Guide to Incident Management System Implementation

GUIDE TO INCIDENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM IMPLEMENTATION

Guide to IMS Implementation

Outline

  • Background
  • Things to Keep in Mind
  • How to Implement IMS
  • Simple Steps to Use IMS
  • Resources
  • Learn More

Background

  • Many organizations in Ontario have implemented the Ontario Incident Management System (IMS)
  • A growing number of organizations are in the process of implementing IMS and seeking guidance/assistance
  • This resource provides high-level guidance to assist organizations in implementing IMS, with supporting templates/materials
  • This guide is based on Implementation Measures identified by the IMS Steering Committee and recommended practices identified by organizations using or implementing IMS

Things to Keep in Mind

There are multiple approaches to implementing IMS:

  • Start small - take it slow, step-by-step
  • Start big - take it fast, full-scale adoption
  • Top-down - through committee decision, resolution, by-law, etc.
  • Bottom-up - through procedures, training, operational use, etc.
  • In cooperation – link with others from your jurisdiction or sector
  • Charge ahead – implement in your organization first

Choose the best method for your organization:

  • What are your motives and needs?
  • What is your timeline?
  • Who is involved?
  • What are the obstacles?
  • What resources are available?

Build on what you already have:

  • IMS is consistent with recommended practices
  • IMS processes can be incorporated in existing systems

Use the ‘toolbox approach’:

  • Use only the tools that suit your needs
  • It’s not necessary to use all IMS tools and resources

Adapt and customize:

  • Every organization and incident is unique
  • IMS resources may be adapted and customized to fit organization and incident-specific needs (while respecting the overall standardization of IMS)

Collaboration is important:

  • Within your organization or jurisdiction
  • Outside your organization or jurisdiction

Benefit from other’s experience:

  • Many organizations have already implemented IMS
  • Identify lessons-learned and recommended practices
  • Investigate what resources/tools may be available

Benefit from Ontario resources:

  • Doctrine, Guidelines, Procedures, Tools and Exemplars
  • Training
  • Website and communications (www.ontario.ca/ims)

How to Implement IMS?

Governance:

  • Establish a governance structure
  • Identify a ‘lead’ and include all relevant stakeholders

Raise Awareness:

  • Ensure staff are aware of IMS and where to access resources

Endorse IMS:

  • Issue a statement, resolution, memo, email, etc.

Adopt IMS in Policy, Plans and Procedures:

  • Revise relevant policy, plans and procedures to reflect IMS

Support Training:

  • Attend courses, nominate participants, designate instructors

Use IMS in Exercises:

  • Structure and conduct exercises using IMS concepts

Conduct Operations using IMS:

  • Use IMS in responding to real incidents and planned events

Sustainability:

  • All of the above will ensure sustainability

How to Implement IMS – Detailed Overview

Governance:

  • Treat IMS implementation like a ‘project’
  • Designate a lead
  • Identify who should be included in the process
  • Consider establishing a Working Group or Committee
  • Identify goals, activities, resources, timelines, etc.
  • Review progress

Awareness:

  • Provide staff with information on available IMS resources
  • Sign up for IMS News and Updates (www.ontario.ca/ims)
  • Develop awareness-raising tactics (info sessions, emails, etc.)
  • Identify objectives, target audience, key messages
  • Incorporate IMS in existing communications (i.e. newsletters)
  • Track your progress in raising awareness
  • Record the above in a Communications Plan (template available)

Endorsement

  • Endorse IMS via the most appropriate method:
  • Meeting minutes
  • By-Law (in emergency plans or draft new by-law)
  • Plans
  • Statement of Endorsement
  • Resolution
  • Etc.
  • Notify staff/partners/EMO of endorsement:
  • Statement of Endorsement
  • Email, Memo, Communiqué
  • Resolution
  • Etc.

Training

  • Identify courses required
  • Identify who should be trained
  • Establish training levels* for staff based on position/function
  • Identify training targets (date, numbers, levels, etc.)
  • Designate in-house instructors
  • Track training progress
  • Record the above in an IMS Training Plan (template available)

Adopt IMS in Policy, Plans, Procedures

  • Identify policy, plans and procures requiring IMS incorporation
  • Identify strategies for adoption: Incorporate in existing resources (policy, plans, by-law, etc.), Develop new resources, Add as an annex
  • Establish timelines: Immediately, Annual review, By specific date
  • Identify responsibility and track progress
  • Record the above in an IMS Integration Plan (template available)

Exercise with IMS:

