The Incident Command System serves as an effective, known management tool and has been shaped here to help nursing homes assign staff for key emergency management duties and to designate needed equipment and supplies to carry out assigned duties. Available as a separate download and is a component of the Emergency Management Guide for Nursing Homes.
The Incident Command System, or ICS, is a uniform management model which allows its users to adopt a standard approach to responding to incidents. An incident, as used here, is defined as an occurrence, either caused by humans or natural phenomenon, which requires response actions to prevent or minimize loss of life or damage to property and/or the environment. While the Incident Command System may be unfamiliar to the long term care community, it has been around three decades.
The origins of ICS are grounded in the catastrophic California wildfires in the 1970s in which property damage ran into the millions and many people died or were injured. Personnel assigned to evaluate this disaster discovered that response problems were most likely a result of inadequate management rather than a lack of resources or failure of tactics.
The Incident Command System is proven management system based on successful business and military practices and is the result of decades of lessons learned in the organization and management of emergency incidents. ICS has been tested in more than 30 years of emergency and nonemergency applications, by all levels of government and in the private sector. It represents organizational best practices and, as a component of NIMS, has become the standard for emergency management across the country.
An Incident Command System designed for nursing homes emerged from work funded by The John A. Hartford Foundation (2006-2008) and, more recently, the Florida Department of Health. Developed by the Florida Health Care Association, the Florida Department of Health, and member nursing home providers, the Nursing Home Incident Command System uses the general Incident Command System as an overlay to existing nursing home emergency management systems, resulting in an organizational system which respects both.