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The Corporate Incident Response Process and Action Plan

Posted on Thu, Oct 08, 2015

From the moment an incident is discovered, the response process begins. Effective corporate preparedness campaigns and exercised response plans lay the procedural foundation of information gathering, initial assessment, response coordination, and documentation management. Short-term responses, small in scope and/or duration, can often be coordinated using only ICS Form 201 documentation, the Incident Briefing form. However, longer-term, more complex responses, will likely require use of the entire planning cycle, many of the ICS Forms, and multiple operational periods.

It is critical that companies test small and large scale incident responses to ensure employees are familiar with their roles, responsibilities, and the overall response process. Planning efforts also must identify incident priorities, align resources, and assure proper communications to ensure an effective and timely response. The standard response planning cycle is as follows:

The Response Process 

1. Initial Response Actions, including notifications
2. Activation and staffing the Emergency Response Organization
3. Incident Planning/Documentation; Meeting Cycle includes:

  • Assessment
    • State incident objectives and policy issues.
    • Identify the situation and subsequent critical and sensitive areas, weather/sea forecast, resource status/availability.
  • Planning
    • Identify primary and alternative strategies to meet objectives.
    • Specify tactics for each Division, note limitations.
    • Specify resources needed by Divisions/Groups.
    • Specify operations facilities and reporting locations (plot on map)
    • Develop resources, support, and overhead order(s).
    • Consider support issues and agree on plans: communications, safety, medical, security, etc.
  • Incident Action Plan (IAP)
    • Develop draft IAP
    • Finalize, and approve IAP for next operational period.
  • Operational briefings

4. Demobilization/Post Incident Review

In the event of a prolonged and a potentially multi-disciplinary response, Incident Commanders can utilize an IAP to develop updated and pertinent objectives, priorities, and strategies for each operational period. IAPs contain general tactics to achieve goals and objectives within the overall strategy, while providing important documented information on event and response parameters. Because incidents evolve, IAPs must be revised on a regular basis (at least once per operational period)

The following should be considered in an Incident Action Plan:

Operational Period Goals and Objectives:

  • Must address any open agenda items from previous or initial operational period.
  • Must be attainable given the people, equipment, and supplies available during that operations shift.
  • Must be broad and flexible enough for the Incident Management Team to adapt to an evolving situation.

Response Strategy:

  • Develop primary and alternative strategies, specific response methods, and pertinent procedures to achieve the goals and objectives.
  • Establish priorities of tactics in order to accomplish goals and objectives.
  • Prepare an ICS 215 to identify required resources.
  • Identify primary roles, responsibilities and assign specific tasks


  • Critical situational updates
  • Detail resource status updates
  • Equipment status updates

Depending on the specifics of the incident, the following ICS forms may be used to document operational details, objectives, priorities, or strategies for each operational period.

INCIDENT ACTION PLAN (IAP) COVER SHEET: Provides initial response information, signature approval, and table of contents of the IAP.
INCIDENT OBJECTIVES: ICS 202: Provides weather and tide information, as well as basic incident strategy, control objectives, and safety considerations.
ORGANIZATION ASSIGNMENT LIST: ICS 203: Provides information on the units activated, and the names of personnel staffing each position/unit.
ASSIGNMENT LIST: ICS 204: Identifies Division and Group assignments.
COMMUNICATIONS PLAN: ICS 205: Provides radio frequency assignments..
MEDICAL PLAN: ICS 206Provides details on how medical services will be provided, including medical aid stations, transportation services, hospitals, and medical emergency procedures.
INCIDENT STATUS SUMMARY - ICS 209: Provides response status information. It is typically not included in within the IAP.

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Tags: Incident Action Plan, Response Plans

Enterprise-Wide Incident Response Planning for Hospital Systems

Posted on Thu, Apr 30, 2015

The Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) sets standards for healthcare organizations and issues accreditation to those organizations that meet those standards. Despite the emphasis on standardization among hospital industry practices, there can be a lack of enterprise-wide incident response planning standardization among a company’s multiple facilities.

Hospital systems’ incident response plans, also commonly referred to as emergency operations manuals or disaster plans, establish process and procedures that strengthen capabilities to minimize service disruptions, support local community responses to a variety of scenarios, and promote ongoing financial and organizational well-being. A web-based, enterprise-wide response planning system can unify standard company response processes and procedures, simplify compliance and accreditation efforts, ensure best practices, and provide up-to-date preparedness arrangements for hospital systems.

