Emergency Management Ontario :: Emergency Operations Centre

EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTRE

Functions and Roles 3

Municipal Options – IMS in the EOC 14

Acknowledgements

The Guideline for the Application of IMS at EOCs was developed by a multi-organizational working group. Members of this Working Group participated on a voluntary basis, both in their own time, and in time made available by their respective organizations.

The Ontario IMS Steering Committee gratefully acknowledges the generous contributions made by the members of this Working Group, listed below:

Beauregard, Andre Luc - Region of Peel

Booth, Nancy Samson- City of Ottawa

Bryan, Ted - Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs, Otonabee-South Monaghan

Carrier, Suzanne - Emergency Management Ontario

Cole, Brian - St. John Ambulance

Elliot, Cynthia -Ontario Ministry of Labour

Geoffrion, Philippe - Emergency Management Ontario

Harris, Jim -Township of Cramahe

Kowalski, Matthew - Emergency Management Ontario

Lazarus, Ray - Emergency Management Ontario

Leonard, Warren - City of Toronto

Montgomery, Jim - City of Ottawa

Morton, Michael - Emergency Management Ontario

Pittens, Chris - Emergency Management Ontario

Shearing, Bill - Township of South Dundas

Shingler, Clint - Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care

Walton, Lauren - Town of Perth

Summary

The Ontario Incident Management System (IMS) Doctrine provides a toolbox of IMS organizational structures and components that may be utilized and adapted to suit each incident response and organizational needs. While many other organizational structures may work, IMS provides a consistent and standardized approach that supports interoperability.

The Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) is a facility that supports the work of an Emergency Control Group (ECG), which may be established by any community, ministry, other provincial bodies, non-governmental organization, (NGO) or private sector organization.

The Emergency Control Group is normally activated in an ‘Incident Support’ role, providing off-site support to a site-specific Incident Command or Area Command. This support usually includes the provision of strategic direction, guidance and resources. Nevertheless, the ECG should also be prepared to assume a more direct incident management role, such as assuming Area Command or Incident Command roles. In such instances, the EOC is the logical facility from which the ECG will exercise Area Command or Incident Command, due to its functionality and convenience.

When activating and staffing an EOC (whether for Incident Support, Area Command, or Incident Command), one should place the focus on what needs to be done, and who has the expertise/knowledge and authority to carry out required tasks. The normal administrative roles found in many organizations may not be routinely aligned with IMS functions. More often than not, IMS functions will need to be specially activated and filled based on the expertise that exists within organizations, in reaction or response to the need of a specific incident.

This annex contains several options for implementing IMS in an EOC and may be used by any organization. While it is not possible to plan for every situation, the options presented cover a wide range of potential needs that may arise for single or multi-tiered municipalities, ministries and the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre, as well as non-governmental and private sector organizations.

Please note that this is a supporting annex to the IMS Doctrine for Ontario. Please read it in conjunction with the IMS Doctrine for Ontario, which expands upon many of the concepts referred to within this annex.

Overview

This annex provides guidelines on the application of IMS principles and concepts at an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC). These guidelines build on the principles and concepts already contained in the IMS Doctrine for Ontario. They also support regulation under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act for ministries and municipalities with respect to establishing EOCs and the management of emergencies from an EOC.

These guidelines are applicable to EOCs established by the province, ministries, municipalities, associations, service-specific organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGO), private sector organizations, or others. They are also applicable to multiple types of incident response that may be exercised from an EOC, including Incident Support, Incident Command and Area Command.

In keeping with the ‘toolbox concept’ of the IMS doctrine, response organizations may utilize only those aspects of these guidelines that are practically suited to a given incident for which they activate their EOC. Therefore, each organization setting up and staffing an EOC has the flexibility to adapt these guidelines to their own organization-specific requirements.

It is important to remember that regardless of the number of staff assigned to an EOC, all five IMS functions of Command, Operations, Planning, Logistics, and Finance & Administration need to be considered, as appropriate1. Even if not separately or individually staffed, the focus should be on performing all necessary IMS functions.

As a reminder, an EOC is a facility that should have appropriate technological and telecommunications systems to ensure effective communication during an emergency. When establishing an EOC, it is important to consider the nature of the hazards for which a response may have to be coordinated and ensure that the facility is capable of sustaining operations without itself being made ineffective by those very hazards. Give considerations to the facility itself, the equipment needed, the personnel required, and the procedures that one will use.

Functions and Roles

The EOC is a facility that the Emergency Control Group (ECG)2 uses for executive decision-making and coordination. Any community, ministry, non-government organization (NGO), the province or any other organization may establish an ECG.

The general functions of the ECG during an emergency are:

1. Incident Support - The provision of resources and/or strategic guidance, authorizations, and specific decision-making support. This support may be provided to an Incident Management Team at a site or in limited circumstances, to another EOC.

2. Essential Services and Continuity of Operations3 - Ensuring that essential services are maintained, including where possible, in the areas impacted by the emergency.

Under specific circumstances, the ECG may also exercise the following functions:

3. Area Command - The provision of incident management and oversight to multiple incidents.

4. Incident Command - The direct management of an incident response.

These roles were introduced in Chapter 3 of the IMS doctrine and are expanded upon below.

