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Incident Management System (IMS) for Ontario

Incident Management System (IMS) for Ontario

Acknowledgements

Publications Management

Executive Summary

Overview of IMS Modules and Document Layout

The Introductory Module Overview

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

The Supporting module Overview

Annex A - Guidelines for the application of IMS at EOCs

Annex B - Incident Support Team

Annex C - IMS Tools

Annex D - Glossary & Acronyms of Key Terms

Annex E - The History of Incident Management System

Annex F - References

Acknowledgements

The Province of Ontario Incident Management System (IMS) was produced as part of Ontario’s ever-improving emergency management program. The development of this doctrine document was sponsored by the Deputy Minister, Community Safety, spearheaded by Emergency Management Ontario (EMO), and developed by a multi-organizational IMS Steering Committee, supported by several Working Groups. Members of the Committee and Working Groups participated on a voluntary basis, both in their own time, and in time made available by their respective parent organizations.

EMO gratefully acknowledges the generous contributions made by the members of the Incident Management System Steering Committee and Working Groups, listed below:

  • Al Reaume
  • Andre Luc Beauregard
  • Barney Owens
  • Bill Ferris
  • Bill Neadles
  • Brian Cole
  • Brad Bigrigg
  • Brad Taylor
  • Carmen D’Angelo
  • Carol-Lynn Chambers
  • Clint Shingler
  • Craig Reid
  • David Fields
  • Doug Ferguson
  • Glenn Martin
  • Grahame Gordon
  • Hafeeza Bassirullah
  • Harmon Allen
  • James (Jim) Montgomery
  • Janice Sherman
  • Jeff Noel
  • Jennifer McLaughlin
  • Jim Cormier
  • John Ash
  • John Hay
  • John Saunders
  • Joseph Nicholls
  • Karen Sequeira
  • Kevin Foster
  • Larry Crang
  • Linda Petelka
  • Lisa Harvey
  • Marco Vittiglio
  • Mark Warlow
  • Meagan Shepherd
  • Mike Morton
  • Nick Maroukis
  • Nigel Bellchamber
  • Norm Huebel
  • Patricia A. Simone
  • Philippe Geoffrion
  • Ray Lazarus
  • Richard J. Armstrong
  • Robin Jones
  • Romano Del Tin
  • Simone Pertuiset
  • Suzanne Carrier-Armstrong
  • Terri Burton
  • Tim Beadman
  • Tim Charlebois
  • Tom Kontra
  • Toni Tamburro
  • Virginia Jones
  • Warren Leonard
  • William (Bill) Tigert

The following organizations were represented on the IMS Steering Committee and contributed to the development of the IMS doctrine.

EMO would also like to acknowledge the Assembly of First Nations with whom contact was maintained during the project.

Any questions about the doctrine should first be referred to an affiliated organization. Refer any unresolved or substantive matters to the EMO Secretariat, by contacting the publications management at the email address listed in the Publications Management section.

Publications Management

This Incident Management System (IMS) doctrine for use in Ontario has been developed by Emergency Management Ontario (EMO) with stakeholders’ input through their IMS Steering Committee representatives. It is sponsored by the Deputy Minister, Community Safety. This publication is made available by EMO for the use of all within the emergency management community.

Copies of the IMS doctrine are to be widely distributed among the emergency management stakeholders community, and are to be posted to emergency management stakeholders’ websites, including EMO’s website shown below.

This publication is subject to review and amendments. A Permanent IMS Steering Committee is responsible for the ongoing maintenance of the IMS doctrine. The Permanent IMS Steering Committee will make amendments to the doctrine as necessary, and will advise users of any changes. Stakeholders are encouraged to review and evaluate the IMS doctrine as they use it and to submit comments and suggestions.

Until a new doctrine supersedes this doctrine, amendments may be published from time to time. Users of this document are recommended to use the amendment form below to keep a record of approved amendments.

Comments and suggestions relating to the IMS doctrine should be directed to:

Emergency Management Ontario

Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services

77 Wellesley Street West, Box 222

Toronto, ON M7A 1N3

Tel: (416) 314-3723; Fax: (416) 314-3758

E-mail: information.emo@ontario.ca

Website: http://www.ontario.ca/emo

Executive Summary

The Incident Management System (IMS) is used to manage many types of incidents, whether they evolve from planned or unplanned events. In this guidance document (doctrine) the focus is on using IMS to manage incidents, i.e. those requiring an emergency response.

IMS presents standardized organizational structure, functions, processes, and terminology. The standardized organizational structure outlines the command and control chains. The standardized functions under IMS are Command, Operations, Planning, Logistics, and Finance & Administration. Standardized processes allow all who respond to the same incident to formulate a unified plan to manage the incident. The use of standardized IMS plain-language terminology reduces the risk of miscommunication among the many responders.

Ontario has developed an IMS for use in Ontario for several reasons. First and foremost is to provide a single, province-wide incident management system that is capable of ensuring the effective, coordinated response to large-scale and complex incidents by Ontario’s various response organizations. Lessons from previous complex emergencies have demonstrated the need for such a standardized incident management system to avoid confusion and enhance response. It was also decided to develop an Ontario-specific IMS in order to respect and incorporate the unique structures and relationships that exist within Ontario, while ensuring that the system would also be consistent with other systems practised in contiguous states, and provinces.

IMS is recommended for managing all incidents. 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 the full expansion of the IMS structure may appear complex, this would occur only during complex incidents, and would serve to maintain the optimum span of control by injecting appropriate supervisory levels.

Wide-scale stakeholder implementation of the IMS in Ontario is the desired outcome. Even though there has previously been no standardized province-wide system, there is recognition that many organizations have already been using versions or aspects of IMS. In view of the different levels and sizes of stakeholder organizations, the guidance document must recognize that implementation must be done in a manner best suited to each organization. That is why this IMS doctrine was developed with the input of a wide cross-section of the public, and private sectors and Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) stakeholders, who represent the views of associations, service organizations, and the three levels of government. Their participation has helped to ensure that the doctrine addresses their organizational interests, and should lead to broad stakeholder implementation, as organizations reference IMS in appropriate policies, plans, and procedures. Adopting the principles of IMS, and implementing them in a consistent manner, will contribute towards more effective & efficient incident management, hence making Ontario safer and more disaster resilient.

To enhance stakeholder implementation of IMS, provincially supported training opportunities will be offered through a variety of means: an introductory self-study package, as well as in-class basic, intermediate, and advanced courses.

In the future, as stakeholders implement and evaluate the Ontario IMS, their experiences will lead to further improvements. A Permanent Steering Committee will be responsible for maintaining and updating IMS at necessary intervals. Recommendations should be submitted to Emergency Management Ontario and the Permanent Steering Committee.

Overview of IMS Modules and Document Layout

General

Ontario’s IMS doctrine consists of four Modules, namely the Introductory, Response, Enabling, and Supporting Modules.

The Introductory Module

This module provides the context for, and an overview of the IMS doctrine, contained in Chapter 1.

The Response Module

This module encompasses the core doctrine of the incident management system and is organized in chapters as follows:

Chapter 2: The structure and functions of IMS. IMS is a standardized emergency management framework consisting of a combination of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures, and communications operating within a common organizational structure. It is designed to aid in the management of resources during all kinds of incidents – small, large, and/or complex incidents.

Chapter 3: Command. There are various command arrangements for managing incidents. Events that involve multiple jurisdictions or multiple incidents may require a unified command model. Multiple levels of command, possibly including response organizations, as well as municipal, provincial, or federal levels of government, may also be involved in managing the incident. The models used, and levels involved are dependant on the type, size, and complexity of the incident.

Chapter 4: Incident Action Plan. The Incident Action Plan (IAP) provides a coherent means to develop and communicate the overall incident objectives in the context of both operational and support activities. The IAP addresses the mission and policy needs of each involved jurisdiction and may either be verbal/oral or written. Each IAP is related to one operational period, usually a period of 12 to 24 hours, and provides incident supervisory personnel with measurable performance outcomes to be achieved during this period.

Chapter 5: Internal Information Management. Without effective information management, most, if not all of the other critical components that ensure the operability and effectiveness of the IMS will be ineffectual. Effective information management ensures the maintenance of a common operating picture that allows the person or team managing the incident, and all supporting levels to take effective and consistent actions in a timely manner. Internal information management relies on interoperability both in terms of telecommunications equipment, and the processes for the collection, analysis, and dissemination of information.

Chapter 6: Resource Management. Resource management involves coordinating and overseeing the application of tools, processes, and systems that provide incident managers with timely and appropriate resources during an incident. The IMS ensures that resources move quickly and efficiently to support incident managers and responders by standardizing the procedures, methodologies, and functions involved in these processes.

Chapter 7: IMS facilities. Several kinds and types of facilities may be established in and around an incident. Some may be established in pre-designated areas having existing structures, which may be used in their entirety or only in part, while others may be established using temporary structures set up solely for managing the incident. The requirements of the incident and the decisions of Command will determine the specific kinds and types of facilities used and their locations. Only those facilities needed for any given incident should be activated.

Chapter 8: Emergency (Public) Information. Effective emergency (public) information (EI) management includes the collection, analysis, and dissemination of emergency information to all audiences who need it. During major incidents, demand for EI is often overwhelming, necessitating speedy public distribution of emergency information, alerts, and warnings. With due regard to the need for speed, EI must be complete, accurate, and timely.

The Enabling Module

The Enabling Module covers the preparedness requirements that are necessary for response organizations to implement a standardized and consistent IMS structure for every incident, regardless of cause, size, complexity, location, or duration. Preparedness requirements that are already covered by Ontario’s emergency management program, including current legislation, associated Order in Council, and Regulations, are not duplicated in the IMS document. This module is organized into chapters as follows:

Chapter 9: Guide to Implementation: Some key emergency management policies, plans, and procedures are necessary to set the structure for organizational preparedness, and to support the goals of IMS. The chapter also provides guidance on the process and the role of responders for maintaining the IMS and achieving continuous improvement.

Chapter 10: Training: In order to confidently integrate IMS practitioners into a single-organization, or unified multi-organization incident management structure, enhance interoperability and promote quality assurance, there should a system of standardized qualifications, and/or certification. This necessitates some common training standards. IMS practitioners should also conduct or engage in exercises. Exercises outcomes may indicate responder preparedness, including the need for additional training, and/or the need to upgrade/amend current doctrine.

Chapter 11: Building Response Capacities and Agreements. An effective and efficient IMS requires having sufficient capacity of responders and resources, ensuring that the resources are appropriate, and having a system to access and manage them. Often, no single organization has all the necessary resources. Therefore, IMS strongly encourages a standard approach to building response capacity that includes mutual aid and assistance agreements established prior to an emergency or incident.

The Supporting Module

This module contains supporting annexes that provide additional guidance, background material, and reference links for IMS. These annexes are as follows:

Annex A: Guidelines for EOCs provides guidance and options for implementing IMS at an Emergency Operation Centre (EOC), and describes how it interfaces with the Incident Command Post (ICP) and Incident Command.

Annex B: Incident Management Team/Incident Support Team (IMT/IST) explores how to establish and use IMTs/ISTs during emergencies or incidents.

Annex C: IMS Tools includes samples of recommended IMS tools such as forms, map symbols, job sheets, workbook, templates, check lists, field guides, etc.

Annex D: IMS Glossary provides a glossary of terms that are used in Ontario’s IMS Doctrine.

Annex E: History provides a brief history of the evolution of the IMS primarily in North America, and its relationship to Ontario’s IMS.

Annex F: References provides the bibliography, references, and related standards that have influenced the development of Ontario’s IMS doctrine.

The Introductory Module Overview

This introductory Module provides the background and context for developing an Incident Management System (IMS), including some important “lessons learned” from past emergencies. It presents the vision and goals of IMS, an outline of the governance structure used by the team that developed this doctrine, and the standards and references that were used.

Chapter 1

Introduction

General

  1. Within Ontario, the emergency management environment is comprised of a diverse mix of emergency management organizations, many of which have implemented or are implementing an incident management system (IMS), invariably based on the ICS that was developed within the fire service. Using ICS, they function exceptionally well carrying out their own mandate.
  2. No individual service or organization has the ability to conduct all aspects of incident management. Therefore, the need to coordinate response efforts when working jointly is generally recognized. Nevertheless, there has been a variance of approaches within Ontario, a lack of standardized tools to manage incidents, and hence no single province-wide system to ensure effective coordination.
  3. This doctrine does not involve regulated implementation, nor does it compel an organization to change its response system. Yet, lessons from past incidents continue to indicate the ever-pressing need for all organizations to be integrated into a standardized incident management system (IMS). IMS is recommended for managing all incidents. Wide-scale stakeholder implementation of the IMS in Ontario is the desired outcome.
  4. To achieve a standardized IMS that cuts across organizational boundaries may necessarily involve cultural shifts, over time, among some incident management practitioners. This IMS doctrine builds on the strength of current systems by retaining the ICS component and structure. There is wide buy-in for this approach, and coupled with training, province-wide implementation is envisaged over time.

Vision

  1. Ontario will have a standardized incident management system (IMS) that provides functional interoperability at all levels of emergency management.

Goal

  1. 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-government organizations (NGOs), and the private sector.

Statement of Principles

  1. IMS is a proven, international best practice that can help to organize Ontario’s comprehensive capability into a standard response approach, and can facilitate greater cooperation between Ontario’s emergency response organizations and with organizations and jurisdictions across Canada, and internationally.
  2. This doctrine outlines standardized principles for implementing IMS in Ontario. Organizations may use some or all of the elements described and/or may expand on its concepts to meet their particular circumstances. In other words, this doctrine provides Ontario’s response organizations with a “tool box” of standardized terms and processes for use as required.
  3. The expectation is that gradually all of Ontario’s response organizations will implement the Ontario IMS and will train their personnel in the content of this doctrine to the extent deemed necessary by their respective organizations.

Governance

  1. The Ontario IMS Steering Committee, consisting of representatives from the province’s major emergency response organization stakeholder groups1, governs the development and maintenance of the Ontario IMS, including maintenance of supporting documentation, i.e. doctrine, policy, plans, procedures, and operations manuals. Additional IMS working groups and teams were formed as needed.
  2. The Steering Committee is coordinated by Emergency Management Ontario and reports to Ontario’s Commissioner of Community Safety.
  3. The Committee meets as often as is required. At minimum, the Committee meets annually.

Related Standards and References

  1. Ontario’s IMS is consistent with international best practices. The complete list of references used is given in Annex F. The following references were largely consulted:
  • The United States Department of Homeland Security’s National Incident Management System (NIMS) 2004 (FEMA 501), and its accompanying NIMS Basic Series (2006);
  • The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1561, Standard on Emergency Services Incident Management System (2005);
  • The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1600, Standard on Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs (2007);
  • The Firefighting Resources of California Organized for Potential Emergencies (FIRESCOPE) ICS Field Operations Guide (2004); and
  • The Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre’s Canadian National Training Curriculum (2002).
  1. The Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act sets out the requirements and obligations with respect to emergency management programs, and emergency plans. The associated Order in Council (OIC) identifies which Ministries are responsible for particular emergency responses, and the associated Regulation (380/04) establishes the Standards for Ministries and Municipalities. Ontario’s ministries and municipalities have largely implemented the wider requirements of Ontario’s emergency management program. Implementing IMS will strengthen their ability to more effectively and efficiently carry out their response obligations under the Act.
  2. The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Canadian Emergency Management and Business Continuity Program Standard (CSA Z1600) establish a common set of criteria for disaster management, emergency management, and business continuity programs2. While CSA Z1600 is non-binding, the IMS doctrine is designed to be consistent with it.

The Need for a Standard IMS

  1. Following the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Government of Ontario recognized the need to move decisively to implement comprehensive reforms to emergency management, consistent with international best practices. The aim was to ensure a proactive, coordinated, and comprehensive approach to managing emergencies, thereby reducing risks and promoting safe, secure, and disaster resilient communities.
  2. The Government of Ontario identified the need to implement an approach to emergency management that would permit ministries, communities, organizations, institutions, and industry to operate more cohesively. Such a system should acknowledge existing emergency management systems and take advantage of their strengths in developing a standardized, province-wide approach. The Incident Management System (IMS) was found to be the most appropriate basis to accomplish these outcomes3.
  3. Recent emergencies and incidents have required significant action in terms of emergency response and/or relief operations in Ontario. For example, direct emergency response was needed during incidents such as: the ice storm of January 1998 in eastern Canada and the USA; the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks on the USA and the resulting air traffic control/security, and passenger safety impacts in Ontario; the 2003 outbreaks of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in the Greater Toronto Area; and the massive power failure of August 14th, 2003 that affected large portions of eastern Canada and the USA. Examples of relief assistance include the outbreak of wildfires in British Columbia in 2003, and Hurricane Katrina that devastated the US Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005.
  4. Lessons learned from these events have reinforced the need for Ontario to continually improve its emergency management program. Some improvements to date include the following: i) updating of the province’s emergency management legislation; ii) integrating and streamlining emergency management programs of the province, individual ministries, and municipalities; and iii) increasing partnerships with NGOs and support organizations.
  5. Other specific needs identified in past emergencies are highlighted below:
  1. One common IMS is needed:
  • In Ontario, many emergency response organizations have been using some form of incident management protocol. Some have adopted a formal system, such as the Incident Command System (ICS). However, as pointed out by The SARS Commission4, “SARS showed us that there should be only one emergency response system”.
  1. Improved management is required:
  • The SARS Commission identified the need for better management and clarity and pointed out that… “the incident management system is intended to bring an orderly, consistent and flexible chain of command and control within an emergency response, including a better coordination of public messaging.”
  • The United States Government also found flaws in their “command and control structures within the [US] Federal government” in their response to Hurricane Katrina5.
  1. Improved coordination among organizations is required:
  • Lessons learned from Katrina included the recognition that “Effective incident management of catastrophic events requires coordination of a wide range of organizations and activities, public and private.”
  • Another lesson learned from Katrina was that a lack of coordination among organizations resulted in under-utilization of available resources and failure to deploy resources that were available. “…neither the [National Response Plan] NRP, the Department of Homeland Security, nor [Department of Defense] DOD fully identified the extensive military communication capabilities that could be leveraged as part of a proactive [US] federal response to a catastrophe. Because state and local officials were overwhelmed and the Department of Homeland Security and DOD waited for requests for assistance rather than deploying a proactive response, some of the military’s available communication assets were never requested or deployed. In addition, some deployed National Guard assets were underutilized because the sending states placed restrictions on their use.”
  1. An effective planning process is required:
  • The negative consequences of not having an effective planning process could be seen during SARS where: “Problems with the collection, analysis and sharing of data beset the effort to combat SARS.”6
  • During the USA’s Federal response to Hurricane Katrina, among the critical weaknesses in their national preparedness that became evident, were flaws in their regional planning and coordination processes, including FEMA’s failure to “provide trailers to evacuees due to inadequate planning and poor coordination.”7
  • The ‘1998 Ice Storm Report’ indicated that, “The provincial emergency planning process requires improvement”; and “This is a systemic problem which will persist unless a strategic change process is designed and implemented”.
  1. An improved logistics system is needed:
  • “SARS not only underlined the importance of having an effective emergency management structure, it also emphasized the need to have sufficient quantities of medical supplies, secure supply chains and the means to distribute the supplies…”8
  • According to FEMA’s final report, the response challenges in New York to the January 1998 Ice Storm9 included … “identifying the quantity, size and location of these resources, arranging their transport and prioritizing their use… In several instances cross county communication and cooperation was seriously compromised… Research failed to turn up a centralized inventory of resources owned by local governments. In addition, there appears to be no statewide, centralized system for matching need requests with available resources in time of emergency.”
  • FEMA recommended the following: “Conduct a comprehensive statewide inventory of equipment, useful in times of emergency, owned by [US] federal, state and local government... Use survey to develop (and maintain) a computer database of resources...Establish a statewide mutual aid system and a single point of contact … for all requests and equipment deployment. Identify existing and needed MOUs between state and [US] federal organizations, between state and counties and between contiguous counties.”
  1. Improved Finance & Administration controls are required:
  • The British Columbia Firestorm 2003, Provincial Review Report, February 15, 2004 highlighted the following: “Balancing the principles of financial administration with emergency response involving human life and public safety is a delicate task. No one would accept that bureaucratic red tape or cost controls should interfere with proper emergency responses. At the same time, … financial accountability must be maintained. On … issues such as the availability of forms, proper documentation, timeliness of payments and inconsistent rates of pay from organization to organization, … comments were made about both the inconsistency and lack of forms and documentation from organization to organization and place to place.”
  1. As Canada’s most populous province and one of the largest population and geographic jurisdictions in North America, Ontario needs a comprehensive capability to respond effectively and efficiently to all incidents, including those that are large-scale, complex, resource intensive, and/or multi-jurisdictional.

Key Definitions

  1. To assist with explaining the doctrine, standard terms are defined and used throughout this document. A Glossary of Terms used in this document may be found in Annex D. Below are several key definitions.
  • The Incident Management System (IMS) is a standardized approach to emergency management encompassing personnel, facilities, equipment, procedures, and communications operating within a common organizational structure. The IMS is predicated on the understanding that in any and every incident, there are certain management functions that must be carried out regardless of the number of persons who are available or involved in the emergency response.
  • Emergency means a situation or an impending situation that constitutes a danger of major proportions that could result in serious harm to persons or substantial damage to property, and that is caused by the forces of nature, a disease or other health risk, an accident or an act whether intentional or otherwise.
  • Incident means an occurrence or event, natural or human-caused that requires an emergency response to protect life, property, or the environment. An incident may be geographically confined (e.g. within a clearly delineated site or sites) or dispersed (e.g. a widespread power outage or an epidemic). Incidents may start suddenly (e.g. a chemical plant explosion) or gradually (e.g. a drought). They may be of very short duration (e.g. a call for emergency medical assistance), or continue for months or even years. Incidents can include major disasters, terrorist attacks or threats, emergencies related to wild-land and urban fires, floods, hazardous materials spills, nuclear events, aircraft emergencies, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, tropical storms, war-related disasters, public health and medical emergencies, and other emergencies.
  • A Responder is anyone involved in the response to an incident, and who contributes to the resolution of problems brought about by the incident. The same definition applies to a response organization. Responders may therefore include the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and/or the public sector (community/municipality, ministry, or any provincial, territorial, federal government agencies).
  • Site is a multi-purpose concept. Site refers to the geographic area in which an incident is occurring. Since an incident may be geographically dispersed, and changing, it may be inaccurate to describe the incident itself based only on specific geographic boundaries. In such a case, it would be feasible to describe the response to the incident in terms of the geographic boundaries that fall under the jurisdiction of the team managing the response. Combining the two concepts, an incident site then is the geographic area in which the management team with the most direct hands-on response roles operates. For example, a ‘site’ could be: the scene of a fire; the area in which civil disorder has broken out; the single spot/wide debris-strewn area of an aircraft crash; or an area affected by an influenza virus outbreak – pandemic or epidemic.

