Computer with LCD projector
Power Point Presentation
Easel Pads w/ markers
Understand the basic components of IMS (Command, Operations, Planning,
Have students demonstrate the use of IMS Command Positions
Time: 60 minutes
Lecture / Discussion
A) Break students up into four groups of six.
B) Assign three students the roles of fire, police and ems
C) Present students with MVA scenario and allow them 30 minutes to develop an
IAP and mitigate the situation. Have students write down their command chart
on an easel pad.
D) Review each command chart with class.
II. Introduction to the Command Position
Time: 60 minutes
Lecture / Discussion
A. Introduction: Command in NIMS
1. The NIMS signals the need for a change in the culture of Command.
2. Operating with a singular focus (several agencies using ICS but not operating in a
unified manner) can have tragic consequences.
3. Command roles are opening to organizations beyond public safety, and this is a
new concept for many of them.
B. Command and general staff overview
1. Structurally, Command comprises Incident Command and the Command Staff.
2. Command Staff is responsible for overall management of the incident.
3. Command function
i. Is structured in one of two ways: single or unified.
ii. Must be filled on every incident
4. General Staff includes:
5. Single Command
i. Single jurisdiction and single discipline
ii. Responsible for all aspects of incident management
6. Unified Command
a. Used in response to multiagency and/or multijurisdictional incidents.
b. Provides a framework that allows agencies with different legal,
geographic, and functional responsibilities to coordinate, plan, and interact
c. Requires joint determination of objectives and strategies and joint
selection of Section Chiefs
d. Emphasizes concurrent management of issues
e. May inspire controversy in some organizations
i. Some may perceive UC as sacrificing their legal mandates and
ii. Communication is critical so organizations fully understand what
UC means for them.
f. Calls for a single set of incident objectives and a single IAP
g. Requires practice and organizational commitment
7. Command Staff
i. Members of the Command Staff complement and support the
ii. When filled, these staff positions report directly to Incident
Command and are assigned responsibility for key activities that are
not part of the ICS General Staff.
iii. Three special staff positions are routinely identified in the ICS
i. Public Information Officer
ii. Safety Officer
iii. Liaison Officer
d. Public Information Officer (PIO)
i. Responsible for providing understandable, clear information to the
public and media.
ii. Routinely provides information to or collects information from
other agencies with incident-related information
iii. Develops accurate and complete information on the incident’s
cause, size, current situation; resources committed; and other
matters of general interest
e. Safety Officer (SO)
i. Monitors incident operations and advises Command on all matters
relating to operational safety
ii. Responsible for establishing a method to ensure the ongoing
assessment of hazardous environments
iii. Responsibilities of the SO encompass not only responders, but also
victims and bystanders in the incident area
f. Liaison Officer (LNO)
i. Point of contact for representatives of other government agencies,
non-governmental organizations, and/or private entities
ii. In single or UC structure, representatives from assisting or
cooperating agencies and organizations coordinate through the
III. Introduction to the Operations Officer
Time: 60 minutes
Lecture / Discussion
A. The Operations Section
1. The operations section requires a vast number and many types of resources and
responders to accomplish the various missions required during incident response
2. Within the NIMS and the ICS, the operations section is responsible for the
systematic assignment of the personnel and resources to ensure a coordinated and
efficient incident response.
B. Operations Section Responsibilities
1. The Operations section is responsible for many tasks and missions at an incident
2. Essentially all of these tasks fall into one of four categories:
a. Reducing immediate hazards to responders and the public
i. Example: Fire crews and law enforcement may have to act quickly
to close off an area threatened by downed power lines.
b. Saving lives first then working to save property
i. Example: Evacuating a healthcare facility, rendering immediate
emergency medical care and transportation, then resolving the
facility incident and securing the structure.
c. Establishing situational control
i. Example: Working to evacuate a building and providing direction
to evacuees to ensure their safety and coordination as they leave
d. Restoring normal conditions in and around the incident scene
i. Example: Public works crews may have many days or weeks of
repair of basic utilities.