1. Incident Support Exercised From the EOC

At a site-specific incident, Incident Command may have the ability to coordinate some level of resource support on its own, and this will likely be based on prior agreements between emergency services such as Mutual Aid Agreements (service-to-service agreements). For support that is not easily coordinated, as well as not to be distracted from immediate responses tasks, Incident Command may need support from an EOC.

Within Ontario, most EOC activations are to facilitate the provision of support to a site-specific Incident Command, where Incident Command is working from an Incident Command Post. There are many types of supports that the ECG may provide from the EOC. An added benefit of providing some of these supports would be to free on-site resources to focus on the response where the Incident Commander needs to focus on tactics. Some of these supports may include the following:

• Policy direction: The ECG may establish policy or resolve conflicting policies when jurisdictions with differing policies are involved in a response.

• Strategic planning: The ECG may provide overarching strategic direction that allows the Incident Commander to focus on tactics for the response operation.

• A common operating picture: The ECG may provide the “big picture” view of the incident that is critical during incidents that are large or complex, or involve personnel from multiple response organizations.

• Communication support: The capabilities of the EOC may be used to provide communications and messaging support that may be necessary in large, complex incidents or when multiple jurisdictions are involved in a response.

• Resource management: The ECG may provide, as well as prioritize the use of resources including people, equipment, and supplies that are required for response.

• Legal and financial support: The ECG may need to authorize emergency expenditures, track incident costs, negotiate cost sharing/allocations between responding organizations/jurisdictions, and resolve legal issues.

• Emergency information: The EOC may have better facilities to facilitate the management of emergency information to the public and media. This may also promote the provision of consistent messaging.

Under specific circumstances, EOCs may also be activated to facilitate the provision of support to a separate organization’s EOC. While the most common types of support would include resource support, speciality services and technical advice, other types of support are possible, depending on the nature of the incident.

The following are examples of how support may be provided:

Service-specific EOC – In single service incident response, additional support may be coordinated by that service from a service-specific EOC/dispatch. In multi-service incident response, additional support may be coordinated from multiple and separate service-specific EOCs. Service-specific responders include non-governmental organizations, private sector, as well as fire, police, EMS, hospitals, public works, social services, etc.

Emergency Control Group/municipal EOC - In cases where broad, municipal-wide, or multi-municipal support is required (e.g. to activate Mutual Assistance Agreements), the Incident Support role will likely be assumed by the ECG operating from the activated municipal EOC.

Ministry Action Group/Ministry EOC - In cases where ministry-assigned provincial support is required, the Incident Support role would likely be assumed by the relevant Ministry Action Group(s) operating from their respective ministry EOC(s).

o Please Note: Some ministries have assigned responsibilities under Order in Council (OIC) for the formulation of emergency plans in respect of specific types of emergencies. Should it become necessary to implement any of these plans, the responsible ministry will likely activate its ministry EOC so that its Ministry Action Group (MAG) can coordinate responses and provide support based on the plan it formulated under the OIC.

Provincial EOC (PEOC) – In cases where the coordination of provincial support is required, the PEOC is the facility from which this coordination takes place. The PEOC is staffed by EMO with support from multiple organizations including provincial ministries, federal departments, NGOs and private sector organizations, as required.

In addition to providing off-site support for an incident response from the EOC, it is also important for the ECG to ensure the provision and maintenance of essential services.

2. Essential Services and Continuity of Operations

Over the course of an incident, the ECG generally monitors and assesses the evolving incident and makes situational responsive decisions. The ECG does this to ensure the provision and maintenance of essential services for both those affected and those not affected by an incident. The ECG typically directs continuity of operations in order to maintain critical services, protect the public and reduce economic and social losses. Essential services impacted by the incident would typically be resolved as part of the general incident management response. Not overlooking continuity of operations may assist in determining which services are to remain functioning as business as usual, or which services may be disrupted to facilitate incident response.

Examples of actions that may be taken by the ECG at the EOC to provide continuity of operations during an incident may include (but not be limited to):

• Providing executive authority and policy direction: During an incident the ECG manages continuity of operations functions which may require risk management input and guidance regarding the decisions that are arrived at.

• Reallocation of staff, resources or equipment: During an incident the ECG coordinates any resource requests (including that of staffing and equipment) to efficiently manage the incident to reduce the potential for disruption of essential services.

• Providing/acquiring resources: The ECG may need to arrange access to facilities and equipment as well as technological and telecommunications resources and arrange for other logistical services to ensure that essential services are maintained.

• Cancellation of services: During an incident the ECG may determine tolerable service disruptions based on a projected incident timeframe.

• Service resumption: Following an incident the ECG coordinates the timely and methodical re-introduction of disrupted services.

In addition to assuming responsibility for Incident Support and Essential Services, under specific circumstances, it is also possible for the ECG to assume an Area Command function.

3. Area Command Exercised From the EOC

The concept of Area Command is an expansion of the Incident Command function, primarily designed to manage multiple Incident Commands. Area Command may be established whenever incidents are so close that some oversight direction is required among them to coordinate resource prioritization and avoid conflicts.

The ECG may choose to delegate the responsibility for Area Command, or assume the Area Command function itself. By delegating Area Command, the ECG is able to free up capacity and focus on providing support and maintaining the delivery of essential services. Should the ECG prefer to assume Area Command and retain direct control over the incident response, it will also need to ensure it has adequate resources to maintain both its own support and the delivery of essential services.