The Response Module Overview

The Response Module

This module encompasses the core doctrine of the incident management system and is organized in chapters as follows:

Chapter 2: The structure and functions of IMS. IMS is a standardized emergency management framework consisting of a combination of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures, and communications operating within a common organizational structure. It is designed to aid in the management of resources during all kinds of incidents – small, large, and/or complex incidents.

Chapter 3: Command. There are various command arrangements for managing incidents. Events may involve multiple jurisdictions, and/or multiple incidents that require a unified command model. Multiple levels of command, possibly including emergency response organizations, as well as municipal, provincial, or federal levels of government, may also be involved in managing the incident. The models used, and levels involved are dependant on the type, size, and complexity of the incident.

Chapter 4: Incident Action Plan. The Incident Action Plan (IAP) provides a coherent means to develop and communicate the overall incident objectives in the context of both operational and support activities. The IAP addresses the mission and policy needs of each involved jurisdiction and may either be verbal/oral or written. Each IAP is related to one operational period, usually a period of 12 to 24 hours, and provides incident supervisory personnel with measurable performance outcomes to be achieved during this period.

Chapter 5: Internal Information Management. Without effective information management, most, if not all of the other critical components that ensure the operability and effectiveness of the IMS will be ineffectual. Effective information management ensures the maintenance of a common operating picture that allows the person or team managing the incident, and all supporting levels to take effective and consistent actions in a timely manner. Internal information management relies on interoperability both in terms of telecommunications equipment, and the processes for the collection, analysis, and dissemination of information.

Chapter 6: Resource Management. Resource management involves coordinating and overseeing the application of tools, processes, and systems that provide incident managers with timely and appropriate resources during an incident. The IMS ensures that resources move quickly and efficiently to support incident responders by standardizing the procedures, methodologies, and functions involved in these processes.

Chapter 7: IMS facilities. Several kinds and types of facilities may be established in and around an incident. Some may be established in pre-designated areas having existing structures, which may be used in their entirety or only in part, while others may be established using temporary structures set up solely for managing the incident. The requirements of the incident and the decisions of Command will determine the specific kinds and types of facilities used and their locations. Only those facilities needed for any given incident should be activated.

Chapter 8: Emergency (Public) Information. Effective emergency (public) information (EI) management includes the collection, analysis, and dissemination of emergency information to all audiences who need it. During major incidents, demand for EI is often overwhelming, necessitating speedy public distribution of emergency information, alerts, and warnings. With due regard to the need for speed, EI must be complete, accurate, and timely

Chapter 2

The Structure and Functions of IMS

General

  1. This chapter provides a toolbox of organizational structures, terms and processes to use during simple and complex incident responses. Organizations can utilize the tools that best suit their needs and circumstances. Where the tools presented do not fully meet their needs, customization based on the standardized principles and terminology presented below is encouraged.
  2. In many instances, response organizations are able to successfully resolve incidents single-handedly. In other cases where this is not feasible, municipal, provincial/territorial, First Nations, federal and private sector organizations must often work together.
  3. Whether response is handled by single or multiple organizations, many ‘lessons learned’ identify the need for one coordinated, and standardized incident management system (IMS) that provides an integrated organizational structure to match the complexities and demands of single or multiple incidents, while avoiding the hindrances of jurisdictional boundaries.
  4. One of IMS’ strengths is the ability to change the organizational structure to fit the activity level of an incident. To maintain span of control, as sections grow ‘from the bottom up’, they may be subdivided into groups, divisions, or branches, and the organization can expand to include other organizations and jurisdictions as needed. Conversely, when the activity level of an incident decreases, the IMS incident organization structure can contract to match new needs. This flexibility makes it a cost effective and efficient management approach for both small and large incidents.

Concepts and principles

  1. Interoperability
  • Interoperability is the ability of responders to interact and work well together. Interoperability should exist technologically as well as in relation to the performance of IMS functions.
  • Technological interoperability (such as telecommunications interoperability) should allow for the sharing of information among responders, as well as with other jurisdictions. Technological interoperability should encompass all resources likely to be utilised in incident management (e.g. radios, computers, satellite, telephones).
  • Functional interoperability may be achieved through the application and use of standardized terminologies, structures, and procedures amongst responders. IMS is designed to specifically allow for functional interoperability through the adoption and application of standardization.
  1. Standardization

IMS provides a standardized structure and functions for managing incidents, which allow stakeholders to work together using a common approach and understanding. Standardization enhances all other concepts and principles.

  1. Simplicity and Flexibility

The simplicity and flexibility of the IMS structure make it suitable to expand and contract. This flexibility means that only the required components need be activated to provide the functions needed as the situation unfolds. This keeps the IMS structure as uncomplicated and minimalist as possible.

  1. Management by Objectives

Leadership and “management by objectives” are reflected at all levels of organization and activity. In IMS, one first determines the objectives and then directs all efforts to achieving them. Results are documented for analysis and evaluation, and where necessary, corrective actions are taken. The process involves the following:

  • Determining the overarching objectives
  • Establishing specific and measurable objectives for various functional activities
  • Developing and issuing plans, procedures, and protocols
  • Assigning tasks
  • Establishing an evaluation process with respect to procedures, decisions, resources, outcomes, etc)
  1. Applicability

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 Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) sectors. It is suitable for scenarios involving multiple municipalities, other provinces/territories, or international partners.

  1. Standard Terminology

IMS employs a standard terminology for organizational elements (e.g. Sections and Units), functions, facilities, operational locales, and resources. This enhances interoperability.

  1. Modular and Scalable Organization

The IMS framework is modular and scalable in terms of structure and processes, with discrete but interrelated functional components. Components may expand or contract without losing their distinct functions. This makes it scalable to match the size and complexity of any incident.

  1. Integrated communications

IMS requires integrated communications to ensure that all jurisdictions and organizations participating in the response to an incident can communicate and transmit incident information in a timely manner across jurisdictional lines, and establish an emergency information management system. For communications to be integrated, interoperability and common terminology must exist among participating organizations.

  1. Consolidated Incident Action Plan (IAP)10

A consolidated IAP outlines incident response goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics. It also outlines safety, communications, and resource management information. Under IMS, an IAP is prepared for a specific period known as an ‘operational period’. The IAP may be modified during an operational period, should circumstances or information change. The IAP may also need to be revised prior to the commencement of the next operational period. An IAP may be spoken or written.

  1. Span of Control

An underlying principle of IMS is the need to optimize the number of subordinates reporting to a supervisor11 in the interest of greater efficiency. This is known as maintaining the “span of control”. A normal ratio is three to seven individuals reporting to one person. An optimum span of control consists of five individuals reporting to one. If the number of subordinates falls outside of this range, expansion or contraction of the organization may be necessary. In routine, repetitive environments with lower-risk assignments, or where resources work in very close proximity to each other, it may be acceptable to exceed the standard recommended span of control. Conversely, in complex incidents where safety is a major factor or where there is a large distance between resources, it may be advisable to lower the span of control limit.

  1. Unity of Command

IMS operates on a defined and specific command and control structure that provides an orderly line of command and accountability, and which is based on the function to be performed and the expertise of the incident management staff, rather than rank, organization or jurisdiction. To ensure unity of command, each individual should have one clearly designated supervisor, who may or may not come from the same jurisdiction or service.

Command of an incident may be exercised through a single command process when one response organization has jurisdictional or functional responsibility for the incident, or under a unified command process, where multiple response organizations or jurisdictions have jurisdictional or functional responsibility for the incident. Whether the IMS is operating under a single or unified command structure12, unity of command must be maintained.

  1. Accountability

All functional areas and jurisdictional levels remain responsible for their own actions at all times during an incident. To help guide responders in being diligent in, as well as being able to explain their incident management actions, specific procedures are required for safety and security; resource management; and response activities such as decision-making and tactical operations. In a controlled area (e.g. a “hot zone”), specific and ongoing tracking of personnel entering and exiting the area, is required.

  1. Designated Incident Facilities

IMS requires certain facilities to accommodate and facilitate the carrying out of its various functions for an incident, which could include (as required) an incident command post, a base, one or more staging areas, one or more camps, a helicopter base, and associated landing/taking off spots, reception centres, or a mass casualty triage area. An emergency operations centre may be needed for organizational or jurisdictional levels with roles and responsibilities that relate to the incident.

  1. Comprehensive Resource Management

IMS provides processes for categorizing, ordering, dispatching, tracking, and recovering resources. In order to assure readiness, there should be in place, prior to the incident, a standardized, comprehensive database of resources as well as protocols to access, utilize, and demobilize such resources.

  1. Inter-Organizational Collaboration

Where an incident involves multiple organizations and/or multiple jurisdictions, inter-organizational collaboration and coordination are critical to ensuring an effective response. It is important to define the roles, relationships and the accountability framework in which organizations collaborate. Collaboration also requires interoperability.

  1. Information Management

Information management is important, both for internal and external audiences. IMS requires that there should be processes to acquire, analyse, and disseminate information at all levels in a timely manner.

  • Internal information is needed in order to: maintain a common operational picture; and to formulate broad incident strategies, incident action plans, and field decisions.
  • Information for an external audience such as the public and the media may be needed to: provide notification and instructions: and to manage public reaction.
  1. Sustainability

Incident management requires the ability to sustain response activities until either a predetermined end-point, or the end of the incident. The level of sustainability will depend on the capacity of each organization or jurisdiction to furnish the appropriate amounts and types of resources required for the incident. This may involve maintaining 24/7 staffing and conducting 24/7 operations. Measures to ensure sustainability include deliberately maintaining excess capacity or designating alternates who possess the same level of authority and qualifications as those whom they will replace or relieve.

Management Functions

  1. Every incident, regardless of size, requires that certain management functions be performed. For example, the problem must be identified and assessed, a plan to deal with it developed and implemented, and the necessary resources procured and paid for.
  2. There are five major management functions that are the foundation upon which the IMS organization develops, regardless of what the incident is. These are: command, operations, planning, logistics, and finance & administration. Each function may be organized in a section. In some circumstances, other functions may also be recognized and staffed.

Figure 2.1: IMS Management Functions

IMS Management Functions

Organizational Structure

  1. IMS provides a standardized organizational structure that is distinct from individual organizations’ day-to-day administrative structures. This allows for greater functional interoperability and avoids confusion over different position titles and organizational structures.
  2. The five major IMS functions are organized into Command and four sections that may be further expanded into various levels below the key sections. Only those sections that are necessary to managing the incident need be established.
  3. An individual may perform one or more of these functions, where it is deemed that the incident does not warrant establishing an entire Section, or Unit (described later). Otherwise, in such a case a Section or Unit would only consist of one person. Certain incidents or events may require Technical Specialists who have specialized knowledge and expertise. Technical Specialists may be assigned wherever their services are required.

Command

  1. Command is the first and primary organizational component of the IMS structure. The command element consists of the person or team13 with responsibility for managing the responses to an incident.
  2. The Commander’s responsibilities include:
  • Ensuring the safety of all responders
  • Assessing and reassessing the situation (this may require obtaining information from other levels of response)
  • Determining goals, strategies, objectives and priorities appropriate to the level of response
  • Establishing an appropriate command structure using IMS
  • Coordinating all incident management activities
  • Coordinating overall incident activities with other levels of response
  • Establishing and maintaining liaison with supporting, or assisting organizations
  • Providing information to/briefing senior and elected officials as required
  • Establishing or activating IMS facilities, as needed
  • Establishing an operational planning cycle (as required)
  • Approving an Incident Action Plan (IAP)
  • Managing incident resources (including approval of volunteers, etc)
  • Managing sensitive issues arising from the incident
  • Authorizing the release of emergency information to the public in cooperation with other levels of response
  • Ordering incident demobilization as appropriate

Command Staff

  1. A Command Staff that consists of the Emergency Information Officer, Safety Officer, Liaison Officer, and other subject matter experts or specialists as required (e.g. Legal) supports command. Command Staff may have an assistant or assistants, as needed.
Figure 2.2: The Command Staff

Figure 2.2 The command Staff

Emergency Information Officer

  1. The Emergency Information Officer (EIO) is 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. During a Complex Incident, assistants may be assigned to the EIO. The EIO position may be incorporated at various levels of Command (for details on the various Command models/levels see Chapter 3).
  2. Some of the responsibilities of the EIO include:
  • Advising Command on issues related to media/public emergency information dissemination and media relations
  • Ensuring there is a primary contact for anyone who wants emergency information about the incident and the response to it
  • Coordinating with emergency information staff from other organizations or levels of response to ensure that clear and consistent emergency information is issued
  • Consulting with Command and Planning regarding any constraints on the release of emergency information to the media and public
  • Obtaining emergency information from the community, the media, and others (e.g. psycho-social centres supporting both responders and the public), and providing that emergency information to the Planning Section Chief (PSC) and Command, as appropriate
  • Establishing an emergency information centre (EIC) or media area away from incident operations and a safe distance away from any hazard
  • Establishing key messages for spokespersons and media products
  • Broadcasting emergency information and instruction to the public, if requested/required (e.g. evacuation or shelter orders)
  • Arranging media tours of incident sites and incident facilities (where feasible), media interviews with spokespersons and technical experts, and a media inquiry hotline
  • Establishing a public inquiry hotline
  • Media monitoring, to counteract rumours or misinformation
  • Being spokesperson in the early stages of an incident or emergency until designated spokespersons are identified
  1. It is important that the EIO and designated spokespersons develop and maintain a relationship with the media that is built on trust and credibility. The EIO should be knowledgeable of the type of incident being managed.
  2. Larger or more complex incidents may require the establishment of an Emergency Information Centre (EIC). This is a facility with appropriate infrastructure (e.g. electricity, telephones, computers), where many of the functions listed above can take place. Where more than one organization has a direct responsibility for issuing emergency information, a Joint Information Centre may be needed.

Safety Officer

  1. The Safety Officer monitors safety conditions and develops safety measures. While each person who is assigned a leadership role is responsible for the safety of personnel working under their leadership, the Safety Officer is tasked with creating systems and procedures related to the overall health and safety of all incident responders. This is done in close conjunction with the Operations Chief and the Planning Chief. During a complex incident, assistants to the Safety Officer may be assigned from a variety of organizations and levels of government. The Safety Officer must have the knowledge and professional experience to be able to control or reduce occupational hazards and exposures.
  2. Some of the responsibilities of the Safety Officer include:
  • Working closely with Operations to ensure that responders are as safe as possible under the circumstances, including wearing appropriate protective equipment and implementing the safest operational options
  • Advising Command on issues regarding incident safety
  • Minimizing employee risk by promoting safety procedures (e.g. ensure an adequate personnel accountability system is in place to track the status/movement of all personnel)
  • Conducting risk analyses including psychological risks based on information from responders’ social support centers and implementing safety measures, normally through the planning process
  • Altering, suspending or terminating any or all activities that are deemed hazardous regardless of jurisdiction
  • Assisting in the review of the Incident Action Plan to identify safety concerns and issues
  • Assisting with writing the Incident Medical Plan

Liaison Officer

  1. The Liaison Officer (LO) serves as the primary contact for Assisting or Supporting Organizations. Assisting Organizations provide resources and Supporting Organizations provide support services to the organization directly managing an incident. The LO advises Command of issues related to outside assistance and support, including current or potential inter-organization needs. The Liaison Officer may be assigned assistants who may come from other organizations also involved in the incident response.
  2. Some of the responsibilities of the Liaison Officer include:
  • Gathering information from and about organizations that are involved with the incident. This includes obtaining from their representatives, information about standard and specialized resources they might have, or special support that they might need, and whether there are considerations or restrictions that may impact how such resources may be used.
  • Serving as a coordinator for organizations not represented in Command
  • Providing briefings to organization representatives about the operation
  • Maintaining a list of supporting and assisting organizations, and keeping it updated as the incident evolves

General Staff

  1. The General Staff normally consist of the Operations Section Chief, Planning Section Chief, Logistics Section Chief, and Finance/Administration Section Chief14. General Staff support Command in a variety of ways to plan, coordinate, and carry out the response to an incident. See diagram below for the basic General Staff structure.

Figure 2.3: The General StaffThe General Staff

Operations Section

  1. The Operations Section implements the IAP. An Operations Chief heads it. The responsibilities of the Operations Section Chief include:
  • Developing and managing the Operations Section to accomplish the incident objectives set by Command
  • Organizing, assigning, and supervising all resources assigned to an incident, including air operations and resources in a Staging Area
  • Working closely with other members of the Command and General Staff to coordinate operational activities
  1. Expansion of the Operations Section may occur during an incident where an increasing number of assigned resources may make it difficult for the Operations Section Chief to manage all of these resources directly. The Operations Section usually develops from the bottom up by inserting additional supervisory levels as resources exceed the optimum span of control15. To maintain the optimum span of control, the Operations Chief has the option to use Branches, Groups, Divisions, Sectors, Task Forces, Strike Teams, or single resources independently. See figures 2.4 through to 2.10.
  2. It should be noted that there are no role-specific titles pre-scripted for these components of the Operations Section. This allows great flexibility to establish functions as dictated by the nature of each incident. For example, in response to an earthquake, it is likely that a Medical Branch/Group/etc (as required) would be established as part of the Operations Section to render medical assistance to injured members of the public.
  3. Below are brief descriptions of the optional components of the Operations Section:
  • Single Resource: May be an individual, a piece of equipment and its personnel complement, or a crew or team of individuals with an identified supervisor.
  • Strike Team: A set number of resources of the same kind and type with common communications operating under the leadership of a Strike Team Leader.
  • Task Force: A combination of mixed resources assembled for a particular purpose with common communications operating under a Task Force Leader.
  • Sector: An organizational level within the Operations Section, directly below a Division or Group, activated on large incidents where span of control would otherwise be exceeded at the Division or Group level. A Sector may be geographic or functional.
  • Division: An organizational level within the Operations Section, directly below a Branch used to divide an incident geographically where geographic distinction is required. The person in charge of each Division is designated as a Supervisor.
  • Group: An organizational level within the Operations Section, directly below a Branch used to describe functional sub-groupings of the Operations Section. The person in charge of each Group is designated as a Supervisor.
  • Branch: Used when the number of Groups or Divisions exceeds the span of control. A Branch can be either functional or geographical, or both. In its functional use, there may therefore be Branches comprising a number of Groups in the Operations Section, and/or comprising a number of Units in the Logistics Section. In its geographic use, a number of Divisions or Groups may be put together to comprise a Branch. A Director will be designated in charge of a Branch.

Figure 2.4: The Operations Section may start out with few resources

Operations Section

Figure 2.5: As resources are added, the Operations Section may organize some resources under a Group Supervisor

As resources are added, the Operations Section may organize some resources under a Group Supervisor

Figure 2.9: If Divisions are part of the structure they may be organized into a Branch (or more than one), which would also be geographic.

Branch Chart

Figure 2.10: Any continued expansion of the Operations Section would follow the same principles for maintaining an appropriate span of control.

Span of control.

  1. Air Operations Branch – The Operations Chief may establish an Air Operations Branch depending on the nature of the incident and the availability of aircraft (fixed-wing or helicopter) support. If both types of air support are available, then within this Branch there will normally be an Air Support Group to establish and operate a helicopter base and, if necessary, to liaise with fixed-wing air support bases. This Group is also responsible for helicopter assets and their logistics support. When air support is very limited, it may remain under the direct control of the Operations Chief with logistics support being provided by its parent base or organization. See sample organization below.

Figure 2.11: Air Operations Branch added to the Operations Section (example)

Operations Section

  1. Contraction of the Operations Section may occur at some point when the incident activities scale down. The decision to contract will be based on the achievement of incident objectives as determined by the IC. Demobilization planning begins upon activation of the first personnel and continues until the IMS organization ceases operation.

Planning Section

  1. The Planning Section develops the IAP. A Planning Section Chief (PSC) heads it. The major activities of the Planning Section may include:
  • Collecting, collating, evaluating, analyzing, and disseminating incident information
  • Managing the planning process including preparing and documenting the Incident Action Plan for each operational period
  • Conducting long-range and/or contingency planning
  • Developing plans for demobilization in preparation for when the incident winds down
  • Maintaining incident documentation
  • Tracking resources assigned to the incident
  • Managing the activities of Technical Specialists assigned to the Planning Section
  • Working closely with Command and members of the General Staff to be sure that information is shared effectively and results in an efficient planning process to meet the needs of the incident
  1. Expansion of the Planning Section may occur during an incident where the increasing number of assigned resources may make it difficult for the PSC to manage all of these resources directly. To maintain an appropriate span of control, the Planning Section can be expanded by adding Units, for example: Resources, Situation, Documentation, and Demobilization Units, or Single Resources such as Technical Specialists. Standardized terminology in relation to these Units is recommended. However, organization-specific unit terminology may be added if this helps to clarify the specific circumstances. The person in charge of each Unit is designated as a Leader.