  • Identify exercises for IMS incorporation:
  • Discussion-based, table-top, full-scale, functional, etc.
  • Structure exercises using IMS concepts:
  • Planning process and incident action plans
  • Organization structure
  • Information management
  • Resource management
  • IMS facilities
  • Tools and resources (Forms, Position Checklists, etc.)
  • Other
  • Evaluate the use of IMS during exercises:
  • Identify corrective actions in debriefs/ after action reports

Respond with IMS:

  • Use IMS while responding to incidents or events:
  • Planned events, routine incidents, complex emergencies
  • Structure incident response using IMS concepts:
  • Planning process and incident action plans
  • Organization structure
  • Information management
  • Resource management
  • IMS facilities
  • Tools and resources (Forms, Position Checklists, etc.)
  • Other
  • Evaluate IMS use during response:
  • Identify corrective actions in debriefs/ after action reports

Sustainability:

  • Consistently using/applying the other measures of IMS implementation in a structured manner will ensure sustainability:

IMS 101: Simple Steps to Start Using IMS

Consider this guidance to use IMS for an incident or exercise:

Respond to immediate needs:

  • Assess the situation and respond accordingly
  • Record initial response activities using the IMS 201 Incident Briefing form
  • Use the IMS 201 form as a tool to brief incoming staff/Commander

Establish the level of planning required:

  • Verbal Incident Action Plan (IAP)?
  • Written Incident Action Plan?

Establish a planning cycle and schedule (as required):

  • Incident Briefing – to brief all incoming staff on the incident
  • Initial Command Meeting – to establish the command structure (single or unified and determine who is in Command)
  • Objectives/Strategy Meeting – for Command to establish objectives/strategies
  • Planning Meeting – to review/finalize the Incident Action Plan, with Section Chiefs reporting on how they will complete assigned tasks
  • Operations Briefing – to brief staff on the IAP for the next operational period

Organize staff into IMS functions:

  • Activate only the IMS functions needed for the specific incident
  • Assign staff specific IMS positions, based on experience/skills
  • If required, assign staff to multiple positions
  • Build the ‘Operations Section’ based on the needs of the incident:
  • Consider functional Branches (i.e. Debris Removal / Essential Services)
  • Consider geographic Branches (i.e. North Branch, South Branch, etc.)
  • Record this info in the IMS 203 Org. Assignment List or IMS 207 Org. Chart

Use basic IMS forms:

  • Use the Incident Briefing (IMS 201) to brief all incoming staff
  • Request all staff to check-in using the Check-In Form (IMS 211 or 211-B)
  • Request all staff to maintain an Activity Log (IMS 214)
  • Record Objectives/Strategies in the Incident Objectives (IMS 202) form
  • Develop an Incident Action Plan, using the IMS 1001 Consolidated IAP form

Implement the IAP and evaluate success

IMS Planning Cycle

IMS Planning Cycle Graphic

Learn More: IMS Implementation Resources

The following supporting templates may help you implement IMS:

  • Training Plan Template
  • Statement of Endorsement Template
  • Resolution Template
  • Integration Plan: Policy, Plans, Procedures
  • Communications Strategy Template

Learn More: IMS Resources

Doctrine and Guidelines:

Tools and Templates:

Communications:

Learn More: Training and Experiential Learning

Current Training:

Planned Courses:

  • IMS 150: Senior Officials – for executives and elected officials
  • IMS-400: Command – for Incident/EOC/Area Commanders
  • Emergency Information Officer (EIO) course – for EIOs

Experiential Learning:

  • Incident Management Capacity Building Program – gain incident management experience through Observation and Job Shadowing during large-scale incidents

Learn More / Share Your Feedback

Using IMS? Please let us know….

Share your experience….

  • Send us your lessons learned
  • Share your IMS tools/resources
  • Let us know what we can do better

Visit www.ontario.ca/ims

  • Access IMS resources
  • Register for IMS training opportunities
  • Sign up for IMS News and Updates

IMS Training Plan Template

This is a sample template that may be modified to suit your organization’s needs. Enter target audiences, training numbers, resource requirements and implementation dates, for specific IMS courses. Please consult the EMO Course Catalogue, for the most up-to-date list of available IMS Courses.

tle: IMS Training Plan Templae - Table - Description: IMS Training Plan Table

Sample Statement of Endorsement of the Ontario Incident Management System

[Organization letterhead]

[date]

This statement is made in recognition that [insert organization/jurisdiction name] officially endorses the Ontario Incident Management System (IMS) as the established system for incident management in [insert organization/jurisdiction].

