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Emergency Response Procedures for Natural Gas Transit Vehicles (2005)

Chapter: Appendix A - Description of the Incident Command System

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Page 43
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A - Description of the Incident Command System." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2005. Emergency Response Procedures for Natural Gas Transit Vehicles. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23328.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A - Description of the Incident Command System." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2005. Emergency Response Procedures for Natural Gas Transit Vehicles. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23328.
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Page 44
Page 45
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A - Description of the Incident Command System." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2005. Emergency Response Procedures for Natural Gas Transit Vehicles. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23328.
×
Page 45
Page 46
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A - Description of the Incident Command System." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2005. Emergency Response Procedures for Natural Gas Transit Vehicles. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23328.
×
Page 46
Page 47
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A - Description of the Incident Command System." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2005. Emergency Response Procedures for Natural Gas Transit Vehicles. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23328.
×
Page 47
Page 48
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A - Description of the Incident Command System." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2005. Emergency Response Procedures for Natural Gas Transit Vehicles. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23328.
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Page 48

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43 This description is drawn mainly from training information available from the Federal Emergency Management Adminis- tration on its website at http://training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/ IS/is195.asp. This training is directed toward introducing emer- gency responders to the Incident Command System (ICS). ICS is the model tool for command, control, and coordi- nation of a response and provides a means to coordinate the efforts of individual agencies as they work toward the com- mon goal of stabilizing the incident and protecting life, prop- erty, and the environment. ICS uses principles that have been proven to improve efficiency and effectiveness in a business setting and applies the principles to emergency response. We live in a complex world in which responding to emer- gencies, from single-car accidents to large-scale disasters, often requires cooperation among several agencies. Given the current movement toward using an ICS structure for emergency response, it is likely, therefore, that one will func- tion in an ICS environment. In an emergency, an individual may not be working for one’s day-to-day supervisor or may be working in a different location. Thus, emergency response operations are not “business as usual.” This unit will provide the rationale for using ICS and show how ICS can be used to manage all types of incidents. It also will describe the basic ICS organization, how ICS can form the basis for an effective emergency management sys- tem, and how ICS can enhance Emergency Operations Cen- ter (EOC) operations. WHEN IS ICS USED? ICS has been proven effective for responding to all types of incidents, including: • Hazardous materials (hazmat) incidents; • Planned events (e.g., celebrations, parades, concerts, and official visits); • Natural hazards; • Single agency and multiagency law enforcement inci- dents; • Inadequate comprehensive resource management strat- egy; • Incidents involving multiple casualties; • Multijurisdictional and multiagency incidents; • Air, rail, water, or ground transportation accidents; • Wide-area search and rescue missions; • Pest eradication programs; and • Private-sector emergency management programs. Federal law requires the use of ICS for response to hazmat incidents. Many states are adopting ICS as their standard for responding to all types of incidents. ICS has been endorsed by the American Public Works Association and the International Association of Chiefs of Police and has been adopted by the National Fire Academy as its standard for incident response. ICS is included in the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) “Recommended Practice for Disaster Management” (NFPA1600). ICS is also part of the National Interagency Incident Management System (NIIMS). ICS HISTORY ICS was developed in the 1970s in response to a series of major wildfires in southern California. At that time, municipal, county, state, and federal fire authorities collaborated to form the Firefighting Resources of California Organized for Poten- tial Emergencies (FIRESCOPE). FIRESCOPE identified several recurring problems involving multiagency responses, such as • Nonstandard terminology among responding agencies, • Inadequate capability to expand and contract as required by the situation, • Nonstandard and nonintegrated communications, • A lack of consolidated action plans, and • A lack of designated facilities. Efforts to address these difficulties resulted in the develop- ment of the original ICS model for effective incident manage- ment. Although originally developed in response to wildfires, ICS has evolved into an all-risk system that is appropriate for all types of fire and non-fire emergencies. Much of the success of ICS has resulted directly from applying • A common organizational structure and • Key management principles in a standardized way. ICS ORGANIZATION Many incidents—whether major accidents (such as hazmat spills), minor incidents (such as house fires and utility out- ages), or emergencies and major disasters (such as tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes)—require a response from a num- ber of different agencies. Regardless of the size of the inci- dent or the number of agencies involved in the response, all incidents require a coordinated effort to ensure an effective response and the efficient, safe use of resources. APPENDIX A Description of the Incident Command System