Figure 2.12: Planning Section (example)

Figure 2.12: Planning Section (example)

  1. The Resources Unit is responsible for maintaining the status of all assigned resources at an incident. It achieves this through:
  • Overseeing the check-in of all resources
  • Maintaining a status-keeping system indicating current location and status of all resources
  • The maintenance of a master list of all resources
  1. The Situation Unit is responsible for the collection, processing and organizing of all incident information. The Situation Unit may prepare future projections of incident growth, maps, and intelligence information.
  2. The Demobilization Unit is responsible for developing the Incident Demobilization Plan. On large incidents, demobilization can be quite complex, requiring a separate planning activity. Note that not all agencies require specific demobilization instructions.
  3. The Documentation Unit is responsible for the maintenance of accurate, up-to-date incident files. It also provides duplication services. Incident files will be stored for legal, analytical, and historical purposes.
  1. Contraction of the Planning Section may occur when the incident activities scale down. Demobilization planning begins upon activation of the first personnel and continues until the IMS organization ceases operation.

Logistics Section

  1. The Logistics Section provides all supporting resources, except aviation, to the incident. A Logistics Section Chief heads it.
  2. Logistics and Finance must work closely to contract for and purchase goods and services needed at the incident. Additionally, the Logistics Section develops several portions of the written IAP and forwards them to the Planning Section.
  3. The major activities of the Logistics Section include:
  • Obtaining, maintaining, and accounting for essential personnel, equipment, and supplies beyond those immediately accessible to Operations
  • Developing the telecommunications plan
  • Providing incident telecommunication/IT services and resources
  • Setting up food services
  • Setting up and maintaining incident facilities
  • Providing support transportation
  • Providing medical services to incident personnel
  1. Expansion of the Logistics Section may occur during an incident where the increasing number of assigned resources may prevent the Logistics Section Chief from being able to manage all of these resources directly. During expansion, Units organized under a Service Branch and a Support Branch, including Single resources such as Technical Specialists may be added, as required. An example is shown below. The person in charge of each Unit is designated as a Leader.

Figure 2.13: Logistics Section (example)

Logistics Section, service branch and support branch org chart

  1. The Telecommunications Unit is responsible for developing plans for the use of incident telecommunications equipment and facilities; installing and testing of telecommunications equipment; supervising the Incident Telecommunications Center; and distributing and providing maintenance of telecommunications equipment.
  2. The Medical Unit16 is responsible for providing medical assistance to incident personnel. This Unit develops an Incident Medical Plan (to be included in The Incident Action Plan), and assists the Finance/Administration Section with processing injury-related claims.
  • Note that the provision of medical assistance to the public or victims of the emergency is an operational function, and would be done by the Operations Section and not by the Logistics Section Medical Unit.
  1. The Food Unit is responsible for supplying the food needs for the entire incident, including all remote locations (e.g. Camps or Staging Areas), as well as providing food for personnel unable to leave tactical field assignments.
  2. The Supply Unit is responsible for ordering, receiving, processing and storing all incident-related resources.
  3. The Facilities Unit is responsible for set up, maintenance and demobilization of all incident support facilities except Staging Areas. The Facilities Unit will also provide security services to the incident facilities as needed.
  4. The Ground Support Unit is primarily responsible for the maintenance, service, and fueling of all mobile equipment and vehicles, with the exception of aviation resources. The Unit also has responsibility for the ground transportation of personnel, supplies, and equipment, and the development of the Incident Traffic Plan.
  1. Contraction of the Logistics Section will occur as soon as units are no longer needed.

Finance and Administration Section

  1. The Finance and Administration Section provides the financial and cost analysis support to an incident. A Finance and Administration Section Chief heads it.
  2. Smaller incidents may only require minimal Finance/Administration support. In these incidents, a specialist within the Planning Section may perform the functions typically associated with this section, avoiding the need to establish a separate section.
  3. The major activities of the Finance and Administration Section include:
  • Monitoring sources of funding
  • Tracking and reporting on the financial usage rate
  • Tracking timesheets for incident personnel and equipment
  • Making reimbursements (individual and organization/department)
  • Contract negotiation and monitoring
  • Timekeeping
  • Preparing costs analysis, including the identification of incremental and extraordinary costs associated directly with the incident
  • Making cost estimates for alternative response strategies
  • Compensation for injury or damage to property
  • Procuring equipment
  • Tracking Mutual Assistance arrangements and monitoring costs
  • Tracking disaster relief assistance including local funding raising, if relevant
  • Reconciliation in conjunction with the planning and logistics sections
  1. Expansion of the Finance and Administration Section may occur during large, multi-jurisdictional or multiple site incidents, where the need for financial and administrative analysis and support may be substantial. Adding Units, including Time, Cost, Compensation and Claims, and Procurement Units, or Single Resources as Technical Specialists may become necessary. An example is shown below.

Figure 2.14: Finance and Administration Section (example)

Finance / Administration Section

  1. The Procurement Unit is responsible for all financial matters pertaining to vendor contracts, leases, and fiscal agreements. The unit is also responsible for maintaining equipment time records. The Procurement Unit establishes local sources for equipment and supplies; manages all equipment rental agreements; and processes all rental and supply fiscal document billing invoices. The unit works closely with local fiscal authorities to ensure efficiency.
  2. The Time Unit is responsible for ensuring the accurate recording of daily personnel time, compliance with specific agency(s) time recording policies, and managing commissary operations if established at the incident. As applicable, personnel time records will be collected and processed for each operational period.
  3. The Cost Unit is responsible for providing all incident cost analyses. It ensures the proper identification of all equipment and personnel requiring payment; records all cost data; analyzes and prepares estimates of incident costs; and maintains accurate records of incident costs.
  4. The Compensation/Claims Unit is responsible for processing Compensation-for-Injury on behalf of responders, and for managing all claims-related activities (other than injury) for an incident. Separate personnel may be needed to:
  • Processing Compensation-for-Injury and oversee the completion of all forms required by workers’ compensation and local agencies. A file of serious injuries, illnesses, and deaths associated with the incident will also be maintained, and all witness statements will be obtained in writing. Close coordination with the Medical Unit is essential.
  • Investigate all claims involving property associated with or involved in the incident.
  1. Contraction of the Finance and Administration Section would occur as soon as expanded units are no longer required.

Intelligence

  1. In the context of IMS in Ontario, “intelligence” means sensitive information or data that may need to be processed or screened prior to dissemination within the IMS structure or directly to Command.
  2. Although not a traditional function of IMS, there are several options for incorporating the Intelligence function into the IMS organization.
  • Intelligence may be placed within the Command Staff. This option is appropriate where there is little classified or sensitive information and where information is captured and communicated in real-time between organizations.
  • Intelligence may be a Unit within the Planning Section. This option works well at an incident where there is some requirement for tactical intelligence and where no law enforcement organization is a member of the unit.
  • Intelligence may be a branch within the Operations Section. This model serves best where there is a high need for classified and/or tactical intelligence and law enforcement/security intelligence is present.
  • Intelligence may be a separate General Staff section. This model is recommended where management of the incident is highly dependent on intelligence factors or where large volumes of data exist. This model is particularly suitable for managing terrorism incidents.
  1. Irrespective of the model selected by Command, when established, the Intelligence function is responsible for the following:
  • Receiving, assessing, and distributing, as appropriate, incident-related intelligence
  • Developing and managing information security plans and operations as directed by Command
  • Providing direction to the Information function regarding the release of information to ensure that the release of information does not compromise operational or intelligence security

Chapter 3

Command

General

  1. Command is the act of directing, ordering, or controlling by virtue of explicit statutory, regulatory, or delegated authority.

Incident Command

  1. The term ‘Incident Command’ means the function of Command as exercised in respect to developing and carrying out the Incident Action Plan (IAP) for each specific incident. IAPs are covered in a subsequent chapter.
  2. The individual who exercises the function of Command is the Incident Commander (IC). The IC is responsible for all incident activities, including the development of strategies and tactics and the ordering and the release of resources. The IC has overall authority and responsibility for conducting incident operations and is responsible for the management of all incident operations at the incident.
  3. Only one person will exercise the function of Incident Command at any one time, for a given incident. Therefore, while several jurisdictions may respond at the same time to the same incident, there will only be one Incident Commander. As other staff and/or other levels are activated, they work in support of Incident Command. Command, and the Command and General Staff together are commonly referred to as the Incident Management Team (IMT).

Figure 3.1: Example of an Incident Command Team Structure for a single site

Figure 3.1: Example of an Incident Command Team Structure for a single site

  1. The location from which the Incident Command function is carried out is called the Incident Command Post (ICP). Details of this facility are given in a later chapter.
  2. The concept of ‘Incident Command’ is distinct from the function of “organizational command” that exists within the normal organizational structure and chain of command of jurisdictions and response organizations.

Models of Incident Command

  1. There are two models of Incident Command that may be used during the response to an incident: i) Single, or 2) Unified.
  2. Single Command model

Single Command exists when the decision-making process needed to direct the response is straightforward and independent. This typically is the case when an incident is the responsibility of a single jurisdiction, or organization. A Single Command model may be arrived at:

  • By default when only one jurisdiction, or organization is involved
  • By design when multiple jurisdictions or organizations that are involved decide and agree on a Single Command
  • By legislation if the responsibility is legally that of one jurisdiction, or organization
  1. Unified Command model
  • Unified Command (UC) may be used on rare occasions when incident decision-making is complex, and interdependent, and a Single Command cannot be established. Organizations work together through their designated members of the UC, to establish a common set of objectives and strategies and a single IAP.
  • The Unified Command team will agree upon one spokesperson to represent it, when necessary. There may be different spokespersons on different occasions, but typically, there will only be one spokesperson at a time.
  • Under the Unified Command model, there is only one Operations Section Chief, normally appointed, by agreement, from the organization with the greatest jurisdictional or functional involvement. He or she will implement the IAP coordinated by the Planning Section Chief (PSC) and approved by the Unified Command team. The Operations Chief may have one or more Deputies from other organizations.

Establishing Incident Command

  1. Various levels may, in various ways, establish Incident Command (explained below). An individual or a team could be the first to establish Incident Command, for example, in the case of a geographically defined and limited, site-specific incident. In a straightforward case such this, the first responder present will assume the function of Incident Command.
  2. Rank, grade, and seniority are not the only factors used to determine who exercises Incident Command. Qualifications, training, and/or experience with the specific type of incident and of IMS are also key factors.
  3. In scenarios where the incident is not site-specific, the highest level of jurisdiction in which the incident is occurring may need to assume Incident Command.
  4. Generally, Incident Command should be established at the level, and in a manner that will allow it to be most effective and efficient.
  5. The act of assuming Incident Command means taking overall responsibility for managing the incident, and providing the overall leadership for incident response. Having assumed command, Incident Command should ensure that all response organizations that are likely to be involved are advised of the incident. Command must be established in an unmistakable fashion at the beginning of an incident and maintained until the end of the incident.

Responsibility for establishing Incident Command

  1. The responsibility for establishing Incident Command is not restricted to any organization or jurisdiction. Any organization/jurisdiction among those listed below, having the requisite capabilities, may establish Incident Command:
  • Response organizations
  • Municipal, or First Nations (FN) Community governments
  • Provincial/territorial ministries
  • Provincial/territorial government
  • Federal government
  1. Response organizations, and municipal, FN community, provincial/territorial, and federal governments all have emergency response roles that, as circumstances merit, may affect incident management to varying degrees. Their involvement in an emergency may become necessary due to the nature of the emergency, or when jurisdictional issues require it.
  2. Response organization

A response organization that is the first to respond to an incident will establish Incident Command.

  1. Municipal / First Nations (FN) Community
  1. When responding to an incident, a community may activate its own Emergency Control Group to direct the community’s overall strategic response to the incident. Actions may include validating or appointing the Incident Commander. Regulation 380-04 refers to this Emergency Control Group as the Municipal Emergency Control Group with respect to municipalities. A FN community will likely activate a similar Emergency Control Group. The Emergency Control Group will generally operate from a community Emergency Operations Centre (EOC).
  2. The Emergency Control Group may decide, or may be required to directly manage the incident response, and will decide therefore to assume Incident Command.
  3. While the responsibility for establishing Incident Command would rest with the community government, the Emergency Control Group itself does not typically perform the Command and General Staff functions. In principle, the Emergency Control Group may do one or more of the following:
  • Perform all Command, and Command and General Staff functions. As stated before, this is not typical, but may be feasible where the requisite expertise has been co-opted by, or appointed to the Emergency Control Group.
  • Assume the Command function and appoint select responders to assume the functions of the Command and General Staff.
  • Appoint a select team to assume all IMS functions to manage the incident. The Emergency Control Group would continue to provide oversight as necessary.
  • Call for external support in managing the incident if the requisite expertise does not reside within its own jurisdiction.
  1. Each level of municipal government has statutory authority over its own jurisdiction. The Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act allows the Premier to direct municipal resources in certain circumstances17. In multi-jurisdictional incidents (Upper, Lower, or Single Tier, unorganized territory18), Single Command is recommended. If Single Command is not feasible, then Unified Command may be established.
  1. Ministry
  • Every ministry is required to have a Ministry Action Group (MAG) that operates from a Ministry EOC to manage the ministry’s response to an incident. Some ministries have been assigned the additional responsibility to manage, on behalf of the Ontario Government, responses to specific types of incidents identified in the provincial Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (HIRA).
  • During specific incidents, the MAG may assume the function of Incident Command depending on the nature and requirements of the incident, or provincial directives. At this point, the ministry’s EOC would either become the ICP, or a separate ICP would be established at the ministry level.
  1. Provincial
  • At the provincial level during an emergency/incident, under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, the Commissioner of Emergency Management, the Chief Medical Officer of Health, a Minister, the Premier, or the Lieutenant Governor in Council may exercise some command functions.
  • There may be rare cases during a declared emergency, when the Ontario Government may determine that it is more effective for Incident Command to be established at the provincial level. For example, in a nuclear emergency, an Incident Command could, if necessary, be established at the provincial level. Provisions include the following:
  • The Provincial Nuclear Emergency Response Plan (PNERP) is written at the provincial level
  • Whereas radiation and other data may be collected at various levels, the results of analyses are collated at the provincial level
  • Evacuation and/or sheltering considerations potentially span multiple communities, therefore, decisions will likely be made at the provincial level
  • For these reasons, both federal and community governments recognize the province’s authority for managing nuclear emergencies
  • Under Ontario’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, a provincial emergency may legally only be declared by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, or the Premier.
  1. Federal

By legislation, the federal government has the lead responsibility for certain incidents/emergencies such as war or international conflict. It will most likely assume the function of Incident Command in such incidents.

EOCS and Incident Command

  1. Incident Command reports to the authority that appointed it. This authority may need to coordinate support for Incident Command. The ability to coordinate incident support is dependent on having a facility with the capabilities to monitor the incident responses, and to communicate with Incident Command. This support will typically be coordinated through an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC)19. There will still only be one Incident Command per incident.

Fig. 3.3: Example of an IC being supported by an EOC

Example of an IC being supported by an EOCThe scale of an emergency, may dictate the need to establish multiple Incident Commands. All Incident Commands may receive coordinated support from one EOC.

Fig. 3.4: Example of multiple ICs being supported by an EOC

Fig. 3.4: Example of multiple ICs being supported by an EOC

  1. The scale and nature of an emergency may dictate that incident response needs to be commanded at the municipal level, or above. In that case, Incident Command would be assumed at the municipal level or at a higher jurisdictional level. The EOC from which the appropriate Emergency Control Group operates might then become the ICP, and command be exercised from what would otherwise have been the EOC. If feasible, a separate municipal level or higher ICP may be established in order to separate the command function from the support function that would still be required.

Fig. 3.5: Example of Incident Command being exercised at an EOC

Example of Incident Command being exercised at an EOC

Area Command

  1. Area Command is an expansion of the Incident Command function, primarily designed to manage multiple incidents/IMTs. It can be established whenever incidents are so close that some oversight direction is required among IMTs to avoid conflicts.
  2. 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 allocated to the incidents assigned to the Area.
  3. Some examples of incidents in which an Area Command might be needed are:
  • The simultaneous occurrence of a fire, hazardous material release, and civil disorder events
  • An influenza pandemic emergency involving multiple jurisdictions or facilities
  • Chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear (CBRN) incidents
  • Multiple terrorist related incidents
  1. An Area Command is usually small 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 & administration).

Fig. 3.2: Example of an Area Command organizational structure

Illustration of Area Command organizational structure

Transferring Incident Command

  1. Although there is only one Incident Command per incident, that function may transfer from one person/team to another, or from one level to another. The transfer of Incident Command should be documented. This transfer of command may be triggered by:
  • An expansion or evolution of the incident beyond the authority of the in-place person/team/level
  • A contraction of the incident to within the capability of another person/team/level
  • On direction
  1. The formal transfer of Incident Command always requires that there be a full briefing for the incoming Incident Command and notification to all personnel that a change in command is taking place. Such a transfer of command should take place face to face. The briefing should include a thorough update that includes: the present incident status; latest IAP; objectives and progress towards achieving objectives; resource commitments; forecasts; and recommendations.

Terminating Command

  1. Command must remain in place until the incident is completely demobilized. Incident Command should always be appropriately terminated by providing necessary briefings and de-briefings, completing the necessary reports, and demobilizing all resources that are no longer required. Terminating Command applies to the entire incident.

Chapter 4

Incident Action Plan

General

  1. Every incident must have an Incident Action Plan (IAP), which provides all incident supervisory personnel with direction for the actions that are to be implemented. An IAP may be spoken or written.
  2. The main thrust of this chapter is on the IAP as developed and executed at the Incident Command level, which, as outlined in Chapter 3, is not restricted to any organization or jurisdiction. However, it should be noted that the principles involved are universal and not Incident Command-specific. All levels involved in the resolution of an incident should develop their own ‘Action Plan’ to outline how they will execute their own responsibilities. They should use this guidance on IAPs appropriately to their own circumstance.
  3. The development of the IAP must be consistent with the overall strategic directions issued by other authorized levels. Authorized levels refer to those with jurisdictional authority in a given incident. The appropriate jurisdictional authority may give strategic directions to Incident Command (e.g. terms of reference), but would not interfere with the actual conduct of Incident Command’s operations.
  4. An Operational Period is the time scheduled for executing a given set of operational actions, as specified in the IAP. Operational periods can vary in length, although they are not usually over 24 hours. Each IAP covers one Operational Period.
  5. The essential elements in the IAP are:
  • Statement of objectives, expressing in a measurable manner what is expected to be achieved
  • Clear strategic direction
  • The tactics to be employed to achieve each overarching incident objective
  • A list of resources that are assigned
  • The organizational structure/chart
  • Safety guidelines or requirements
  1. While an IAP is applicable to all incidents, each incident will dictate the level of detail to which an IAP is prepared. Oral/spoken IAPs are usually sufficient in simple incidents. A written IAP should be used in complex incidents, and/or when the organization is growing, and new participants must have a clear understanding of the tactical actions associated with the next operational period.
  1. Simple incidents occur frequently and are handled routinely. They tend to require few resources, have a limited command structure, are relatively short in duration, use no special arrangements, do not over-task the resources of the responding jurisdiction, and require tactics within the training and knowledge scope of those regularly involved with response. Defining such incidents largely depends on the resources available in any area.
  2. Complex incidents are those that have some or all of the following characteristics:
  • Prolonged duration that will require major changes in personnel or involve successive operational periods
  • Large in scale, requiring a large number of resources
  • Involve multiple jurisdictions
  • Require special knowledge and/or training to resolve
  • Pose a significant risk to the responders or the jurisdiction as a whole
  • Have the potential to cause widespread damage or loss of life/injury
  • Require a more complex organizational structure
  • Necessitate formal planning
  1. Complex incidents typically arise in one of two ways – they either start complex (e.g. a tornado passes through a community), or they become complex (e.g. a house fire spreads to an adjoining chemical plant, or a flu evolves into a pandemic). The origin of the complex incident will usually have an impact on the approach taken to incident action planning. Where there is uncertainty about an incident’s potential to expand, prudence should be exercised. Resources may not always be obtained or developed on short notice, but can generally be easily demobilized if not needed. This is especially true in smaller municipalities and organizations that may not be able to adapt to a changing situation as quickly as a more highly resourced jurisdiction with shorter response times.
  1. Standard Forms are used in IMS to make incident action planning and management easier. Each form serves a specific purpose and has a number. Although these forms were originally developed for wildfire operations, many jurisdictions across North America have adopted them with minor amendments to fit an all-hazards environment. Commonly, the numbers and titles of the forms remain the same. Ontario has taken this approach. Annex C: IMS Tools provides forms that may be used to aid in the development of an IAP under the Ontario IMS. This document will refer to these forms by their number and title, e.g. IMS 201: Incident Briefing; or IMS 215-G: Operational Planning Worksheet (Generic).

Establishing an Initial Incident Action Plan

  1. With the exception of some incidents that are complex at their origin, incident management usually begins with a basic oral initial IAP being put quickly into place. At minimum, the initial IAP should outline the objectives that must be achieved to resolve the incident, the strategies that will be used to achieve the objectives, and the tactics required to implement the strategies in the safest manner possible. Developing the incident objectives can be done by someone other than Command. However, once developed, the objectives must be approved by Command.
  2. Depending on the size and type of incident, as well as Command preference, the initial IAP may be supported by forms such as IMS 201: Incident Briefing (or a service-specific variant) to ensure accountability of resources and to allow for tactical planning. The initial IAP for simple incidents will usually remain oral. However, in some cases it may be preferable to prepare and distribute a written initial IAP from the outset.

