Which position is always staffed in ICS applications?||Incident Commander|
|Selection of Incident Commanders is done by the:||Jurisdiction or organization with primary responsibility for the incident|
|Which NIMS Management Characteristic refers to personnel requested through appropriate authorities and established resource management systems?||Dispatch/ Deployment|
|One of the benefits of ICS is that it provides an orderly, systematic ___________ process.||Planning|
|Depending on the incident size and complexity, various types of support facilities may be established by:||Incident command.|
|Acquiring, Storing, and Inventorying Resources are part of which NIMS Management Characteristic?||Comprehensive Resource Management|
|When partners representing multiple jurisdictions or agencies work together to establish the incident objectives, what type of Command is being used?||Unified Command|
|Command is:||Directing, ordering, or controlling by virtue of explicit statutory, regulatory, or delegated authority.|
|the number of subordinates that one supervisor can manage effectively during an incident is referred to as:||Manageable Span of Control.|
|Which General Staff member is responsible for ensuring that assigned incident personnel are fed and have communications, medical support, and transportation as needed to meet the operational objective?||Logistics Section Chief|
|Within the National Incident Management System Characteristics, the concept of common terminology covers all of the following EXCEPT:||Operations|
|The Incident Commander or Unified Commander establishes incident objectives that include:||Identifying strategies, tactics, tasks, and activities to achieve the objectives.|
|Integrated Communications includes interoperable systems that include voice and data links||TRUE|
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