Medical Care - PreHospital ICS

The Incident Command System evolved from wildland fire experiences and FIRESCOPE in Southern California in the 1970's recognizing the need for a structural format to provide command, control and accountability for incidents involving multiple agencies and organizations.

This modular format can expand or contact as incident needs allow and has been accepted and involved into the National Incident Management System (NIMS) adopted by Department of Homeland Security and FEMA. Training for NIMS directed at various organizations as well as information on a multiagency coordination system is illustrated in the National Incident Management Systems IS 700 course. Online Independent Study courses for various response personnel including: Law Enforcement, public works, prehospital as well as hospital staff and employees are currently available at the following FEMA website ( which can also be beneficial in JCAHO accreditation. These courses show the integration of the incident command system paradigm and its’ application in multiple responder organizations.

The Operations branch is directly responsible for the incident response whereas the other branches serve in planning and support functions. The operations sector leader is responsible for the oversight of those providing the onscene duties including patient care, scene mitigation (i.e. fire suppression) and scene control (perimeter security and crowd control). EMS activities in the operations include: triage, treatment, transportation and patient tracking (triage tags and destination records).

Each of these areas will have a responsible person for the various activities of that area (i.e. logistics involves the equipment and support needed for the personnel to accomplish the rescue/scene mitigation and recovery) as well as a clear line of communication, authority and accountability to the command staff to apprise them of scene circumstances and needs.

The operations sector leader is responsible for the oversight of those providing the duties to control the scene and care for the victims. EMS activities typically are included in the operations sector including triage, treatment and transportation.


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