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Business Challenges

Emergency Response

ICS: The ultimate model for command, control, and coordination.

You never know if today is going to be "the day." Be prepared.

From international and home-grown terrorism, to fires, floods and tornadoes, you need to prepare your company for the man-made and natural disasters you'll face in the future.  Many public and private sector entities use the Incident Command System, or ICS, to respond to major events, incidents and emergencies.  Should you?

Incident Command System (ICS) - The ultimate model for emergency response command, control and coordination.

The ICS model is widely used throughout the United States. ICS can be found in the National Response Framework and it is essentially the foundation to the National Incident Management System, or NIMS. ICS is the Command and Control portion of the NIMS plan. NIMS was devised as the ultimate model for how our country would respond to emergencies.


ICS is also listed in government directives, such as Homeland Security Presidential Directives 5 & 8 (HSPD-5 & 8). Primarily, ICS is the model tool for command, control, and coordination.


ICS was developed in the 1970s in response to a series of major wild fires in southern California. At that time, local, state and federal firefighting organizations decided that, due to the large loss of life, injuries and property loss, there had to be a better way to fight these fires. ICS provided a flexible framework designed to achieve effective communication and management during a response to, and recovery from, anything from a small out of the ordinary incident to a large disaster.

ICS was originally designed to address recurring problems, such as:

  • Too many people reporting to one supervisor

  • Different organizational response structures between agencies

  • Lack of reliable incident information

  • Inadequate and incompatible communications systems

  • Nonstandard terminology among responding organizations

  • Poor communications

  • Lack of accountability

  • Lack of planning and no clearly defined command structure

  • Lack of ability to expand or contract as required by the situation

  • Lack of designated facilities

ICS is extremely flexible for any planned or emergency response needed.

Efforts to address these inefficiencies resulted in the development of the original ICS model for effective incident management. ICS has since evolved into an all-hazards system that is appropriate for both large and small-scale events, incidents, and emergencies.

The use of ICS is applicable to all hazards, including:

  • Human-Caused Hazards: Criminal acts, terrorist acts, work place violence, or other civil disturbances, injuries, or power outages.

  • Technological Hazards: Dam breaks, radiological or hazmat releases, power failures, oil/gas spills, or air, rail, water, or ground transportation accidents.

  • Natural Hazards: Disasters, such as fires, tornadoes, floods, ice storms, earthquakes, food-borne illnesses, epidemics, or pest eradication programs.


ICS can also be used to manage a planned event like the Olympics, presidential inaugurations, concerts, parades, official visits, staff parties, staff training, large meetings, fundraisers, and other special events.

The beauty of the ICS model is its scalability and its applicability for routine or small occurrences, as well as major incidents.

Public and private sector, large and small organizations use and benefit from ICS.  In the public sector, experienced users include all types of first responders, including Federal, state, county and city emergency teams.  Private sector users include organizations like hospitals and the healthcare system, financial institutions, universities, retail/wholesale suppliers, oil and gas companies, airports, utilities, and other Government contractors.  ICS success has come from applying a common organizational structure and key management principles in a standardized way.

Applying ICS Concepts to Businesses

Harkcon Academy has a large offering of Emergency Response courses.

Enhance your ability to respond to critical business challenges.

ICS concepts can be used during out-of-the-ordinary events requiring a response, during critical or disruptive incidents or events within your organization, and during pre-planned events that require an organized response. ICS can also be used during large incidents near your location or when you might have to provide logistical support to a larger organization.


To be successful, ICS needs to be a routine part of daily operations.  The principles provide significant benefit in helping employees understand how to operate during a crisis or other non-routine event.   ICS provides a common plan and language in interfacing with first responders.  It helps develop strong relationships with your local response organizations, and makes it easy to become part of a larger response team.  It helps you prepare for Process Safety Management (PSM) accreditation, as necessary.


In addition, ICS is the law.  Its proven and accepted methodology is the only recognized emergency management system across ALL governmental levels and jurisdictions.  Using ICS makes you part of the solution during a crisis and creates opportunities to sell your product or services.


Bottom line: ICS is a productive force keeping your organization up-to-date and ready for anything. 

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