Chapter 3: SAR Incident Management and Organization




I. Resources

PowerPoint slides, Chapter 3

Sample ICS Forms, Appendix 7 of Student Manual


II. Teaching Points

  1. The Incident Command System (p. 24)
    1. Used across the United States, many other parts of North America, and some other parts of the world
    2. Helps manage a wide range of emergency situations including fires, law enforcement incidents, searches, rescues, medical incidents, regional disasters, and even the NASAR annual conference 
    3. Can be “upsized” or “downsized” as applicable to the specific incident, making it a wonderful organizational system


  1. The five primary ICS management functions are:  (p. 25)
    1. Command¾provides overall management of an incident. 
    2. Operations¾section responsible for performing the tactical actions in an incident.
    3. Planning¾section responsible for performing the incident planning function.
    4. Logistics¾section responsible for all of the services and support needs of an incident including personnel, facilities, equipment, and supplies.
    5. Finance/Administration¾section responsible for financial activities required on site at an incident.


  1. ICS management functions (p. 25)
    1. Important management functions must be delegated in order to maintain a manageable span of control.
    2. 3 to 7 persons according to ICS, but 5 or fewer is preferred.


  1. Command function (p. 25)
    1. Command Staff includes:

a.       Incident Commander – ensures effective management of the incident; selects overall strategy; establishes incident objectives; approves the Incident Action Plan; coordinates and approves requests for resources.

b.      Safety Officer – monitors safety conditions and develops measures for ensuring the safety of all assigned personnel.

c.       Liaison Officer – primary contact for representatives from other agencies assigned to the incident.

d.      Information Officer – primary contact for the media or other organizations seeking information directly from the incident or event.


D. Operations function (p. 27, 29)

1. Operations Section functional units include:

a. Branches

                                                             ii.      Divisions and/or groups

1.      Strike teams

2.      Task forces

3.      Single resources

b. Air operations branch

                                                            iii.      Air support group

                                                           iv.      Air tactical group


E. Planning function (p. 28)

1. Planning section functional units include:

a.       Resource Unit

b.      Situation Unit

c.       Documentation Unit

d.      Demobilization Unit

e.       Technical Specialists


F. Logistics function (p. 28)

1. Logistics section functional units include:

a.       Support Branch

                                                                                                                                       i.      Supply Unit

                                                                                                                                     ii.      Facilities Unit

                                                                                                                                    iii.      Ground Support Unit

b.      Service Branch

                                                                                                                                       i.      Communications Unit

                                                                                                                                     ii.      Medical Unit

                                                                                                                                    iii.      Food Unit


G. Finance/Administration function (p. 29)

1.      Finance/Administration functional units:

a.       Time Unit

b.      Claims/Compensation Unit

c.       Procurement Unit

d.      Cost Analysis Unit


H. Incident facilities (p. 30)

2.      The six major incident facilities mentioned in the FUNSAR student manual are:

a.       Incident Command Post (ICP)¾location from which the Incident Commander oversees all incident operations and where the primary command functions are performed.

b.      Staging Areas¾temporary locations where resources are kept while awaiting incident assignment.

c.       Incident Base¾location at the incident at which primary service and support activities, including Logistics Section activities, are performed.

d.      Camps¾temporary incident locations, within the general incident area, which are equipped and staffed to provide sleeping, food, water, and sanitary services to incident personnel.

e.       Helibase¾area at which helicopters may be parked, maintained, and fueled.

f.        Helispot¾temporary location where helicopters can safely land to perform work supporting the incident.


I. Incident Action Plan (p. 31)

1.      Incident Action Plan (IAP)¾general outline or strategy that covers how the incident will be conducted.  At a minimum, the IAP should:

a.       Provide incident objectives (time-specific, measurable, clearly stated);

b.      Guide operations (describe what parts of the ICS organization will be in place for each operational period);

c.       Establish priorities for action (strategy, tactics); and

d.      Describe the number and types of resources required (typically prepared for each Division or Group).


J. Common responsibilities: Ten common responsibilities that everyone assigned to an incident should follow (p. 32):

1.      Receive your incident assignment from your organization

2.      Bring any specialized supplies or equipment required for your job.

3.      Upon arrival, follow the check-in procedure for the incident.

4.      Use clear text, not radio codes for all radio communications.

5.      Obtain a briefing from your immediate supervisor.

6.      Acquire necessary work materials.

7.      Organize and brief any subordinates assigned to you.

8.      Brief your relief at the end of each operational period.

9.      Complete and submit required forms and reports.

10.  Demobilize according to plan.