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Lesson 1: Welcome/ICS Overview
The Welcome/ICS Overview lesson introduces you to:
By the end of this lesson, you should be able to:
ICS and the Emergency Operations Center
You may be deployed to an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) rather than serve as an on-scene responder. The EOC is a multiagency coordination entity that provides support and coordination to the on-scene responders.
Although the EOC uses ICS management principles it does not manage on-scene operations. Therefore, not all aspects of ICS taught in this course may apply to EOC operations.
Gaining an understanding of the full spectrum of ICS used by Incident command will help you better support the on-scene responders if you serve in a multiagency coordination function.
The Incident Command System (ICS)
An incident is an occurrence, either caused by humans or natural phenomena, that requires response actions to prevent or minimize loss of life or damage to property and/or the environment.
Examples of incidents include:
Given the magnitude of these types of events, it's not always possible for any one agency alone to handle the management and resource needs.
Partnerships are often required among local, State, Tribal, and Federal agencies. These partners must work together in a smooth, coordinated effort under the same management system.
The Incident Command System, or ICS, is a standardized, on-scene, all-hazard incident management concept. ICS allows its users to adopt an integrated organizational structure to match the complexities and demands of single or multiple incidents without being hindered by jurisdictional boundaries.
ICS has considerable internal flexibility. It can grow or shrink to meet different needs. This flexibility makes it a very cost effective and efficient management approach for both small and large situations.
History of the Incident Command System (ICS)
The Incident Command System (ICS) was developed in the 1970s following a series of catastrophic fires in California's urban interface. Property damage ran into the millions, and many people died or were injured. The personnel assigned to determine the causes of this disaster studied the case histories and discovered that response problems could rarely be attributed to lack of resources or failure of tactics. What were the lessons learned?
Surprisingly, studies found that response problems were far more likely to result from inadequate management than from any other single reason.
Weaknesses in incident management were often due to:
A poorly managed incident response can be devastating to our economy and our health and safety. With so much at stake, we must effectively manage our response efforts. The Incident Command System, or ICS, allows us to do so. ICS is a proven management system based on successful business practices. This course introduces you to basic ICS concepts and terminology.
National Incident Management System (NIMS)
In response to attacks on September 11, President George W. Bush issued Homeland Security Presidential Directive 5 (HSPD-5) in February 2003.
HSPD-5 called for a National Incident Management System (NIMS) and identified steps for improved coordination of Federal, State, local, and private industry response to incidents and described the way these agencies will prepare for such a response.
The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security announced the establishment of NIMS in March 2004. One of the key features of NIMS is the Incident Command System.
ICS Built on Best Practices
ICS has been tested in more than 30 years of emergency and nonemergency applications, by all levels of government and in the private sector. It represents organizational "best practices," and as a component of NIMS has become the standard for emergency management across the country.
NIMS requires the use of ICS for all domestic responses. NIMS also requires that all levels of government, including Territories and Tribal Organizations, adopt ICS as a condition of receiving Federal preparedness funding.
What ICS Is Designed To Do
Designers of the system recognized early that ICS must be interdisciplinary and organizationally flexible to meet the following management challenges:
ICS consists of procedures for controlling personnel, facilities, equipment, and communications. It is a system designed to be used or applied from the time an incident occurs until the requirement for management and operations no longer exists.
Applications for the Use of ICS
Applications for the use of ICS include:
ICS may be used for small or large events. It can grow or shrink to meet the changing needs of an incident or event.
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