Incident Action Planning for Simple Incidents

  1. The initial IAP is typically developed in five broad steps after Command is established. These are:
  1. Assess the Situation.
  2. called “size-up”, the goal of this step is to determine what is actually wrong. It can be carried out as the situation unfolds. In some cases, it may begin prior to an incident with the gathering of pre-incident information and emergency response or event planning. It continues at the time of dispatch or notification, when emergency information is passed to incident responders. Finally, it is carried out upon arrival at the incident or incident facility. Sources of information vary greatly depending on the incident, but may include personal observation, weather reports, maps, and media coverage.
  3. Establish Incident Objectives and Strategy
  • IMS uses a “management by objectives” approach. Once the problem or problems associated with the incident are identified, the next step is to establish incident objectives and choose appropriate strategies to meet the objectives. Incident objectives are measurable and attainable statements of what must be achieved to correct the problem or problems identified during the assessment. Incident objectives should be consistent with the overall strategic directions received from appropriate jurisdictional authorities.
  • Incident objectives should be clear in their outcome, but broad enough that they do not predetermine strategy, for example, “Prevent avian influenza from spreading to any animals beyond the borders of the farm currently impacted”. This objective clearly states the desired outcome, but does not state how it will be achieved. Although every incident is unique, typical objectives often include: 1) protecting responders, 2) saving civilian lives, 3) stabilizing the incident, 4) protecting property and the environment, and 5) minimizing financial impact.
  • Strategy is the general plan to meet the objectives. For the example above, strategies might include isolation of animals, culling of animals, and decontamination. Some of these may be more appropriate than others, depending on given circumstances, or they may all be conducted together to achieve the objectives.
  1. Develop the Plan
  • Tactics - Once objectives and strategies have been established, immediate priorities should be acted upon. Tactics explain how the strategy will be carried out. This involves detailing how resources will be deployed to achieve the objectives based on the incident strategy. For simple incidents, tactics are typically developed for the entire incident. In any event, tactical aims should be achievable within a single operational period.
  • Organization structure - A second aspect of the initial IAP is to develop an incident organization structure. While Command is always activated, other positions are activated at the discretion of Command, based on span of control and what makes the most sense for the given situation. As an incident expands beyond a few resources, it is useful for Command to track the incident organization. This process may be supported using form IMS 201: Incident Briefing, form IMS 203: Organization Assignment List, and/or form IMS 207: Incident Organization Chart. A strong incident management organization helps to ensure the formulation of strategic direction, proper resource support and safe execution of tactical assignments.
  • Supporting plans - Even simple incidents may require supporting plans. In simple incidents, these may also be verbal. Two common supporting plans are the incident medical plan and the incident telecommunications plan. The first ensures adequate medical arrangements for responders while the second states the methods to be used for communications (e.g. specific radio channels and phone numbers). Templates for these plans are forms IMS 205: Incident Telecommunications Plan and IMS 206: Incident Medical Plan.
  1. Implement the Plan
  • Once the IAP has been developed, the final stage before action occurs is to issue orders or directives. For simple incidents, orders are typically given face-to-face or via radio or phone directly to those who are assigned to action them.
  • Sometimes orders or directives will need to be given before the entire plan is developed, for example, to save lives or to contain a rapidly deteriorating situation. Whenever actions are taken before a complete plan is developed, it is important that these actions not be outside the scope of the incident objectives and chosen strategy.
  1. Evaluate
  • Ongoing evaluation ensures maximum effectiveness of an IAP. Command must constantly assess and reevaluate objectives, strategy, and tactics by applying “lessons learned” and by considering resource availability. Even in simple incidents, the initial strategies and tactics may not be sufficient to resolve the entire incident.

Incident Action Planning for Complex Incidents

  1. The process for managing a complex incident involves the same core elements outlined above for managing a simple incident. However, additional and formal layers of process and structure are typically required to manage increasingly complex incidents, for example, where the scale of the incident increases or the duration is prolonged, or where additional and unique/specialized resources are needed, or where multi-organizations are involved in the planning process.
  2. With the exception of planned events, most complex incidents will go through two or more phases of command structure development. In the early stages of such incidents, local response resources will typically act to address the incident situation – developing an initial IAP as outlined above. This initial response is then enhanced with additional resources and an expanded organization. This usually involves the staffing of additional IMS functions, transferring of Command, and development of a written IAP.
  3. These enhancements should be arranged or set in motion as soon as an incident is recognized as being potentially or actually complex. Otherwise, an incident can quickly exceed the ability of responders to manage it effectively. Such lack of organization could lead to loss of life, increased financial loss, increased damage to property or the environment, and a loss of confidence in the abilities of the incident management organization.

Developing a written IAP

  1. The exact sequence of activities and processes to develop a written IAP may vary according to the incident and preferences of Command. During an incident spanning multiple Operational Periods, or if the planning process becomes routine, the sequence may be temporarily shortened to avoid unnecessary steps or meetings. Typically, the sequence occurs as depicted in figure 4.1 below.

Figure 4.1: Operational Period Planning

Figure 4.1: Operational Period Planning

  1. Incident Briefing
  • Upon arrival at a complex incident, the incoming Command element should report to the current Command element to be briefed on the existing IAP and the details of the incident. A completed form IMS 201: Incident Briefing can facilitate this process. Subject to availability, Command may choose to have other members of the incoming team attend this briefing. Once initial information is obtained, the incoming Command element may contact the superior or jurisdictional authority to which it reports, to confer on broad strategic direction. See Supplement 1 for a matrix of IMS Forms.
  • After the initial briefing, members of the incoming team can begin to gather information in more detail on any actions taken within their functional areas prior to their arrival (e.g. Safety, Planning, etc.). They will need to gather sufficient information to contribute to the development of incident objectives and strategy. Information gathering may take some time and can come from a variety of sources (e.g. field observers, the media, technical specialists, aircraft, witnesses, etc.).
  • Where a pre-incident response plan or a hazard-specific annex in an emergency response plan already exists, the establishment of objectives and strategy may be considerably easier. Such plans can also assist in determining what resources will be required and where they may be obtained.
  • Where no plan exists, standard operating procedures, and/or the jurisdiction’s policies will provide general guidance and should be consulted by the Planning Section Chief (PSC) during the development of the IAP.
  • While information gathering occurs, actions under the initial IAP and those vital to the operation will continue, as safety permits.
  1. Initial Command Meeting
  • The Initial Command meeting is essential to provide key officials with an opportunity to discuss and concur on important issues prior to Command’s Objectives and Strategies Meeting. This may be a brief meeting, and should document all important decisions and directions. It will be important to obtain any new, or to recognize any existing overall strategic directions issued by the appropriate jurisdictional authority.
  • Some of the issues to be discussed and agreed upon might include:

• Roles and responsibilities

• Jurisdictional boundaries

• The name of the incident

• The overall incident management organization

• The location of facilities, especially the Incident Command Post, and support

• The Operational Period length and start time

• Senior appointments

  1. Pre-Planning Meetings
  2. preparation for the main Planning Meeting, a series of Pre-Planning meetings are conducted as necessary, to arrive at early decisions that facilitate more detailed planning. Pre-Planning Meetings may include: ‘Objectives and Strategies’, ‘Command and General Staff’, and ‘Tactics’ meetings.
  • Objectives and Strategies Meeting
  • uses this meeting to identify incident priorities, identify any limitations and constraints, and establish incident objectives and the strategies to achieve them. The Planning Chief facilitates and documents the meeting, and may be required to propose draft objectives to Command. Products and decisions from this meeting, as well as directions from the Initial Command Meeting, if applicable, will usually be presented at the Command and General Staff Meeting. The Operations Chief may be required for this meeting.
  • Command and General Staff Meeting
  • meeting is held as soon as possible after arrival, but must be based on sufficient information. It would also require the input of all established Sections to provide an update of the current situation, and to facilitate the meeting. The goals of the meeting are to:

• Present the decisions and management directions of Command to the Staff

• Clarify the timeline of the operational period, objectives, strategies, priorities, procedures, and tasks that Command has approved

  • Tactics Meeting
  1. A key pre-planning meeting that must take place is a Tactics Meeting. The results of the Tactics Meeting are needed to prepare the IAP. With objectives and strategy set, the Operations Chief, Planning Chief, Logistics Chief, Safety Officer, and possibly Division or Group Supervisors can establish the tactics to meet the incident objectives/strategies. If not already established, this meeting can also be used to establish division boundaries, the location of incident facilities, the location of identified hazards, and key safety messages for tactical operations. For very large incidents, tactics planning meetings may take place for each branch, division, and/or group.
  2. To assist with the tactical planning process, form IMS 215-G: Operational Planning Worksheet (Generic), and form IMS 220: Air Operations Summary if relevant, can be used to plan division or group assignments and resource needs.
  3. During the Tactics Meeting, or separate from it, various other preparations can be made for the formal planning meeting. Some possible actions are as follows:

Command may advise command and general staff on planning meeting preparations, act as incident spokesperson as required, encourage communication among stakeholders, manage issues as they arise, and liaise with other levels of response and government. Command will also confirm the incident objectives and strategies previously recorded on Form IMS 202: Incident objectives.

• The Operations Section prepares the draft Form 215: Operational Planning Worksheet as the draft tactical plan. Although it will not form a part of the written IAP, this form is used to support the planning process. It provides the means to identify Division or Group assignments, develop specific tactics, and identify available and needed resources.

• The Planning Section may develop maps and other visual aids as necessary for the Planning Meeting, commence contingency planning as required, and continue information gathering. They may also prepare:

• Form IMS 202: Incident objectives;

• Form IMS 203: Organization Assignment List;

• Form IMS 204: Division/Group assignment list;

• Form IMS 207: Incident Organizational Chart; and

• Form IMS 220: Air Operations Summary.

• The Logistics Section decides where to locate incident facilities, estimates support and service needs for incident personnel (based on tactical planning projections), assesses communications and medical needs, and prepares draft IMS 205: Incident Telecommunication Plan, and IMS 206: Medical Plan.

• The Finance and Administration Section assesses what agreements are in place already, establishes procurement and tracking systems, assesses potential for liability arising from the incident, and assesses potential human resources issues and needs.

• The Information Officer identifies key issues, and establishes information management systems as needed.

• The Safety Officer identifies responder hazards related to the incident by conducting a safety analysis using form IMS 215A: Incident Safety Analysis. Although it will not form a part of the written IAP, this form is used to support the planning process by providing the means to identify and address safety considerations. The Safety Officer will develop the safety message to be included on form IMS 202: Incident Objectives.

• The Liaison Officer identifies and briefs assisting and supporting organizations and their representatives, and processes and determines their capabilities for use by the OSC and PSC in tactical and contingency planning.

  1. Planning Meeting(See Supplement 1 for a sample agenda)

• Once pre-planning activities are complete, the Planning Meeting can be held. All members of the incident management team must come to the Planning Meeting prepared to discuss the IAP development, so that at the end of the meeting the PSC can proceed directly to writing the IAP. The Planning Meeting has three primary goals, namely to:

• Share information gathered

• Present strategies and tactics with alternatives

• Develop the written IAP

• The structure of the Planning Meeting is determined by the PSC, but should include time to share information, confirm objectives, discuss strategic and tactical options, confirm division and facility locations, outline incident hazards and establish safety plans, confirm resource needs, and confirm details of supporting plans, e.g. communications, medical, and traffic plans.

• The IMS 215: Operational Planning Worksheet, having been prepared by the Operations Section prior to this meeting, is used to facilitate discussions on the above. With the concurrence of the Planning Section, the IMS 215: Operational Planning Worksheet is approved by Command as the draft IAP, which will then be used to help prepare the written IAP.

  1. Preparing and Approving the Written Incident Action Plan20

• Based on information gathered and confirmed in the Planning Meeting, the PSC leads the completion of the written IAP. The completed IAP will typically include the following forms:

• IMS 202: Incident Objectives;

• IMS 203: Organization Assignment List;

• IMS 204: Division/Group Assignment List;

• IMS 205: Incident Telecommunications Plan;

• IMS 206: Incident Medical Plan; and

• IMS 207: Incident Organization Chart.

• The IAP can be supported by a variety of other documents, depending on incident needs. Some examples include:

• An Air Operations Summary (IMS 220)

• An incident map

• A traffic plan

• A Decontamination Plan (Form IMS 208)

• A waste/debris management or disposal plan

• An evacuation plan

• A security plan

• An evidence recovery plan

• A treatment plan

• An emergency information plan

• A list of available forms may be found in Annex C.

• While the written IAP is being prepared, various other activities can occur. These include resource ordering and check-in, establishment of incident facilities, further information gathering, dissemination of emergency information, and preparation of materials for the operational briefing. Undertaking concurrent activities is key to timely action and economy of effort.

• Once the Written IAP is completed, it is submitted to Command for review, approval, and signing.

  1. Operational Briefing(See Supplement 2 for a sample agenda)
  • At the Operational Briefing, the written IAP is distributed and assignments formally given. All activated operational resource leaders such as the heads of Branches, Divisions, Groups, Sectors, Units, Task Forces, and Strike Teams, attend the Operational Briefing.
  • In large scale or geographically widespread incidents the operational briefings may need to be decentralised or duplicated as necessary, to achieve timely dissemination and eliminate unnecessary travel to a central briefing.
  • Once the IAP is distributed and broad questions answered, resources are deployed to the field until the end of the Operational Period.
  • The operational briefing and/or a copy of the IAP should be provided to others as necessary. For example, if supporting EOCs have been activated (community, ministry, provincial, etc.), then they should be provided with a briefing. This will help to achieve consistency with overall strategic directions.
  1. Evaluation
  • As soon as resources are deployed, evaluation must begin in order to monitor progress. This is a responsibility shared by all within the response structure.
  • Tactical monitoring is the responsibility of the Operations Section Chief (OSC). Where objectives are met ahead of schedule, the OSC can redeploy resources within the Operations Section until all assignments are complete.
  • The OSC monitors which strategies are working and which are not, and reports back on these for adjustment in future operational periods. Once operations have begun, it is recommended that Command and Staff hold at least one meeting together to share information and “lessons learned”.

Continuing the Planning Cycle (Business Cycle)

1. The incident action planning cycle (Planning Cycle) is related to the Operational Period in that each Planning Cycle results in an IAP for the next operational period. Once an IAP for the current operational period is in place, planning immediately begins for the next period under the supervision of the person who will be the PSC for the next period. Therefore, each successive PSC will typically always be working one cycle ahead. It is critical that planning be done far enough in advance to ensure that requested resources are available when the Operational Period begins.

2. While the formal Planning Cycle is as described above, it rapidly becomes routine as successive operational periods are required and lessons learned are incorporated.

Demobilization

  1. Demobilization planning should take place at the same time as the IAP is developed. Throughout the course of an incident various resources may cycle in and out of the incident. Proper demobilization procedures and a Demobilization Plan will contribute to the safe and secure return of incident resources. The demobilization of resources is recorded using form IMS 221: Demobilization Checkout.
  2. The Demobilization Plan should provide opportunities for debriefing prior to resources being released. The debriefing process includes various activities, e.g.:

• The submitting of final reports by each individual

• Recording, and reporting lessons learned

• Creating records for future reference

• Downloading electronic and manual data and preparing it for storage, safe keeping, and further use

• Once data is secured, it should be cleaned from data capture/storage equipment that is to be demobilized

• Capturing inputs that are relevant to the overall incident After-Action Report

Conclusion

1. Although the processes outlined above may appear to be lengthy, they can be achieved in relatively short order. For example, at a simple incident, the five steps outlined above may occur in a few minutes as Command mentally assesses the situation, formulates objectives and strategy, and then communicates oral orders to resources. This will likely be the case in most incidents.

2. This process is meant to streamline operations and not to unduly complicate them. In larger more experienced services many of the separate formal parts may be circumvented by standard operating procedures, which reduce complex actions to drills. Where specific forms are referenced, they are designed to assist as appropriate, and not unnecessarily hinder the resolution of the task at hand.

3. When an incident is complex and requires a written IAP, the process need not be lengthy either. A practiced team that is trained in IMS can rapidly develop, write, and implement the IAP.

4. Regardless of the type of incident, the development of an IAP, whether oral or written, is vital. The IAP directs all incident actions and contributes to an organized, efficient, cost-effective, and safe operation.

Supplement 1: Agenda (sample) - Planning Meeting

Planning Meeting

Srl

Activity

Primary responsibility

1

Briefing on the situation and resource status

PSC

2

Set/review incident objectives and main strategies

IC / UC. Input from OSC, PSC, and LSC on strategies.

3

Establish control lines, and Branch/Division boundaries, and identify Group assignments

OSC

4

Specify tactics for each Division or Group

OSC

5

Specify safety mitigation measures for identified hazards in Division or Group

SO

6

Specify resources needed by Divisions and Groups

OSC, PSC

7

Specify incident facilities and reporting locations (plot on map)

OSC, PSC, LSC

8

Develop resources and personnel order

LSC

9

Consider Telecommunications, Medical, Traffic plans, etc. requirements

PSC, LSC

10

Finalize and approve the IAP

PSC, IC / UC

Planning Meeting

Legend:

  • IC / UC - Incident / Unified Command
  • OSC - Operations Section Chief
  • PSC - Planning Section Chief
  • LSC - Logistics Section Chief
  • FSC - Finance & Administration Section Chief
  • SO - Safety Officer
  • IAP - Incident Action Plan

Supplement 2: Agenda – Operational Briefing

Operational Briefing

Srl

Activity

Primary responsibility

1

Brief on the situation and resource status

PSC

2

Review incident objectives and main strategies

IC / UC

3

Brief on control lines, Branch/Division boundaries, and Group assignments

OSC

4

Specify tactics for each Division or Group

OSC

5

Brief on safety mitigation measures for identified hazards in Division or Group

SO

6

Brief on incident facilities and reporting locations (on map)

OSC, PSC, LSC

7

Brief on resources and personnel due to arrive during the Operational Period

LSC

8

Brief on Telecommunications, Medical, Traffic plans, etc.

PSC, LSC

9

Implement the IAP

IC / UC, OSC

Operational Briefing

Legend:

  • IC / UC - Incident / Unified Command
  • OSC - Operations Section Chief
  • PSC - Planning Section Chief
  • LSC - Logistics Section Chief
  • FSC - Finance & Administration Section Chief
  • SO - Safety Officer
  • IAP - Incident Action Plan

Chapter 5

Internal Information Management

General

  1. An effective information management process facilitates the making of effective, consistent, and timely incident management decisions. Without an effective process for managing information, most, if not all of the other critical components that ensure the operability and effectiveness of the IMS will be ineffectual.

Purpose

  1. The main purposes of internal information management are to have a common operating picture, and to ensure information accessibility21.
  1. A common operating picture requires the continuous coordination of the process for collecting, collating, evaluating, and disseminating information, resulting in:
  • A common and shared understanding of the status of the incident – past, current, and likely evolution
  • A common and shared understanding of the status of resources – current, and future
  • A common and shared understanding of the plan of action concerning the existing incident – past achievements, current, and future goals and objectives
  1. Information accessibility requires interoperability, and standardization, as well as wide knowledge of the access process among responders. Ensuring information accessibility requires a system wherein information can both be fed to, and/or pulled by responders/users.

Principles

  1. Telecommunications Interoperability
  1. Interoperability, particularly with respect to telecommunications, is key to effective information management.
  2. Some telecommunications (voice and data) interoperability will be achieved when the telecommunication system of each of the IMS functions (i.e., command, operations, planning, logistics, and finance & administration) is integrated with the others.
  3. More extensive telecommunications interoperability will be required when incident response is being coordinated with a supporting EOC, and possibly among multiple jurisdictions. A more comprehensive integration of telecommunications systems is required in complex incidents.
  4. The integration of telecommunications among IMS functions, response levels and jurisdictions is developed via a Telecommunications Plan. Integration should be designed so as not to create undue interference or confusion across the telecommunications network.
  5. A Telecommunications Plan should have the following basic elements:
  • Each IMS section should be able to telecommunicate within its own structure (including, if activated, branch, group, division, sector, unit, task force, strike team and/or single resource). On small incidents, or when the incident makes it critical for all to communicate with each other simultaneously, all sections may share one channel. On large, complex incidents, to avoid clutter and confusion, each section may need one or more channels for its own activities.
  • In addition, each IMS section should also able to communicate with Command. When necessary (e.g. in large, complex incidents, or to avoid clutter and confusion) this may have to be on a separate channel from the one being used within the section.
  • Where more than one level is involved in an incident, there should be separate telecommunications channels between levels, e.g. between the ICP and EOC.
  1. Without an integrated Telecommunications Plan, IMS management functions must find alternate arrangements to telecommunicate. Failing a suitable telecommunications plan, the exchange or passing of information and instructions may have to be done “face-to-face”.
  1. Standardized Terminology

IMS has been developed with a preference for responders to use plain text/common language. This avoids confusion and aids the accuracy of information passed, especially across jurisdictions. Where pre-scripted or codified text is unavoidable, use of such terminology should be standardized as much as possible. For example, some resources may have been codified by type (Type 1, Type 2, etc.), or responders may have been classified by levels of specialization, or expertise, within their disciplines (health, HazMat, fire, police, emergency management, etc.).

  1. Standardized Notification and Reporting

IMS uses standardized forms to capture and communicate information internally. See Annex C for details.

  1. Standardized Analysis

Some incidents/emergencies require the collection of data in the field that must be transmitted, and analysed, with the results then disseminated in a manner that aids the response efforts. Examples of such incidents include nuclear, radiological, and biological emergencies and other threats to animal, and human health, and the environment.

  1. Integrated Geospatial Information
  • Incident characteristics such as location, type and impacts, as well as damage assessments, situation reports, and other incident information will often need to be integrated with geospatial data to produce a more complete picture of an incident. Both the situational data and the geospatial data should conform to common data standards across jurisdictions that are involved in the incident.
  • This enables data from varying sources to be integrated, e.g. into a standardized Geographic Information System (GIS) map. While organizations may use proprietary format within their own jurisdictions, they are encouraged to make it available in interoperable formats.
  • Currently, the protocol calls for GIS data to be available in an OGC-compliant format22. This allows a guarantee of some level of interoperability.
  1. Credibility
  • Information used in incident management should be credible. Identification and authentication of both the source and the information promote credibility. Individuals and organizations that have access, and contribute emergency information should be willing and able to be identified and authenticated.
  • Verifying the credibility of the information and its source should not be burdensome, but the process should nevertheless be robust enough to maintain confidence.

Concept

  1. Internal information management is a process for the collection, collation, evaluation, and dissemination of information within the incident organization.
  2. The process should be continuous, and may evolve around a cycle. Internal information management should be supported by procedures that channel information appropriately, according to the needs of the IMS organization.

