9 August 2008Many issues surround human beings and environment that may cause a problem any time. Issues such as global warming, floods, terrorism contributes to all dangers that humanity faces. There should be structures that managers this incidents and an example is the Incident Command System that contains a hierarchal command structure. ICS will be discussed and Harrow Court Incident will be taken as an example of benefit that could have resulted if ICS would have been employed. In addition, the different parts and functions of ICS are discussed.
Brief HistoryIncident Command System (ICS) was developed in 1970s after the massive fire fighting in California and other catastrophic fires in the urban places of California. These fire results to property loss, injuries and even deaths. From this, it was evident that the existing structure was not able to deal with threats that involved many districts. Hence, it was developed to clarify the command structure during large-scale incidents. It was the embraced by many countries like Australia and United Kingdom (Taylor 1999). Gold Silver Bronze command structureIt is used to establish a hierarchical framework that is used for command and control of different levels of incident and disasters.
The terms strategic, tactical and operational are grouped, as gold is for strategic, silver for tactical and bronze for operational. Gold Commander formulates strategies that are used in dealing with an incident; the commander is not at the incident site but at a distance office. Silver Commander receives direction from the Gold Commander and breaks these instructions into sets that can be followed by Bronze Commander. Bronze commander is within an incident scene and work in hand with the staff at the site.
Bronze Commander is under the police during emergency cases apart from those that are related with Fire and Rescue Incidents (Thom 2001). Span of controlThis is an integral part of incident command system. It requires distinctive areas or communications of any officer to be limited to enable effectively manage their issue. The span of control mostly deals with communications related issues and it is usually 2- 3 lines in a complex situation and 6 – 7 lines in a stable situation.
In most cases, the commander is supposed to limit their span of control to 4 – 5 lines of direct involment. SectorisationThis is the method in which defined boundary of responsibilities is derived. This boundary then defines a Sector as functions or areas of responsibilities. A Sector may either be physical or in parts of services of operations. The size and complexity of an incident may be difficult for an Incident Commander to operate easily; hence, the incident commander will break the incident into sectors and assign a Sector Commander.
There are usually two types of sectorisation: specialization or topographical. Roles and ResponsibilitiesSector Commander is usually appointed for a specific sector that is there, and is supposed to report to the IC or the Operations Commander. The Sector Commander will be the general manager of a given Sector and will be responsible for any risks that affect their sector.