Incident Command System

Every organization or facility should have individuals who are trained to respond to incidents that could occur in their facility.  Different individuals by virtue of their daily roles and responsibilities, training, or authority will potentially take on other responsibilities during an incident.  There should be a structure in place that organizes responders into a framework so responsibilities are understood beforehand. 

Why waste time during an incident when this could be figured out ahead of time?

The ZAHP Fusion Center highly recommends the use of the Incident Command System (ICS) for incident management.  ICS is a flexible, scalable tool that can be used not only for management of incidents such as animal escapes, weather related incidents, etc., but also to help organize preplanned events such as “Zoo Lights’ or tour events.  Most importantly, ICS is the organizational tool used by Police departments, Fire departments and Emergency Managers.  Having a basic understanding of their ‘language’ will go a long way when you are discussing your plans and procedures with these important partners. The exercises in the Training and Exercise section use ICS language. This allowed participants to exercise their plans and their knowledge of basic ICS structure.

ICS Training

There are many FREE courses available in ICS. The United States Department of Agriculture has their staff take a minimum of ICS 100, 200 and 700. The Emergency Management Institute (EMI) provides these courses on line. The training below was developed by the ZAHP Fusion Center's  Zoo Ready project specifically to introduce ICS to captive wildlife facilities. This is ICS 100 course taught by the Emergency Management Institute, but using animal-specific examples. Check it out!

Module 1

This introduction to ICS will demonstrate the utility of this system for coordinated response to many types of incidents.  

Module 2

This module introduces key concepts and features that are hallmarks of the Incident Command System.  

Module 3

The ICS ‘chain of command’ and ‘span of control’ are explained.  

Module 4

This module will introduce the key leadership positions within the ICS structure.  

Module 5

Expanding incidents require more responders. This module introduces the concept of expanding the ICS system for response.  

Module 6

So what do I do with this newfound knowledge? This module helps to put it all together!  

Module 7

This module presents a scenario that will explain how ICS is expanded to meet the needs of complex incidents.  



© All rights reserved by ZAHP. No copyright is claimed for government materials used herein. The information here is intended solely as summary information for zoo and aquarium employees and viewers in the general public. It contains recommendations but creates no new legal obligations nor accreditation standards for AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums.