Hazardous Materials & Emergency Response

If you use or store hazardous materials you are required to have a response plan for spills and releases. Emergency response teams must be trained and equipped to respond to foreseeable emergencies

Incident Command System for Hazardous Materials Emergencies (ICS)

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A brief overview of the Incident Command System, or Hazardous Materials Emergency Response ICS, the responsibilities of the parties involved at an incident response and describe the system of command that is vital to a successful incident response.

The system consists of procedures for controlling personnel, facilities, equipment and communications. It's designed to begin developing from the time an incident occurs until the requirement for management and operations no longer exists.

The Hazardous Materials Emergency Response ICS has five major functional areas: Command, Operations, Planning, Logistics, and Finance. These components work together interactively to provide the basis for an effective Hazardous Materials Emergency Response ICS operation. To be effective, an incident management system must be suitable for use regardless of the type of jurisdiction or agency involvement.

Common elements in organization, terminology and procedures are necessary for maximum application of a system and use of existing qualifications and standards. Effective fulfillment of these requirements must be combined with simplicity to ensure low operational maintenance costs.

The Incident Commander, or IC, has many responsibilities that include placing life safety as the highest priority. The second priority is incident stabilization and the third priority is property conservation. The size and complexity of the command system developed and implemented by the IC should be directly proportional to the magnitude and complexity of the incident. The Incident Commander must also determine strategic goals and tactical objectives. Damage and injuries that have already occurred cannot be alleviated, but further damage and personal suffering must be minimized.

Coordination is essential to effective incident management. Without it, resources will be wasted performing tasks that aren't necessary to the overall success of the incident response. Proper coordination will ensure that units are functioning within the action plan.

A command post, of whatever size, provides a central, stationary location to assist the IC in incident command and control. The command post is a field office for management functions such as gathering, analyzing and disseminating information. The command post location should be announced as soon as possible so that persons with certain functional assignments know where to report.

Integrated communications involves managing communications through the use of a common communications plan. Standard operating procedures should be established using common terminology and clear text. Effective two way communication is essential to successful incident management. Not only is it important that messages are received, it's important that they are acknowledged properly.

The command function within Hazardous Materials Emergency Response ICS may be conducted in two general ways.

Single command may be applied when there is no overlap of jurisdictional boundaries or when a single IC is designated by the agency with overall management responsibility for the incident. Unified command may be applied when the incident is within one jurisdictional boundary, but more than one agency shares management responsibility. Unified command is also used when the incident is multi jurisdictional in nature, or when more than one individual designated by his or her jurisdiction or agency shares overall management responsibility.

Under the unified command concept, all involved agencies contribute to the command process. Overall goals, planning tactical objectives, conducting integrated tactical operations and maximizing the use of available resources are decided jointly.

Another important component of an effective emergency management system is a manageable span of control. Span of control is defined as the number of subordinates one supervisor can manage effectively. Guidelines for the desirable range are from 3 to 7 persons, while the optimum number is five subordinates per Supervisor. Command officers must anticipate span of control problems and prepare for them especially during rapid buildup of incident organization.

Like all other Hazardous Materials Emergency Response ICS functions, staging also has specific responsibilities. The Staging area manager should establish a check-in procedure, respond to requests for resources and keep the IC or Operations Section Chief informed of the status of resources in the staging area. A properly run staging area provides significant advantages. It allows for fire fighter safety and personnel accountability, prevents premature deployment of companies and prevents freelancing. All these advantages are made possible because companies are logged in and given assignments, maintaining control of resources.

The potential magnitude of the service and support requirements may indicate that the IC delegate the functional authority for logistics to the Logistics Section Chief who manages service and support resources required for the incident. This individual should establish functional units when needed to maintain an acceptable workload and span of control.

Financial considerations are not a major problem during most incident operations. However, when an organization is involved in any incident that requires the use of private sector resources or incidents where agencies involved in response will be seeking reimbursement, the financial considerations can be extensive.

All materials in the members area for this topic index

Program Material

Programs (written)
 Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Policy   Download  MS-WORD
 Hazmat Plan   Download  MS-WORD
Fact Sheets
 Hazmat Overview   Download  MS-WORD

Forms & Documents

 Hazmat Incident Commander Checklist   Download  MS-WORD
 Hazmat Operations Manager Checklist   Download  MS-WORD
 Hazmat Safety Officer Checklist   Download  MS-WORD

Training Material

 Hazwoper Cpl Safety Article   Download  MS-WORD
 Hazmat Trg Course Criteria   Download  MS-WORD
 Hazmat Trg Course Management   Download  MS-WORD
 Hazmat Trg Definitions   Download  MS-WORD
 Hazmat Trg Emerg Response   Download  MS-WORD
 Hazmat Trg Genhazwaste   Download  MS-WORD
 Hazmat Trg RCRA OPS   Download  MS-WORD
 40 Hour HAZWOPER PowerPoint Spanish   Download  MS-PPT
 40 hour HAZWOPER PowerPoint   Download  MS-PPT
 HAZWOPER 8Hr Operations PowerPoint Spanish   Download  MS-PPT
 HAZWOPER 8Hr Operations PowerPoint   Download  MS-PPT
 Hazardous Material Decontamination PowerPoint   Download  MS-PPT
 Hazardous Waste Management Training PowerPoint Spanish   Download  MS-PPT
 Hazardous Waste Management Training PowerPoint   Download  MS-PPT
Hazardous Materials Overview
Emergency Response Plan
Incident Command Checklist
Operations Checklist
Safety Control Checklist
Training Handout
Leak & Spill Response
Hazardous Material Team Training
General Hazardous Waste Operations
RCRA operations
HazMat Treatment, storage and disposal
Emergency Response Training
Course Management
Hazardous Materials Course Criteria
Incident Command System Forms
Incident Briefing
Response Objectives
Organization Assignment List
Assignment List
Incident Radio Communications Plan
Medical Plan
Site Safety and Control Plan
Incident Status Summary
Status Change Card
Check-In List
General Message
Unit Log
Operational Planning Worksheet
Incident Plan Safety Analysis
Incident Plan Safety Analysis Instructions
Radio Frequency Assignment Worksheet
Support Vehicle Inventory
Resource Status Card (Crew)
Resource Status Card (Helicopter)
Resource Status Card (Aircraft)
Resource Status Card (Heavy Equipment)
Air Operations Summary Worksheet
Demobilization Checkout



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