44 No single agency or department can handle an emergency situation of any scale alone. All parties must work together to manage the emergency. To coordinate the effective use of all of the available resources, agencies need a formalized management structure that lends consistency, fosters effi- ciency, and provides direction during a response. The ICS organization is built around five major components: • Command • Planning • Operations • Logistics • Finance/Administration. The relationship among these components is shown in Figure A1. These five major components are the foundation on which the ICS organization develops. They apply during a routine emergency, when preparing for a major event, or when managing a response to a major disaster. In small-scale incidents, all of the components may be managed by one per- son, the Incident Commander. Large-scale incidents usually require that each component, or section, is set up separately. Each of the primary ICS sections may be divided into smaller functions as needed. The ICS organization has the capability to expand or contract to meet the needs of the incident, but all incidents, regardless of size or complexity, will have an Incident Commander. A basic ICS operating guideline is that the Incident Commander is responsible for on-scene man- agement until command authority is transferred to another per- son, who then becomes the Incident Commander. Each of the major components of the ICS organization is described in the sections that follow. Command Function The command function is directed by the Incident Com- mander, who is the person in charge at the incident, and who must be fully qualified to manage the response. Major responsibilities for the Incident Commander include • Performing command activities, such as establishing command and establishing the Incident Command Post (ICP); • Protecting life and property; • Controlling personnel and equipment resources; • Maintaining accountability for responder and public safety, as well as for task accomplishment; and • Establishing and maintaining an effective liaison with outside agencies and organizations, including the EOC, when it is activated. Incident management encompasses • Establishing command, • Ensuring responder safety, • Assessing incident priorities, • Determining operational objectives, • Developing and implementing the Incident Action Plan (IAP), • Developing an appropriate organizational structure, • Maintaining a manageable span of control, • Managing incident resources, • Coordinating overall emergency activities, • Coordinating the activities of outside agencies, • Authorizing the release of information to the media, and • Keeping track of costs. An effective Incident Commander must be assertive, deci- sive, objective, calm, and a quick thinker. To handle all of the responsibilities of this role, the Incident Commander also needs to be adaptable, flexible, and realistic about his or her limitations. The Incident Commander also needs to have the capability to delegate positions appropriately as needed for an incident. Initially, the Incident Commander will be the senior responder to arrive at the scene. As additional responders arrive, command will transfer on the basis of who has primary authority for overall control of the incident. As incidents grow in size or become more complex, the respon- sible jurisdiction or agency may assign a more highly quali- fied Incident Commander. At transfer of command, the out- going Incident Commander must give the incoming Incident Commander a full briefing and notify all staff of the change in command. As incidents grow, the Incident Commander may dele- gate authority for performing certain activities to others, as required. When expansion is required, the Incident Comman- der will establish the other Command Staff positions shown in Figure A2. FIGURE A1 Relationships among the five major components of the ICS organization.

45 • The Information Officer handles all media inquiries and coordinates the release of information to the media with the Public Affairs Officer at the EOC. • The Safety Officer monitors safety conditions and devel- ops measures for ensuring the safety of all assigned personnel. • The Liaison Officer is the on-scene contact for other agencies assigned to the incident. The Incident Commander will base the decision to expand (or contract) the ICS organization on three major incident priorities: • Life safety—The Incident Commander’s first priority is always the life safety of the emergency responders and the public. • Incident stability—The Incident Commander is respon- sible for determining the strategy that will – Minimize the effect that the incident may have on the surrounding area. – Maximize the response effort while using resources efficiently. The size and complexity of the command system that the Incident Commander develops should be in keeping with the complexity (i.e., level of dif- ficulty in the response) of the incident, not the size (which is based on geographic area or number of resources). • Property conservation—The Incident Commander is responsible for minimizing damage to property while achieving the incident objectives. As incidents become more involved, the Incident Com- mander can activate additional General Staff sections (i.e., Planning, Operations, Logistics, and/or Finance/Admin- istration), as necessary. Each Section Chief, in turn, has the authority to expand internally to meet the needs of the situation. Planning Section In smaller events, the Incident Commander is responsible for planning, but when the incident is of larger scale, the Inci- dent Commander establishes the Planning Section. The Plan- ning Section’s function includes the collection, evaluation, dissemination, and use of information about the development of the incident and status of resources. This section’s respon- sibilities can also include creation of the IAP, which defines the response activities and resource utilization for a specified time period. Operations Section The Operations Section is responsible for carrying out the response activities described in the IAP. The Operations Sec- tion Chief coordinates Operations Section activities and has primary responsibility for receiving and implementing the IAP. The Operations Section Chief reports to the Incident Commander and determines the required resources and orga- nizational structure within the Operations Section. The Oper- ations Section Chief’s main responsibilities are to • Direct and coordinate all operations, ensuring the safety of Operations Section personnel; • Assist the Incident Commander in developing response goals and objectives for the incident; • Implement the IAP by requesting (or releasing) resources through the Incident Commander; and • Keep the Incident Commander informed of situation and resource status within operations. Logistics Section The Logistics Section is responsible for providing facilities, services, and materials, including personnel to operate the equipment requested for the incident. This section takes on great significance in long-term or extended operations. It is important to note that the Logistics Section functions are geared to support the incident responders. For example, the Medical Unit in the Logistics Section provides care for the incident responders, not civilian victims. Finance/Administration Section Though sometimes overlooked, the Finance/Administration Section is critical for tracking incident costs and reimburse- ment accounting. Unless costs and financial operations are carefully recorded and justified, reimbursement of costs is difficult, if not impossible. The Finance/Administration Sec- tion is especially important when the incident is of a magni- tude that may result in a Presidential Declaration. Each of these functional areas can be expanded into additional orga- nizational units with further delegation of authority. They also may be contracted as the incident deescalates. ICS CONCEPTS AND PRINCIPLES The adaptable ICS structure is composed of major compo- nents to ensure quick and effective resource commitment and to minimize disruption to the normal operating policies and procedures of responding organizations. Remember that ICS FIGURE A2 Command staff positions.