Hospitals systems, like a variety of other companies, are embracing advanced communications methods and applying web-based technology to response planning. Increasingly available and more reliable technology has allowed multiple industries to transition from archaic binder-based plans to an all-inclusive web-based preparedness program. An enterprise-wide incident response planning system for hospital systems should:

● Support the ability to execute company approved response strategies
● Easily incorporate company growth and facility acquisitions
● Enable site-specific details while not compromising company directives
● Be easily updated with minimal dedicated staff
● Become a shared tool for internal and external responders
● Allow for streamlined compliance audits

While including unique site-specific hazards and response capabilities for each facility, overall response guidelines and visual layout should be standardized to allow for a comprehensive understanding of the parent company’s best practices and proven emergency procedures. Strategic response plan knowledge and familiarity improves the ability of individuals to respond as part of a cohesive system. Standardized incident response plan formats and guidelines should include, but are not limited to:

● Overall plan structure
● Notification procedures
● Response Team organization
● Response Tactics (Initial, intermediate, and long-term)
● Roles and Responsibilities
● Layout and content of Fire Pre plans (if applicable)
● Plot plan key
● Demobilization procedures
● Mandated company and Incident Command System (ICS) forms lists

The purpose of the plan is to ensure effective response procedures dictate appropriate behaviors in the event a crisis situation arises. Whether potential emergency situations occur within the hospital setting or the surrounding communities, effective plans should account for various potential scenarios, ensuring staff readiness and timely responses. Hospital systems’ response plans should reflect potential scenarios that would significantly impact the demand for services or interfere with the ability to provide those services.

Potential operational impacting scenarios can include a sudden and abrupt event or a sustained episode over a longer period of time. Database driven, enterprise-wide planning systems provide hospitals with a tool to standardize best practices while incorporating relevant site-specific details. Hospital response scenarios may include process and procedures related to the following:

● Severe weather
● Natural disaster (ex. earthquake, tsunami)
● Utility failure
● Evacuation and Shelter-in-Place
● Explosion
● Chemical Release
● Radiation exposures
● Active shooter
● Hostage or barricade incident
● Pandemic or local infectious disease episode
● Information technology failure or hacking
● Mass casualty
● Missing person(s)
● Staff shortage
● Fire

Within each of these scenarios, response processes and procedures must be established, trained for, and exercised. However, common duplicate information is often relevant to a variety of scenarios among multiple plan types. Web-based, database driven systems utilize one database to manage information. This function allows users to effectively duplicate common plan content and revision efforts to all plans and locations that utilize the similar data. This feature minimizes administrative time and ultimately costs associated for managing response plans.

Until web-based preparedness programs became available, plan formats often varied from one facility to another, making it difficult to manage training, compliance efforts, and consistency of basic response procedures. Incorporating a definitive enterprise-wide incident response planning system across a hospital system can maximize efforts, allowing for a streamlined and familiar response process.

Web based response planning - TRP CORP

Tags: Incident Action Plan, Incident Management, Disaster Recovery

An Expert Guide to Demobilization and Post-Incident Recovery

Posted on Mon, Apr 28, 2014

Pre planning for demobilization and post-incident recovery allows for a collaborative understanding of necessary recovery elements and critical business unit restoration processes. Recovery objectives should include the meticulous restoration, strengthening, and revitalization of the site, surrounding infrastructures, and operations.

Disaster response operations should prioritize timely and accurate communication to facility managers, critical decision makers, emergency response teams, stakeholders, vendors and contractors, and, if applicable, the public in order to accelerate recovery without duplicating efforts. Once the response is concluded, specific demobilization guidelines provide “agreed-to procedures” to help facilitate a more organized and expedited return to normal operating conditions.  

The process of standing down response resources in an efficient and timely manner provides considerable cost benefits.

