Incident Command System

The Incident Command System (ICS) is now the recommended emergency management system for all responders and organizations in Alberta.  Developed in California in the 1970s after a series of devastating wildfires, the Incident Command System proved to be extremely effective in dealing not only with wildfires, but with any type of disaster.  As a result, Incident Command has become an all-hazard, all response system. 

ICS is not simply an organization chart.  There are 14 principles which must be adhered to in order to be ICS compliant.  The organization chart is a by-product of the 14 principles and an organization chart, in itself, does not indicate that ICS is being properly applied. 

Incident  Command always starts with the establishment of an Incident Commander at the scene and the designation of an Incident Command Post.  After the initial size-up, the Incident Commander will determine the appropriate response and objectives required to achieve the desired response.  The management of the response by specific objectives is a key tenet of ICS.  Determining the objectives allows better management of the resources required and the appropriate level of response required.  The incident objectives form the core of the Incident Action Plan and should be communicated to the ECC, usually by the use of a ICS Form 201.

Although command may be established by any person with authority, command is transferred to the organization with the primary responsibility for that particular event.  A police officer may establish command if they are first at a fire, but will normaly transfer command to the fire department upon their arrival.  

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