Critical Issue #12: Integrating Incident Command System

Systematic command and control is essential in emergency situations. Unfortunately, administration and staff members at most schools have not received proper ICS (Incident Command System) training. In fact, the majority of teachers and administrators at schools have not gone through even the basic ICS class. As a result, these individuals do not know how they fit into the bigger picture when an emergency situation arises.

In most cases, school staff members rely on the local police, fire department, or other emergency responders in an emergency situation. This is a highly inadequate way to handle an emergency situation since responders cannot immediately arrive at the scene. School staff should have an established plan in place so that they can act quickly even before local responders arrive on the scene.

Without established protocol, emergency situations are not proficiently handled. When an emergency situation arises, it is imperative to act quickly and with a great deal of organization. Without proper ICS training, this task cannot be accomplished properly. One of the primary goals of any school should be to engage in proper emergency training that ensures uniform command and control so that emergencies are handled as proficiently as possible.

Some schools have an established protocol that involves handling a situation based on administrative rank. This is an inefficient method for handling emergency situations. If a school administrator is not on site, the position does not get filled and the emergency is not handled as needed. Instead, proper command and control procedures must be put into place so that every staff member knows what position they will take in case an emergency arises. By doing this, the school staff will be able to react as quickly as possible and will not feel like their hands are tied until the police department, fire department, or other emergency department arrive at the scene.