An ECG may assume Area Command when there are multiple incidents of a unique nature, situated in different geographical areas. Some examples may include:

• The simultaneous occurrence of a complex fire, hazardous material release, and civil disorder incidents

• Multiple severe weather events (e.g. tornadoes, floods)

• Separate chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or explosion incidents

• Multiple terrorist related incidents

• Other multiple incidents

Area Command’s functions are to:

• Develop broad objectives for the impacted area,

• Coordinate the development of individual incident objectives and strategies, and

• Set priorities for the use of critical resources between incident sites.

The ECG has the flexibility to establish only those components of IMS that would be required. An Area Command usually has limited staffing with personnel assigned to the functions of Command, Planning, and Logistics. Depending on the complexity of the interface between the incidents, specialists in other areas may be assigned (e.g. aviation, hazardous materials, the environment, and finance and administration).

In many instances, the EOC is the logical facility from which the ECG will exercise Area Command, due to its functionality and convenience. Area Command may be co-located with the EOC (i.e. within different rooms at the EOC facility), or staff may assume dual functions (i.e. operating as both members of the Area Command and EOC in its Support role). However, it may also be prudent to establish a separate facility from which to exercise the Area Command role. The options for activating and staffing both EOCs and Area Command Posts are dependant on the availability of resources and the requirements of specific incidents.

As mentioned above, when performing the role of Area Command, the Emergency Control Group must be careful not to overlook the importance of maintaining its own support mechanism. This might be accomplished through its own expanded Logistics Section, by maintaining an EOC to provide Incident Support, or by seeking support from other sources (if multi-tier, another tier within jurisdiction; another municipality using Mutual Aid Agreements; a ministry; or the PEOC).

In addition to performing an Incident Support role or Area Command Role, the ECG may also assume Incident Command under particular circumstances.

4. Incident Command Exercised From the EOC

The IMS Doctrine explains that command is the act of directing, ordering, or controlling by virtue of explicit statutory, regulatory, or delegated authority. This section of the EOC Guidelines document is concerned with the Command function as it pertains to directing, ordering, or controlling the responses to an incident. However, it may be important to acknowledge some of the differences and similarities with other forms of command.

Command is widely used, intended, inferred, and recognized to varying degrees within organizations for their daily administration and operation quite apart from and outside of the IMS context. Some of the situations in which internal command may apply include the following:

• Administrative/jurisdictional authority - Examples include service organization’s, municipal council’s and ministry’s chain of command;

• Facilities management – Examples include the management of an EOC, a shelter, office buildings, etc.

• The coordination of functions - As happens in an EOC in relation to how internal resources are utilized, or as to how supporting resources are obtained and provided in support of another entity.

• Other interpretations.

With respect to EOCs, care should be taken to differentiate between internal command over the facility, the resources within the facility, and support resources, versus command of the overarching responses to an incident. Incident Command is a separate function from EOC Command (command over the EOC/facility/resources, etc when the EOC is activated in support of an incident site).

To re-state, this section of the guidelines is concerned with overarching Incident Command as exercised from the EOC by an appropriate authority.

While it may not be the norm, there will periodically be incidents that do not easily lend themselves to the site-specific Incident Command approach. These incidents may be characterized by the need for jurisdiction-wide resource management, the complexity of the hazard and consequences, the fast-paced or changing nature of the impact, and the requirement for cross-jurisdictional cooperation. Some examples of incidents that may not be confined to a specific site within a jurisdiction might include:

§ Flu pandemic and other human health emergencies,

§ Repatriation of residents from external/international conflict/emergency zones,

§ Foreign animal diseases,

§ Terrorism or civil disorder,

§ Others incidents not confined to specific geographic sites.

In these cases, there would likely not be any site-specific Incident Command Post, and the expectation would be that a jurisdiction-wide incident management approach would be more appropriate. In such instances, the ECG may elect to perform the role of Incident Command from their EOC. Additional information on the function of Incident Command may be referenced in Chapters 2 and 3 of the IMS Doctrine for Ontario.

In many instances, the EOC is the logical facility from which the ECG will exercise Incident Command, due to its functionality and convenience. Incident Command may be collocated with the EOC (i.e. within different rooms at the EOC facility) or staff may assume dual functions (i.e. operating as both members of the Incident Command and EOC). However, it may also be prudent to establish a separate facility from which to exercise the Incident Command role. The options for activating and staffing both EOCs and Incident Command Posts are dependant on the availability of resources and the requirements of specific incidents.

When it becomes necessary to exercise Incident Command from an EOC, Incident Command would become the purview of the appropriate responsible jurisdictional level, e.g.:

• In the case of incident management responsibility at the municipal level– The responsibility to determine who assumes the roles of Incident Command would be that of the municipal Emergency Control Group, who might assume the role of Incident Command from their EOC or make some other determination.

• For ministry-specific or a ministry’s provincial level incident management responsibility – The Ministry Action Group would make the determination on the need to assume the role of Incident Command from their EOC. Where a ministry delegates the responsibility to a ministry’s regional office, the ministry would be responsible for Incident Command from a regional EOC.

• For province-wide incident management responsibility – Where it is determined that a provincial level Incident Command is necessary, the PEOC would assume that role.

While the determination of the appropriate level at which to establish Incident Command may be simple in some incidents, this may not be the case in other incidents.