46 concepts and principles have been tested and proven over time—in business and industry and by response agencies at all governmental levels. ICS training is required to ensure that all who may become involved in an incident are famil- iar with ICS principles. This section reports on how the appli- cation of these concepts and principles makes ICS work. An ICS structure should include • Common terminology, • A modular organization, • Integrated communications, • Unity of command, • A unified command structure, • Consolidated IAPs, • A manageable span of control, • Designated incident facilities, and • Comprehensive resource management. Common terminology is essential in any emergency man- agement system, especially when diverse or other than first- response agencies are involved. When agencies have even slightly different meanings for terms, confusion and ineffi- ciency can result. Do you know what a staging area is? Will all responders understand what a staging area is? In ICS, major organizational functions, facilities, and units are pre- designated and given titles. ICS terminology is standard and consistent among all of the agencies involved. To prevent confusion when multiple incidents occur simul- taneously within the same jurisdiction, or when the same radio frequency must be used for multiple incidents, the Incident Commander will specifically name his or her incident. For example, an incident that occurs at 14th and Flower might be called “Flower Street Command.” One that occurs at 14th and Penn could be called “Penn Street Command.” Other guidelines for establishing common terminology include • Response personnel should use common names for all personnel and equipment resources, as well as for all facilities in and around the incident area. • Radio transmissions should use clear text (i.e., plain English, without “ten” codes or agency-specific codes). All common terminology applies to all organizational ele- ments, position titles, and resources. A modular organization develops from the top-down organizational structure at any incident. “Top-down” means that, at the very least, the command function is established by the first arriving officer who becomes the Incident Com- mander. As the incident warrants, the Incident Commander activates other functional areas (i.e., sections). In approxi- mately 95% of all incidents, the organizational structure for operations consists of command and single resources (e.g., one fire truck, an ambulance, or a tow truck). If needed, how- ever, the ICS structure can consist of several layers. In this unit, we have described the two top layers: command and general staff. Other layers may be activated as warranted. Integrated communications is a system that uses a com- mon communications plan, standard operating procedures, clear text, common frequencies, and common terminology. Several communication networks may be established, depend- ing on the size and complexity of the incident. Unity of command is the concept by which each person within an organization reports to only one designated person. A unified command structure allows all agencies with responsibility for the incident, either geographic or functional, to manage an incident by establishing a common set of inci- dent objectives and strategies. Unified command does not mean losing or giving up agency authority, responsibility, or accountability. The concept of unified command means that all involved agencies contribute to the command process by • Determining overall objectives, • Planning jointly for operational activities while con- ducting integrated operations, and • Maximizing the use of all assigned resources. Under unified command, the following always apply: • The incident functions under a single coordinated IAP, • One Operations Section Chief has responsibility for implementing the IAP, and • One ICP is established. Consolidated IAPs describe response goals, operational objectives, and support activities. The decision to have a writ- ten IAP is made by the Incident Commander. ICS requires written plans whenever • Resources from multiple agencies are used, • Several jurisdictions are involved, and • The incident is complex (e.g., changes in shifts of per- sonnel or equipment are required). IAPs should cover all objectives and support activities that are needed during the entire operational period. A writ- ten plan is preferable to an oral plan because it clearly demon- strates responsibility, helps protect the community from lia- bility, and provides documentation when requesting state and federal assistance. IAPs that include the measurable goals and objectives to be achieved are always prepared around a time frame called an operational period. Operational periods can be of various lengths, but should be no longer than 24 hours. Twelve-hour operational periods are common for large-scale incidents. The Incident Commander determines the length of the operational period based on the complexity and size of the incident.