C. Responders directly involved in the Operations Section
1. The operations section may involve a great number and wide variety of
2. This section is generally the largest of the general staff functions.
3. Depending on the magnitude of the incident, this section may involve responders
from local, regional, state, tribal, and federal agencies.
a. These groups include but are not limited to:
i. Emergency medical services
ii. Fire departments
iii. Hospitals and healthcare facilities
iv. Law enforcement agencies
v. Public health departments
vi. Public works agencies and departments
vii. Municipal, state, or tribal agencies
D. Basic organization of the Operations Section
1. Each primary agency type (i.e., EMS, fire, law enforcement, and hospitals) has its
own unique operational elements that are specific to the missions and
responsibilities of each agency.
2. The Operations Section, however, is built out the same way for every agency type
in the ICS structure.
3. The four basic elements are:
4. Frequently the Operations Section is built out in greater detail based on the
a. The specific incident mission requirements and the necessary personnel
and equipment to perform these missions.
b. The Incident Action Plan (IAP) may detail specific predetermined
procedures for given circumstances. These procedures are frequently
based on previous incident experiences, related lessons learned, drills, and
c. Jurisdictional areas and geographic boundaries may dictate the function
and organization of the operations section.
d. The incident’s functional needs may require the specific development of
the incident’s operations section. This is prone to change as the incident
5. Additional supporting agencies of the Operations Section
a. Because some incidents encompass large geographical areas or involve
highly specialized materials and chemicals, it is necessary to include
additional agencies who are typically outside of the conventional public
safety response to support an incident.
b. These groups include but are not limited to:
i. Private companies
ii. Non-governmental agencies
iii. Private individuals
iv. Military branches
c. It is important to note that these groups must also be credentialed and
qualified to participate in the incident. This is typically handled at the
Incident Commander level or by special governmental authority.
E. Operations Section Chief
1. The Operations Section Chief (OPS) is a member of the General Staff.
2. Directly manages all incident activities and implements the IAP.
3. Normally the person with the greatest technical and tactical expertise in dealing
with the problem at hand.
4. The individual who performs this function:
a. Must be well versed in the use, implementation, and functioning of the
b. Is frequently an individual with considerable experience in dealing with
the specifics of the incident.
c. Example: On a large structure fire, a senior fire officer or deputy chief
may be the most appropriate person to perform the function of the OPS.
5. It is frequently advisable to appoint deputies to this individual for large-scale or
a. This function must be performed around the clock for the duration of the
incident. A single individual will not be able to do this.
b. With multijurisdictional or multiagency responses, it is beneficial to have
the deputies from the various agencies or jurisdictions. This will facilitate
the Unified Command process.
F. Roles and responsibilities of the Operations Section Chief
1. The primary roles and responsibilities of the OPS include but are not limited to:
a. Review common responsibilities.
b. Develop operations portion of IAP.
c. Brief and assign Operations Section personnel in accordance with the IAP.
d. Supervise Operations Section.
e. Determine need and request additional resources.
f. Review suggested list of resources to be released and initiate
recommendation for release of resources.
g. Assemble and disassemble strike teams assigned to the Operations
h. Report information about special activities, events, and occurrences to the
i. Maintain unit/activity log.
G. Span of control
3. The number of resources can rapidly exceed the OPS’s manageable span of
4. During incident response, the effective span of control for a single subdivision
leader should be maintained at a 1:3 to 1:7 ratio.
5. If the ratio exceeds 1:7, there is a potential for loss of control and coordination.
6. Supervisory levels can be added to help maintain and manage the span of control:
H. Team communication
1. Communications within and among teams is a critical element in defining their
2. These communications come in all forms (e.g., written, verbal, radio, digital) and
are necessary for transferring critical mission, safety, and incident information.
3. Use language that everyone on the team will understand.
4. When communicating information up the chain-of-command remember that the
person you are reporting to may be from a different agency or department. Do not
use jargon, codes, or agency/department specific language.