For example, in a nuclear incident, it may be clear that provincial level response coordination and Incident Command is called for, because nuclear response plans are the purview of the provincial government. However, during an ice storm incident, even where a wide swath of the province is affected, it may not be simple or obvious to determine that an overarching Incident Command at the provincial level is required. In this example, once municipalities are able to coordinate and manage their emergency responses, it would be up to them to determine the establishment of Incident Command within their jurisdiction. As needed, support may be provided from a ministry EOC and/or the PEOC. Should they be unable to adequately coordinate an effective response, subject to their request and/or existing emergency orders, then Incident Command may be elevated to, and established at the provincial level.

As mentioned above, when performing the role of Incident Command, the ECG must be careful not to overlook the importance of maintaining its own support mechanism. This might be accomplished through its own expanded Logistics Section, by maintaining an EOC to provide incident support, or by seeking support from other sources (i.e. if multi-tier, another tier within jurisdiction; another municipality using Mutual Aid Agreements; a ministry; or the PEOC).

Please note: While there can only be one ‘Incident Command’ for a single incident, other organizations in support of incident response will have their own internal Command that may work in support of the overall Incident Commander.

Incident Action Planning for Different Response Roles

Every level that is activated to manage an incident (Incident Command, Area Command, Municipal EOC, Provincial EOC, etc.) should have its own Incident Action Plan (IAP). The IAP should also reflect the specific role being performed (i.e., the IAP would reflect whether the ECG is performing the Incident Support, Area Command or Incident Command role). However, in certain circumstances (i.e. where an ECG is performing dual functions), the ECG may elect to use a single IAP. When multiple levels are involved in an incident response, it is important to maintain consistency between individual IAPs. The IAP will either be a compilation of several applicable forms, or recorded in the Consolidated IAP (IMS Form 1001 template). IMS Forms and instructions may be referenced in the IMS Doctrine at Annex C – IMS Tools.

Incident Staffing

During an incident, any or all of the IMS functions may be staffed at any time, in either the Incident Support role, Incident Command role, or Area Command role. For larger organizations, staff may be available to be assigned to each of the various IMS functions. Alternately, and especially for smaller organizations, multiple IMS functions may be assigned to one person. IMS provides a comprehensive structure for incident management.

The ECG should ensure the five IMS management functions are addressed, where appropriate4, even if that results in assigning multiple functions to the same staff.

The larger and more complex the incident, the greater may be the need for separate sections to be activated and staffed to fulfill specific IMS functions in a detailed manner. This may require a larger organizational structure than would exist during normal business cycles. The smaller and less complex the incident, the more flexibility there may be to utilize staff in multi-function roles.

Organizational emergency response plans may set out the functions to be performed and the appointments of persons who are responsible for carrying them out in an Incident Support, Area Command or Incident Command capacity. The variety of departments/appointments that may be available to be tasked with standardized IMS functions will vary across organizations.

The major considerations in staffing an IMS organizational structure include the following:

• Determine the tasks to be performed, as this will guide what staff is needed.

• Determine the level of authority required for an effective response. All persons assigned must have the requisite authority to do what is required under their assignments.

• Determine the knowledge or skill sets required. All staff must have the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for the duties assigned.  If not completed prior to deployment, training or cross training may have to be completed.

• Determine the anticipated length of time for activation of the EOC, Area Command or Incident Command The number and duration of Operational Periods will highlight the need for alternate, rotational and support staff, and whether 24/7 staffing is required.

To facilitate staffing assignments during an incident, many organizations choose to develop pre-determined staffing options for the following areas:

• Emergency Control Group membership/composition

• Policy Group staffing/composition

• Command and General Staff staffing/composition

• Other (specialist roles/ other IMS functions, as required).

The development of pre-determined staffing options may include some of the following methods:

• Pre-identification of individuals to fill specific functions/roles

• Pre-identification of positions (in existing business structures) to fill specific functions/roles.

• Development of processes to identify individuals to fill specific functions/roles.

ECG Role during an Incident

When activating and staffing an EOC (whether for Incident Support, Area Command, or Incident Command), members of the ECG typically assume one of the following functions:

a) Members of the Incident Management Team – ECG members may assume specific IMS functions, based on predetermined staffing assignments or functional requirements for a specific incident. In keeping with the IMS ‘toolbox approach,’ IMS positions should be staffed as required and by individuals with required training competency, authority and experience.

b) Members of the Policy Group Members of the ECG may form the Policy Group, which is responsible for providing overall incident policy, advice and assistance to the EOC Commander (in addition to overseeing the delivery of essential services, if required). Membership in the Policy Group may be based on predetermined staffing assignments or functional requirements for specific incidents. The size and composition of the Policy Group is typically dependent upon the incident type, severity and size. The Policy Group may also include non-ECG members as specialists or subject matter experts, as required.

While members of the ECG will often make up the majority of the Policy Group and IMS Command and General staff, this is not always the case. Additional individuals may also perform these functions, provided they have the required training, authority and experience. Conversely, it is not necessarily the case that all members of the ECG would assume a role on the Policy Group or as a member of the Incident Management Team during an incident.

Sharing Functions between the EOC and Incident

In carrying out its supporting role to the Incident Command, the ECG may be better placed to handle some functions normally carried out by Incident Command. This is usually in response to a request from Incident Command and may be an outcome of limited resources at the site level.

