Thursday, 17 October 2019 13:48

Burlington County - Incident Command System





Incident Command System


Prepared By:


Burlington County Fire Chief’s Association

Burlington County First Aid Council

Burlington County Department of Public Safety Services – Central Communications


Adopted: September, 1992

Effective: January, 1993

Revised July 2010




Incident Command Committee



Command Function

Responsibilities of Command

Establishment of Command

Transfer of Command

Passing Command

EMS Incidents

EMS Responsibilities

Law Enforcement Incidents 

Multi-Agency Coordinating System (MACs)

Area Command

Command Facilities

Command Post



Incident Command Forms

Expansion of Incident Command System

Command Staff

Public Information Officer (PIO)

Liaison Officer

Safety Officer

Command Functions




Finance and Administration

Use of the Command Functions

Branches, Division and Groups

Strike Teams and Task Forces

Emergency Operation Centers (EOC)

Designation of the Incident Scene


Reporting Intervals




In Early 1990, the President of the Burlington County Fire Chief’s Association appointed an Incident Command Committee. This committee was comprised of representative from all areas of the county as well as Central Communications.  The charge of this Committee was to develop an incident management system that could be utilized by the fire and EMS community in Burlington County to comply with federal regulations.

At the initial meeting of the ICS committee, it was decided that representation from EMS was needed in order to work effectively together.  Therefore, three members of the Burlington county Captain’s Association were appointed with full voting rights.  It was also decided at the first meeting that the National Fire Academy’s Incident Command System would be used as a model.

The ICS committee was divided into subcommittees and continued its work for over one year.  After many meetings, discussions, disagreements and give and take, the committee has developed what it feels is an incident command system that can be used by EMS and fire departments to effectively manage emergency incidents.

In August 1992 the Burlington County Chief’s Association approved the system followed by the Burlington County Captain’s Association in September 1992.  By working side-by-side on this project, Burlington County was the first county in the state to adopt a countywide incident management system.

The National Incident Management System was adopted by the Department of Homeland Security as Homeland Security Presidential Directive – 5, Management of Domestic Incidents March 2004, New Jersey’s Governor signed Executive Order 50 outlining the requirements of this directive which caused the NIMS rewrite of our guidelines March 2006.

Listed on the next page are all of the members of the ICS committee and the organization they are affiliated with.  Each and every member should be applauded for undertaking this project.



Incident Command Committee

William Kramer, Jr.                                               Steve King

Cinnaminson Fire Company # 2                             McGuire Air Force Base Fire Department


Cliff Leary                                                            Joseph O’Brien

Maple Shade Fire Department                                Palmyra Fire Department


Ted Lowden                                                         James MacKenzie

Evesham Fire Department                                      Taunton Fire Department


Rick Horner                                                          Paul Matlack

Masonville Fire Company                                        Burlington County Central Communications


William Covert                                                      Craig Augustoni

Cinnaminson Fire Company # 2                              Brown Mills Fire Department


David Andrede                                                      John Augustino, Past President

Willingboro Fire Department                                   Burlington County Chief’s Association


George Jackson                                                     Charles Maltbie, Jr.

Tabernacle Rescue                                                 Moorestown Emergency Squad


Kathy Riker                                                            Raymond Parker

Masonville Emergency Squad                                   Taunton Fire Company




Chief Thaddeus T. Lowden                                     Chief Steve King

Evesham Fire Rescue                                             Burlington County OEM



Chief Edward Kensler                                             Chief Joseph Lehmann, Jr.

Florence Fire Department                                       Burlington County Fire Coordinator



To establish a procedure that will provide a uniform incident command system for fire and EMS in Burlington County and meet the requirements of HSPD 5, State of New Jersey Executive Order 50, adoption by NIMS and State and Local Organizations.


The incident command system (ICS) shall be utilized at all incidents, which require the response of any Emergency Service’s resource.

It is the intent of this guideline to ensure compliance with the National Incident Management System (NIMS).  Standard terminology, strike team components, and other resources are identified using NIMS guidelines.

Implementation of ICS:

The ICS shall be implemented anytime that resources will be committed to a planned or emergency incident.  The command function shall be filled whether or not there is an officer in a command vehicle on location.

The Command Function:

The command function (Command) is the functional area in which overall on-scene management takes place.  Included within the command function is the development of incident priorities, size-up, strategy, tactical objectives and coordination of all emergency resources.

The Incident Commander is identified by his location at the Command Post, which may  display a green emergency light.  The Incident Commander may be also be identified by wearing the INCIDENT COMMANDER vest.  Officers commanding from other than a command vehicle shall be identified by taking a prominent position at the incident where the officer can be readily identified by incoming units.

Responsibilities of Command:

Responsibilities of Command for fire departments include:

The transmission of an initial report and on-going reports to Central Communications.  The reports shall include:

  • Command unit identification.
  • Building description as appropriate (e.g. Occupancy, size, construction type).
  • Obvious description of conditions (working fire, nothing showing, etc.).
  • Action to be taken by incoming units (establish a supply line, stretch off with 1 ¾ hose line, etc.).
  • Identify the command mode selected.

Responsibilities of Command for EMS include:

The transmission of an initial report to Central Communications.  The initial report

shall include:

  • Command unit identification.
  • Obvious description of conditions (MVA with 3 vehicles involved, full code, etc.).
  • Identify the command mode selected.


Establishment of Command:

The first arriving emergency resource (command car, engine, ambulance, etc.) shall initiate the ICS by formally establishing command and shall continue in command until properly relieved as outlined within this procedure.  The first arriving unit may elect to pass command but only as outlined within this procedure.


