Incident Command System and its Application in Responding to Tsunami

IncidentCommand System and its Application in Responding to Tsunami

IncidentCommand System and its Application in Responding to Tsunami

Differentsystems have been designed to increase efficiency in handling theever-increasing hazards. The incident command system (ICS) is one ofthese systems and it was designed in 1968 with the primary objectiveof incising the fire firefighting capabilities OSHA (2014) definedICS as a standardized concept that was designed to permit disasterresponders use an organizational structure that was integrated andequal to the demands and complexity of incidents without hindrancesassociated with jurisdictional boundaries. Although the inception ofthe concept was motivated by the increase in wildfires, thestakeholders in the incidents management sector needed to addressother challenges, such as inadequacy of communications, lack of clearlines of authority, and too many responders reporting to a singlesupervisor.

Theincident command system is based on five components that lead to itssuccessful implementation. These components include command,planning, operation, logistics, and finance (OSHA, 2014). Thesecomponents serve as the foundation on which the ICS organization isdeveloped. The components apply during routine emergency managingresponses to major disasters, and preparing for serious disasters.The five components can be managed by one person in case of smallscale incidents. In the case of large scale incidents, each componentshould be managed separately to enhance efficiency in incidentresponse service.

Thefive components can be used to manage response to the tsunami. First,the command function should be headed by an incident commander whoshould be in charge of the incident. Some of the key functions of theincident commander should include ensuring responders` safety,protection of life and property, and prioritizing the hard hit areas(OSHA, 2014).

Theincident commander should establish a planning section since tsunamisare large-scale incidents in most cases. The planning function shouldcollect, analyze, evaluate and disseminate information pertaining tothe progress of tsunami as well as the status of resources allocatedto respond to the incident (Natural Hazards Center, 2013). Thissection should then develop an incident action plan (IAP) on how theresponse to the tsunami incident should be carried out.

Theresponsibility of the operation function is to implement the incidentaction plan (OSHA, 2014). The chief of the tsunami operation sectionshould coordinate all response operations keep the incidentcommander informed about the progress of response efforts and requestfor resources, but through the incident commander.

Functionsof the logistics section are designed to provide support toresponders. The main roles of the logistics section include provisionof services, facilities, and materials needed by responders (OSHA,2014). For example, medical units should be placed near thelocations hit by tsunami to provide health care to tsunamiresponders.

Thefinance section should be responsible for cost tracking,reimbursement, and other administrative roles (OSHA, 2014). Thefinance section should ensure that all expenses, income received tofinance the response operations, and reimbursement accounting areproperly recorded and accompanied by a justification.

Inconclusion, the incident command system is an important tool thatleads to effective response to incidents. However, the effectivenessof ICS depends on the implementation of its individual components. Inthe case of tsunamis, which are large-scale incidents in most cases,each component of ICS should be implemented separately. However,their functions should be properly coordinated with the heads of eachsection reporting to the commander of the tsunami incident.


NaturalHazards Center (2013). Naturalhazards observer: the use of Incident Command during HurricaneKatrina.Greenville, NC: Natural Hazards Center.

OSHA(2014).Occupational safety and health administration.Washington, DC: OSHA.