1. Divisions are created to divide an incident geographically into one or more parts.
a. This is frequently necessary in large or expansive incident areas such as the
incidents in the NIMS textbook case studies.
2. Division areas are usually determined by the incident dynamics, need, and natural
geographic features such as lakes, rivers, mountains, floodwaters, valleys, islands,
and manmade obstacles or debris.
3. The division is usually named for the geographic area that it encompasses.
a. Example: In the Rural Case Study, the Operations Section Chief chose to
divide the city into two divisions, “east and west city.”
4. A division is managed by a Division Supervisor.
1. Developed and used by the Operations Section to define a functional area of
operations or “work”
2. Generally labeled based on their primary assigned job
3. Work within the incident site where needed and are not limited by geographic
boundaries for the most part
4. Managed by a Group Supervisor
5. Responsibilities of the Division/Group Supervisors
a. The primary roles and responsibilities of the Division and Group
Supervisors include but are not limited to:
i. Review common responsibilities.
ii. Implement IAP for Division/Group.
iii. Provide the IAP to strike team leaders, when available.
iv. Identify increments assigned to the Division/Group.
v. Review Division/Group assignments and incident activities with
subordinates and assign tasks.
vi. Ensure that the Incident Commander and/or Resources Unit is
advised of all changes in the status of resources assigned to the
vii. Coordinate activities with adjacent Division/Group.
viii. Determine need for assistance on assigned tasks.
ix. Submit situation and resources status information to the Branch
Director or the Operations Section Chief (OPS).
x. Report hazardous situations, special occurrences, or significant
events (e.g., accidents, sickness, discovery of unanticipated
sensitive resources) to the immediate supervisor.
xi. Ensure that assigned personnel and equipment get to and from
assignments in a timely and orderly manner.
xii. Resolve logistics problems within the Division/Group.
xiii. Participate in the development of Branch plans for the next
xiv. Maintain unit/activity log.
1. Resources can be divided into one of three categories:
a. Single resources
i. These resources are employed on an individual basis and share the
same common incident responsibilities when activated.
ii. During sustained operations, situations arise that will call for the
use of a single helicopter, vehicle, or piece of mobile equipment.
b. Task force
i. This resource is any combination of resources put together to
accomplish a specific mission.
ii. Task forces have a designated leader and operate with common
iii. Combining resources into task forces allows several key resource
elements to be managed under one individual’s supervision, thus
aiding in span of control.
c. Strike teams
i. This is a set number of resources of the same kind and type
operating under a designated leader with common communications
ii. Strike teams represent known capability and are highly effective
2. Responsibilities of resource leaders
a. Single resource leader
i. Review common responsibilities.
ii. Review assignments.
iii. Obtain necessary equipment and supplies.
iv. Review weather/environmental conditions for assignment area.
v. Brief subordinates on safety measures.
vi. Monitor work progress.
vii. Ensure adequate communications with supervisor and
viii. Keep supervisor informed of progress and any changes.
ix. Inform supervisor of problems with assigned resources.
x. Brief relief personnel, and advise them of any change in
xi. Return equipment and supplies to appropriate unit.
xii. Complete and turn in all time and use records on personnel and
xiii. Maintain unit/activity logs.
b. Task force and strike team leaders
i. Review common responsibilities.
ii. Review common unit leader responsibilities.
iii. Review assignments with subordinates and assign tasks.
iv. Monitor work progress and make changes when necessary.
v. Coordinate activities with adjacent strike teams, task forces, and
vi. Travel to and from active assignment area with assigned resources.
vii. Retain control of assigned resources while in available or out-of-
viii. Submit situation and resource status information to Division/Group
ix. Maintain unit/activity logs.
1. A very large subdivision of the Operations Section
2. Typically not formed immediately at an incident
a. Usually developed when the incident has grown too large and a logical
division of the span of control must be made.
3. Typically have several groups or divisions under them with many resources
assigned to those groups.
a. May also have a very specific function, such as an Air Operations Branch
4. Managed by a Branch Director who reports to the Operations Section Chief.
5. Responsibilities of the Branch Director
a. Review common responsibilities
b. Develop with subordinates alternatives for branch control operations
c. Attend planning meetings at the request of the OPS.
d. Review Division/Group assignment lists for divisions/groups the within the
e. Modify lists based on effectiveness of current operations.
f. Assign specific work tasks to Division/Group Supervisors.
g. Supervise Branch operations.
h. Resolve logistic problems reported by subordinates.
i. Report to OPS when the IAP is to be modified, additional resources are
needed, surplus resources are available, or hazardous situations or significant
j. Approve accident and medical reports (home agency forms) originating within
k. Maintain unit/activity log.
IV. Introduction to Planning
Time: 60 minutes
Lecture / Discussion
A. Introduction: Planning in NIMS
1. The Planning Section is a critical component of the ICS and one that is frequently
overlooked in local operations.
2. Critically important to fill the Planning Section Chief position early in an incident
that is complex or large
3. Increased emphasis on planning within NIMS, including introduction of a
structured NIMS planning process
4. Planning can be extremely challenging in the ICS system and should be staffed by
B. Planning Section structure
1. Planning Section Chief
2. Resource Unit
3. Situation Unit
4. Documentation Unit
5. Demobilization Unit
6. Technical Specialists
C. Planning Section Chief (PSC)
1. Oversees all incident-related data gathering and analysis regarding incident
operations and assigned resources
2. Critical for the PSC to stay in constant contact with IC/UC and the Operations
D. Resources Unit
1. Ensures that all assigned personnel and other resources have checked in at the
2. This unit
a. Keeps track of the incident location and status of all assigned resources
b. Should maintain a master list of all resources committed to incident
E. Situation Unit
1. Collects, processes, and organizes ongoing situation information
2. Prepares situation summaries
3. Develops projections and forecasts of future events related to the incident
4. Also prepares maps and gathers and disseminates information and intelligence for
use in the IAP
F. Documentation Unit
1. Maintains accurate and complete incident files, including a complete record of the
major steps taken to resolve the incident
2. Provides duplication services to incident personnel
3. Files, maintains, and stores incident files for legal, analytical, and historical
G. Demobilization Unit
a. Develops and Incident Demobilization Plan that includes specific instructions
for all personnel and resources that will require demobilization.
H. Technical Specialists
1. Can serve anywhere within the ICS organization, but are critical to the Planning
2. Contribute specialized skills to the incident management effort
3. The incident dictates the need for Technical Specialists
b. Environmental impact specialists
c. Resource use and cost specialists
d. Explosive specialists
e. Structural engineering specialists
f. Medical intelligence specialists
I. The Planning Process and the IAP
1. A clear, concise IAP template is essential in guiding the initial incident
management decision process and in continuing collective planning activities.
1. Creating a comprehensive IAP involves five phases:
a. Understanding the situation.
b. Establish incident objectives and strategy.
c. Develop the plan.
d. Prepare and disseminate the plan.
Evaluate and revise the plan.
V. Introduction to Logistics
Time: 60 minutes
Lecture / Discussion
1. The difference between a routine response and a disaster or high-impact event if
often an issue of logistics.
a. Supply and equipment requirements exceed normal capacity.
2. When operating at peak capacity, operations agencies consume resources at a fast
3. In the ICS template, the Logistics Section exists to ensure that operations
functions maintain “operational tempo” by keeping everyone supplied.