Issues to consider for demobilization include:

  • The On-Scene Incident Commander should approve the release or demobilize of response resources prior to initializing the process
  • Assign personnel to identify surplus resources and probable resource release times
  • Establish demobilization priorities based on the specific incident
  • Verify established decontamination procedures and necessary resources are available
  • If necessary, develop/communicate a Disposal Plan for the disposal of hazardous materials or wastes, as necessary.
  • Identify personnel travel needs and coordinate travel arrangements, as necessary.
  • Plan for equipment repair, decontamination, maintenance services, and inspections, as necessary
  • Initialize impact assessments and post-incident reviews

Even as the site response is being demobilized, responders must maintain heightened safety awareness. Any incident that extends beyond normal operating procedures may require a recovery plan component. The ability to institute a successful recovery plan requires stakeholders to maintain a clear understanding of post-disaster roles, responsibilities, and objectives. These components may include, but are not limited to:


  • Coordinate development, training, and exercise of the disaster recovery plan.
  • Establish and maintain contacts/networks for recovery resources and support systems.
  • Promulgate principles and practices that perpetuate resiliency and sustainability


  • Assess damage
  • Verify facility accessibility and safety
  • Identify internal and external recovery team contacts and contractors
  • Identify the scope of work for repair
  • Development of site specific plans and schedules for executing repairs
  • Restoration of operations
  • Institute mitigation measures
  • Identify “lessons learned” through post-incident reviews

Once the recovery period begins and/or appears that it will extend beyond the recovery capabilities of the facility, the Incident Commander should be responsible for the following:

  • Lead the creation and coordinate the activities of local recovery-dedicated organizations and initiatives.
  • Work with the federal, state, and local agency coordinators to develop a unified and accessible communication strategy.
  • Participate in damage and impact assessments with other recovery partners.
  • Organize recovery-planning processes to fully engage stakeholders and identify recovery objectives, priorities, resources, capabilities, and recovery capacity.
  • Ensure inclusiveness of the community in the recovery process through media and public relations efforts
  • Continually communicate recovery priorities to government liaisons, recovery stakeholders, employees, and the community.
  • Incorporate critical mitigation, resilience, sustainability and accessibility building measures into the recovery plans and efforts.
  • Lead the development of the facility’s recovery plan(s) and ensure that they are actionable and feasible based on available funding and capacity.
  • Collaborate with State, Federal and other stakeholders to identify external financial support for recovery, leverage the resources where possible and resolve potential duplication of assistance.
  • Work closely with the recovery leadership at all levels to ensure a well-coordinated, timely, and well-executed recovery.
  • Develop and implement recovery progress measures and communicate adjustments and improvements to applicable stakeholders and authorities.

The primary purpose of post-incident reviews is to identify deficiencies in the response plan and determine necessary actions to correct the deficiencies. The post-incident reviews can often reveal which response procedures, equipment, and techniques were effective, and which were not and the reason(s) why. These reviews can lead to “lessons learned” and should be reflected in the response plan, training efforts, and exercise objectives.

At a minimum, post-incident review checklists should include:

  • Name and typical duties of personnel being debriefed
  • Date, time and whereabouts of employee during incident
  • Actions taken during incident
  • Positive aspects of how the response occurred
  • Aspects identified for improvement

Be prepared for your next incident! Click the image below to download your free guide.

Preparedness and Emergency Management - TRP Corp

Tags: Incident Action Plan, Emergency Management, Emergency Preparedness, Incident Management, Event Preparedness

Strengthening the Incident Management Team

Posted on Mon, Jul 29, 2013

Every incident can present unexpected conditions and circumstances that can escalate the situation. The Incident Management Team (IMT) has the responsibility to evaluate, react, and adapt to changing circumstances to ensure the incident response evolves to a recovery mode.

Progress evaluations and plan adjustments should begin immediately upon team activation and continue until the incident is terminated. This level of coordination and communication among the incident management team requires knowledge, role specific training, and an effective synergy between team members. On smaller incidents with less likelihood for escalation, the task of developing incident objectives and strategies may be the sole responsibility of an Incident Commander. However, on larger or more complex incidents, members of the IMT and other key company personnel may contribute to this process.

A Wildfire Lessons case study revealed five guiding principles of  “High Reliability Organizations” (HROs). HROs typically operate in fast-paced, high-risk environments and achieve their operational goals or objectives. Yet these HRO are recognized for accomplishing these goals with minimal human error and accidents. IMTs should strive to integrate HRO principles into their methodology and training in order to strengthen incident resolution abilities and minimize incident escalation.