Process

  1. While the information management process is continuous, there are two recognizable channels to the process. On one hand, the internal management of information drives the planning cycle, so that there is always planning for the next operational period. The planning steps that result in the IAP for the next operational period are covered in a previous chapter.
  2. On the other hand, it is critically important to maintain the process for the current operational period as well. Information management during the current operational period is a part of the evaluation process to determine the appropriateness, and effectiveness of the IAP. Confirmation, or changes to the IAP while it is being executed are heavily dependent on this part of the process.
  3. Four important component processes of the information management process are:
  • Collection – to gather information from all available sources
  • Collation – to appropriately sort and structure the information
  • Evaluation – to evaluate the usefulness of the available information
  • Dissemination – to get the information to the user in a timely manner
  1. The relationship between these component processes is usually sequential. There may be occasions when information gets disseminated before being evaluated. Any exigency that warrants this approach presents additional risks to those already inherent in an emergency. This approach should be the exception.
  2. These four component processes may be reflected as shown below:

Figure 5.1: The Four components of information management

Figure 5.1: The Four components of information management

  1. The above may be viewed as a representation of how each single piece of information is processed. However, the general flow of information is much less linear when viewed in relation to the actions of those who possess, need, or handle the information.
  2. For example, there is likely to be a constant request for information from across the information management spectrum. Additionally, partially processed, or un-processed information may also get passed to those who disseminate information, intentionally (e.g. with the knowledge of the receiver), or unintentionally. Every effort should be made to maintain a streamlined information management process, and avoid the passing of inaccurate, conflicting, and/or misleading information.
  3. The collection, collation, evaluation, and dissemination of information about the development of an incident and the status of resources, are primarily the responsibilities of the Planning Section. It will generally act as a ‘clearing house’ for information. If an Intelligence Unit becomes established as part of the IMS structure, then it would assume some of these responsibilities from the planning section (e.g. for criminal, and security information management).
  4. Everyone within the IMS structure is involved in the information management process. It is important to understand and support the information management system that is put in place for each incident.

Collection of Information

  1. Information may be collected as a result of sources freely providing information to the internal process, as well as based on pre-established procedures, or requests for information. Sources of information include the following:
  1. The general public, including those affected as well as those who are not;
  2. Surveillance mechanisms and arrangements by responders:
  • Pre-established human or electronic arrangements with prescribed reporting-locations, times, formats, and types of information
  • Impromptu – as observed by deployed responders
  1. Databases – information on lessons learned, nature and characteristics of previous incidents, recommended responses; safety warnings, etc.
  2. Assisting and/or supporting organizations.
  1. Information may be obtained by many points of contact throughout the entire IMS structure. A specific channel (such as call-in number) may also be established for the public to provide information.
  2. Information collected through surveillance, including observers, should have standardized parameters that allow the information to be uniformly analysed even if collected from various sources. Such collection arrangements should be pre-established and exercised.
  3. The collection of information stored in databases should be assessed for currency, relevancy, and accuracy with respect to the ensuing incident. The collection of such information however, could save much time and effort.
  4. Assisting/supporting organizations may provide a vast reservoir of information. Unlike the responders, they may have the luxury of time (i.e. they are not pre-occupied with managing the incident) to access and provide much useful information.

Collation of Information

  1. The collected information should be organized and kept in a manner that facilitates access, retrieval, comparison, and analysis. The medium may be electronic and/or paper according to the needs of the response efforts. Collation of information should be done keeping in mind both the immediate and long-term information needs.

Evaluation of Information

  1. Information should be evaluated in a timely manner. This should include:
  • Verifying the source
  • Verifying the credibility of the information
  • Comparing the information with known expectations and trends
  • Making deductions as to the usefulness of the information
  1. There are occasions when information gets used without the benefit of evaluation. However, it is recommended that information be evaluated before being utilized in the response effort.

Dissemination of Information

  1. The dissemination of information should be done in a timely, structured, and appropriate manner.
  2. Information should be disseminated in a manner that is useful to the receiver of that information.

Responsibilities

  1. The Planning Section is primarily responsible for the collection, collation, evaluation, and dissemination of information about the incident. Information is used to understand the current situation and to predict probable course of incident events.
  2. Incident information includes resource status, the environment, as well as incident activities.
  3. Some of the information management activities include:
  • Establishing information requirements and reporting schedules
  • Collecting and processing situation information about the incidents
  • Establishing special information collection activities as necessary, e.g. weather, environment, toxics, etc.
  • Assembling information on alternate strategies
  • Providing periodic predictions on incident potential
  • Compiling and displaying incident status information, especially on significant changes
  • Preparing, posting, or disseminating resource status information
  • Establishing information requirements and reporting schedules for Planning Section Units, which could also include an Intelligence Unit
  • Overseeing the preparation and implementation of the incident Demobilization Plan
  1. Resources Unit & Check-in/Status Recorder: The Resources Unit, with assistance of Check-in/Status Recorders, maintains the status of all assigned resources at an incident. Overseeing the check-in of all resources, maintaining a status-keeping system indicating current location and status of all resources, and maintaining a Master List of all resources achieve this. To assist this process, communications must be established with the Incident Communications Centre, and the Ground Support Unit. The Resources Unit takes the following actions, some of which are depicted on the chart below:
  • Ensures that all assigned personnel complete the Check-in List (IMS 211)
  • Prepares / maintains the Organization Assignment List (IMS 203), and the Organization Chart (IMS 207)
  • Prepares / maintains parts of the Group Assignment List (IMS 204)
  • Prepares and maintains the Incident Command Post display (organization chart, resource allocation and deployment)
  • Maintains and posts the current status and location of resources
  • Maintains a master roster of all resources checked in at the incident

Figure 5.2: Resources Unit Activities

Figure 5.2: Resources Unit Activities

  1. The Situation Unit: The Situation Unit collects, processes, and organizes all incident information. It may also prepare future projections of incident growth, maps, and intelligence information. Some specific activities (see chart below also) are to:
  1. Analyse incident data as soon as possible
  2. Prepare, post, or disseminate resource and situation status information as required
  3. Prepare periodic predictions or as requested
  4. Prepare the Incident Status Summary (IMS 209)
  5. Provide photographic services and maps if required

Figure 5.3: Situation Unit Activities

Situation Unit Activities

  1. The Documentation Unit: The Documentation Unit is responsible for the maintenance of accurate, and up-to-date incident files. It reviews records for accuracy, and completeness, and informs appropriate persons of errors or omissions. Incident files may be used for analytical, legal, or historical purposes.
  2. Observers and Technical Specialists: The Planning Section may include specialists and observers who contribute information directly to the Section Chief, a Unit Supervisor, or wherever appropriate within the incident organization. Some examples include those listed below.
  1. Field Observer – collects situation information from personal observations at the incident and provides this information to the Situation Unit Supervisor.
  2. Weather Observer – collects current incident weather information and provides the information to an assigned Meteorologist, or the Situation Unit Supervisor.
  3. Geographic Information System (GIS) Specialist – collects, displays, analyses, and disseminates spatial information. The GIS Specialist will provide Global Positioning System (GPS) support, and incorporate all relevant data to produce map products, and statistical data for reports or analysis.

Chapter 6

Resource Management

Overview and Rationale

  1. This chapter outlines IMS principles and processes used to successfully and efficiently manage resources during an incident.
  2. Effective resource management enhances safety, accountability, and cost effectiveness.
    IMS includes a strong resource management system to ensure a uniform approach to resource identification, acquisition, allocation, tracking/accountability, and demobilization.
  3. A key aspect of this system is the use of common resource names and capabilities based on standardized terminology and measures to describe resources. This helps ensure that requests for resources (whether through procurement or a request for outside assistance) can be met quickly, efficiently, and correctly – avoiding unnecessary delays and costs.
  4. As with all aspects of IMS, resource management principles and processes are scalable, and integrated within the five functions. For example, at a simple incident, the IC often assesses resource needs, places resource orders through existing dispatch and mutual aid/assistance agreements, and then tasks incoming or staged resources based on a verbal IAP. If the incident becomes more complex, the IC has the ability to delegate resource management functions to other parts of an expanding organization (e.g. Operations, Planning, Logistics). At complex incidents, resource management becomes intricately linked to the IAP development process and cycle, with new resources arriving for deployment based on Operational Periods.

Definitions

  1. Resources are personnel and major items of equipment, supplies, and facilities available or potentially available for assignment to incident operations and for which status is maintained. Resources are described by kind and type and may be used in operational or support capacities.
  2. Resource management refers to a common approach to efficiently identify, acquire, allocate, track, and demobilize resources before, during, and after an incident.
  3. Within IMS, resources may be used for operational and/or support purposes. For example:
  • Operational resources are assigned one or more tasks relative to managing the incident, while support resources are used to support the operational resources; and
  • Operational resources are recorded differently from support resources. Operational resources would be recorded on the form IMS 215: Operational Planning Worksheet while support resources would not, but would instead be recorded on the IMS 203: Organization Assignment List (if personnel), or accounted for by the logistics inventory control system in use.

Describing Resources

  1. IMS uses a standardized approach for describing resources.
  2. A resource is described in terms of its Kind, and Type.
  3. Kind: This describes the nature of the resource, using descriptors such as personnel, equipment, vehicle, aircraft (helicopter, fixed wing), supplies (e.g. food, water, and fuel), or facilities (locations from which incident activities take place).
  4. Type: This describes the capacity or performance capability of the resource, and may result in a Type 1, or 2, or 3, etc., resource of a particular ‘Kind’ as described above. Lower numbers represent a higher capability, e.g. a “Type-1 Incident Management Team (IMT)” would have a greater capacity than a “Type-2 IMT”.
  5. One way of achieving the above-described categorization is to develop a standardized catalogue that contains a list of emergency response resources that have been categorized according to IMS guidelines. Responders can then use the catalogue to ascertain what ‘Kind’ and ‘Type’ best match the resource that needs to be described. The catalogue serves as a common reference tool, and more accurately facilitates the request and provision of resources.

Preparing to Manage Resources

  1. Ontario’s emergency management program provides for a variety of resource management-related activities that can occur prior to an incident to improve preparedness. For example, municipalities and ministries are required to prepare an Emergency Response Plan. Within this plan, is generally found a directory of resources available in an emergency. Many emergency services and non-government organizations maintain similar lists of equipment at the department or organization level. Familiarity with these lists can greatly enhance information and resource sharing during an incident.
  2. In addition, Ontario legislation provides for the creation of mutual aid and mutual assistance agreements. Such agreements greatly facilitate the sharing of resources during an incident by eliminating the need for negotiations or other additional formalities prior to the exchange of resources. Such agreements between neighbouring organizations and jurisdictions are highly recommended.
  3. To aid in meeting pre-determined resource needs, especially for specialized equipment and supplies, many jurisdictions and organizations enter into agreements with vendors in advance of an incident. This can greatly facilitate procurement during a crisis.

Ordering Resources during an Incident

  1. At simple incidents, resource needs are typically assessed by Command and ordered directly through pre-established channels such as a dispatch centre, pre-arranged vendor agreements (e.g. a designated caterer, medical supplier, or fuel vendor). Where an incident draws heavily on organizational resources, some larger jurisdictions utilize department operations centres to coordinate the acquisition of additional resources for the incident.
  2. Complex incidents, often with unique resource needs and multiple operational periods, may require more comprehensive processes to assess needs, plan, order, and track resources. Where there is a requirement for special resources outside of regular channels, it may be necessary to establish one or more of: the Logistics Section to locate, transport, feed, and maintain the resources; the Planning Section to track and organize the resources; and the Finance & Administration Section to purchase, pay, and otherwise administer them.
  3. During a complex incident, the use of a written IAP and its associated planning structures help to facilitate resource management. For example, the form IMS 215: Operational Planning Worksheet (described in Chapter 4) is a simple operational resource planning worksheet that allows orders to be easily calculated and placed. As an incident evolves, the ordering of external resource will generally align to the planning cycle with new resources being ordered and arriving in advance of the next operational period.
  4. All orders are approved by Command. This authority can be delegated. For complex incidents, Command generally provides instruction on ordering authorities during the initial briefing. This may include outlining who has authority to place orders internal to the IMS organization (e.g. “Branch Directors and higher”), delegations of authority (e.g. “Purchases over $2500 must be approved by Command.), procurement processes and rules, and internal ordering processes (e.g. “all orders must be made through the Section Chief to the Supply Unit.”).
  5. Logistics (specifically the Supply Unit), when activated, places external orders. This activity is closely supported by the Finance & Administration Section which estimates costs, drafts/negotiates contracts, arranges vendor payment, and tracks resource operating time. It should be noted that Logistics does not necessarily need to locate every resource it wishes to order. Particularly during complex incidents, other levels of response may be activated. For example, the Logistics function may be active at multiple levels, including Area Command and various levels of EOCs. If this is the case, Logistics at any level may be able to place single point orders for resources – meaning that the Logistics function within the supporting entity locates the required resource.
  6. While orders are generally for specific resources, Logistics may at times also place what is known as a mission task request. This type of order names an outcome, rather than the resource(s) to achieve the outcome. For example, a request for ground transportation to evacuate thousands of people with baggage may not specify the exact vehicles to be used, but leave that decision to the supplying entity (note: Ontario has several transportation associations that could work together to meet this request.) Another example may be the provision of emergency sheltering, etc., where only the number of persons in need is given to the NGO community, who then may work together to determine the resources required to address that need.

Tracking Operational Resources at an Incident

  1. When an operational resource arrives at an incident, it must check in. Check-in at a simple incident may consist of announcing a unit’s arrival by radio, approaching the Incident Commander, or completing a sign-in sheet when arriving at a building. At a complex incident, check-in staff may be assigned and a variety of check-in locations established (e.g. at Staging areas, Resource Unit, Camps, the Base, or the entrance to an EOC or hospital).
  2. Once a resource is “checked-in” to the incident, it is attached to the incident until demobilised. While attached to an incident, a resource will be classified at all times as one of the following three conditions:
  • Assigned: a resources that has checked in and received a tasking;
  • Available: a resource that is assigned to an incident and available for a specific assignment. The resource is ready to work, but has not been assigned a task; or
  • Out-of-Service: a resource that is assigned to an incident but unable to respond for mechanical, rest, or personnel reasons. The resource cannot be tasked.
  1. At simple incidents, resources are generally tracked by Command who may use an aide or Duty Officer to record information using a form such as IMS 201: Incident Briefing (or the organization’s equivalent). The use of Staging Areas and a Staging Area Manager can greatly facilitate resource management at simple incidents involving a variety of resources arriving at the same time. If the incident grows in size or complexity, an Operations Section may be formed to assume control over all operational resources, thereby assisting with span of control. This allows Command to focus on other functions such as Safety, Information, and Planning.
  2. Complex incidents may require additional IMS structures to ensure the safe and effective management of a large number of resources. This process is primarily within the Planning function (remember, all functions are the responsibility of Command unless delegated and staffed). Where activated, the Planning Section (specifically the Resource Unit) at all times monitors the identity, location, and status/condition of all resources attached to the incident. This information is generally displayed on forms such as IMS 203: Organization Assignment List and IMS 204: Division/Group Assignment List, as well as either other paper-based or computer-based applications where available. Sources of this information include the Incident Telecommunications Centre, direct reports from sections, check-in sheets, and electronic tracking systems. Accurate tracking of this information is not only vital for safety reasons, but is also key to the IAP cycle and the efficient use of resources.
  3. *Note: The Operations Section is responsible for tracking all resources assigned to it during an operational period. The Operations Section Chief may re-task these resources within the section based on progress related to the incident objectives.

Demobilization

  1. Demobilization is the systematic and safe release of resources from an incident. In the case of operational and overhead resources, it generally involves the restoration of the resource to its original state and location. Related to supplies, it may include restocking and inventory control. Facilities must also be considered in demobilization, such as cleaning and repairing them as necessary prior to return to their original function. For example, an Emergency Information Centre may have been established in a school or community centre, which must be returned to its original use.
  2. Demobilization of resources should be considered from the earliest stages of an incident, since keeping resources attached to an incident where they are not needed is not only expensive, but also renders them unavailable to other incidents. This is particularly important during operations that involve multiple jurisdictions and/or IMTs, as the same limited resources may be required at multiple locations.
  3. All incidents should have an Incident Demobilization Plan. Like the broader IAP of which it is a part, this plan is generally verbal and ensures the safe return of resources from a simple incident. For complex incidents, a Demobilization Unit may be created within the Planning Section. This unit identifies resources for demobilization, paying particular attention to safety (e.g. which resources have been assigned the longest or have performed the most exhausting tasks) and cost (e.g. which resources cost the most to retain). The Demobilization Unit also needs to ensure departing units follow a prescribed check-out process, including change of their status with the Resource Unit, securing of all attached personnel and equipment, paying of invoices, and return of equipment provided by the incident organization (e.g. radios, phones, computers, etc.). Using the form IMS 221: Demobilization Check-out may assist with this process.

Summary of IMS Resource Management Roles at Complex Incidents

  1. Command: Approves resource orders and purchases (this may be delegated) and authorizes the demobilization of resources.
  2. Operations: Works with the Planning Section to identify resource needs for each Operational Period, assigns and monitors resources within the Operations Section.
  3. Planning: Monitors incident resources and identifies shortages/special needs.
  4. Logistics: Places all resource orders and supports all resources attached to the incident.
  5. Finance and Administration: Develops/negotiates contracts, prepares cost estimates, tracks resource time, and recommends cost savings.

Chapter 7

IMS Facilities

General

  1. IMS uses standardized terms to describe the facilities from which IMS functions are carried out. The nature of various IMS facilities will bear many similarities to each other. IMS facilities take their names or designations from the IMS functions that they facilitate. IMS functions may be carried out in pre-designated, permanent structures, or in temporary structures set up solely for managing an incident. The requirements of the incident and the decisions of Command will determine the specific facilities needed, and their locations. Only those facilities needed for any given incident will be set up.
  2. IMS facilities are needed to support the following major functions:
  • Command
  • Operations
  • Planning
  • Logistics
  • Finance and Administration
  1. Each of the major functions may require separate facilities for its unique activities. For example:
  • Operations may require facilities for rehabilitation of responders.
  • Logistics may need facilities to set up a base, or a camp.
  1. Other incident-specific facilities may be required, e.g. mass casualty triage facilities, facilities for those grieving, or a Volunteer Coordination Centre. The need for other facilities is incident-specific.

Characteristics of IMS facilities (General)

  1. Facilities vary, not only based on the nature of incidents, but also the functions to be facilitated. These will dictate the characteristics that are needed, but generally, IMS facilities should have the ability to support responders’ (human and animal) needs, as well as the needs of the incident, depending on the requirements of the response. These characteristics include:
  • Mobility – The facility should be either mobile, or be able to be evacuated if necessary. It should not hinder the mobility of occupants, whose freedom of movement should be assured at all times. Alternatively, incident response may require having facilities that are transportable, whether by air, marine, road, or rail. For example, it may be advantageous for Command to temporarily operate from a helicopter.
  • Accessibility (air, land (vehicular – road, rail, pedestrian), water) – The facility must be accessible by one or more means. This will be necessary for activation, deactivation, re-supply, reinforcement, mobilization, demobilization, deployment, evacuation, or other purposes.
  • Safety & Security –The facility must itself be free from the impacts or consequences of the incident to provide responders with as safe and secure as possible an environment as possible. Responders’ safety and security must be assured at all times.
  • Responder Accommodation & Working Space – Facilities should have adequate space for the purposes they are to serve, whether they be shelter, rest areas, feeding facilities, or sanitation conveniences. Operationally, the needs may be for briefing rooms, media centres, and generally speaking, space for the various elements to carry out their IMS functions (command, operations, planning, logistics, finance & administration).
  • Logistics support– The facility must have adequate resources (staff and equipment) to make it functional.
  • Mutual Support – IMS facilities should be organized or set up in such a way as to provide mutual support, or a sense of mutuality. Occupants should not be made to feel isolated from others involved in the incident or from the outside world.
  • Communications capabilities – The ability to communicate is fundamental to managing an incident. The facility must allow responders to pass, receive and process relevant incident management information.
  • Electric power generation – Some facilities may be able to operate for a limited time without electrical power generation, but a lack of electrical power generation could place severe limitations on incident management.
  • Data capable – The facility may need to have the capability to generate, access, store, produce, display, and generally make data available and useable. There may be varying needs for electronic and non-electronic forms of data, e.g. maps, Geographic Information System (GIS), reports, charts, directives, advisories, etc.

IMS Facilities

  1. In IMS, it is important to be able to identify the basic incident facilities on the ground as well as on a map. A standard set of map symbols used in the Ontario IMS and a list of facility symbols are included at Annex C (IMS Tools). It should be noted that such lists and symbols are subject to review, and those shown do not constitute an exhaustive list. Internationally accepted symbols (e.g. for a hospital) remain unaffected.
  2. Incident Command Post
  • The Incident Command Post (ICP) is the location from which Incident Command oversees incident management. An ICP is only established when an incident occurs or is planned. There is only one ICP for each incident or event. However, this facility may change locations during the incident.
  • The ICP will be positioned outside of the present and potential hazard zone but close enough to the incident to maintain command. It typically comprises the Command element (Single or Unified) and Command Staff, and may include other designated incident management officials and responders, including the General Staff.
  • The ICP may be located in a vehicle, trailer, tent, or within a building. Communities without a mobile command post should package and store the materials necessary to facilitate an ICP, or have ready access to them for rapid deployment. ICPs will be designated by the name of the incident, for example, “Summer Storm ICP”.
  1. Incident Telecommunications Centre

Command manages telecommunications at an incident, using a common Telecommunications Plan, (Form: IMS 205, Incident Telecommunications Plan which is part of the IAP), and an Incident-based Telecommunications Centre (ITC). The ITC is established for use by the command, tactical, and support resources assigned to the incident. All entities involved in managing the incident should utilize common terminology for telecommunications. A Manager runs the ITC, and reports to the Telecommunications Unit Leader within the Logistics Service Branch.

  1. Area Command Post

An Area Command Post is the location from which Area Command manages multiple incident management teams, and has similar characteristics as an ICP.

