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Incident Command System (ICS)

The Incident Command System (ICS) is a system that is used by SAR, otherwise known as Search and Rescue. The Incident Command System is a disaster management system that is designed to help SAR in times of crises and emergency. The system was originated in the late 1970’s from an inter agency California firefighting task force called FIRESCOPE. FIRESCOPE stands for Firefighting resources of southern California organized for potential emergencies. The ICS team is based around five main concepts that keep the team in order. Those five main concepts are Unity of Command, Common Terminology, Management by objective, Flexible and Modular Organization, and Span of Control.

The ICS is a very important part of how SAR runs and is efficient. ICS is a system that was designed to be effective and efficient incident management, it is a fundamental form of management with the purpose to identify the key concerns of the incident.

In the ICS system there are many functions that make the system work the way it does today, but there are four main functions that control how the system works. For example the Command Function is one that manages all SAR ops and provides strategy. The Operation Function handles all functional activities like a search group. The Planning Function has an assigned chief that evaluates resources, the state of the situation, action plan, documenting the events, and preparing a demobilization plan. All the functions in the ICS are necessary for the operation to run smoothly and effectively.

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