BLOG 2: The ICS and Communication
The Incident Command System uses communication as a medium to acquire and receive messages between multiple emergency jurisdictions, stakeholders, and media to help control a crisis situation. . When a crisis occurs, each emergency jurisdiction has to coordinate between each other to accurately respond to that crisis. From police, to firefighters, to the FBI, all organizations have to come together and organize themselves to meet the demands of the crisis and let others know what is going on with the crisis and how it is being handled. Every organization comes into a crisis with a different role, but they all have to communicate their roles to the other jurisdictions so the crisis can be handled carefully and swiftly.
The idea that there is a chain of command that must be followed in the ICS structure, shows how communication is paramount in dealing with a crisis successfully. From emergency responders who are told their immediate duties by a superior, to the Incident commander who must have a full scope and plan of dealing with a crisis, communication up and down the chain of command is vital towards that goal of a successful crisis management.
The incident commander has to have constant communication between emergency jurisdictions and other crisis commanders to organize and send orders on how to deal with a crisis. They have to be on top of everyone involved in the crisis and follow an incident plan to successful accomplish their goals. If they become overwhelmed or run into difficulties, they have to bring up the next qualified individual to command the crisis and communicate to them the responsibilities of the job. The command staff themselves uses communication to accomplish their personal roles. For example, the public information officer has to communicate crisis information to the media and stakeholders as a way to keep them up to date on the crisis and its outcomes. The liason officer helps coordinate information between all of the emergency jurisdictions as well.
The ICS can expand and contract its organizational structure depending on the scope of the crisis, by adding and subtracting groups and divisions of organization. Through the use of span of control, the upper command structure of the ICS can control as many or few organizations as they need to accomplish their goals and communicate their needs to others up and down the chain of command.
Operations, planning, logistics, and financial sections are set up under the command structure to coordinate roles after a crisis and to break up the demands of the crisis into simplified areas. The operations section controls and communicates the crisis operation itself, the planning section plans the crisis, gathers intelligence on the crisis, and makes sure the crisis is being run through each organization correctly by communicating the overall plan of the crisis . The logistic section provides support for the crisis and the commanders and responders. Finally, the financial section is responsible for the compensation aspect of the crisis and communicating the financial cost of the crisis for proper reimbursement to the crisis and stakeholders involved. Basically, all of these sections communicate their personal responsibilities to the rest of the crisis management group and hold the sole management in doing their job for the good of crisis management.
The ICS is a very organized and efficient system that communicates information not only to the crisis responders, but to stakeholders and media beyond the immediate crisis. The system is set up to provide proper communication within a chain of command while at the same time giving each emergency jurisdiction space to organize and control themselves for the good of crisis management. Victims and stakeholders in a crisis need accurate and up to date information from professional crisis managers, because of the ICS they can get that information as well as the command structure itself, from top down, being communicated that same, accurate information. From information on the crisis to the media, to a report on the crisis management from the operations section, the ICS is capable of communicating its needs and information during a stressful crisis.