The five managing principals as revealed by Wildfire Lessons are:

1. Preoccupation with Failure:  HROs pay persistent attention to detecting and quickly responding to all errors and failures. “Treating all errors and failures as weak signals of possible larger failures, and a signal of possible weakness in other parts of the operation or organization.” IMTs should converge on early problem identification. This enables actionable responses that could potentially prevent incident escalation or a snowballing effect.

2. Reluctance to Simplify. “HROs resist the common tendency to oversimplify explanations of events and to steer away from evidence that disconfirms management direction or suggests the presence of unexpected problems.”  In order to move from incident management to recovery, IMTs must address and communicate detailed actions. Obscurities and cryptic language to minimize the reality and realistic implications of an incident can lead to a prolonged response, potentially endangering lives, the facility, or the environment.

3. Sensitivity to Operations. HROs must maintain situational awareness and a “big picture” concept of ongoing operations. IMTs should integrate response actions, results, and outcomes into overall situational and operational briefings. This maintains the ability to optimize responses and can reveal challenges or problems. As a result, proactive measures can be put into place before problems become substantial and overbearing.

For the IMT, incident briefings should communicate the broad scope picture. During these briefings, the incident manager can assess progress against stated objectives, execute plans, ensure support and resources are in place for current and next operational period.

4. Commitment to Resilience. HROs “recognize, understand and accept that human error and unexpected events are both persistent and omnipresent.”  Like with HROs, IMTs must be prepared for a worst-case scenario, yet assume incidents may reveal the unexpected. To combat the unexpected; IMTs must develop the capacity to respond to, contain, cope with, and recover from undesirable changes swiftly and effectively. Through pre planning, known threats and potential risks can be thwarted. However, preparing for resilience of the unexpected requires coordinated planning, internal and external response collaboration, training, and exercises.

5. Deference to Expertise. An HRO minimizes hierarchical restraints that will limit the organization to defer to experts. These equipment or specific incident response experts are typically not found at the executive level. Middle management, lower level personnel, or external authorities may have the experience and expertise to advise IMTs on incident specifications.  When operational decisions must be made quickly and accurately, IMT leaders should communicate with the necessary experts and defer to “the people who have the answer to the problem at hand.” Upper management should allow these decisions to be made by those with the most knowledge, minimizing potential obstacles for a timely response.

Confidence in an IMT by responders in the field is critical to success. By anticipating incident challenges through preparedness and encouraging an IMT to utilize interpersonal communications elements, organizational alertness, flexibility, and adaptability will result in an effective and timely response.

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Tags: Emergency Response, Incident Action Plan, Emergency Management, Incident Management

The Incident Action Plan Begins with Incident Command

Posted on Mon, Apr 29, 2013

The Incident Command System (ICS) is a tool used to standardize on-scene, all-hazards incident management. ICS allows for the integration of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures, and communications, operating within a common organizational structure for more effective incident response. Utilizing ICS allows Incident Commanders (IC) to develop incident-specific strategic objectives and facilitate response procedures to ensure a streamlined, effective, and safe response.

The incident may dictate response plan modifications. Early incident evaluations enable the IC to evaluate and determine the appropriate activation level of site personnel, prescribe the necessary sequence of events, and implement appropriate processes. Number of personnel required to staff an onsite Emergency Response Team will depend on the facility operations, and size and complexity of the incident.

Corporate response structures should reflect ICS principles, yet a facility's IC should be authorized the flexibility to modify a response and organizational structure as necessary to accomplish the incident response mission. As a result, company procedures may be altered to align within the context of the ICS and address a particular hazard scenario.

The Incident Commander should be responsible for directing the response activities and be trained to assume the duties of all the primary positions until the role(s) can be handed off to assigned response team members, or delegated to other qualified personnel. The more knowledgeable individuals are of their response roles and responsibilities, the better prepared a team can be to implement a streamlined response. Effective incident command should be maintained from the beginning to the end of operations, particularly if command is transferred. Any lapse in the continuity of command and the transfer of information may reduce the effectiveness of the response.

