Incident Command System

The incident command system (ICS) is a standard emergency management system used throughout the United States to provide a flexible command and control structure upon which to organize a response.56 The ICS is generally used when there is an identifiable single scene for a disaster event, such as the site of a plane crash. By standardizing an organizational structure and using common terminology, the ICS provides a management system that is adaptable to incidents involving a multiagency or multijurisdictional response. At the most basic level, the organizational structure has five main components: (1) incident command, (2) operations, (3) planning, (4) logistics, and (5) finance. The principles of a prehospital ICS can also be applied to the hospital setting. With this type of organizational infrastructure and the flexibility to expand and collapse as needed, an orderly and efficient response to any incident can theoretically be implemented.

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