ICS-320 Course Enhancements: Public Information and Environmental Topics

In 2015, EMSI completed a significant update to our ICS-320 Incident Management Team (IMT) course and are pleased to announce that we continue to enhance delivery options of this course to meet the ever evolving incident management needs of our clients.  In addition to the standard delivery of ICS-320, the course is now available with enhanced optional modules.

The ICS-320 course has long been a staple of the EMSI training catalog.  This course traditionally focuses on the functions of Command, Command Staff, General Staff, and the Planning Section in the operational planning process and reviews IMT interactions and functional responsibilities and contributions to the development of an Incident Action Plan (IAP).  During the standard course, students coordinate and cooperate in functional breakout groups that are loosely based around the following functional areas:

  • Command Group: Includes Incident Commanders, Liaison Officer, Public Information Officer, and Finance/Admin Section Personnel.
  • Operations Group: Includes personnel from the Operations Section and Logistics Section, as well as the Safety Officer.
  • Planning Group: Includes personnel from the Planning Section.

Recognizing the increased role that public information plays in 21st century incident management and the growing need for environmental representatives on an IMT during oil and hazardous materials incidents, EMSI has developed two modules that can be added to the standard course.  With these new enhancements, clients have the option of adding one or two additional break out groups to the class: a Public Information Group and an Environmental Group.

In today’s fast paced twenty-four hour news cycle and social media environment, the assignment of a Public Information Officer (PIO) can be critical to a response’s communications efforts.  Any communications void will be quickly filled with worst case speculations to the detriment of the incident response, so it’s vital to get ahead of the news cycles to drive the message before someone else does. This Public Information module can also include Liaison Officers and address multiagency and external coordination topics.  Pulling from our recently overhauled Public Information Officer course and newly developed Joint Information Center (JIC) course, the Public Information Group will examine:

  • Establishing the PIO Staff and Workspace
  • Interactions with the IMT
  • Public Information support to the IAP planning process
  • Public Information support to Command
  • Establishing and operating a JIC
  • Coordination with the Joint Information Center (JIC) and Joint Information System (JIS)

The environmental considerations an Incident Management Team must address are often very complex and require significant coordination and support from within the Environmental Unit.  The Environmental Group module does not train an individual on Environmental Sciences, rather, it relates how products developed are used by Command to make decisions and direct operations in support of the operational planning cycle. Due to the spectrum of environmental matters the Environmental Unit is responsible for, students for this module should have expertise in the Environmental Sciences related to an emergency response. During the environmental module, the Environmental Group will look at:

  • Establishing the Environmental Unit
  • Interactions with the IMT
  • Environmental Unit support to the IAP planning process
  • Coordinating environmental operations with the Operations Section
  • Environmental Unit data and information management
  • Support to the Situation Unit with displays and briefings

With or without these optional enhancements, the ICS-320 places an emphasis on managing and supporting current operations while planning for future operations and developing an IAP.   Managing current operations is a theme throughout the course.  The course stresses the importance of quality inputs to the operational planning process from all members of the IMT and includes more time for the development of higher quality products and IAP inputs from the participants.  Additionally, the Command components of the course includes increased emphasis on Command’s role in the leading the IMT.  Overall, the course highlights the team dynamics and interactions between members of the IMT.

While our updated ICS-320 course drives students into the useful checklists and references in the job aids, it also teaches prospective IMT members how to think critically and adapt to changing situations. Like all EMSI training, the ICS-320 is scenario-driven and activity-centric with participants practicing learning points with an exercise that runs the length of the course.  The ICS-320 is built to accommodate not only an EMSI provided scenario but also a client provided scenario, making it easier for clients to incorporate one of their own training scenarios.

Feel free to contact us regarding this course or any of our other exciting new products and courses.  You can order any of our ICS job aids or register for upcoming EMSI Open Enrollment Program courses exclusively at IMTGear.com.  We look forward to seeing you at one of our future course offerings, as well as continuing to evolve our products to meet your needs!