Incident Commander responsibilities may include, but are not limited to:

  • Activate the Emergency Response team
  • Activate additional response contractors and local resources
  • Evaluate the severity, potential impact, safety concerns, and response requirements based on the initial information provided by the first person on-scene.
  • Confirm safety aspects at site, including need for personal protective equipment,  ignition sources, and potential need for evacuation.
  • Communicate and provide incident briefings to company superiors, as appropriate.
  • Coordinate/complete additional internal and external notifications.
  • Communicate with Emergency Response Team, as the situation demands
  • Direct response and cleanup operation

Priorities of an Incident Commander should include, but are not limited to the following:

Early evaluation and continual incident updates: Through early and continual progress evaluations of current conditions, the IC can establish and alter an incident action plan to counteract the circumstances. The consideration of population and responder safety should be incorporated into every evaluation, response tactic, and impact forecast.

Effective communications: The ability to receive and transmit information, obtain reports to maintain situational awareness, and communicate with all components within the incident response organization is essential to ensure effective supervision and effective response controls.

Strategic decisions: The response team’s risk level is driven by incident circumstances and impeding response strategy. An offensive strategy places members in interior positions where they are likely to have direct contact with the incident or hazard. While an offensive strategy may result in a more timely response, the IC must ensure the team’s training level is adequate  with this type of approach. A defensive strategy removes members from interior positions and high-risk activities. The defensive approach may minimize incident escalations until properly trained responders arrive at the scene. The IC, in conjunction with the response plan, may assign basic positioning and functions of internal and external responders and allocates necessary resources at the scene or emergency incident.

Tactical-level management: Tactical response management centers around the tactics used to implement the strategy. The IC may utilize tactical-level management from within the facility or from an off-site command center. Tactical response team members may include operational, communications, safety manager, liaison officers, and/or other managing supervisors. The response team is able to monitor responders while the response is being done and can provide the necessary support. However, it is the responsibility of the IC to ensure tactical objectives are completed effectively. The initial objective priorities of tactical management should include:

  • Removing endangered occupants (evacuation or shelter in place), and attend to injured individuals
  • Stabilizing the incident to minimize expansion
  • Providing for the safety, accountability, and welfare of personnel
  • Protecting the environment
  • Protecting property

For tips and best practices on designing a crisis management program, download Tips for Effective Exercises.

Exercises - TRP Corp

Tags: Incident Action Plan, Emergency Management, Response Plans, Incident Management, ICS, Disaster Recovery

Industrial Fire Pre Plans and Fire Fighting Tactics

Posted on Mon, Nov 19, 2012

An industrial fire erupted on October 11, 2012 at an Ohio processing plant that produces cattle feed from vegetable oil.  After battling the flames for two hours, fire crews evacuated, due to the potential for explosion of nearby rail cars. According to the Willoughby News Herald, Painesville Township Fire Chief Frank Whittaker said, “The vegetable oil process contained in the cars was not dangerous by itself, but under pressure from the heat of the flames the tankers could vent, potentially causing a catastrophic explosion.”

During a fire response, circumstances can change in an instant. Having current information regarding site-specific facility hazards prior to arriving at an incident can assist in determining response methods and necessary equipment. Utilizing a shared fire pre-plan can minimize impacts and potential catastrophes caused by ill-informed responders. Fire pre-plans can ensure a coordinated, expedient, and safe response in the event of a fire. The faster responders can locate, assess, access, and mitigate the emergency, the sooner an incident can be contained.

Industrial fire pre-plans should include the following information, at a minimum:

Building Information:
Address and other location details
Construction and roofing materials
Building use and contents
Access/egress points
Typical occupancy
Floor plans
Utility details
Description of emergency lighting and alarms
Fire Protection Equipment:
Type of smoke detectors
Sprinkler systems
Description of and location of fire extinguishers
Location of fire hydrants/extinguishers
Special Hazards:
Type and location of hazards
Flammable materials within the facility and immediate surrounding area
Low hanging power lines
Aerial photograph showing building and surrounding area
Ground-level photographs of exterior sides of building
Tank Specifications:
Content Information
Type and dimensions
Valve details
Foam requirements


Whittaker revealed that the processing plant fire warranted a defensive response approach from beginning to end. With a combination of the information contained in a fire pre plan and the scope of the incident observed on scene, incident commanders are able evaluate the risk versus reward factors in determining firefighting tactics. If a scenario dictates extreme risks with very little reward, aggressive mitigation and response actions may be terminated in favor of a defensive firefighting mode. After civilian rescue efforts are terminated, the defensive mode is typically chosen to isolate or stabilize an incident, preventing further escalation.

