The Incident Command System

The Incident Command System (ICS) is a standardized, on-scene, all-hazards incident management approach that:

  • Allows for the integration of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures, and communications operating within a common organizational structure.
  • Enables a coordinated response among various jurisdictions and functional agencies, both public and private.
  • Establishes common processes for planning and managing resources.

ICS is flexible and can be used for incidents of any type, scope, and complexity. ICS allows its users to adopt an integrated organizational structure to match the
complexities and demands of single or multiple incidents.

Incident Action Plan

One of the key concepts of the Incident Command System is development and implementation of an Incident Action Plan for response activities. The incident Action Plan documents the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the incident response that allows for ease of use and assessment.

The Incident Action Plan uses standardized forms to document information, as a private organization you are not required to use forms from a certain group or agency (ie. HICS or FEMA ICS forms). You may choose what style of forms work for you.

Hospital Incident Command System

HICS is an incident management system based on the Incident Command System (ICS), that assists hospitals in improving their emergency management planning, response, and recovery capabilities for unplanned and planned events. HICS is consistent with ICS and the National Incident Management System (NIMS) principles. HICS will strengthen hospital disaster preparedness activities in conjunction with community response agencies and allow hospitals to understand and assist in implementing the 17 Elements of the hospital-based NIMS guidelines.


The Hospital Preparedness Program requires hospitals that receive grant funding to train their leadership in the National Incident Management System and the Incident Command System. This training is required for hospital emergency program managers and for personnel who are likely to assume an incident command position as described in the hospital’s Emergency Management Plan. IS 100, 200, 700, and 800 will cover the mandatory requirements. IS 300 and 400 are not required, however we recommend hospital EMCs take those courses if they will serve in a leadership role in CMOC, that does not  include the corridor operational level.

Links to FEMA EMI Courses

The FEMA EMI Independent Study Courses are available online for free.

IS-100.c – Introduction to the Incident Command System for Healthcare/Hospitals

IS-200.HCa – Applying ICS to Healthcare Organizations

IS-700.b – National Incident Management System (NIMS), an introduction

IS-800.c – National Response Framework, an introduction

Links to Yale New Haven

The Yale New Haven Center for Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response has two courses available that are considered FEMA equivalents. These courses are avaialble at a cost.

EM 108 – Emergency Preparedness for Healthcare with NIMS (IS 700 equivalent)

EM 143 – Incident Command Systems for Healthcare with NIMS/NRF (IS 100, 200, 800 equivalent)