  1. Staging Area
  • A Staging Area is a temporary location where personnel and equipment wait for tactical assignments. It may include feeding, fuelling and sanitation services. Staging Areas should be located close enough to the incident for a timely response (normally within five minutes travel time to the area of expected need), but far enough away to be out of the immediate impact zone. Only resources having a status of ‘available’ (i.e., for immediate tactical assignment) are held in a Staging Area.
  • Staging Areas can be set up to meet specific functional needs (e.g. ambulances, fire, police, public works equipment, etc.). Therefore, there may be more than one Staging Area at an incident.
  • Each Staging Area should have a Staging Area Manager who reports to the Operations Section Chief or to Command if an Operations Section has not been established.
  1. Base

A Base is the location from which primary logistics and administrative functions are coordinated and administered. There is only one Base per incident; however it should be designed to be able to support operations at multiple sites, if the incident is complex. The Base is established and managed by the Logistics Section. Resources in the Base are always uncommitted (‘out-of-service’).

  1. Camp

A Camp is a temporary, separate facility from the Base. Camps provide certain essential auxiliary forms of support, such as food, sleeping areas, and sanitation, and may also provide minor maintenance and servicing of equipment. Multiple camps may be used, and they may be relocated to meet changing operational requirements. Each Camp will have a Camp Manager assigned. However, not all incidents will necessarily need to have camps.

  1. Air Base

An Airbase is the location from which both fixed-wing, and rotary wing (helicopter) aircraft operate. Airbases are usually permanent facilities (airports or aerodromes) that already operate for normal air traffic purposes, but may be required to provide air operations and air operations support to an incident, including fuelling and maintenance services.

  1. Helibase

A Helibase is the location from which helicopter-centered air operations are conducted. Though temporary, Helibases are generally used on a more long-term basis as compared to Helispots and include such services as fuelling and maintenance. A Helibase Manager manages the Helibase, and reports to the Air Support Group Supervisor, Air Operations Branch Director, or the Operations Chief (depending on the level activated).

  1. Helispots

Helispots are more temporary helicopter landing and take-off facilities used for loading and unloading personnel and cargo. Large incidents may require several helispots. A Helispot Manager manages the Helispot, and reports to the Helibase Manager.

  1. Marine Base

This is a location from which waterborne or marine related support operations are coordinated using marine vessels. It may be a permanent, pre-existing facility offering support to an incident, or a temporary facility set up to provide marine support to an incident. A Marine Base Manager manages a Marine Base and reports to the Marine Operations Branch Director, or the Operations Chief.

  1. Emergency Operations Centre
  • An Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) is a facility from which incident management support to an Incident Command is coordinated. It must have appropriate technological and telecommunications systems to ensure effective communication in an emergency.
  • EOCs may be established at a variety of levels including for a Municipal Emergency Control Group or FN community Emergency Control Group, a Ministry Action Group (MAG)23, or for overall provincial coordination such as the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC).
  1. Emergency Information Facilities
  • A facility specifically designated, and properly equipped should be identified for emergency information use, where possible. Typically, a community will establish an Emergency Information Centre (EIC) from which to coordinate emergency information activities such as: press releases, receiving public queries, media briefings, and monitoring.
  • An emergency information facility should be set up on a joint basis whenever feasible, to accommodate the interests of involved responder organizations/organizations. Typically this would be a Joint Emergency Information Centre (Joint EIC), established as per an EIC.

Location of facilities

  1. The selection of a location for an IMS facility should first be based on the location being able to accommodate the function for which it is identified. Some facilities may be located on land space in the open or in purpose-built shelters including underground, in or on top of buildings, or in road/rail vehicles, aircraft, or marine vessels.
  2. Many IMS facilities may be co-located. Co-location may even be necessary to maximize transportation, accommodation, communications, or other facilities, or for other reasons. However, this is not always prudent as some operations may interfere with others. Determining whether co-location is appropriate should be based on what works best in any given situation.
  3. Co-location may mean the sharing of the same land space, structure, or floor within a building. Large indoor spaces such as warehouses, arenas, and gymnasia may be used to accommodate multiple facilities, but will usually be organized to create appropriate working spaces for and around each function. However, it is not usual to co-locate to the extent that there is a need to share the same individual office or room space. Co-location of facilities is inadvisable in cases where the co-located functions might interfere with each other.
  4. The following should also be considered when contemplating co-locating facilities:
  • Co-locate as much and as frequently as feasible to take advantage of resources especially when limited, and to reduce travel or movement times for resources. Consider that co-location may also make liaison easier.
  • Avoid competition for space, and basic logistics support. For example, if an ICP is established at a small police detachment building, it may not be feasible to also set up a Base there.
  • Avoid co-locating incompatible activities. For example, if an ICP is established on the grounds of a mass casualty site, then it might not be suitable to establish a Camp there also; it might not be prudent to establish an ICP and an EIC in the same trailer; or it might not be wise to co-locate out-of-service resources at a Camp with available resources at a Staging Area.
  • Avoid unnecessary interference. For example, it may be too distracting to co-locate the ICP and a Helispot.
  • Avoid adding unnecessary distance and travel times. For example, setting up the Staging Area in a Camp may result in the ‘available status’ resources being too far from the incident.
  • When co-locating similar facilities, consider merging. For example, should it become necessary to be thinking of co-locating a Base and a Camp then it may be time to terminate the operating of the Camp and maintain the Base only.
  1. A co-location matrix is shown at Annex C – IMS Tools.

Chapter 8

Emergency Information Management

General

  1. Emergency Information (EI) refers to information about an emergency, which is communicated broadly to the public, media, and other partners and stakeholders. It is disseminated primarily in anticipation of, during, and immediately after an emergency. In addition to providing situational information, it also frequently provides directive actions required to be taken by the public.
  2. During incidents, the demand for emergency information is often overwhelming. The key purpose of emergency information management is to provide timely, and consistent public dissemination of emergency information, alerts, and warnings through the most efficient and effective means.
  3. Both the emergency information to be disseminated, and the methods and tools to be used must meet the needs of the intended groups. All persons must be taken into consideration, including those with special needs, such as (but not limited to):
  • Those with disabilities
  • Those with special language needs
  • The elderly
  • Children
  • Foreign Nationals
  • Those with a special interest in the emergency (e.g. relatives and friends of those deceased or missing)
  • Those with pets
  • Those with service/working animals
  • Any other vulnerable persons
  1. In major incidents leading to mass fatalities, the dissemination of emergency information may require special arrangements to receive and brief concerned persons, and arrange for site tours where appropriate. Such arrangements may include:
  • Procedures to confirm the legitimacy of these concerned persons.
  • Procedures to verify and release information related to the deceased or missing.
  1. Emergency Information Management involves establishing a process for gathering, verifying, coordinating, and disseminating emergency information. This is a similar process to that for internal information management outlined in Chapter 5.
  1. Information sources include:
  • Field observers, who report on what they are observing and hearing from news media and the public
  • The Incident Management Team, which is a source for official information on the progress of the response effort, and others within the incident management structure
  • Public inquiry lines that provide a valuable source regarding the concerns of the public and any rumours that may be surfacing
  • Media monitoring to assess the accuracy and content of reports to help identify trends and breaking issues
  1. Information may be verified by comparing notes with neighbouring jurisdictions. Subject matter experts, whether deployed or not, may also be consulted to assist in verifying information. Comparing what is reported in the media with reports from observers in the field is yet another avenue to verify information.
  2. Coordination includes establishing key messages with appropriate timelines and prioritization. Since there may be several responder organizations, and levels of jurisdictions involved in disseminating emergency information, every effort should be made to coordinate the release of consistent emergency information to the public, and to provide a unified management of emergency information. Establishing appropriate approval and clearance authorities and processes, and then abiding by them enhances the accuracy, consistency, and completeness of emergency information.
  3. Dissemination should utilize multiple methods, backed up by media monitoring to ensure that disseminated messages were reported accurately and were understood. Dissemination includes:
  • Writing and issuing news releases and arranging media briefings, as required
  • Posting emergency information in the public domain (internet, print, and electronic media)
  • Answering media and public inquiries
  • Monitoring media and correcting inaccuracies in disseminated emergency information
  1. Emergency information must be complete, accurate, and timely.

Emergency Information Plan

  1. The existence of a pre-written Emergency Information Plan24 as part of the overall emergency response plan may greatly assist in the management of emergency information to the media and the public during an incident.
  2. Generic versions or templates of documents, such as news releases and fact sheets, can be included as a part of this plan. This may allow the community to respond more quickly to the media and public in the event of an actual incident.
  3. Prior to issuing any emergency information, proper approval should be obtained. An Emergency Information Plan should outline the steps to obtain this approval (i.e., who has the authority to approve information for release, who must be copied on all information released, etc.).

Emergency Information Tools

  1. A variety of emergency information tools can be used to disseminate information to the media and public. These tools, and the policies governing their use would normally be outlined in an emergency information plan. Some of the most common tools include:
  • Media Advisory – Brief message or announcement, such as the time and location of an upcoming news conference.
  • News Release – Key information about the incident or emergency. Usually not more than several paragraphs long. Can contain key messages and quotes related to actions being taken or information for the public.
  • Fact Sheet – Pre-written detailed information provided about the community’s emergency management program, the history of emergency events in the area, etc. Can also include key statistics related to the incident or community and may include community demographics, weather data, emergency services response statistics, etc.
  • Website – A means to update a large portion of the public in a minimal amount of time. Can provide extensive background information.
  • Public Inquiry Line – Provides members of the public with a phone number to call in order to get more information.
  • Public Information Briefing – Provides information and instructions primarily to deal with those who turn up (curious onlookers or volunteers) at or near an incident site.
  • Media scrum – Informal briefing provided to the media by a key spokesperson. They typically occur early in the incident.
  • News Conference – Formal and moderated meeting between key officials/spokespersons and the media.
  • Special Information Session – Addresses the information needs related to those with special needs, or affected by the incident, such as relatives and friends of those deceased or missing (e.g. in the aftermath of the air disasters over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988, and near Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia in 1998), or those who have lost property. For these particularly large events, it may be advantageous to establish a Family Assistance Centre where the grieving can be offered basic amenities, information, and the opportunity to speak to crisis intervention team members, mental health professionals, or faith-based support.
  1. The above tools, although different in form, all deliver key messages to the media and public. Key messages are clear, concise, and consistent statements about the incident or emergency, that typically serve as the basis for a news release or interview content.

Responsibilities

  1. The Emergency Information Officer (EIO) coordinates the provision of emergency information to the media and the public. (Detailed responsibilities are covered in Chapter 2)
  2. The scale and complexity of an incident or emergency, and the amount of media attention, may warrant the assigning of Assistant EIOs. Certain situations may require a large complement of emergency information staff. This may require the activation of mutual assistance agreements where they exist, or the request for support from the province.
  3. Typical EIO staff responsibilities include:
  • Media Services: Welcomes and registers media personnel, provides written background information (often contained in a prepared media package) and answers logistical questions.
  • Call-taker (for Media or Public Inquiry): Answers phone lines designated for either media or public inquiries. When receiving calls from the media, call-takers generally take messages for the EIO who then returns the calls. In the case of public inquiries, only information approved by the EIO should be communicated. Public inquiry call-takers may operate out of an EOC, but should always be in close communication with the EIO.
  • News monitor: Monitors media coverage of the emergency. Records/clips stories, and reports rumours and misinformation to the EIO.
  • Administration: Provides administrative support (such as word processing, faxing, photocopying), and also coordinates the provisions of food for the EIC staff.
  • Logistics: Provides for IT support, equipment set-up, security for the EIC, parking coordination and building maintenance.
  • Spokesperson(s): In the early stages of an incident, the EIO may have to be a spokesperson, unless designated spokespersons were previously identified.
  1. Media Briefing
  • Scheduled news conferences are conducted at the EIC (or the Joint EIC) to brief the media and the public on the most current and accurate facts. The EIO or staff organize news conferences, and other media events as applicable.
  • An information cycle should be established to set up a schedule of media products and events. The information cycle should be publicized both internally and externally.
  1. Media Tours
  • When an incident or emergency is focused on a physical location, such as a building that has collapsed or a river that has flooded, the media will likely desire access to that site. Media vehicles may begin to arrive at the site before an incident management structure has been fully established. In order to protect the media and control the site, procedures should be established for controlling access to incident sites and facilities.
  • Once their safety can be assured, the EIO can coordinate media visits to the incident site. Before conducting such visits, media members should be briefed on rules for the tour. In many cases, this will include a scheduled time to interview key officials. Where access is limited, those responsible for emergency information may wish to request that a media pool be established. A media pool is a representative sample of media personnel who collect information and visuals for distribution to the other media personnel.

Emergency Information Centre (EIC)

  1. Emergency information related to routine or non-complex incidents can generally be handled from an incident site, an EOC, or other community offices. However, large-scale and/or complex incidents and emergencies may necessitate establishing an EIC. The EIC is the location from which emergency information efforts are carried out, generally under the direction of the Emergency Information Officer (EIO).
  2. When an incident is not focussed at a specific site or sites, or when access cannot be permitted for reasons of safety, it is especially important that an EIC be established as soon as possible in order to provide the media with a central point where regular briefings can be held and interviews given.
  3. Activities commonly carried out in an EIC include media check-in and credentialing, media inquiry, news conferences and briefings, media monitoring, the drafting of products for release to the media and the public, the arranging of site and facility tours and the administration of the emergency information function.
  4. An EIC requires appropriate staff and equipment to support its level of activities. Staff typically includes Assistant EIOs. Equipment would generally include furniture (chairs, tables, podium, etc.), electrical power support, maps and contact lists, and electronic equipment (microphone, computer, phones, fax machines, radios, televisions, etc.). It is advisable that there should be sufficient space for briefings and staff functions to be carried out.
  5. It is recommended that an EIC be located close to, but not in, the ICP or EOC. Where co-location is unavoidable, proper access control should be maintained. Possible locations for an EIC include local schools, community centres, club halls, businesses, and temporary facilities that could be set-up during an incident.
  6. Where two or more organizations are involved, they may jointly set up the EIC. A jointly established EIC offers an environment where the incident EIO and all Assistant EIOs representing the other organizations work collectively to arrive at common key EI messages, resulting in common messaging being disseminated. This joint facility may be referred to as a Joint Emergency Information Centre (Joint EIC).
  7. Some advantages of a Joint EIC, include:
  • A central working facility to make coordination easier;
  • Access to pooled resources;
  • The opportunity to apportion and focus on areas of expertise, rather than one person trying to ‘do it all’; and
  • Greater authenticity that results from ‘speaking with one voice’.
  1. Additional considerations for incident facilities and their location are covered in Chapter 7, and Annex C.

The Enabling Module Overview

The Enabling Module

The Enabling Module covers the preparedness requirements that are necessary for response organizations to implement a standardized and consistent IMS structure for every incident, regardless of cause, size, complexity, location, or duration. Preparedness requirements that are already covered by Ontario’s emergency management program, including current legislation, associated Order in Council, and Regulations, are not duplicated in the IMS document. This module is organized into chapters as follows:

Chapter 9: Guide to Implementation: Some key emergency management policies, plans, and procedures are necessary to set the structure for organizational preparedness, and to support the goals of IMS. The chapter also provides guidance on the process and the role of responders for maintaining the IMS and achieving continuous improvement.

Chapter 10: Training: In order to confidently integrate IMS practitioners into a single-organization, or unified multi-organization incident management structure, enhance interoperability and promote quality assurance, there should a system of standardized qualifications, and/or certification. This necessitates some common training standards. IMS practitioners should also conduct or engage in exercises. Exercises outcomes may indicate responder preparedness, including the need for additional training.

Chapter 11: Building Response Capacities and Agreements. An effective and efficient IMS requires having sufficient capacity of responders and resources, ensuring that the resources are appropriate, and having a system to access and manage them. Often, no single organization has all the necessary resources. Therefore, IMS strongly encourages a standard approach to building response capacity that includes mutual aid and assistance agreements established prior to an emergency or incident.

Chapter 9

Guide to Implementation

This Chapter is still under development for inclusion in the next published version of the doctrine.

To enhance and support the goal of IMS, organizational policies, plans, and procedures should be established based on the tenets of IMS. The intention of this chapter will be to provide guidance on how to recognize and incorporate IMS into organizations’ emergency management policies, plans, and procedures, thereby setting the framework for organizational preparedness. Also to be included are guidance on the process for continuous improvement and maintenance of IMS, and how responders may interact and interface with this process.

Chapter 10

Training

  1. Training
  1. The proposed IMS curriculum overview is attached. It is structured as follows:
  • IMS-100: Introduction to IMS. This is primarily a self-directed course that aims to prepare candidates to function within the Ontario IMS.
  • IMS-200: Basic IMS and IMS-910 Instructor. This course aims to prepare candidates to initiate IMS structures and concepts for simple incidents or during the early phases of a complex incident. Emergency Management Ontario (EMO) will arrange to support the delivery of this program (e.g. printing of course material). A basic IMS Instructor course (IMS-910) will be conducted in tandem with the IMS-200 for potential IMS instructors.
  • IMS-300: Intermediate IMS. This course will be offered regularly, provincially, through recognized provincial instructors. This course aims to prepare candidates to perform leadership roles within an expanded IMS structure during a complex incident involving multiple organizations.
  • IMS-400: Advanced IMS. This course will be offered regularly, provincially, through recognized provincial instructors. This course aims to prepare candidates to command complex incidents.
  1. This training would teach common principles, and is not meant to replace organization-specific incident management training. In some cases, current organization-specific training may fulfill some or all of the needs of certain levels of the proposed curriculum.
  2. Currently, there are no established IMS qualifications or certification standards for Ontario. Whilst their development is out of the scope of this doctrine, they are important aspects of IMS and are earmarked for future development.
  1. Exercises

IMS should be incorporated into provincial and municipal/community exercises. Exercises outcomes may indicate responder preparedness, including the need for additional training.

IMS Curriculum Overview

IMS-100: Introduction to IMS

  • Outcome: Function within the Ontario IMS
  • Audience: All
  • Prerequisite: Nil
  • Duration: 4 hours (self-directed); 4-8 hours (classroom)
  • Delivery: Self-Directed or Classroom
  • Evaluation: Multiple Choice Test

IMS-200: Basic IMS

  • Outcome: Initiate IMS structures and concepts for simple incidents or during the early phases of a complex incident
  • Audience: Individuals potentially involved in implementing IMS at simple incidents or during the early phases of a complex incident
  • Prerequisite: IMS-100
  • Duration: 8-16 hours
  • Delivery: Classroom (modular)
  • Evaluation: Written Test

IMS-300: Intermediate IMS

  • Outcome: Perform leadership roles within an expanded IMS structure during a complex incident involving multiple organization response
  • Audience: Individuals potentially performing leadership roles within an expanded IMS structure during a complex incident involving multiple-organization response
  • Prerequisite: IMS-200 and knowledge of the operations of represented organization and may be assigned to a Command or General Staff position during an incident.
  • Duration: 3-4 days
  • Delivery: Classroom
  • Evaluation: Written and Performance-based Testing
  • Advanced IMS
  • Outcome: Command complex incidents
  • Audience: Individuals potentially performing the command function at complex incidents.
  • Prerequisite: IMS-300 and may be designated to perform the Command function during a complex incident
  • Duration: 2-4 days
  • Delivery: Classroom
  • Evaluation: Written and Performance-based Testing


Note
: The above curriculum is applicable to all emergency response organizations and teaches the general principles of IMS. It does not replace the need for organization-specific IMS training.

Chapter 11

Building Response Capacities and Agreements

This Chapter is still under development for inclusion in the next published version of the doctrine

An effective and efficient IMS requires a comprehensive response capability at the disposal of responders. More than purely high capacities, this requires having the most appropriate resources, as well as having a system to access and manage them. Often, no single organization has all the necessary resources, and, during an emergency or incident may not be the most prudent time to be sourcing additional resources. Therefore, IMS strongly encourages a standard approach to building response capacity that includes mutual aid and assistance agreements established prior to an emergency or incident.

The Supporting module Overview

Parts of this section is still under development for inclusion in the next published version of the doctrine

This module will contain supporting annexes that provide additional guidance, background material, and reference links for IMS. These proposed annexes are outlined below. In some cases where content has been developed, these are also included.

Annex A: Guidelines for EOCs

This annex will provide guidance, recommendations, and options for the implementation of the IMS at an Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) and how it interfaces with the Incident Command Post (ICP) and the Incident Command that it supports. It will also deal with the roles of an EOC when acting as Incident Command, or Area Command.

Annex B: Incident Management Team/Incident Support Team (IMT/IST).

This annex will explore the establishment and use of IMTs/ISTs during emergencies or incidents.

Annex C: IMS Tools.

This annex will include samples of recommended IMS tools, e.g. Forms, facilities’ location matrix, map symbols, map marking, etc.

Annex D: IMS Glossary.

This annex will provide the glossary of terms that are used in Ontario’s IMS doctrine.

Annex E: History.

This annex will provide a brief history of the evolution of the IMS primarily in North America, and its relationship to Ontario’s IMS.

Annex F: References.

This annex will provide the bibliography, references, and related standards that have influenced the development of Ontario’s IMS doctrine.

Annex A - Guidelines for the application of IMS at EOCs

This annex is still under development for inclusion in the next published version of the doctrine

Annex B - Incident Support Team

This annex is still under development for inclusion in the next published version of the doctrine

Annex C - IMS Tools

1. General

This annex provides samples of recommended IMS tools and guidance on their usage. It includes such tools as forms, co-location matrix, map symbols, map marking, etc. This is not an exhaustive list, and tools may be added over time, as necessary.

2. IMS Forms:

Several forms are used in IMS to assist with the processes and procedures, as well as to form a record of decisions and actions. Some of the forms are listed here, and are shown in a matrix below indicating who completes them, who approves them, and which ones form a part of the IAP.

