ICS organizational structure develops in a modular fashion based on the kind and size of an incident. It builds from the TOP down with responsibility and performance placed initially with the Incident Commander.
If one individual can simultaneously manage all major functional areas, no further organization is required. Positions that are not assigned/filled are functionally performed at the next higher level. If one or more of the areas requires independent management, a person is named to be responsible for that area.
When the number of resources on an incident (single resources, Task Forces or Strike Teams) exceeds the 5-1 span-of-control of the Operations Chief, then Divisions and Groups are established.
The types of incidents for which the ICS is applicable are many and varied. They include such things as major wildland and urban fires, floods, hazardous substance spills, Multi-Casualty Incidents, aircraft accidents, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and tsunamis.
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.
At the fire, the situation is coming under control.The towns have been protected and the fires are out in those areas. Only the threat to the City remains. The wind has reduced and the fire break along the marsh should be more than enough to stop the windblown embers from further igniting dry grasses and brush. Cautiously, the end of the fire seems in sight.
Even though the fire is still not under control, the Planning Section Chief has setup a Demobilization unit to develop the Incident Demobilization Plan, such as specific demobilization instructions for all overhead and resources that require demobilization. such as the communications unit. Many city and county agencies do not require demobilization due to their local nature.
The Planning Section Resources Unit made certain that all assigned personnel and resources checked in at the incident, while maintaining current status on all resources, and a master list of all resources.
The Logistics Section is comprised of two branches - service and support. Under support are the Supply Unit, Facilities Unit and Ground Support Unit. Under services are the Communications Unit, Medical Unit and Food Unit. Communications follow need, so personnel who assist in communications must FIRST understand the organization. Than,they are better equipped to understand the flow of communications. The examples used here, while fire oriented, apply equally to other events with modifications as appropriate.
(Concludes next week.)