Incident Command Structure & Emergency Operations Centers
While FEMA created the G191 ICS EOC interface course, what are the interface principles?
The incident command for most incidents does not go beyond a few groups and divisions, but what about the large-scale disaster? In a large-scale event, the incident command structure (ICS) will likely involve the planning and logistics section, and possibly the finance section.
The incident commander focuses on bringing the event to an end through completion of the incident objectives. When the full ICS organization is enacted -- including both the command staff and general staff -- the incident command could be a 7-to-1 span of control.
While planning can develop an incident action plan (IAP) to continue the operation, coordination among agencies that often needs completed during a large-scale disaster is beyond the abilities of most command staff. Even if it were not beyond their ability, this coordination would reduce the focus on commanding the event to an end.
The Incident Commander is the Middle of an Hourglass
The incident commander will take direction from the multi-agency coordinating (MAC) group that sets policies for the municipalities and organizations involved. This can drive incident priorities.
The IC will send information from the logistics and planning section chiefs about the need to work together for planning and support of the information. Additionally, the finance section will need financial information from the MAC group and the MAC group will need finance section chief’s briefs about the financial status of the event.
The IC is at the intersection of command and coordination.
While the ICS training manuals will show the command/coordination line above the IC, he or she is actually at the middle of the line with the greatest responsibility of making sure the information flow occurs up and down to satisfy the needs of the MAC and the sections.
If you have an opportunity, I suggest taking the G191 course to learn more about the command/coordination that need to occur simultaneously.