If you want to do Search and Rescue work, you need to be familiar with the the Incident Command System (ICS). Whether you are a volunteer SAR team member, a community member, or an emergency responder (like a police officer or firefighter) you have a place in ICS. The Incident Command System can be used for any incident regardless of type, scope, or complexity. It is used by all levels of government to facilitate work between responders, to use resources efficiently, and to achieve common goals.
Who is in charge in the ICS?
The Incident Commander. The Incident Commander is aided by their Incident Command Staff: Planning, Operations, Logistics, Finance and Administration. Depending on the incidents needs, the Incident Commander may work with a team or essentially hold all of the Incident Command Staff positions.
Where do you fit in the ICS?
As a resource responding with MSAR, one might find themselves anywhere within the ICS system depending on your interests and skills. Most team members will seek their spot low within the Operations section as a member of a search team.
The Incident Command System makes responding to an emergency easier because of the following elements:
· Common Terminology (to avoid confusion and miscommunication)
· Established Command (agreed upon by all parties involved)
· Chain of Command (clear lines of direction and accountability)
· Unity of Command (single ultimate authority for the incident)
· Transfer of Command (orderly transitions if needs and circumstances change)
· Span of Control (manageable number of direct-reports for any supervisor)
· Management by Objectives (agreed-upon logic and prioritization to all activities)
· Incident Action Planning (standardized forms and protocols)
· Modular Organization (arranged by units and teams that can be deployed quickly)
· Comprehensive Resource Management (to make most efficient and effective use of materiel and personnel)
· Facilities & Locations Management
· Information & Intelligence Management
· Dispatch & Deployment Protocols
You can become more familiar with the Incident Command System and earn ICS certifications here: