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Chapter 4 - Incident Management System

  • IMS is useful not only for operations, but also for any incident, regardless of size or type. All of the functions outlined in IMS must be addressed at every incident. It is the size and/or type of incident that dictates the degree to which each function is addressed.
  • IMS allows the to delegate responsibilities in a standard incremental manner. The IC must perform any function that is not delegated. The IC's ultimate responsibility is to ensure that all incident requirements are met.
  • Several characteristics that are critical to an Incident Management System:
    • approach: IMS imposes "order on chaos" on the fireground and enables a safer and more efficient operation than would be possible if personnel and units worked independently of each other.
    • Terminology: IMS uses a standard terminology for effective communications.
    • : IMS can be used at any type of emergency incident.
    • NIMS and the Private Sector: Facilities should adopt the use of NIMS/ICS as a policy.
    • Jurisdictional authority: IMS enables different jurisdictions, agencies, and organizations to work cooperatively on a single incident.
    • Span of : IMS maintains the desired span of control through flexible levels of organization.
    • of command: Everyone reports to only one supervisor to avoid conflicts in giving orders.
    • Everyday : IMS can and should be used on every single incident, every single time.
    • Modular: IMS is based on standard modules that are activated as needed to manage an incident.
    • communications: Everyone on the incident can communicate up and down the chain of command as needed.
    • : Designed to identify the level of response needed for certain locations with an emergency situation.
    • Incident Action Plan: Every incident has a plan that outlines the strategic objectives. incidents will have formal plans.
    • Facilities: facilities, such as a command post, staging area, or rehabilitation area, are established as needed.
  • Five major functions are part of IMS:
    • Command: Responsible for the entire incident; this is the only function that is always .
    • Operations: Responsible for most fireground functions including suppression, search and rescue, and ventilation.
    • Planning: Responsible for developing the .
    • : Responsible for obtaining the resources needed to support the incident.
    • Finance/Administration: Responsible for tracking and managing the administrative functions at the incident.
  • The Command Staff assists the IC at the incident:
    • Safety Officer: Responsible for overall safety of the incident; has the authority to stop any action or operation if it creates a on the scene.
    • Liaison: Responsible for coordinating between the fire brigade and other agencies that may be involved in the incident.
    • Information: Responsible for coordinating media activities and providing the necessary information to the various media organizations.
  • An example of a resource would be an engine brigade or a ladder brigade.
  • resources can be combined into task forces or strike teams.
  • Other organizational units that can be established under IMS include and groups.
  • IMS can be expanded infinitely to accommodate any size incident. Branches can be established to group functions, such as suppression, EMS, or hazardous materials.
  • At every incident, someone must always assume command. As the incident grows or continues, it may be necessary to transfer command to another officer. This has to be done in a seamless manner to ensure of command.

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