Incident command system could be said to be a structure that is organized to seek and collect information which is used in comprehensive strategic management of emergency occurrences. The management is carried out under the supervision of an incident commander, who oversees the implementation of the objectives of an action plan for a particular emergency scenario (Bigley & Roberts, 2001). This is done by the incident commander who is an employee of a given agency. The commander presides over decision making and, authorizes the allocation of funds upon arrival and, critical examination of the scene of the disaster incident. The incident commander carries out the transfer of command by assigning some of his roles to qualified and experienced personnel (Takeda &Helms, 2006). The personnel may, under the guidelines of the agency, continue with the command without effecting any changes or they decide to, in turn, transfer the command to a better qualified incident commander who is more experienced.
Firstly, the transfer of command is usually necessary, especially when a more qualified person is available to assume command; the incident turns out to be more complex or if the existing personnel are unable to dispense their duties due to one reason or another (Compton & Mason, 2004). In the case of the earth quake disaster, the incident commander analyzes the situation then constitutes a team of qualified and experienced team of personnel who, in consultation with himself, promptly appoints other specialists such as the medical technical specialist to attend to the cases of injuries. They also plan the operations and logistics of rescue process.
Another key feature of incident command system is management by objectives. This takes place in the five steps; the first is critical examination and analysis of the situation at the scene of the disaster incident. Secondly, is to come up with guiding incident aims and objectives. Thirdly, there is a process of identifying and selecting suitable strategies which enable the realization of the established objectives. The fourth step, involves appropriately assigning resources, time and labor to the strategies and tactical monitoring of their performance. The final step involves the follow up which could involve change of strategies. Management by objectives in this case of earth quake disaster incident could involve assessment of the extent of damage of property, extent of injuries caused as well as the number of lives lost as a result of the incident.
This is then followed by establishing ways of carrying out rescue operations, tracking of patients and recovery of bodies covered by rubbles. Then there is allocation of funds and equipment such as medical care facilities to aid in offering medical care to the individuals who sustained injuries and counseling services to those adversely affected psychologically and, traumatized by the entire incident. Finally, there is a follow up and monitoring is done to ensure that the patients are advancing on well with treatment and, recovery mechanisms are put in place. Other activities could involve resettlement of those displaced or rendered homeless by the disaster incident.
Consequently, flexibility in organization is another key feature of incident command system. It is concerned with the requirements in meeting and supporting the incident objectives as scheduled (Wise, 2006). This is due to the fact that requirements are different for various incidents. The incident objectives are determined by the content and magnitude of the organization like in the case of the earth quake disaster. The change and flexibility in organization, would take place upon the establishment of the exact magnitude or extent of destruction by the incidence (Zhong &Low, 2009).
Moreover, the incident action plan which is established for each period of operation, to provide the coordinating personnel with appropriate guidelines. In this case, it would involve the time frame of operation as well as the activities involved such as putting in place seventy two hours of continuous medical operations. Also, the integration of communication is a key feature which refers to exchange of information through all the available resources and, frequencies both internally and externally. In this particular incident it would serve to link the incident commander with the personnel and other rescuers and specialists on the ground.
In conclusion, the objectives an incident commander would include in an incident action plan for this particular incident scenario would be; to asses the extent of damage and destruction which would involve, the incident team quantifying correctly in monetary terms. Another objective would be to evacuate all the survivors from the scene of disaster and offer treatment to those injured. Here the incident team, particularly the medical specialists, will attend to their patients. The incident team will also be working to establish alternative sites for the displaced. The other objective would be to conduct an after action review (Waugh &Streib, 2006). Here the incident team would closely and effectively monitor the recovery processes the occurrence of the incident disaster.