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Health/Safety/Risk Management

In the News

Posted October, 2011

Importance of reviewing ICS


Earthquakes, tornadoes, tropical storms, flooding. During the past few months, the greater Capital Region has experienced several natural disasters of varying magnitudes that serve as a reminder to schools about the importance of reviewing and practicing emergency plans.

Thankfully, more often than not, our schools are safe havens for teaching and learning. Yet, at any given moment, school staff may need to become first responders for a variety of emergency incidents, including natural disasters, health-related incidents such as flu outbreaks, food-borne diseases, and accidents - whether in science labs, on athletic fields or on school buses.

Depending on the incident, schools must be prepared to respond in partnership with local, State and sometimes Federal agencies in a coordinated effort using the same terminology and approach.

Incident Command System

Response to all crises requires a clear chain of command between all responders. The Incident Command System, or ICS, is a standardized, on-scene, all-hazard incident management approach. It is based on the premise that every crisis has certain major elements requiring clear lines of command and control.

ICS is based on proven incident management practices, and provides the structure for how incidents are handled from communications to logistics and administrative functions.

ICS defines incident response organizational concepts and structures; consists of procedures for managing personnel, facilities, equipment, and communications; and is generally used throughout the lifecycle of an event. ICS is also flexible-meaning it can grow or shrink to meet different needs.

Why use ICS?

It is designed to help school personnel ensure:

arrow bulletThe safety of students, staff, responders, and others.

arrow bulletThe achievement of incident objectives.

arrow bulletThe efficient use of resources.

Health/Safety/Risk Management staff members are available to facilitate tabletop exercises and drills to help districts practice ICS plans.

More information and basic ICS courses are available through FEMA's Emergency Management Institute. Go to, and scroll down to select the following courses for on-line Independent Study:

arrow bulletIS-100.SCa Introduction to the Incident Command System, I-100, for Schools

arrow bulletIS-700, National Incident Management System (NIMS), An Introduction


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