National Incident Management System (NIMS)

The University will model its emergency response protocols to those outlined in the National Incident Management System (NIMS), including the use of the Incident Command System (ICS) outlined therein.

This will allow the University to integrate its emergency response procedures with outside agencies that utilize NIMS and ICS. University emergency response programs and protocols will be developed and emergency response personnel will be trained in accordance with these systems.

Incident Command System

The Incident Command System (ICS) is a national model for managing small- and large-scale emergencies and other complex events. Employing ICS provides the ability to effectively communicate and coordinate response actions with external emergency response agencies through a standardized and common emergency management and response approach.

Elements common to all ICS include:

  • The use of common terminology to define organizational functions, incident facilities, resource descriptions, and position titles.
  • The use of modular and scalable organizations based on the size and complexity of the incident.
  • The development and use of an Incident Action Plan (IAP) that outlines the strategies and objectives of the agencies response to an emergency.
  • A chain of command and unity of command that clearly outlines the reporting relationships of each group and individuals responsible for responding to an emergency.
  • The use of a Unified Command (UC) for incidents involving multiple emergency response agencies.
  • The establishment of a manageable span of control for supervising and managing personnel responding to an emergency.
  • The establishment of pre‐designated emergency management locations and facilities to include the Emergency Operations Center.
  • Plans and procedures for the management and coordination of resources.
  • Information and intelligence management systems and protocols.
  • The use of integrated and interoperable communication systems.

The following section outlines the basic roles and responsibilities for the positions and response sections in an Incident Command System. Figure 1 provides an overview of the organization structure and relationship of the entities discussed below.

Incident Commander (IC)

  • Manages the University’s response to an emergency, including the oversight of all emergency response activities.
  • Determines what additional command and general staff are needed to respond to an emergency and oversees their activities.
  • Establishes the command post.
  • Activates the University alert system to warn faculty, staff, and students of an emergency.
  • May also function in the roles of the command and general staff depending on the complexity of the event.

Command Staff

  • Reports directly to the Incident Commander and includes the Public Information Officer, Liaison Officer, and Safety Officer.
  • The Public Information Officer (PIO) is responsible for communicating information about the emergency to the public and the media. During multiple agency responses to an emergency, the PIO shall coordinate their communications to the public and the media with other agencies responding to the emergency.
  • The Liaison Officer is responsible for coordinating the University’s response with external agencies responding to the emergency. The Liaison Officer may also need to coordinate with internal groups involved or impacted by the emergency.
  • The Safety Officer is responsible for identifying and addressing hazards to emergency response personnel and the campus community and ensuring that safety measures are in place to protect people responding to or impacted by the emergency.

General Staff

  • The general staff are the individuals in charge of the Operations, Planning, Logistics, and Finance and Administration sections responding to an emergency.
  • Each section is headed by a Section Chief who reports directly to the Incident Commander.
  • Section chiefs are responsible for managing all incident-specific operations within their respective areas.

Emergency Response Sections

  • Depending on the complexity of an emergency, the University may establish one or more emergency response sections to aid in the response. These include Operations, Planning, Logistics, and Finance and Administration sections. The roles and responsibilities of each section are described below.
  • The Operations Section is responsible for the actual response to mitigate, control, and resolve the emergency.
  • The Planning Section is responsible for developing the Incident Action Plan (IAP) for the emergency. It also serves to collect, monitor, and analyze information about that emergency in order to assist in the response.
  • The Logistics Section is responsible for obtaining the necessary supplies, personnel, and material required for response to an emergency.
  • The Finance and Administration Section is responsible for overseeing the purchasing and accounting for the costs associated with the response to an emergency. This section also is responsible for documenting expenditures due to the response to an emergency so that the University can seek financial reimbursement for costs incurred during the response.

Unified Command System

The Unified Command system provides a team‐based approach to managing emergencies. This allows all agencies responding to an emergency to establish a common set of incident objectives and jointly make decisions and speak with a common voice. The composition of the members of the Unified Command is dependent on the type and severity of an incident. The graphic below outlines how the University will function in a Unified Command system.

Figure 1 - Incident Command System