47 A manageable span of control is defined as the number of individuals one supervisor can manage effectively. In ICS, the span of control for any supervisor falls within a range of three to seven resources, with five being the optimum. If those numbers increase or decrease the Incident Commander should reexamine the organizational structure. Designated incident facilities include • An ICP at which the Incident Commander, the Com- mand Staff, and the General Staff oversee all incident operations. • Staging areas at which resources are kept while await- ing incident assignment. Other incident facilities may be designated for incidents that are geographically dis- persed, require large numbers of resources, or require highly specialized resources. Comprehensive resource management • Maximizes resource use, • Consolidates control of single resources, • Reduces the communications load, • Provides accountability, • Reduces freelancing, and • Ensures personnel safety. All resources are assigned to a status condition: • Assigned resources are performing active functions. • Available resources are ready for assignment. • Out-of-service resources are not ready for assigned or available status. Any changes in resource location and status must be reported promptly to the Resource Unit by the person making the change. Personnel accountability is provided throughout all of ICS. All personnel must check in as soon as they arrive at an incident. Resource units, assignment lists, and unit logs are all ways for personnel to be accounted for. When per- sonnel are no longer required for the response, they must check out so that they can be removed from the resource lists. The ICS principles can and should be used for all types of incidents, both small and large—from a warrant execution to a hostage situation or a search for a missing child. Because ICS can be used at virtually any type of incident of any size, it is important that all responders use the ICS approach. ICS AND THE EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER Most jurisdictions maintain an EOC as part of their commu- nity’s emergency preparedness program. An EOC is where department heads, government officers and officials, and volunteer agencies gather to coordinate their response to an emergency event. The proper interface between the EOC and the on-scene management should be worked out in advance, if possible. The Incident Command structure and the EOC function together with the same goals, but function at different levels of responsibility. The Incident Command operation is respon- sible for on-scene response activities, and the EOC is respon- sible for the entire community-wide response to the event. (Note that the EOC also can function under an ICS structure.) If the EOC does operate under the ICS structure, it must be careful not to confuse personnel at the EOC with the same per- sonnel on site. Thus, ICS is a management system that works both for the responding agencies and for the community. SUMMARY The main components of an ICS structure are • Command • Planning • Operations • Logistics • Finance/Administration The Incident Commander has overall control over the inci- dent. In a small incident, he or she may assume the responsi- bilities of all components. In larger or more complex inci- dents, the Incident Commander may assign other members of the Command Staff, including an Information Officer, a Safety Officer, and/or a Liaison Officer. The Incident Com- mander also may assign General Staff, who serve as Section Chiefs for the Planning, Operations, Logistics, and Finance/ Administration Sections. The Section Chiefs have the author- ity to expand or contract their operations as the demands of the incident increase or decrease. ICS operates according to basic principles to ensure quick and effective resource commitment and to minimize disrup- tion of usual operating policies and procedures of respond- ing organizations. These principles include • Common terminology, which ensures that all respon- ders use terms that are standard and consistent. • A modular organization, which enables the ICS structure to expand or contract to meet the needs of the incident. • Integrated communications, which establishes a com- mon communications plan, standard operating proce- dures, clear text, common frequencies, and common terminology. • Unity of command, where each person within an orga- nization reports to only one designated person. • A unified command structure, which allows all agencies with responsibility for the incident, either geographic or

48 functional, to manage an incident by establishing a com- mon set of incident objectives and strategies. • Consolidated IAPs, which describe response goals, oper- ational objectives, and support activities. • A manageable span of control, which limits the number of resources that any supervisor may control to between three and seven, with five being optimal. • Designated incident facilities, which include an ICP and may include staging areas. Other incident facilities may be designated, depending on the requirements of the incident. • Comprehensive resource management, which maximizes resource use, consolidates control of single resources, reduces the communications load, provides account- ability, reduces freelancing, and ensures personnel safety. These principles should be used for all types of incidents, both small and large. At larger or more complex incidents, the ICS structure in the field will work with personnel in the EOC (which also may be organized under ICS principles). The Incident Command and the EOC function together and work toward the same goals, but their responsibilities are at different levels. The Incident Command operation is respon- sible for on-scene response activities and the EOC is respon- sible for community-wide resource management.

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TRB’s Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Synthesis 58: Emergency Response Procedures for Natural Gas Transit Vehicles identifies and documents the state of the practice on emergency response protocols to incidents involving natural gas-filled transit buses. The report is designed to assist first responders to natural gas incidents—emergency response professionals such as police officers and fire-fighters; transit agency operations and maintenance employees, police, and security guards; and certain members of the general public.

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