B. Logistics section
1. Responsible for all support operations needed to facilitate effective and efficient
incident management, including ordering resources from off-incident locations
2. Also provides facilities, transportation, supplies, equipment maintenance and fuel,
food services, communications and information technology support, and
emergency responder medical services
3. Led by a Section Chief, who reports to the Incident Commander
D. Support Branch
1. Provides services to assist incident operations by providing supplies, facilities,
transport, and equipment maintenance
2. Consists of the following units:
a. Supply Unit
i. Orders, receives, stores, and processes all resources.
ii. Personnel, supplies, and equipment needed for incident operations
iii. Provides the support required to receive, process, store, and
distribute all supply orders
b. Facilities Unit
i. Establishes, maintains, and demobilizes all facilities used in
support of incident operations
ii. Sets up the EOC, area commands, the command post, incident
base, and camps, as well as trailers and/or other forms of shelter
for use in and around the incident area
iii. Also provides and sets up necessary personnel support facilities,
including areas for
(a) Food and water services
(c) Sanitation and showers
d. Ground Support Unit
i. Maintains and repairs primary tactical equipment, vehicles, and
mobile ground support equipment
ii. Records usage time for all ground equipment assigned to the
iii. Supplies fuel for all mobile equipment
iv. Provides transportation in support of incident operations (except
v. Develops and implements the incident traffic plan
E. Service Branch
3. Provides communications food, water, and medical services
4. Consists of the following:
a. Communications Unit
i. Develops the communication plan (ICS form 205) to make the
most effective use of the communications equipment and facilities
assigned to the incident
ii. Installs and tests all communications equipment
iii. Supervises and operates the incident communications center
iv. Distributes and recovers communications equipment assigned to
v. Maintains and repairs communications equipment on site
vi. Must coordinate with dispatch centers, department operations
centers, and the EOC during major incidents
vii. Command net – links command staff and section managers
viii. Tactical net – links to geographical areas, special teams, and
ix. Support net – links for resource and logistics functions
b. Food Unit
i. Determines food and water requirements
ii. Plans menus, orders food, provides cooking facilities, cooks and
iii. Maintains food-service areas
iv. Manages food security and safety concerns
c. Medical Unit
i. Primary responsibilities of the EMS Unite or the EMS Commander
(a) Develop the incident medical plan (for incident personnel)
(b) Develop procedures for handling any major medical
emergency involving incident personnel
(c) Provide continuity of medical care by coordinating with
public health agencies
(d) Provide transportation for injured incident personnel
(e) Ensure that incident personnel patients are tracked as they
move from origin, to care facility, to final disposition.
(f) Assist in processing all paperwork related to injuries or
deaths of incident personnel.
(g) Coordinate personnel and mortuary affairs for personnel
F. Communications failure protocol
1. A plan and operational procedure that identifies major communications networks
and back-up systems in the case of infrastructure failures
2. A collaborative effort between agency communications officers, the NIMS
preparedness committee, and private vendors/suppliers
3. Protocol steps
a. Identify all major communications networks and systems.
b. Analyze potential weaknesses and failure points in each network.
c. Identify secondary and tertiary back-up systems for critical networks.
d. Develop a contractual relationship with communications system vendors
for 24/7 emergency support.
e. Invest in hardware, software, and infrastructure.
G. Push and pull logistics
1. In a push system, supplies are available on vehicles or in pre-position caches. In a
pull system, logistics needs are ordered as needed.
2. Development of logistics caches – Store a cache if anticipated supplies at key
locations that can be rapidly deployed to an emergency scene.
3. Weaknesses of push and pull systems – Push systems may not always have
adequate quantities; pull systems take time and require adequate communications
H. Logistics planning
1. Local and state plansLocal plans must be effectively integrated with state plans
2. Communications interoperabilitySystems must be effectively integrated as
opposed to proprietary systems that cannot interact with each other
3. EOC logistics operationsIn major incidents, local logistics support is
coordination via the Logistics Section in the EOC. Local logistics sections also
coordinate with the state EOC.
4. Support of mass shelteringMass sheltering requires major logistics support
including facilities, food, water, medical supplies, transportation, and power (the
New Orleans effort during Hurricane Katrina is a classic example).
I. Volunteers and donations
1. Coordinated at the EOC level.
2. All donated materials must be distributed to the proper location in a timely
3. Effective distribution must be coordinated with the Ground Support Unit to
4. Volunteers are the core of support in any major incident, although unsolicited
volunteers who are not affiliated with a formal organization present problems.
5. Volunteers must be formally credentialed and logged into the system.