  1. Form IMS 201: Incident Briefing
  2. Form IMS 202: Incident Objectives
  3. Form IMS 203: Organization Assignment List
  4. Form IMS 204: Resources Assignment List
  5. Form IMS 205: Incident Telecommunications Plan
  6. Form IMS 206: Incident Medical Plan.
  7. Form IMS 207: Incident Organization.
  8. Form IMS 208: Decontamination Plan
  9. Form IMS 211: Check-in List
  10. Form IMS 213: General Message
  11. Form IMS 214: Unit Log
  12. Form IMS 215-G: Operational Planning Worksheet (Generic)
  13. Form IMS 215-A: Operational Planning Worksheet (Incident Safety Analysis)
  14. Form IMS 218: Support Vehicle Inventory
  15. Form IMS 219: Resource Status Card
  16. Form IMS 220: Air Operations Summary
  17. Form IMS 221: Demobilization Check-out
  18. Form IMS 226: Compensation for Injury Log
  19. Form IMS 227: Claims Log
  20. Form IMS 229: Incident Cost Summary

IMS Forms Matrix

IMS Forms Matrix

Form
#

Title

IC

SO

LO

EIO

OSC

PSC

LSC

FSC

Comments

201

Incident Briefing

X

       

Initial documentation of the incident. Brief new Command in command transfer.

202*

Objectives

A

    

X

   

203*

Organization Assignment List

     

X/A

   

204*

Assignment List

     

X/A

  

Tactical information comes from IMS 215; Communication summary information comes from IMS 205.

205*

Incident Telecommunications Plan

      

X/A

  

206*

Medical Plan

 

A

    

X

  

207

Incident Organization Chart

     

X/A

   

208

Safety Plan

A

X

      

Input from OSC; for HazMat scenarios.

209

Incident Status Summary

A

    

X

   

211

Check-in List

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

All assigned personnel required to complete Check-in process

213

General Message

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

To transmit information to anyone on the incident

214

Unit Log

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

Required by all positions

215G

Operational Planning Worksheet

    

X

   

IC/PSC concur and approve as draft IAP

215A

Incident Safety Analysis

A

X

      

Input from OSC & PSC

218

Support Vehicle Inventory

      

X/A

 

Completed by the Ground Support Unit

219

Resource Status Card

     

X/A

  

Visual display of resources assigned

220

Air Operations Summary

    

X/A

   

Completed by Air Operations Branch if aircraft are used on the operation

221

Demobilization Check-out

 

X

X

X

X

A

X

X

Completed by all personnel as part of the demobilization process

226

Compensation for Injury Log

       

X/A

Documents and catalogues injuries

227

Claims Log

       

X/A

Documents and catalogues claims

229

Incident Cost Summary

       

X/A

Summaries incident costs

IMS Forms Matrix

  • X – Denotes who completes form
  • A – Denotes who approves form
  • * - Denotes it is part of the IAP (others may be added)
  • IC – Incident Command
  • SO – Safety Officer
  • LO - Liaison Officer
  • EIO – Emergency Information Officer
  • OSC – Operations Section Chief
  • PSC – Planning Section Chief
  • LSC – Logistics Section Chief

3. IMS Functions and Facilities Location Matrix

This matrix is a guide to the co-location of IMS facilities, as discussed in Chapter 7.

IMS Functions and Facilities Location Matrix

4. IMS Map Symbols

  1. The basic symbology used in IMS includes a square (meaning a centre or a post); and a circle (meaning an area).
  2. The Incident Command Post (ICP) is the location from which Incident Command oversees incident management. The ICP is depicted by a black lined square divided into two triangles by a diagonal line running from lower left to upper right with the lower triangle being black and the upper being white.

The Incident Command Post (ICP)

  1. An Incident-based Telecommunications Centre (ITC) is established for use by the command, tactical, and support resources assigned to the incident. The ITC may be depicted by a black lined white square with the letters ITC in it:

 Incident-based Telecommunications Centre (ITC)

  1. An Area Command Post is the location from which Area Command manages multiple incident management teams, and has similar characteristics as an ICP. It is depicted by a black lined square divided into two white triangles by a black diagonal line running from lower left to upper right; with black lettered ‘Area’ inside the upper triangle.

Area Command Post

  1. A Staging Area is a temporary location where personnel and equipment wait for tactical assignments. It is depicted by a black circle on white background with a black lettered ‘S’ in it. More than one staging area may be designated by the addition of a number beside the letter, e.g. ‘S1’.

Staging Area

  1. The Incident Base is the location from which primary logistics and administrative functions are coordinated and administered. It is depicted by a black circle on white background with a black lettered ‘B’ in it. There is usually only one base per incident.

The Incident Base

  1. A Camp is a temporary, separate facility from the Base. It is depicted by a black circle on white background with a black lettered ‘C’ in it. More than one camp may be designated by the addition of a number beside the letter, e.g. ‘C1’.

A Camp is a temporary

  1. An Airbase is the location from which both fixed wing, and rotary wing (helicopter) aircraft operate. It is depicted by a black circle on white background with a black lettered ‘A’ in it.

Airbase

  1. A Helibase is the location from which helicopter-centered air operations are conducted. It is depicted by a black circle on white background with a black lettered ‘H’ in it.

Helibase

  1. Helispots are more temporary helicopter landing and take-off facilities used for loading and unloading personnel and cargo. There may be more than one helispot per incident, which are then numbered sequentially from ‘1’. Each is depicted by a solid black circle numbered in association with a capital H-, as in H-1 and H-2, etc.

Helispots

  1. An Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) is a facility from which incident management support to an Incident Command is coordinated. It is depicted by a black lined square on white background with black lettered ‘EOC’ in it.

Emergency Management Operations Centre

  1. An Emergency Information Centre (EIC) is a facility specifically designated, and properly equipped for emergency information use, where possible. It is depicted by a question mark inside a square. The letter ‘J’ may be added to signify a Joint EIC.

Emergency Infomation Centre

  1. Map Marking
  1. To show the exact location of facilities, a line may be extended from the symbol to the spot on the map where the facility is located. This helps to overcome the challenge of insufficient space to accommodate all symbols, as well as to avoid clutter, and obscuring vital information on the map.
  2. The sketch below gives examples of how this may be done. It is not to scale, nor does it depict a specific incident, real or imagined.

Croquis de la disposition des installations sur le lieu de l'incident dans la ville de North River (fictif)

Annex D - Glossary & Acronyms of Key Terms

For the purposes of the Incident Management System (IMS), the following terms and definitions apply:

After-Action Report (AAR): The After-Action Report (AAR) documents the performance of tasks and, where necessary, makes recommendations for improvements. The AAR is completed as part of demobilization, and may include the recording, and reporting of lessons learned.

Airbase: The location from which both fixed wing, and rotary wing (helicopter) aircraft operate. Airbases are usually permanent facilities (airports or aerodromes) that already operate for normal air traffic purposes, but may be required to provide air operations and air operations support to an incident.

Area Command (AC): An organization established to oversee the management of multiple incidents or to oversee the management of large or multiple incidents to which several Incident Management Teams have been assigned. Area Command has the responsibility to set overall strategy and priorities, allocate critical resources according to priorities, ensure that incidents are properly managed, and ensure that objectives are met and strategies followed.

Area Command Post (ACP): The location from which Area Command manages multiple Incident Management Teams, and has similar characteristics as an ICP.

Assessment: The evaluation and interpretation of measurements and other information to provide a basis for decision-making.

Assignments: Tasks given to resources to perform within a given Operational Period that are based on operational objectives defined in the IAP.

Assistant: Title for subordinates of principal Command Staff positions. The title indicates a level of technical capability, qualifications, and responsibility subordinate to the primary positions. Assistants may also be assigned to unit leaders.

Assisting Organization: An organization providing personnel, services, or other resources to the organization with direct responsibility for incident management. See also Supporting Organization.

Available Resources: Resources assigned to an incident, checked in, and available for a mission assignment, normally located in a Staging Area.

Base: The location from which primary logistics and administrative functions are coordinated and administered. There is only one Base per incident; however it should be designed to be able to support operations at multiple sites, if the incident is complex. The Base is established and managed by the Logistics Section. Resources in the Base are always uncommitted (‘out-of-service’).

Branch: The organizational level having functional or geographical responsibility for major aspects of incident operations. A branch is organizationally situated between the section and the division or group in the Operations Section, and between the section and units in the Logistics Section. Branches are identified by the use of Roman numerals or by functional area.

Camp: A temporary, separate facility from the Base. A camp provides certain essential auxiliary forms of support, such as food, sleeping areas, and sanitation, and may also provide minor maintenance and servicing of equipment. Multiple camps may be used, and they may be relocated to meet changing operational requirements. Each Camp will have a Camp Manager assigned. However, not all incidents will necessarily need to have camps.

Chain of Command: A series of command, control, executive, or management positions in hierarchical order of authority.

Check-In: The process through which resources first report to an incident. Check-in locations include the incident command post, Resources Unit, incident base, camps, staging areas, or directly on the site.

Chief: The IMS title for individuals responsible for management of functional sections: Operations, Planning, Logistics, Finance/Administration, and Intelligence (if established as a separate section).

Command: The act of directing, ordering, or controlling by virtue of explicit statutory, regulatory, or delegated authority.

Command Staff: In an incident management organization, the Command Staff consists of the special staff positions of Emergency Information Officer, Safety Officer, Liaison Officer, and other positions as required, who report directly to the Incident Commander. They may have an assistant or assistants, as needed.

Common Operating Picture: A broad view of the overall situation as reflected by situation reports, aerial photography, and other information or intelligence.

Deputy: A fully qualified individual who, in the absence of a superior, can be delegated the authority to manage a functional operation or perform a specific task. In some cases, a deputy can act as relief for a superior and, therefore, must be fully qualified in the position. Deputies can be assigned to the Incident Commander, General Staff, and Branch Directors.

Dispatch: The ordered movement of a resource or resources to an assigned operational mission or an administrative move from one location to another.

Division: The partition of an incident into geographical areas of operation. Divisions are established when the number of resources exceeds the manageable span of control of the Operations Chief. A division is located within the IMS organization between the branch and resources in the Operations Section.

Emergency: A situation or an impending situation that constitutes a danger of major proportions that could result in serious harm to persons or substantial damage to property and that is caused by the forces of nature, a disease or other health risk, an accident or an act whether intentional or otherwise.

Emergency Control Group (ECG): The Emergency Control Group (ECG) may be composed of officials, employees, and/or members of council of a community to direct the community’s response in an emergency, including the implementation of the community’s emergency response plan.

Emergency Information (EI): Information about an emergency that is disseminated primarily in anticipation of an emergency or during an emergency. In addition to providing situational information to the public, it also frequently provides directive actions required to be taken by the public.

Emergency Information Centre (EIC) and Joint EIC: A facility specifically designated, and properly equipped from which a community will coordinate emergency information activities such as: press releases, receiving public queries, media briefings, and monitoring.

As frequently as feasible, an emergency information facility should be set up on a joint basis to accommodate the interests of involved responder organizations/organizations. Typically this would be a Joint Emergency Information Centre (Joint EIC), established as per an EIC.

Emergency Information Officer (EIO): A member of the Command Staff responsible for interfacing with the public and media or with other agencies with incident-related information requirements.

Emergency Operations Centre (EOC): A temporary or permanent facility from which incident management support to an Incident Command is coordinated. It must have appropriate technological and telecommunications systems to ensure effective communication in an emergency. EOCs may be established at a variety of levels including for a community’s Emergency Control Group, a Ministry Action Group (MAG), or for overall provincial coordination such as the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC).

Event: A planned, non-emergency activity. IMS can be used as the management system for a wide range of events, e.g. parades, concerts, or sporting events.

Finance & Administration Section / Finance & Administration Section Chief (FSC): The Finance and Administration Section provides the financial and cost analysis support to an incident. The person heading it is the Finance & Administration Section Chief (FSC).

Function: Function refers to the five major activities in IMS: Command, Operations, Planning, Logistics, and Finance/Administration. The term function is also used when describing the activity involved, e.g. the planning function. A sixth function, Intelligence, may be established, if required, to meet incident management needs.

General Staff: A group of incident management personnel organized according to function and reporting to the Incident Commander. The General Staff normally consists of the Operations Section Chief, Planning Section Chief, Logistics Section Chief, and Finance/Administration Section Chief.

Group: Established to divide the incident management structure into functional areas of the Operations Section. Groups are composed of resources assembled to perform a special function not necessarily within a single geographic division. Groups, when activated, are located between branches and resources in the Operations Section.

Helibase: The location from which helicopter-centered air operations are conducted. Though temporary, Helibases are generally used on a more long-term basis as compared to Helispots and include such services as fuelling and maintenance. A Helibase Manager reporting to the Air Support Group Supervisor, Air Operations Branch Director, or the Operations Chief (depending on the level activated) will manage the Helibase.

Helispots: Temporary helicopter landing and take-off facilities used for loading and unloading personnel and cargo. A Helispot Manager, reporting to the Helibase Manager will manage the Helispots. Large incidents may require several Helispots, which are then numbered sequentially from ‘1’.

Incident: An occurrence or event, natural or human-caused that requires an emergency response to protect life, property, or the environment. An incident may be geographically confined (e.g. within a clearly delineated site or sites) or dispersed (e.g. a widespread power outage or an epidemic). Incidents may start suddenly (e.g. a chemical plant explosion) or gradually (a drought). They may be of very short duration (a call for emergency medical assistance), or continue for months or even years. Incidents can, for example, include major disasters, terrorist attacks or threats, emergencies related to wild-land and urban fires, floods, hazardous materials spills, nuclear events, aircraft emergencies, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, tropical storms, war-related disasters, public health and medical emergencies, and other emergencies.

Incident Action Plan (IAP): An oral or written plan containing general objectives reflecting the overall strategy for managing an incident. It may include the identification of operational resources and assignments. It may also include attachments that provide direction and important information for management of the incident during one or more operational periods.

Incident Command/Incident Commander (IC): The entity / individual responsible for all incident activities, including the development of strategies and tactics and the ordering and the release of resources. The IC has overall authority and responsibility for conducting incident operations and is responsible for the management of all incident operations.

Incident Command Post (ICP): The Incident Command Post (ICP) is the location from which Incident Command oversees incident management. An ICP is only established when an incident occurs or is planned. There is only one ICP for each incident or event. However, this facility may change locations during the incident. The ICP will be positioned outside of the present and potential hazard zone but close enough to the incident to maintain command. It typically comprises the Command element (Single or Unified) and Command Staff and may include other designated incident management officials and responders, including the General Staff. The ICP may be located in a vehicle, trailer, tent, or within a building. The ICP may be collocated with the incident base or other incident facilities and is normally identified by a green rotating or flashing light.

Incident Management System (IMS): A standardized approach to emergency management encompassing personnel, facilities, equipment, procedures, and communications operating within a common organizational structure. The IMS is predicated on the understanding that in any and every incident there are certain management functions that must be carried out regardless of the number of persons who are available or involved in the emergency response.

Incident Management Team (IMT): The IC and appropriate Command and General Staff personnel assigned to an incident.

Incident Objectives: Statements of guidance and direction necessary for selecting appropriate strategy(s) and the tactical direction of resources. Incident objectives are based on realistic expectations of what can be accomplished when all allocated resources have been effectively deployed. Incident objectives must be achievable and measurable, yet flexible enough to allow strategic and tactical alternatives.

Incident Telecommunications Centre (ITC): Command manages telecommunications at an incident, using a common telecommunications plan, (Form: IMS 205, Incident Telecommunications Plan which is part of the IAP), and an Incident-based Telecommunications Centre (ITC). The ITC is established for use by the command, tactical, and support resources assigned to the incident. All entities involved in managing the incident should utilize common terminology for telecommunications. A Manager runs the ITC, and reports to the Telecommunications Unit Leader within the Logistics Service Branch.

Initial Action: The actions taken by those responders first to arrive at an incident site.

Initial Response: Resources initially committed to an incident.

Intelligence: In the context of IMS in Ontario, intelligence means sensitive information or data that may need to be processed or screened prior to dissemination within the IMS structure or directly to Command.

Jurisdiction: A range or sphere of authority. Jurisdictional authority at an incident can be political, legislative or geographical (e.g. municipal, provincial, or federal).

Liaison: A form of communication for establishing and maintaining mutual understanding and cooperation.

Liaison Officer (LO): A member of the Command Staff responsible for coordinating with representatives from supporting and assisting agencies.

Logistics: Providing resources and other services to support incident management.

Logistics Section / Logistics Section Chief (LSC): The section responsible for providing facilities, services, and material support for the incident. The person heading it is the Logistics Section Chief (LSC).

Management by Objective (MBO): A management approach that involves a four-step process for achieving the incident goal. The Management by Objectives approach includes the following: establishing overarching objectives; developing and issuing assignments, plans, procedures, and protocols; establishing specific, measurable objectives for various incident management functional activities and directing efforts to fulfill them, in support of defined strategic objectives; and documenting results to measure performance and facilitate corrective action.

Ministry Action Group (MAG): The Ministry Action Group (MAG) is composed of each deputy minister or designate of the ministry, the senior ministry official appointed to the ministry’s emergency management program committee, the ministry’s emergency management program coordinator; and such other ministry employees as may be appointed by the minister.   The group shall direct the ministry’s response in an emergency, including the implementation of the ministry’s emergency plan. 

Mobilization: The process and procedures used by all organizations for activating, assembling, and transporting all resources that have been requested to respond to or support an incident.

Multi-jurisdictional Incident: An incident requiring action from multiple organizations that each have jurisdiction to manage certain aspects of an incident. In IMS, these incidents may be managed under Unified Command.

Mutual-Aid / Mutual-Assistance Agreement: Written agreement between parties that they will assist one another on request, by furnishing personnel, equipment, and/or expertise in a specified manner. An agreement between service organizations is termed a ‘Mutual Aid’ agreement, and one between jurisdictions is a termed ‘Mutual Assistance’ agreement.

Nongovernmental Organization (NGO): An entity with an association that is based on the interests of its members, individuals, or institutions and that is not created by a government, but may work cooperatively with governments. Such organizations serve a public purpose, not a private benefit. Examples include, but are not limited to, the Canadian Red Cross, St. John Ambulance and faith-based charitable organizations such as the Salvation Army.

Operational Period: The time scheduled for executing a given set of operation actions, as specified in the Incident Action Plan. Operational periods can be of various lengths, although usually not over 24 hours.

Operations Section / Operations Section Chief (OSC): The section responsible for all tactical incident operations. In IMS, it normally includes subordinate branches, divisions, and/or groups. The person heading it is the Operations Section Chief (OSC).

Personnel Accountability: The ability to account for the location and welfare of incident personnel. It is accomplished when supervisors ensure that IMS principles and processes are functional and that personnel are working within established incident management guidelines.

Planning Meeting: A meeting held as needed prior to and throughout the duration of an incident to select specific strategies and tactics for incident control operations and for service and support planning. For larger incidents, the planning meeting is a major element in the development of the Incident Action Plan (IAP).

Planning Section / Planning Section Chief (PSC): Responsible for the collection, evaluation, and dissemination of operational information related to the incident, and for the preparation and documentation of the IAP. This section also maintains information on the current and forecasted situation and on the status of resources assigned to the incident. The person heading it is the Planning Section Chief (PSC).

Private Sector: Organizations and entities that are not part of any governmental structure. It includes for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, formal and informal structures, commerce and industry, and private voluntary organizations (PVO).

Processes: Systems of operations that incorporate standardized procedures, methodologies, and functions necessary to provide resources effectively and efficiently. These include resource typing, resource ordering and tracking, and coordination.

Resources: Resources are personnel and major items of equipment, supplies, and facilities available or potentially available for assignment to incident operations and for which status is maintained. Resources are described by kind and type and may be used in operational or support capacities

Resource Management: Efficient incident management requires a system for identifying available resources at all levels to enable timely and unimpeded access to resources needed to prepare for, respond to, or recover from an incident. Resource management under the IMS includes mutual-aid / mutual-assistance agreements, and resource mobilization protocols.

Resources Unit: Functional unit within the Planning Section responsible for recording the status of resources committed to the incident. This unit also evaluates resources currently committed to the incident, the effects additional responding resources will have on the incident, and anticipated resource needs.

Responder: Anyone involved in the response to an incident, and therefore contributing to the resolution of the problems brought about by the incident. The same definition is applied to a response organization. Responders may therefore include the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and/or the public sector (community/municipal, ministry, provincial, federal).

Response: Activities that address the short-term, direct effects of an incident. Response includes immediate actions to save lives, protect property, and meet basic human needs. Response also includes the execution of emergency operations plans and of mitigation activities designed to limit the loss of life, personal injury, property damage, and other unfavourable outcomes.

Safety Officer (SO): A member of the Command Staff responsible for monitoring and assessing safety hazards or unsafe situations and for developing measures for ensuring personnel safety.

Section: The organizational level having responsibility for a major functional area of incident management, e.g. Operations, Planning, Logistics, Finance/Administration, and Intelligence (if established). The section is organizationally situated between the Branch and the Incident Command.

Sector: An organizational level within the Operations Section, directly below a Division or Group, activated on large incidents where span of control would otherwise be exceeded at the Division or Group level. A Sector may be geographic or functional.

Single Command A Single Command exists when incident decision-making, in relation to directing, ordering or controlling the response to an incident, is straightforward and independent; for example when it is the responsibility of a single organization or jurisdiction. This may be by default, if only one organization is involved; by design, if multiple organizations decide and agree on a Single Command; or by legislation, if the responsibility is legally that of one jurisdiction or organization.

Site: A multi-purpose concept. Site refers to the geographic area in which an incident is occurring. It has also been noted above that an incident may be geographically dispersed, and changing, in which case it may be inaccurate to describe the incident itself with specific geographic boundaries. However, it would be feasible to describe the response to the incident in terms of the geographic boundaries that fall under the jurisdiction of the team managing the response. Combining the two concepts, an incident site then is the geographic area in which the management team with the most direct hands-on response roles operates. Therefore, a ‘site’ could be: the scene of a fire; or the area in which civil disorder has broken out; or the single spot/wide debris-strewn area of an aircraft crash; or an area affected by an influenza virus outbreak – pandemic or epidemic.