Staffing Key IMS Functions

It is recognized that organizations’ staffing assignments are not necessarily consistent with the standardized IMS organizational structure. While there may be some similarities, the titles for the various IMS functions may generally be different from common jurisdictional, administrative or service appointments. Knowledge, training, authority and/or experience should be the primary factors in determining the individuals who are assigned to specific response functions. The table below provides a quick reference guide in explaining certain IMS functions and their roles.

While the roles and responsibilities of IMS functions are generally standardized and would be the same whether operating within an EOC or at a site, some adaptations would be required to meet the specific needs of each response structure and to meet the purpose of each activated function. For example, while command is the act of directing, ordering, or controlling by virtue of explicit statutory, regulatory, or delegated authority, there will be slight differences between the roles and responsibilities of the EOC Commander, Area Commander and Incident Commander, all of whom are exercising degrees of command, given their individual areas of responsibility.

Please see the corresponding table outlining key IMS functions and roles.

KEY FUNCTIONS

KEY FUNCTIONS

QUICK REFERENCE GUIDE

Function/Role

Responsibilities

Emergency Control Group

The group formed by an organization to direct the organization's response in an emergency, including the implementation of the organization's emergency response plan(s). May also be responsible for the provision and maintenance of essential services.

Policy Group

Responsible for providing advice and assistance to the EOC Commander and Incident Management Team during an incident. May also be responsible for the provision and maintenance of essential services.

EOC Commander

Responsible for the overall management of the EOC facility and assigned resources within the EOC, and the provision of Incident Support.

Area Commander

Responsible for the overall management of a defined Area and the incident management teams assigned to the incidents within that Area.

Incident Commander

Responsible for overall management of the incident.

Safety Officer

Monitors safety conditions and develops safety measures related to the overall health and safety of all incident responders. The Safety Officer must have the knowledge and professional experience to be able to control or reduce occupational hazards and exposures.

Emergency Information Officer

Responsible for the development and release of emergency information regarding the incident to the public. Command must approve all emergency information that the EIO releases.

Liaison Officer

Serves as the primary contact for Assisting or Supporting Organizations and advises Command of issues related to outside assistance and support, including current or potential inter-organization needs.

Operations Section Chief

Responsible for providing overall supervision and leadership to the Operations Section, including the implementation of the IAP, as well as the organization and assignment of all operations resources.

Planning Section Chief

Responsible for providing overall supervision and leadership to the Planning Section as well as the organization and assignment of all planning resources. Responsible for coordinating the development of the Incident Action Plan for each operational period and the collection, collation, evaluation, analysis and dissemination of incident information.

Logistics Section Chief

Responsible for providing facilities, services and materials in support of the incident. Participates in the development of logistics-related section of the Incident Action Plan, and activates and supervises the Branches and Units as well as the organization and assignment of resources within the Logistics Section.

Finance & Administration Section Chief

Responsible for financial and administrative support to an incident, including all business processes, cost analysis, financial and administrative aspects and ensures compliance with financial policies and procedures. Provides direction and supervision to Finance & Administration Section staff including their organization and assignment.

Specialists

Specific expertise may be added to standard IMS functions, as required by individual organizations (e.g. GIS, Risk Management, Scientists, Legal, others)

KEY FUNCTIONS

QUICK REFERENCE GUIDE

Please Note: Members of the Command and General Staff may have assistants or deputies as appropriate. Please see additional details on the IMS organization below, including an expanded IMS organizational diagram, which may be further expanded or contracted to suit individual incidents and resource availability.

Adaptability and Flexibility

IMS may be adapted to suit individual requirements and circumstances of an incident or organization. IMS may be applied in small, simple, or large, complex incidents, as it is easily adaptable to any given scenario. It may be applied by responder organizations, municipal and provincial governments, the private and NGO sectors. It is suitable for scenarios involving multiple municipalities, other provinces/territories, or international partners. The system allows response organizations to utilize only those aspects that are practically suited to a given incident, an approach referred to in the doctrine as the ‘toolbox concept’. While IMS is based on standardized principles and concepts, its practical application is dependant on available resources. For example, the scope for the application of IMS in a large urban municipality may differ from that of a small rural municipality. However, the principles, concepts and functions would be the same for both.

IMS provides a toolbox of organizational structures, terms and processes to use during incident responses. At full expansion of the IMS structure, the system may appear complex, even with the maintenance of the optimum span of control by inserting appropriate supervisory levels. However, this would occur only during large and/or complex incidents. Organizations can utilize only the tools that best suit their needs and circumstances. Where the tools presented do not fully meet their needs, customization, while respecting standardization, is acceptable.

It is recognized that the there are clear distinctions to be made between organizations of different types and sizes with respect to their capability and capacity. To be practical, the implementation of IMS should focus on the five functions of IMS. In keeping with the IMS ‘toolbox concept’, organizations may activate only the functions needed for a specific incident. In many cases, a handful of individuals can effectively manage an entire incident response. If required, large organizations may have the capacity and capability to assign staff to every IMS function or position. This may be a less practical option for smaller organizations, in which case they may need to assign multiple IMS functions or positions to one person. Where this is not practical or local resources are exceeded, such organizations may seek assistance through mutual aid and mutual assistance agreements.

Organizational Options

Below is a sample expanded organizational chart for a full-scale IMS organization. The manner in which any of these functions are staffed will be determined by each organization. Options for organizing and staffing the EOC are provided at Appendices 1, 2 and 3. These show examples of how the EOC may be structured at the municipal, ministry and provincial level. These are guides only, as it will be the responsibility of each individual organization to determine the most appropriate structure and expertise to manage and fulfill each activated position. While specific samples for NGOs and private sector organizations have not been included, these options may nevertheless be helpful in guiding the use of IMS for NGOs and private sector organizations.

