The phrase Incident Command System may sound complicated without context, but it has emerged over the last 50 years to be the standard for the command, control, and coordination of emergency response efforts. Here in Newfoundland, ICS training is performed through Fire & Emergency Services, and all municipalities are required to not only be trained in the system but also to have an Emergency Management Plan in place. Our curiosity about the system was stoked when we noticed that many of our emergency-centric clients use ICS. Here's what we found out.
What is ICS?
ICS is a standardized on-scene incident management concept designed specifically to allow responders to adapt an integrated organizational structure equal to the complexity and demands of any single incident or multiple incidents without being hindered by jurisdictional boundaries. ICS is normally structured to facilitate activities in five major functional areas: command, operations, planning, logistics, intelligence & investigations, and finance & administration. The purpose of ICS is to enable incident managers to identify the key concerns associated with an incident without sacrificing attention to any component of the command system.
Originally, ICS was developed to combat weaknesses in incident management, such as a lack of accountability due to unclear chains of command and supervision, poor communication as a result of conflicting terminologies among various emergency responders, and the lack of an orderly planning process. Becoming certified in ICS allows a party to take a more active role in any emergency without adding additional complexity to a tense situation, which is vital in terms of large-scale incidents or when a team with specialized skills is required.
Telelink gets ICS
While Telelink was founded on providing, and continues to provide, traditional answering service and inbound call centre outsourcing solutions, a large growth area has been in our emergency response division. Increasingly, we are hearing from customers that they would like us to handle more complex situations, beyond the initial mobilization call out that we have been doing for years. After consulting with industry experts, we decided that we could best respond to these client requests by becoming ICS certified ourselves.
All of our emergency response agents are now ICS-100 certified. As a result of this certification, our agents are able to understand our clients better and therefore offer better service to them, as they have a stronger understanding of the terms, definitions, roles, and other facets associated with an emergency deployment. We have established a solid base of trained agents, and are committed to continuing to improve our credentials and provide the emergency response service that our customers desire from us.
Our emergency and safety division has seen tremendous growth in the past three years, having graduated from municipality emergency management to oil spill responses, corporate emergency management and beyond. Our adoption of ICS standards is a reflection of our commitment to offering the best possible service for our customers.
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