Because of the functional unit management structure, the ICS is equally applicable to small incidents and for use in normal operations. Basically, once the ICS operating concepts are adopted by an agency, the system structure will develop in a natural fashion based on incident requirements.
The Planning Section is responsible for collection, evaluation and dissemination of tactical information about the incident. It maintains information on the current and forcast situation, and on the status of resources assigned to the incident. It is also responsible for preparation and documentation of the Incident Action Plans. It has four primary units and may have a number of technical specialists to assist in evaluating the situation and forcasting requirements for additional personnel and equipment.
The Planning Section chief is normally from the jurisdiction which has incident responsibility.
Within the Planning Section is the capability - in addition to the four designated Units (Operations, Logistics, Planning, Finance) - to have Technical Specialists which may be called on depending on the needs of the incident. These specialists may function in an existing unit or form a separate Unit within the Planning Section depending on the incident requirements and needs of the Planning Unit chief. Alternatively, the specialists could be reassigned to other parts of the organization (e.g., to Operations on tactical matters, or Finance on fiscal matters.)
Technical specialists can include Fire Behavior, Environmental Impact, Flood Control, Water Use, Toxic Substance, Fuels and Flammables, Training, Structural Engineer, Resource Use and Cost.
Next bulletin: Use of Divisions in the ICS