Situations that may dictate an industrial defensive firefighting tactic may include, but not limited to:

  • Unsafe structure with no exposure to personnel or residential areas
  • Facility Unsafe conditions for firefighter entry
  • Fire beyond control of firefighting equipment or initial response unit
  • Impact limited to immediate vicinity

Industrial fire pre-planning will provide many of the details required to assist in a firefighting scenario, as well as provide the tools to determine the potential for a building collapse. Building classification, construction, incident duration, occupancy, fire location, and size of the incident are factors to consider in determining response tactics. However, the incident commander must continually re-evaluate the scenario and adjust the response as necessary. If a structural collapse is evident, responders and witnesses may observe the following;

  • Bulges in walls
  • Interior or exterior wall cracks
  • Audible sounds of structural movement
  • Water flowing through exterior walls
  • Water run-off is less than amount being pumped into building
  • Truss construction with direct fire involvement for longer than 5-10 minutes

Fire pre-plans provide key information necessary to improve the potential for a successful response, which may ultimately save lives and reduce property damage. The more specific information responders can obtain prior to an incident, the better equipped they are to respond with the most effective firefighting tactics within their capabilities.

For an understanding of the necessary elements in creating an effective fire pre plan, download our Fire Pre Planning Guide.

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Tags: Fire Department Training, Fire Pre Plans, Incident Action Plan, Fire Preparedness

Cutting Red Tape In Emergency Response with Proper Planning

Posted on Thu, Nov 08, 2012

Sandy, the super storm and hurricane of October 2012, created havoc on the northeast and mid- Atlantic coast. The storm brought ashore record setting low pressures, historical storm surges and flooding, destructive winds, copious amounts of rain, and blizzard conditions. The effects of the storm were varied and widespread. Typical daily events and critical infrastructures, including finance, transportation, utilities, and healthcare were affected by the storm. The scale of destruction was immense and, as a result, recovery efforts were tedious and widespread.

Improving disaster response capabilities requires coordination across all levels of government and the private and nonprofit sectors. U.S President, Barack Obama, emphasized the need for swift recovery efforts and instructed federal agencies to be flexible and proactive. "There's no excuse for inaction at this point. I want every agency to lean forward and to make sure that we are getting the resources where they're needed as quickly as possible. I want to repeat, my message to the federal government: no bureaucracy; no red tape. Get resources where they're needed as fast as possible, as hard as possible, and for the duration.".

Often in the aftermath of an incident, processes, procedures, and emotions get in the way of an effective response. A lengthy recovery process prolongs human suffering, drives up costs, and impacts companies’ sustainability. It is the goal of emergency planning to minimize response deficiencies in order to recover to normal operations. Pre Planning and exercising interoperability responses can minimize bureaucratic surprises and result in a more effective and timely response.

In 2006, Hurricane Katrina exposed many of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s weaknesses. Companies should take the lessons learned from Katrina and eventually, Sandy, and apply them to enhance their own emergency preparedness program. Communications with external agencies, contractors, medical responders, or other parties must begin in the planning phase of emergency management.  This interoperability planning should also extend to state or federal agencies, local jurisdictions, and suppliers or vendors. Communication is crucial for those contacts who do not participate directly in exercises. Communications left to the aftermath of an incident may result in disorganized and delayed responses.

The Department of Homeland Security identifies 5 elements that can improve emergency response interoperability.

  • Obtain leadership commitment from all disciplines (EMS, Fire, and Police Departments).
  • Foster collaboration across disciplines through leadership support.
  • Interface with policy makers to gain leadership commitment and resource support.
  • Establish relationship sustainability through ongoing communications
  • Plan and budget for ongoing updates to systems, procedures, and documentation.
  • Ensure collaboration and coordination.

Two-way communication cannot begin at the onset of a crisis situation. Companies need to build a response framework that will support comprehensive, collaborative, and coherent preparedness, and implement the concept of sustainability into emergency management endeavors.