The organization of the Operations Section will reflect the specific nature of the incident and the availability of resources. It is very difficult to pre-script the way the Operations Section will be organized, because the number of options are as varied as the nature of incidents. It is recommended that the functions to be performed by the Operations Section be first identified and then resourced according to the available capabilities or expertise. For example, if a scenario called for evacuation, search and rescue and perimeter control, among others, it would be recommended to organize the operations section by these functions, rather than assigning these functions to individual services. This is because functions may require resources from multiple services. For an example such as this, it would be possible to establish three separate Branches or Groups under the Operations Section titled ‘Evacuation’ Branch or Group, ‘Search and Rescue’ Branch or Group, ‘Perimeter Control’ Branch or Group. Please see the IMS Doctrine for further explanation on all the levels within the Operations Section.

Standard Expanded IMS Organization Chart*

Standard Expanded IMS Organization Chart

* It is not necessary to activate all IMS positions for every incident

* One individual may perform multiple IMS functions/positions

* Speciality functions may be added to standard IMS functions, as required by individual organizations (e.g. technical specialists)

Appendix 1: Municipal Options – IMS in the EOC

Incident Support at the EOC

This option depicts two possible scenarios in which an off-site Incident Support would be provided from an EOC to an on-site Incident Command Post (ICP). Please note: municipalities may choose the most appropriate support option, based on specific circumstances (i.e. nature of the incident, level of support required, availability of resources; jurisdictional responsilibty, etc).

Municipal Options – IMS in the EOC

SCENARIO 1A: ECG/EOC SUPPORTS INCIDENT COMMAND

Scenario

Diagram

Incident:

• Incident occurs in a municipality and is confined to a specific geographic site and area of responsibility within the municipality’s jurisdiction.

This could be in a Single Tier, Upper Tier, or Lower Tier municipality.

Municipal Response:

• Municipality activates their EOC to support the ICP.

• The incident site is managed from the ICP.

Optional Auxiliary Support:

• Should the municipality require additional support, they may request this support through:

o Other tiers within jurisdiction

o Other municipalities through mutual aid

o The Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC) and/or Ministry EOCs

Note: The exact sequence in which support is requested is dependant on the nature of the incident.

Scenario A: Diagram depicting one ECG and EOC Supporting Incident Command

SCENARIO 1B: TWO ECG/EOCs SUPPORT INCIDENT COMMAND

Scenario

Diagram

Incident:

• An incident that spans multiple municipality’s jurisdictional boundaries and responsibilities.

• Both Upper Tier and Lower Tier municipalities may share responsibilities.

Response:

• Both upper Tier and Lower Tiers may establish individual EOCs to support ICP(s).

Optional Auxiliary Support:

• Should the municipality require additional support, they may request this support through:

o Other tiers within jurisdiction

o Other municipalities through mutual aid

o The Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC) and/or Ministry EOCs

Scenario B: Diagram depicting two ECG's and EOC's Supporting Incident Command

Municipal Options – IMS in the EOC

Incident Support at the EOC

Area Command at the EOC

This option depicts two possible scenarios demonstrating the relationship between the EOC and Area Command. In Scenario 2A, the ECG/EOC elects to delegate the Area Command function, and maintains an Incident Support role. In Scenario 2B, the ECG chooses to directly assume Area Command, operating from the EOC. In the case of Scenario 2B, it is likely that the EOC would become the Area Command Post while simultaneously maintaining an Incident Support function (through collocation, or dual staffing).

Please note: Area Command reports to the authority that appointed it. In most cases, this authority is an ECG, which may coordinate additional support for Area Command, likely from an EOC facility. The organization of Area Command is usually small, with personnel assigned to Command, Planning, and Logistics functions. Depending on the complexity of the interface between the incidents, specialists in other areas such as aviation, hazardous materials, the environment, and finance may also be assigned to Area Command.

SCENARIO 2A:

ECG SUPPORTS AREA COMMAND FROM EOC

Scenario

Diagram

Incident:

• Multiple incidents are situated close together and require oversight/direction to avoid conflicts, and/or,

• There is a need for prioritization of resources among multiple incidents, and/or,

• ECG/EOC wants its primary focus to be placed on delivery of essential services and overall strategy.

Response:

• ECG/EOC appoints Area Command to manage multiple incidents

• ECG/EOC provides Support to Area Command

• ECG/EOC also ensures that essential services are maintained in areas not affected by emergency.

Benefits:

• By delegating responsibility to Area Command, the ECG/EOC can focus more on providing overall support, and delivery of essential services.

Optional Auxiliary Support:

• Should the municipality require additional support, they may request this support through:

o Other tiers within jurisdiction

o Other municipalities through mutual aid

o The Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC) and/or Ministry EOCs

Scenario 2A: Diagram depicting ECG Supporting Area Command from an EOC

SCENARIO 2B:

ECG ASSUMES AREA COMMAND AT THE EOC

Scenario

Diagram

Incident:

• Multiple incidents are situated close together and require oversight/direction to avoid conflicts, and/or,

• There is need for prioritization of resources among multiple incidents, and/or,

• ECG/EOC prefers to maintain a direct control over the incident response, in addition to maintaining essential services.

