Applying ICS to a CBRN Incident

Incidents that are not site specific, are geographically dispersed, or evolve over longer periods of time may require extraordinary coordination among response participants including federal, state, tribal, and local governments, as well as non-governmental organizations and the private sector.  The National Incident Management System (NIMS) document additionally states that chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) incidents may present unique challenges for the commonly applied Incident Command System (ICS) structure.

EMSI took this incident management challenge head on at the recent National Radiological Emergency Preparedness (NREP) Conference in Sacramento, CA.  In a case-study driven presentation, EMSI conducted a training session for nearly 75 participants on complex incident management in the nuclear/radiological environment.  The session tackled some of the incident management challenges created by the nuclear/radiological environment and discussed how to overcome them through the application of advanced ICS and incident management concepts.

Some of the concepts explored included:

  • Incorporation of technical responders into an ICS organization
  • Decision-making in a nuclear/radiological incident
  • Managing extended initial response operations
  • Unified Command
  • Implementing Branch Level Planning
  • Dividing a single incident into two or more incidents
  • Implementing Area Command
  • Utilization of off-site technical support
  • The role of the Multiagency Coordination System (MACS)
  • ICS-MACS interface

EMSI’s vast experience in complex incident management and hazardous materials response has helped inform some of the advanced incident management approaches to CBRN incident management.  EMSI personnel have been involved in the management of several complex hazardous materials incidents including Anthrax at the Capital (2001), the oil and hazardous materials response following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (2005), Deepwater Horizon oil spill (2010), and the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster (2011).

EMSI would like to thank the NREP Conference for hosting us and the response professionals who attended the session.  We look forward to the NREP Conference in Charleston, SC next year.