This endorsement is made in recognition that:

The Ontario Incident Management System provides standardized organizational structures, functions, processes and terminology for use at all levels of emergency response in Ontario, and that this system was developed with input from more than 30 Ontario-based emergency response organizations and stakeholders, who form the IMS Steering Committee.

The goal of the incident management system is to provide an efficacious, flexible, and consistent structure and process that is scalable to manage incidents by all levels of government, emergency response organizations, communities, ministries, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector.

The collective input and guidance from emergency management partners has been, and will continue to be, vital to the development, effective implementation and utilization of the Incident Management System in Ontario.

Approved/adopted this _____ day of ______________, year_______ by [name, title, organization] (as appropriate).

______________________________

Signature (as appropriate

Sample IMS Resolution:

Adoption of the Ontario Incident Management System

[Insert Organization / Jurisdiction Name]

WHEREAS, Ontario has developed an Incident Management System (IMS) that provides standardized organizational structures, functions, processes and terminology for use at all levels of emergency response in Ontario;

WHEREAS, IMS addresses the need for coordinated responses to large-scale and complex incidents and has been based on similar models in other jurisdictions, and with input from more than 30 Ontario-based emergency response organizations and stakeholders, who form the IMS Steering Committee;

WHEREAS, the collective input and guidance from emergency management partners has been, and will continue to be, vital to the development, effective implementation and utilization of a comprehensive IMS in Ontario; and

WHEREAS, it is necessary and desirable that emergency organizations and personnel coordinate their efforts to effectively and efficiently provide the highest levels of incident management; and

WHEREAS, it is critical that organizations utilize standardized terminology, standardized organizational structures, interoperable communications, consolidated action plans, standardized training, comprehensive resource management, and designated incident facilities during emergencies or disasters; and

WHEREAS, [organization’s] wishes to enhance its ability to manage incidents.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Ontario Incident Management System (IMS) is hereby established as the system for incident management for [organization].

PASSED, APPROVED AND ADOPTED this _____ day of ____________, year________, by the [position(s)] of [organization].

___________________________

[position]

[signature block]

IMS Integration Plan: Policy, Plans and Procedures

This is a sample template that may be modified to suit your organization’s needs. The IMS Integration Plan is used to identify IMS integration strategies for specific plans, policies and procedures.

tle: Sample Integration Plan Template - Description: Sample Integration Plan Template

Communications Strategy Outline

This is an optional sample template that may be modified to suit your organization’s needs.

Objectives

  • Business Objective: Why are you doing this? What outcome/result are you hoping to achieve?
  • Communications Objective: What do you want your target audience(s) to know/think/do as a result of your communications?

Context

  • Find out and detail the environment surrounding the initiative.
  • Outline attitudes and behaviours, current trends, potential issues.
  • Detail where there are links to other organization initiatives or programs. How does/can this initiative fit into/advance the organization’s strategic priorities?

Target Audience

  • Considering your objectives, and given the context, determine:
  • Who you should be communicating with?
  • What their positions are or are expected to be on the issues?
  • What will motivate them to think/act differently?
  • Provide specific examples of public and stakeholder/influencer audiences.
  • Identify opportunities for stakeholder/influencer endorsements.
  • Break down strategic approach, messages and tactics for specific audiences and over time (chart format works well).

Strategic Approach

  • Based on your analysis of the information in the previous sections, what is your recommended approach to achieve your communications objective?
  • What choices are you making about how you will achieve your objectives?
  • Consider: profile, proactive/reactive, resources & timeframe (i.e. phased), targeted or mass media?

Key Messages

  • Lasting Impression: What’s your key message?
  • Given what you know about your target audience(s), write a set of messages for each one, as needed. Include:
  • How this initiative will make a difference in their live?
  • 2-3 key messages that support your communications objective.
  • 2-3 key facts that support business objective/challenge and address problem/solution — why government needs to do something.

Tactics

  • Given what you know about your target audience(s), consider how best to reach them using communications channels they use regularly.
  • Develop tactics that flow naturally out of your strategic approach, are specific to your target audiences that happen over time and are integrated across media.

Evaluation

  • Given all of the above, how will you know if your communications had the desired effects/impacts? Devise a plan to evaluate your communications strategy.
  • Explain what happened as a result of your communications activities. What were the communications outcomes? Was the communications objective met?
  • Don’t demonstrate that you got the story out, but that you influenced opinion or changed behaviour.