Response:

• ECG/EOC becomes Area Command

• ECG/EOC also maintains Support role:

o ECG/Incident Support is co-located with AC, or

o Staff have dual functions

• ECG/EOC also ensures that essential services are maintained in areas not affected by emergency.

Optional Auxiliary Support:

• Should the municipality require additional support, they may request this support through:

o Other tiers within jurisdiction

o Other municipalities through mutual aid

o The Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC) and/or Ministry EOCs

Scenario 2B: Diagram depicting ECG Assuming Area Command at the EOC

Incident Command at the EOC

This option depicts a possible scenario in which an ECG chooses to assume Incident Command. In such an instance, it is likely that the EOC facility would become the Incident Command Post. As the below scenario indicates, it is also possible for the ECG to assume Incident Command while simultaneously maintaining an Incident Support function.

SCENARIO 3:

ECG PERFORMS INCIDENT COMMAND AT THE EOC

Scenario

Diagram

Incident:

• Is not site-specific, but affects the entire municipality (e.g.. severe weather, power failure, health , etc.)

Response:

• Municipal EOC is activated and staffed by members of the ECG.

• ECG assumes the role of Incident Command and establishes a municipal ICP.

Response:

• ECG/EOC becomes Incident Command

• ECG/EOC also maintains Support role:

o ECG/Incident Support is co-located with Incident Command, or

o Staff have dual functions

• ECG/EOC also ensures that essential services are maintained in areas not affected by emergency.

Optional Auxiliary Support:

• Should the municipality require additional support, they may request this support through:

o Other tiers within jurisdiction

o Other municipalities through mutual aid

o The Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC)

o Ministry EOCs

Scenario 3: Diagram depicting ECG Performing Incident Command at the EOC

Options for Command

The following diagrams provide a number of municipal options for exercising Command.

OPTIONS FOR COMMAND

Options

Diagram

Option A:

Members of the Municipal Emergency Control Group (Current)

Overview:

• Members of the Municipal ECG undertake the Command Function (EOC Command, Incident Command or Area Command).

• Members of the ECG and/or senior officials of the community take on the roles of other Command and General Staff Functions, as required.

• Members of the ECG may also take on the Policy Group function, as required.

Advantages:

• Existing structure in place with some modification.

Command Structure #1

Option B:

Head of Council and Senior Official

Overview:

• The Head of Council and the Senior Official jointly take on the Command Function (EOC Command, Incident Command or Area Command).

• Members of the ECG and/or senior officials of the community take on the roles of other Command and General Staff Functions, as required.

• Identified members of the ECG may take on the Policy Group function, as required.

• The Senior Official may also take on another function, if required.

Advantages:

• The Senior Official already administers the community from an administrative perspective and closely works with the Head of Council.

Command Structure #2

Options

Diagram

Option C:

Senior Official

Overview:

• The Senior Official of the community takes on the Command Function (EOC Command, Incident Command or Area Command) and may report to Head of Council for possible final approval.

• Members of the ECG and/or senior officials of the community take on the roles of other Command and General Staff Functions, as required.

• Identified members of the ECG may take on the Policy Group function, as required.


Advantages:

• The Senior Official already administers the community from an administrative perspective and closely works with the Head of Council.

Command Structure #3

Option D:

Head of Council

Overview:

• The Head of Council takes on the Command Function (EOC Command, Incident Command or Area Command).

• Members of the ECG and/or senior officials of the community take on the roles of other Command and General Staff Functions, as required.

• Identified members of the ECG may take on the Policy Group function, as required.

Command Structure #4

Appendix 2: Ministry Options – IMS in the EOC

Every ministry is required to have a Ministry Action Group (MAG) that is responsible to direct the ministry's response in an emergency, including the implementation of the ministry's emergency plan. In addition, every minister is required to establish an EOC to be used by the MAG in an emergency. The EOC must have appropriate technological and telecommunications systems to ensure effective communication in an emergency.

The composition of the MAG is laid down in regulation. The MAG may also seek the advice and assistance of other ministries, other levels of government, and/or non-governmental organizations and industries that are involved in emergency management.

The roles assigned to members of the MAG will be as determined by each ministry.

The table below shows examples of assignments/structures within ministries that are provided for information purposes only and as a guide to IMS implementation.

IMS functions

Examples provided by the following ministries:

Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services (MCSCS)

Ministry of Labour (MOL)

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC)

Command

(supported by a Command Section)

• MEMC or Alternate MEMC as commander of the MAG

• MAG representing ministry divisions

• The ADM, Operations Division leads the ministry’s overall response to a declared emergency or when a MAG is assembled in response to an event that poses worker health and safety concerns

• The Chief Administrative Officer leads the Business Continuity Team in response to a business continuity emergency and/or to support MAG during an OIC emergency

• The EOC Commander reports to the ministry’s Executive Emergency Management Committee (EEMC) which functions as their “MAG”, chaired by the Deputy Minister in accordance with the regulation

Command Staff

• EIO – Communications Branch

• LO – appointed when activated

• SO – appointed when activated

• Ministry Emergency Information Officer – Director, Communications Branch

• The PEOC Representative, Duty Officer, and Admin Support supports MAG

• A ministry LO reports to and operates from the PEOC

• Other command staff appointed as necessary

Operations

• Continuity of Operations Section

• EMO staff

• Emergency Management Support Team Staff

• others as required

• The Director, Occupational Health and Safety Branch directs the Operations Division response within the MAG

