Understanding the Incident Command System (ICS)

What Is ICS?

The Incident Command System (ICS) is a standardized emergency management system. When it functions well, ICS allows for the integration of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures and communications operating within a common organizational structure.

Originally developed by fire-fighters in California, ICS has been adopted nationally by FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, under its National Incident Management System (NIMS).

What Difference Does ICS Make?

The Incident Command System, properly implemented, allows scarce resources to work efficiently when facing significant emergencies. It can, implemented correctly, save lives. Residents in the Cannon Beach Rural Fire Protection District who plan to help with emergency response should be aware of ICS: you are likely to be operating within it during a major emergency.

It is also the law. All Oregon jurisdictions receiving preparedness funds or receiving direct benefit from these funds must be NIMS compliant. This is a Federal requirement that the State cannot waive or defer.

In addition, if RACES is put into effect, by law only RACES-certified radio operators may use the ham frequencies - either to transmit or receive radio transmissions. RACES requirements include completion of three ICS courses, ICS 100, 200, and 700. These courses are available online.

Who Are the Incident Commanders?

In the Cannon Beach Rural Fire Protection District, there are two designated incident commanders: the fire chief, CBRPFD, and the chief of police, City of Cannon Beach. Incident commanders may appoint deputy commanders at their discretion.

Incident Command System Radio Forms

Tactical traffic is often passed by voice, without paper documentation. Under current regulations, all accountable traffic - including emergency traffic - should be sent in ICS 213 format, whether by voice or digitally. Accountable traffic includes (but is not limited to) situation reports and all requests for personnel and supplies.