A good response framework is only useful if response leadership from collaborative associations is able and willing to make flexible and intuitive decisions in efforts to advance a response. Drills and exercises involving both internal and external responders, including leadership from applicable government agencies, will allow for a better understanding of:

  • Response parameters and protocols
  • Necessary response efforts for the incident
  • Required documentation
  • Prescribed equipment for an effective incident response
  • Personnel requirements
  • Ongoing mitigation measures to minimize threats
  • Viable solutions for unusual scenarios

Collaborative planning and exercise efforts may validate participants’ positions, align priorities and common interests, and motivate participants to seek compromise for the good of an effective response. These preparedness and planning actions may consequently, “cut the red tape”.

For tips and best practices on designing a crisis management program, download Best Practices for Crisis Management.

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Tags: Power Failure, Incident Action Plan, Resiliency, Supply Chain, Disaster Response, National Preparedness, Red Cross

Incident Action Plans and the ICS Components

Posted on Mon, Oct 29, 2012

The incident action planning process should synchronize site-specific incident response operations and objectives based on the Incident Command System (ICS). The Incident Action Plan (IAP) should include predetermined activities or processes, repeated in each operational period, that provide a consistent rhythm and structure to the required incident management at the scene. With a detailed plan in place, response objectives can be met with the appropriate integrated incident response and coordinated operational support.

An incident is “an occurrence, natural or manmade, that requires a response to protect life or property.” - The National Incident Management System Glossary

The Incident Management Team must ensure that the IAP being developed meets the needs of the incident and the response objectives. Included in the IAP are ICS forms, a valuable resource for advancing a response to controlled conditions. However, leaders must be vigilant that these forms do not become the primary focus of the planning process, but rather a support tool that furthers the integration of a rational and effective planning process.

ICS forms are intended for developing IAPs, incident management activities, and for support and documentation of ICS activities. ICS forms are utilized to document many primary response components and provide the site-specific information utilized during a response. Personnel using the forms should have a basic understanding of the National Incident Management System (NIMS), including ICS, through training and/or experience to ensure they can effectively use and understand these forms.

ICS Forms used with IAP

The following ICS forms are typically included with an IAP. The information below includes the form identification number, the position responsible for form completion, and a summary of the form's objectives.

ICS Form-200: Action Plan Cover Page completed by Resource Status Unit Leader:

  • Identifies the ICS forms used in the IAP.
  • Incident Name
  • Date and time of operational period
  • Approval signature

ICS Form-202: Incident Objectives completed by the Incident Planning Chief:

  • Identifies overall general control objectives for the incident
  • May include general weather forecast for the specific operational period
ICS Form-203: Organization Assignment list completed by the Resource Unit Leader:
  •  Identifies list of assigned personnel for the following
    • Incident Command Staff
    • Agency representative
    • Planning Section
    • Logistics Section
    • Operations Section
    • Financial Section
    • Additional Divisions/Groups
    • Possible Air Operations

ICS Form-204: Assignment list completed by the Resource Unit Leader or Section Chief and Operations Section Chief:

  • Location of Assignments for current operational period
  • Operation Personnel Assigned
  • Nature of Operations
  • Special instructions
  • Group communications summary

ICS Form-205: Incident Radio Communication Plan completed by the Communications Unit Leader:

  • Basic radio channel utilization
    • Channel
    • Function
    • Frequency/tone
    • Assignment

ICS Form-206: Medical Plan completed by the Medical Unit Leader:

  • Incident Medical Aid Station
  • Ambulance service
  • Hospitals
  • Paramedic availability
  • Medical emergency procedures

Other ICS Forms are utilized in the ICS process for incident management activities, but may not be included in the IAP. 

Once the IAP is complete with appropriate ICS form attachments, the plan should:

  1. Specify the objectives for the next operational period
  2. Define the work assignments for the next operational period, including extracts of site-specific safety messages (Note: the Site Safety Plan, ICS Form-208, is generally a stand-alone document which may or may not be included in the IAP)
  3. Define the resources needed for each operational period to reach objectives
  4. Depict organization of response personnel
  5. List radio and telephone communications for all incident personnel
  6. Specify a medical plan to follow in case of a responder emergency

Identify resources at risk: Possibly include a sketch or other graphics of situational and response status that may include trajectories, shorelines, or aerial view results 

Click the image below for a "A Step-by-Step Guide: Be Prepared for Your Next Incident"

Preparedness and Emergency Management - TRP Corp

Tags: Incident Action Plan, Crisis Mapping, Crisis Management, Incident Management, Regulatory Compliance, Event Preparedness, Emergency Action Plan