• Manager, Radiation Protection Services

• Legal Services

• Provincial Specialists

• Policy Support

• The Regional Director directs the activities of the Regional Action Group (RAG) in response to a declared emergency that affects the particular region or when a RAG is assembled in response to an event that poses worker health and safety concerns in the particular region

• Operations Lead

• Pre-Hospital Group

• Public Health Group

• Other Health Care Group

• OHIP Group

• Call Centre Group

• Human Health resources

• Legislations & Regulations Group

• Emergency Medical Assistance Team (EMAT)/Ornge

Planning

• Continuity of Operations Section

• EMO staff

• Emergency Management Support Team Staff

• others as required

• The Provincial Coordinator coordinates the development of an action plan and ensures information is shared effectively with Command and the rest of the response team members

• Appropriate staff are assembled to prepare a response strategy for the emergency and to coordinate short, medium, and/or long term planning activities

• Planning Lead

• Incident Acton Planning Officer

• Incident Status/ Data Officer

• Demobilization and Recovery Officer

• Technical Advice (Scientific Advisor):

o Scientific Response Team

o Research Officer

o Medical Writer

Logistics

• Continuity of Operations Section

• EMO staff

• Emergency Management Support Team Staff

• others as required

• The Manager of Business Support and Emergency Management Unit coordinates the development of a logistics plan and ensures information is shared effectively with Command and the rest of the Business Continuity Team members

• IT Services Coordinator

• Vital Records Coordinator

• Logistics Lead

• Procurement Group

• Stockpile Distribution Group

• Teleconference Management Officer

• Continuity of Operations Coordination Officer

• Technical Support Officer

• MEOC Supplies and Equipment Officer

• Volunteer Coordination Officer

Finance & Admin.

• Continuity of Operations Section

• EMO staff

• Emergency Management Support Team Staff

• others as required

• The Director of Finance and Administration Branch provides financial and cost analysis support to the MAG during an emergency. Ensures adequate financial systems and backups are in place to respond to emergencies.

• Human Resources Coordinator

• Finance & Administration Lead

• MEOC Human Resources Officer

• Incident Documentation Officer

• Cost Tracking and Compensation Officer

• Emergency Financial Stewardship Committee

o Financial Coordination

Appendix 3: Provincial Options – IMS in the EOC

Note: The following PEOC arrangements are subject to incident-specific changes.

Example provided by the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC)

IMS functions

 

PEOC

Comments

Command (supported by a Command Section)

• PEOC Command – assumed by the Chief EMO

• Members of command section may include Deputy Chiefs of EMO as assigned (e.g. Deputy EOC Commander, ‘COOP Advisor’)

• When unified command is implemented, command elements from ministries sharing command will also be part of the command section

• Unified command with appropriate ministry lead(s) may be on an in-person basis or utilizing appropriate telecommunications technology

• Command Section briefings are supported by all section chiefs and command staff.

Command Staff

• EIO – Communications Branch

• LO – may be the incumbent Liaison Officer at EMO; otherwise appointed as needed

• SO – appointed as needed

• Director of Communications from the OIC ministry assumes the lead for provincial emergency information

• Ministry reps, as needed

• Federal reps, as needed

Operations

• Led by the Deputy Chief Operations & Analysis, EMO

• Includes Continuity of Operations staff

• EMO staff including Program Delivery & Program Development Sections become members of the operations section as required

• Ministry reps in the PEOC will also fulfill some operational roles depending on the incident

• Specialists and others as required

• Ministry reps, as needed

• Federal reps, as needed

• Due to space and resources/personnel limitations, ministry staff should be prepared to fulfil multiple roles even if physically located in one section only

Planning

• Led by the Deputy Chief Program Development, EMO

• Alternate Planning Section Chiefs are Program Manager Plans & Exercises and Program Manager Program Development, EMO

• Includes Continuity of Operations staff

• Other EMO staff become members of the planning section as required

• Ministry reps in the PEOC will also fulfill some planning roles depending on the incident

• Specialists and others as required

• Ministry reps, as needed

• Federal reps, as needed

• Due to space and resources/personnel limitations, ministry staff should be prepared to fulfil multiple roles even if physically located in one section only

Logistics

• Led by the Deputy Chief Support Programs, EMO

• Includes Continuity of Operations staff

• Other EMO staff

• Includes the Logistics and Supply Chain Alliance

• Specialists and others as required

• Ministry reps, as needed

• Federal reps, as needed

• Due to space and resources/personnel limitations, ministry staff should be prepared to fulfil multiple roles even if physically located in one section only

Finance & Admin.

• Led by the Program Manager, Support Programs, EMO

• EMO staff

• Others as required

• Liaison with other ministry reps as needed

• Due to space and resources/personnel limitations, ministry staff should be prepared to fulfil multiple roles even if physically located in one section only

Example provided by the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC)

1 Some exceptions might apply, for example regarding Area Command for which only certain IMS functions normally apply (this is a subject that is covered later in this document).

2 An Emergency Control Group (ECG) is the group formed by an organization to direct the organization's response in an emergency, including the implementation of the organization's emergency response plan(s).

3 The Terms Continuity of Operations and Business Continuity are often used interchangeably, but generally refer to the same function.

4 Please note the possible exceptions related to performing the role of Area Command as noted in the section on Area Command.