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“Who’s In Charge?”. “THE COMMAND SECTION”. The Incident/Unified Commander. Incident/Unified Commander(s) provides direction and guidance through: Key command decisions Setting incident priorities Developing unified objectives Making staff assignments to the Incident Management Team (IMT).

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Who s in charge

“Who’s In Charge?”


The incident unified commander
The Incident/Unified Commander

  • Incident/Unified Commander(s) provides direction and guidance through:

    • Key command decisions

    • Setting incident priorities

    • Developing unified objectives

    • Making staff assignments to the Incident Management Team (IMT)

Command section must
Command Section must …

  • Analyze the overall requirements of the incident:

    • Situational Awareness/Common Operational Picture

    • Resource Allocation/Status

    • Impact

    • Legal Implications

    • The Emergency Operations Plan

Command section must1
Command Section must …

  • Determine the most appropriate direction for the management team to follow relative to:

    • Life/Safety

    • Hazard Control

    • Property Conservation

    • Legal Issues

    • Capabilities

    • Political Will


  • Incident name

  • Determining agencies that will be represented in Unified Command

  • Support facilities and locations

    • ICP, Base, JIC etc…

  • Operational periods


  • Delegation of authority to the staff

  • Information management process

  • Staffing of primary positions (OSC and Deputy)

  • Incident Priorities

    • Unified Command Meeting

    • Unified Objectives

  • How Command will function

    • Deputies

    • Staff

Incident priorities
Incident Priorities

  • Safety of responders and the public

  • Minimize further loss of property/impact on the environment

  • Mitigate further threat/attack

  • Infrastructure restoration

  • Investigate, apprehend and prosecute those responsible for the incident

Unified incident objectives
Unified Incident Objectives

  • Safety

  • Search and Rescue

  • Fire/Salvage

  • Law Enforcement

  • Transportation Management

  • HazMat/Environmental

Developing objectives
Developing Objectives

  • “SMART” Objectives

    • S - Specific

    • M - Measurable

    • A – Attainable

    • R - Relevant

    • T - Time-bound

  • Based on priorities (all stakeholders)

  • Written as “action” statements

  • The “Commander’s Intent”

Incident objectives
Incident Objectives


    • Provide for the safety and welfare of citizens and response personnel

    • Identify safety and risk management factors and monitor for compliance for both the public and responders

    • Conduct Operational Risk Assessment and ensure controls are in place to protect responders and the public.

Incident objectives1
Incident Objectives

  • Search and Rescue (SAR)

    • Account for all affected responders and civilians

    • Locate and evacuate all victims

    • Conduct joint agency SAR efforts

Incident objectives2
Incident Objectives

  • Fire and Salvage

    • Continue fire fighting operations and contain, extinguish and overhaul fire

    • Contain spread of fire to …

    • Conduct damage/stability assessment

    • Develop and implement a salvage plan

Incident objectives3
Incident Objectives

  • Law Enforcement

    • Establish and maintain enforcement of safety/ security zones

    • Establish incident security plan including credentialing and other scene control measures

    • Ensure a coordinated effort is in place for investigation, evidence collection, storage and security

    • Ensure witness/victim management procedures are in place

Incident objectives4
Incident Objectives

  • Transportation Management

    • Conduct roadway assessment and establish priorities for facilitating commerce

    • Establish and maintain coordination for possible movement of State/Federal assets

    • Develop and secure dedicated emergency access/egress routes

Incident objectives5
Incident Objectives

  • HazMat/Environmental

    • Ensure control of the source and minimize release of the product

    • Determine projected effect of product and identify sensitive area(s)

    • Develop strategies for protection …

    • Develop and implement a plan to effectively contain, clean up, recover and dispose of spilled product

    • Ensure continuous monitoring of impact zone

Management objectives
Management Objectives

  • The “Responder Safety Objective”

  • Manage a coordinated interagency response effort that reflects the makeup of Unified Command

  • Establish an appropriate IMT organization that can effectively meet the initial and long term challenges required to mitigate the incident

  • Identify all appropriate agency/organization mandates, practices, and protocols for inclusion in the overall response effort

Management objectives cont d
Management Objectives (cont’d)…

  • Identify and minimize social, political and economic adverse effects

  • Implement a coordinated response with law enforcement and other responding agencies including MCEs

  • Evaluate all planned actions to determine potential impacts on social, political and economic entities

  • Identify competing response activities (LE and Mitigation) to ensure that they are closely coordinated

Tasks vs objectives
Tasks vs. Objectives

  • Incident Management Team members expect command to assign them specific tasks based on the unique characteristics of an incident

  • Common tasks that are normally performed by the staff during response should not be addressed as tasks

  • The Operations Section Chief normally receives tasks (work assignments) from command in the form of incident objectives

Example of common tasks

Example of Common Tasks

Safety Officer


Liaison Officer

Intelligence Officer




Safety officer
Safety Officer

  • Develop a site safety plan, including support facilities

  • Monitor safety plan for compliance

  • Report any serious incidents, accidents, or injuries immediately to command

Public information officer
Public Information Officer

  • Develop a media strategy

  • Locate and establish a JIC

  • Provide talking points to Command for press briefings, VIP visits and town hall meetings

Liaison officer
Liaison Officer

  • Develop a plan to ensure communication and coordination with appropriate stakeholders and assisting agencies

  • Keep Command informed of any stakeholder adverse feelings/relationships that may develop.

Intelligence officer
Intelligence Officer

  • Identify critical intelligence needs

  • Develop intelligence flow plan and brief IMT

  • Be the central point of coordination for all interagency intelligence organizations

    • Field Intelligence Support Teams

    • Joint Terrorism Task Forces

    • Intelligence Fusion Centers, etc…

  • Screen intelligence information for OPSEC/Security Sensitive Information (SSI) classification


  • Ensure that all off-site information reporting is approved by Command prior to release

  • Develop a contingency plan for sustaining long-term IMT staffing

  • Brief IMT staff on document control system, including handling and storing secure documents

  • Provide all documents that need review or approval by Command at least one hour prior to implementation or release


  • Develop and brief the IMT on the internal/external resource ordering process

  • Monitor for compliance

  • Ensure that appropriate security is established at incident support facilities

  • Develop and establish a secure communications plan for both internal and external use and brief the IMT staff.

Finance admin

  • Provide Command with a summary cost estimate

  • Establish a claims system and brief the IMT on the process

  • Advise Command of unusual high cost (i.e. specialized equipment use, workers comp issues, etc.)

The incident unified commander1
The Incident/Unified Commander …

  • Provides direction and guidance through:

    • Key decisions

    • Setting priorities

    • Developing objectives

    • Making staff assignments

  • Coordinates interaction of the sections

  • Issues the “Commander’s Intent”

  • Has the ultimate responsibility