Emergency Management Roles, Structure, Command, Decision Making


What is structured command and provide a brief outline of related roles.

When you hear the term it’s really about responsibility: Who is instructured command, charge of what and who is over whom? Emergency management uses a leadership hierarchy, which refers to the way and manner that emergency management is established and commanded. This approach is similar to many other paramilitary agencies; however, the rank and title of the position assigned within the incident management system may not necessarily equate to individual rank held outside of the system. Someone with a lower rank may have incident authority or command over someone with higher rank due to an assigned ICS position, often determined by training, certifications, or experience in the emergency management field. Most any incident command structure is going to have an incident commander at the top of the leadership pyramid with various section chiefs for differing areas of expertise or assignments, such as operations, logistics, and finance.

If you examine the operations section, you can get a good view of the structure because it centers on required information flowing through the operations section chief, who relays information to other section chiefs or the Incident Commander as needed. All information is structured and compartmentalized in various sections or specialties.

Outline decision-making strategies in unstructured crisis management environments.

Using NIMS or other related emergency management systems and tactics is beneficial training even when working in an unstructured environment. Let’s look at a lone police officer responding to a vehicle roll-over accident. In this unstructured crisis management situation, the officer must implement a decision-making strategy. It’s critical to understand the focus of protecting life and property. While the officer’s decisions are less focused on formal roles and authorities and more on the immediate crisis at hand, the emergency management skills and training can be applied to handle this crisis.

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