Span of Control: The number of individuals a supervisor is responsible for usually expressed as the ratio of supervisors to individuals. Under the IMS, an appropriate span of control is between 1:3 and 1:7.

Staging Area: Location established where resources can be placed while awaiting a tactical assignment. The Operations Section manages Staging Areas.

Strike Team: A set number of resources of the same kind and type that have an established minimum number of personnel. The Strike Team must have a designated leader.

Strategy: The general direction selected to accomplish incident objectives set by the IC.

Supporting Organization An organization providing support services to the organization with direct responsibility for incident management, but not providing any direct support or input to the incident. See also Assisting Organization.

Task Force: Any combination of resources assembled to support a specific mission or operational need. All resource elements within a Task Force must have common communications and a designated leader.

Telecommunications Unit: An organizational unit in the Logistics Section responsible for providing communication services at an incident or an EOC. It is responsible for developing plans for the use of incident telecommunications equipment and facilities; installing and testing of telecommunications equipment; supervision of the Incident Telecommunications Center; and the distribution and maintenance of telecommunications equipment.

Threat: An indication of possible violence, harm, or danger.

Tools: Those instruments and capabilities that allow for the professional performance of tasks.

Type: A classification of resources in the IMS that refers to capability. Type 1 is generally considered to be more capable than Types 2, 3, or 4, respectively, because of size, power, capacity, or, in the case of incident management teams, experience and qualifications.

Unified Area Command: A Unified Area Command is established when incident decision-making under an Area Command is complex, and interdependent, and a Single Command cannot be established.

Unified Command (UC): Unified Command is a command model of IMS that may be used on rare occasions when incident decision-making is complex, and interdependent, and a Single Command cannot be established. Organizations work together through their designated members of the UC, to establish a common set of objectives and strategies and a single IAP.

Unit: The organizational element having functional responsibility for a specific incident planning, logistics, or finance/administration activity. The term ‘Unit’ is used to establish and differentiate these pre-scripted functions from the incident-determined functions of the Operations Section.

Unity of Command: The concept by which each person within an organization reports to one and only one designated person. The purpose of unity of command is to ensure unity of effort under one responsible supervisor for every objective.

Annex E - The History of Incident Management System

General

  1. This annex covers the history of IMS in the USA, Canada, and Ontario.

The History of the development of an IMS for Ontario

  1. In Ontario, the development of a revised approach to emergency management commenced following the Ice Storm of 1998. Under the leadership of Emergency Management Ontario (then Emergency Measures Ontario) a comprehensive approach to emergency management, based on international standards and recommended practices, was developed and adopted. This led to significant amendments to the then called Emergency Plans Act, which was changed to the Emergency Management Act (2003), and which in 2006 was further amended and also renamed the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. Other improvements in Ontario’s emergency management structure took place in 2005 and 2006 respectively, with the reorganization of the Office of the Commissioner of Emergency Management, and its successor the Office of the Commissioner of Community Safety to give it a more central role as a single coordination authority for emergency management in Ontario. The Commissioner’s position was further strengthened when for the first time it was recognized in the new Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
  2. By the end of 2004, the development of emergency management program standards was complete and these standards were formalized as Ontario Regulation 380/04, with compliance by ministries as of December 31, 2005.
  3. Emergencies and incidents within the recent past have had significant impacts on Ontario, especially for its emergency management program. Such emergencies and incidents include: the ice storm of January 1998 that hit eastern Canada and the United States of America (USA); the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks on the USA; the 2003 outbreaks of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in the Greater Toronto Area; the massive power failure of August 14th, 2003 that affected large portions of eastern Canada and the USA; the outbreak of wildfires in British Columbia in 2003; and Hurricane Katrina that devastated New Orleans, Louisiana on August 29, 2005.
  4. In the aftermath of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Government of Ontario recognized the need to move decisively to implement comprehensive reforms to emergency management, consistent with international best practices. The aim of these reforms is to ensure that a proactive, coordinated and comprehensive approach to managing emergencies is in place to reduce the significant risks faced by Ontario communities, and to ultimately save lives and money, protect property, public health and the environment, maintain economic stability, and help assure the continuance of critical infrastructure. In short, the end-result will be a province comprised of safe, secure, and disaster resilient communities. To achieve the above, the government of Ontario determined that there is a need to implement an approach to emergency management that will permit ministries, communities, organizations, institutions, and industry to operate cohesively. The Incident Management System (IMS) has been determined to be the most appropriate avenue to accomplish these outcomes25.
  5. Although these emergencies did not all occur in Ontario, lessons learned from the emergency management responses to these events suggested that even with the improvements being made to the province’s emergency management legislation and program, there was still the need for Ontario to have a robust and common incident management system (IMS) that is applicable to all levels of government and response. Some specific needs identified in these past emergencies, and yet to be fully addressed are highlighted below:
  1. One common IMS is needed: In Ontario, many emergency response organizations already have their own incident management system. But as pointed out in the SECOND INTERIM REPORT ♦ SARS AND PUBLIC HEALTH LEGISLATION, The SARS Commission, April 05, 2005, “SARS showed us that there should be only one emergency response system”. Therefore, all these systems have to be drawn together into a common IMS across the province.
  2. Improved management through clearer chains of command and control is required:
  • To quote from the SECOND INTERIM REPORT ♦ SARS AND PUBLIC HEALTH LEGISLATION, The SARS Commission, April 05, 2005: “The question of management and clarity arose again and again in the concerns of those who helped pull the province through SARS … SARS showed us that there should be only one emergency response system… The incident management system is intended to bring an orderly, consistent and flexible chain of command and control within an emergency response”.
  • In their response to Hurricane Katrina the USA also found flaws in their “command and control structures within the [US] Federal government” (The US Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned (Report) February 23, 2006).
  • Communications is a part of any efficient and effective management of an incident. Again, to quote from the SARS Commission report: “There is no easy answer to the public health communications problems that arose during SARS. On the one hand, if there are too many uncoordinated official spokespeople the public ends up with a series of confusing mixed messages. On the other hand, as … the Minister of Health during SARS pointed out to the Commission, any attempt to manage the news by stifling important sources of information will not only fail but will also lead to a loss of public confidence and a feeling among the public that they are not getting the straight goods or the whole story. What is needed is a pre-planned public health communications strategy that avoids either of these extremes.”
  1. Improved conduct of the operations is required, e.g. coordination, telecommunications:

• Predefined methods to effectively integrate interagency requirements into the management structure and planning process are required. As reported in The US Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned (Report) February 23, 2006, “Effective incident management of catastrophic events requires coordination of a wide range of organizations and activities, public and private.”

• An excerpt from the Report to the Congressional Committee on HURRICANE KATRINA, by the United States Government Accountability Office, May 2006 highlights some telecommunications challenges in an emergency, as follows:

“Hurricane Katrina caused significant damage to the communication infrastructure in Louisiana and Mississippi, which further contributed to a lack of situational awareness for military and civilian officials. Under the [National Response Plan] NRP, the Department of Homeland Security has responsibility for coordinating the communications portion of disaster response operations.

However, neither the NRP, the Department of Homeland Security, nor [Department of Defense] DOD fully identified the extensive military communication capabilities that could be leveraged as part of a proactive [US] federal response to a catastrophe. Because state and local officials were overwhelmed and the Department of Homeland Security and DOD waited for requests for assistance rather than deploying a proactive response, some of the military’s available communication assets were never requested or deployed. In addition, some deployed National Guard assets were underutilized because the sending states placed restrictions on their use.”

The ‘1998 Ice Storm Report26 reported that, “The ice storm response identified the vulnerability of the provincial telecommunications network … the lesson learned is that the requirement for and vulnerability of telecommunication systems for provincial emergency response have not been thoroughly assessed”.

  1. A more orderly and systematic planning process is required:

• “Problems with the collection, analysis and sharing of data beset the effort to combat SARS.” The SARS Commission, INTERIM REPORT ♦ SARS AND PUBLIC HEALTH IN ONTARIO April 15, 2004

• During the USA’s Federal response to Hurricane Katrina, among the critical flaws in their national preparedness that became evident, were flaws in their regional planning and coordination processes. For example, “Locating temporary or long-term housing for Hurricane Katrina evacuees presented significant challenges for [US] Federal officials. The supply of temporary housing in the disaster area, such as hotels and apartments, was quickly depleted, while FEMA’s effort to provide trailers to evacuees foundered due to inadequate planning and poor coordination.” (The US Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned (Report) February 23, 2006).

• The ‘1998 Ice Storm Report’ indicated that, “The provincial emergency planning process requires improvement”. Furthermore, it continues, “This is a systemic problem which will persist unless a strategic change process is designed and implemented”.

  1. An improved logistics system is needed:

• According to the SARS Commission, “SARS not only underlined the importance of having an effective emergency management structure, it also emphasized the need to have sufficient quantities of medical supplies, secure supply chains and the means to distribute the supplies…” Second Interim Report ♦ SARS and Public Health Legislation, The SARS Commission, April 05, 2005.

• According to the Final Report by the USA’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on March 24, 1998 concerning the response challenges in New York to the January 1998 Ice Storm27:

“There was a tremendous need for emergency equipment to restore life support services in the affected area. Identifying the quantity, size and location of these resources, arranging their transport and prioritizing their use was a serious problem. In several instances cross county communication and cooperation was seriously compromised.

Research failed to turn up a centralized inventory of resources owned by local governments. In addition, there appears to be no statewide, centralized system for matching need requests with available resources in time of emergency.”

The following was a part of the solution FEMA recommended:

“Conduct a comprehensive statewide inventory of equipment, useful in times of emergency, owned by [US] federal, state and local government. Survey available statewide resources. Use survey to develop (and maintain) a computer database of resources.

Establish a statewide mutual aid system and a single point of contact … for all requests and equipment deployment. Identify existing and needed MOUs between state and [US] federal agencies, between state and counties and between contiguous counties.”

  1. Improved Finance & Administration controls are required: The British Columbia Firestorm 2003, Provincial Review Report, February 15, 2004 highlighted the following:

“Balancing the principles of financial administration with emergency response involving human life and public safety is a delicate task. No one would accept that bureaucratic red tape or cost controls should interfere with proper emergency responses. At the same time, … financial accountability must be maintained.

On … issues such as the availability of forms, proper documentation, timeliness of payments and inconsistent rates of pay from agency to agency, … comments were made about both the inconsistency and lack of forms and documentation from agency to agency and place to place. Shortcomings in paperwork may seem minor in view of the greater challenges, but proper documentation and consistency is fundamental to achieving good fiscal management and accountability”.

IMS in Canada

  1. Separate from Ontario’s efforts to revise the approach to emergency management, IMS was being introduced by other organizations in Canada. Some of these efforts include:
  1. National Emergency Response System (NERS): The Government of Canada is developing an all-hazards emergency response framework, the NERS. The system is being developed to ensure that Canada responds appropriately to national emergencies and threats, thus preserving the safety of its citizens. NERS provides effective coordination of the numerous national players that must act swiftly when national emergencies arise.28
  2. British Columbia Emergency Response Management System (BCERMS), 2000: The province of British Columbia emergency management structure has developed and adopted BCERMS. BCERMS is a comprehensive management system based upon the Incident Command System (ICS) that ensures a coordinated and organized response and recovery to all emergency incidents and disasters. It provides the framework for a standardized emergency response in British Columbia.29
  3. Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre ICS 30:

• Managing emergency incidents such as forest fires can be complex and challenging and Fire Management personnel are increasingly being shared between agencies across Canada and the U.S. Over time, Canadian Fire Management agencies realized that it would be more efficient if they all used the same basic organization structure on forest fires, used the same job function titles, and used standard training materials.

• In 2002 the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC) and member agencies developed a Canadian version of the USA’s incident command system (ICS). This Canadian version of an ICS not only harmonized operations across Canada, but also was consistent with US agencies. The primary modifications made to the Canadian Curriculum are in the areas of agency specific terminology, i.e. FAA to Transport Canada, use of metric measurement and in the site support elements to reflect Canadian usage of Emergency Operations Centres.

• The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), Aviation and Forest Fire Management program (AFFM), which manages Ontario’s responses to forest fire hazards, uses the ICS of the CIFFC.

  1. Ministry Emergency Response Plan: The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has adopted an IMS model within its own emergency management program. Their model now serves as the organizational structure for their Ministry Emergency Operations Centre (MEOC) at their Emergency Management Unit (EMU), should it need to coordinate the response to an emergency situation. Other organizations provincially and locally (such as healthcare facilities) are beginning to follow suit, which will help to increase the effectiveness and interoperability of emergency management in the province overall.31

History of the Incident Command System32

  1. In the early 1970’s, Southern California experienced several devastating wildland fires. The overall cost and loss associated with these fires totaled $18 million per day. This multi-jurisdictional disaster was the impetus for the development of an improved interagency incident management system known as the ICS. ICS is one of the beneficial results of a federally funded project called FIRESCOPE that was convened after these fires, and whose charter was to examine various aspects of interagency response to incidents.
  2. FIRESCOPE derives its name from: FIre REsources of Southern California Organized for Potential Emergencies. The FIRESCOPE ICS is primarily a command and control system delineating job responsibilities and organizational structure for the purpose of managing day-to-day operations for all types of emergency incidents. While originally developed for wildland incidents it was found that the system could be applied easily to day-to-day fire and rescue operations. It also is flexible enough to manage catastrophic incidents involving thousands of emergency response and management personnel.
  3. The National Inter-Agency Incident Management System (NIIMS) is another system using ICS that was developed by the wildland community in order to provide a common system for wildland fire protection agencies at the local, State, and US Federal levels. The NIIMS organization includes the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, representatives of State Foresters, and the National Park Service. NIIMS consists of five major subsystems that collectively provide a total systems approach to risk management:
  • The ICS, which includes operating requirements, eight interactive components, and procedures for organizing and operating an on-scene management structure.
  • Training that is standardized and supports the effective operations of NIIMS.
  • A qualification and certification system that provides personnel across the Nation with standard training, experience, and physical requirements to fill specific positions in the ICS.
  • Publications management that includes development, publication, and distribution of NIIMS materials.
  • Supporting technologies such as orthophoto mapping, infrared photography, and a multi-agency coordination system that supports NIIMS operations. Since the development of the ICS, the fire service has experienced several challenges in understanding its application. As a result, inconsistencies in the system began to develop; other hybrid systems came into existence, further distancing a common approach to incident command. A single incident management system is critical for effective command and control of major incidents. At these incidents, a single department may interface with other agencies on the local, State, and US Federal level. In order to reduce the inherent confusion that may be associated with larger scale incidents, using a common command system is a must.
  1. Recognizing the challenges that were occurring in the fire service in applying a common approach to incident command, the National Fire Service Incident Management System Consortium was created. Developed in 1990, its purpose is to evaluate an approach to developing a single Command system. The Consortium consists of many individual fire service leaders, representatives of most major fire service organizations, and representatives of US Federal agencies, including FIRESCOPE. One of the significant outcomes of the work done by the Consortium was the identification of the need to develop operational protocols within ICS, so that fire and rescue personnel would be able to apply the ICS as one common system. In 1993, because of this, the IMS Consortium completed its first document: Model Procedures Guide for Structural Firefighting. FIRESCOPE adopted this in principle as an application to the Model FIRESCOPE ICS. The basic premise is that the organizational structure found in the FIRESCOPE ICS now is enhanced with operational protocols that allow the Nation’s fire and rescue personnel to apply the ICS effectively regardless of what area in the country they are assigned. The National Fire Academy, (NFA), having adopted the FIRESCOPE ICS in 1980, has incorporated this material in its training curriculum and will continue to reach the thousands of fire service personnel with one common incident command and control system.
  2. It is important to note that the FIRESCOPE Model ICS has had other applications or modules similar to the structural firefighting applications that have been in place for some time. These create a framework for other activities to operate in and further enhance the use of ICS. As an example, there are the Multi-Casualty, Highrise, Hazardous Material, and the Urban Search and Rescue applications.
  3. The US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) formally adopted FIRESCOPE ICS as the incident management system for any US Federal response required by the agency. Since then, several other US Federal agencies have adopted FIRESCOPE ICS.
  4. The new Department of Homeland Security set about to determine an effective Incident Command System for all major incidents where it was likely that agencies from US Federal, State, and local government would participate in the command and control of the incident.
  5. This project was designated the National Incident Management System (NIMS) by DHS. NIMS has been incorporated into the training curriculum presented at the National Fire Academy.

National Incident Management Systems (NIMS)33

  1. All US Federal departments and agencies are required by HSPD-45 to adopt the NIMS. Beginning in FY 2007, all US Federal preparedness funding will be conditioned upon full compliance with the NIMS. NIMS was developed so responders from different jurisdictions and disciplines can work together better to respond to natural disasters and emergencies, including acts of terrorism. NIMS benefits include a unified approach to incident management; standard command and management structures; and emphasis on preparedness, mutual aid and resource management.
  2. The new National Incident Management System is designed to provide a comprehensive national framework for incident managers and responders. The NIMS framework is based on effective practices in preparedness, response, and recovery that have been developed over the years.
  1. The NIMS established standard incident management processes, protocols and procedures so that all responders can work together more effectively.
  2. The NIMS provides all of the Nation’s first-responders and authorities with the same foundation for incident management, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and other emergencies.
  1. NIMS components are:
  1. Command and Management
  2. Preparedness
  3. Resource Management
  4. Communications and Information Management
  5. Supporting Technologies
  6. Ongoing Management and Maintenance NIMS benefits: Standardized organizational structures, processes and procedures;
  7. Standards for planning, training and exercising;
  8. Personnel qualifications standards;
  9. Equipment acquisition and certification standards;
  10. Interoperable communications processes, procedures and systems, and
  11. Supporting technologies such as voice and data communications systems, information systems, data display systems.

NIMS Integration Center (NIC)

  1. The NIMS Integration Center was established to oversee all aspects of the NIMS. This includes the development of NIMS-related standards and guidelines and support to guidance for incident management and responder organizations as they implement the system. The Center will validate compliance with the NIMS and National Response Plan responsibilities, standards and requirement.

Annex F - References


This annex provides the bibliography, references, and related standards that have influenced the development of Ontario’s IMS doctrine.

1. United States Department of Homeland Security’s National Incident Management System (NIMS) 2004 (FEMA 501) and its accompanying NIMS Basic Series (2006).

2. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1561, Standard on Emergency Services Incident Management System (2005).

3. Firefighting Resources of California Organized for Potential Emergencies’ (FIRESCOPE) ICS Field Operations Guide (2004).

4. Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre’s Canadian National Training Curriculum (2002).

5. British Columbia Emergency Response Management System (2000).

6. National Fire Service Incident Management System Consortium’s Model Procedures Guides.

7. Canadian Emergency Management College’s Emergency Site Management and Emergency Operations Centre course manuals.

8. Ontario’s Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

9. Order in Council 1492/2005.

10. Ontario Regulation 380/04.

1 A list of organizations represented on the committee is contained in the front of this document.

2 This standard was published in 2008.

3 Emergency Management Doctrine For Ontario, August 17, 2005.

4 Second Interim Report ♦ SARS And Public Health Legislation, The SARS Commission, April 05, 2005.

5 The US Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned (Report) February 23, 2006

6 The SARS Commission, Interim Report ♦ SARS And Public Health In Ontario April 15, 2004

7 The US Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned (Report) February 23, 2006.

8 Second Interim Report ♦ SARS And Public Health Legislation, The SARS Commission, April 05, 2005

9 http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=10489 accessed Feb 6, 07. Report released Mar 24, 98.

10 IAP is covered in detail in Chapter 4.

11 ‘Supervisor’ in this context refers to any position of leadership and not to a specific IMS title.

12 Command options are covered in more detail in Chapter 3.

13 See Chapter 3 for details on Command models.

14 Note that a case may sometimes be made for a separate ‘Intelligence’ Section. Most often, however, ‘intelligence’ will be a part of the Planning Section.

15 The number of individuals for whom a supervisor is responsible, usually expressed as the ratio of supervisors to individuals, the range being between 1:3 and 1:7, with the optimum being 1:5.

16 The Medical Unit that is organized as part of the Service Branch provides medical services to responders. This function is separate from the provision of medical services to the injured who are members of the public, in which case a medical entity (size dictated by incident) would likely be established under the Operations Section. The Medical Unit may include one or a combination of EMS, First Aid, Doctors/Surgeons, etc.

17 Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act R.S.O. 1990, CHAPTER E.9, section 7.0.3.

18 Per the Municipal Act

19 Please see more on EOC in the chapter on ‘Facilities’.

20 See Annex C - Tools, for a matrix of IMS Forms that make up the written IAP, and responsible persons.

21 Information collection and disclosure laws (Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, Personal Health Information Protection Act, Vital Statistics Act, and Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act) may have a bearing on any collection, use and dissemination rules and practices.

22 The OGC (Open GIS Consortium) is a group set up by the industry to establish standards for the interchange of data, among other things, so that there is some level of interoperability.

23 Additional information on MAG and MECG may be found in Ontario Regulation 380/04.

24 This is sometimes referred to as a Crisis Communications Plan.

25 EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DOCTRINE FOR ONTARIO, August 17, 2005

26 See the Final Report by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC Canada) titled “Assessment of Provincial Preparedness and Response to the 1998 ICE STORM in the Province of Ontario”, dated September 30, 1998. SAIC was contracted between June 12 and September 30, 1998 by the then Ministry of the Solicitor General and Correctional Services to assess provincial preparedness and response to the 1998 ice storm in Ontario with the object of identifying lessons learned.

27 http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=10489

28 Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada (http://www.psepc.gc.ca/prg/em/ners/index-en.asp)

29 Government of British Columbia (http://www.pep.bc.ca/bcerms/bcerms.html)

30 http://mnronline.mnr.gov.on.ca/spectrasites/viewers/showArticle.cfm?obje...

31 Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Version 1 Emergency Response Plan (MERP)

(http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/providers/program/emu/emerg_prep/eme...)

32 From FEMA’s website: http://lstrng3test.fema.gov/Courses/Q463/framework/resources/History%20o...

33 FEMA, (http://www.fema.gov/emergency/nims/index.shtm)