Example of an Effective Report:

“Central; Engine 2211 is on location.  We have a one story, single family dwelling (SFD) with nothing showing.  We will be out investigating.  2211 has command.”


“Central; BLS 2292 is on location.  We have a 2 car MVA with 2 victims.  We will be in service.”

Additionally, command should give periodic progress reports to every 10 minutes to central, as an example:

“Central Engine 2211, we had a pot of meat on the stove, 2211 will be in service ventilating.”


“Central BLS 2292, we have 2 minor injuries, 2292 will be transporting shortly.”


Transfer of Command:

All senior officers arriving on the scene of an incident shall report to the command post and notify Command of their arrival.

Command shall only be transferred to another officer after a situation and status (sit/stat) briefing has been received by the relieving officer.  Sit/stat reports shall be via face to face communications whenever possible.


Situation and Status Reports Shall Include:

  • An overview of the situation.
  • A description of the strategy and of the tactics employed to the current point.
  • Assignments of resources on scene including command or staff assignments.
  • Suggested courses of action and contingency plans.
  • Major safety concerns.
  • A joint review of the ICS forms (NWCG series) where applicable.

After receiving a situation and status report, the senior officer will make a determination if he desires to take command of the incident.  In the event that the senior officer elects to do so, he shall take the command position on the scene and notify Central Communications that a transfer of command has taken place.

The officer assuming command may utilize the previous incident commander on the emergency scene to the best advantage.  In many cases the relieved incident commander may be of value in the Operations function.

Example:     “Central Chief 8000”


                   “Chief 8000 has assumed command of this incident and will now be operating as CP 80, switching to NW CMD”.

                   “Okay, 8000”

8000 would facilitate all further communications as CP 80.


Example:     “Central BLS 3192”


                   “BLS 3192 has assumed command and will now be operating as CP31.

                   “Okay, CP31”

3192 would facilitate all further communications as CP31.

For multiple incidents in the same municipality at the same time, Command should be designated by the district and number digit starting with (1)  (e.g. CP231, CP232, CP233).

The assumption of command by a higher-ranking officer is clearly an option and not a requirement.  Initial commanding officers that are performing within department performance standards should be given the opportunity to continue to command.  This will allow for an increase in confidence and competence.  Higher-ranking officers who arrive later in the operation may take a role as a coach to support the current incident commander.  The senior officer on an incident scene shall be accountable even through a lower ranking officer may be in charge.


Passing Command:

On rare occasions it may be necessary for first due companies to pass command to later arriving units.  This may become necessary at situations in which the entire first arriving crew is required to initiate a fire attack, vehicle extrication or operate in the combat mode.   An example of such a situation might be a working dwelling fire with an occupant trapped or an MVA with victims trapped.

The officer has made a decision that his direct efforts are needed to make a substantial difference on the emergency scene.  In this mode, the officer’s involvement in mitigating the hazard prevents the proper exercise of the command function.  The officer would then need to utilize Passing Command procedures.

To pass command the first arriving unit shall transmit a proper initial report and indicate that they are “passing command” and identify the unit to which they are passing command, if known.  Central Communications should confirm that the unit designated for command has received the message.

The initial arriving command officer retains responsibility for the incident until such time as the designated receiver for command arrives on the location.

Example:     “Central Engine 2021.  We are on location with a two-story wood frame single family dwelling (SFD) with heavy fire showing.  We are stretching off with 1 ¾ inch line and attacking the fire.  Advise 2011 to assume command upon arrival.”


Example:     “Central BLS 4391.  We are on location with a two-vehicle accident with victims Trapped.  We will be in service.  Advise the next arriving BLS unit to assume Command.”



EMS Minor Incidents:

The senior member/officer of the first arriving EMS unit shall assume command at an EMS incident.  Command may be transferred or passed as outlined in this procedure.


Fire and EMS Joint Response Incidents:

The EMS senior member/officer is identified by wearing the blue EMS Branch, Group or command vest as appropriate. All EMS units called into the scene, directly or from staging, shall report to the appropriate command element.


EMS Responsibilities:

Responsibilities of the EMS Branch Director/Group Supervisor Include:

  • Coordinate with Command regarding the Incident Action Plan (IAP), patient status, and resource requirements.
  • Determine resources needed and make requests through Command or if activated, Operations Section Chief (OSC).
  • Coordinate extrication efforts with Command or others as designated. (e.g. Rescue).
  • Direct triage, treatment efforts and transportation.  The EMS Branch Director or Group Supervisor may establish Triage, Treatment or Transportation Groups as needed.  The EMS officer shall assign a responsible person for each group established.
  • The Triage Group Supervisor shall be responsible for establishing a method of prioritizing patients for treatment.  This may also include prioritizing patients for extrication or other actions required for treatment to begin.
  • The Treatment Group Supervisor shall establish a treatment area and coordinate patients care efforts as patients are released from the Triage area.
  • The Transportation Group Supervisor shall coordinate the transport of patients from the treatment area to receiving medical facilities.


The Triage, Treatment and Transportation Group Supervisors shall report to the to the appropriate supervisor within the organization. Command retains the responsibility for these functions whether they are filled or not.


EMS Responsibilities at Non-EMS Incidents:

EMS units responding in support of operations are designated Medical Units. The senior member/officer shall report to the Incident Commander on arrival at working incidents.  The senior member/officer shall be assigned or designate a Medical Unit Leader.

Should the Medical Unit be called out for patient transportation, the Medical Unit Leader shall insure that another EMS unit is dispatched to the incident scene, through the Incident Commander.  At incidents that are non-dynamic, EMS units shall report to staging.  If staging has not been established, the EMS unit shall be position to best advantage.


Law Enforcement Incidents

Law Enforcement Minor Incidents:

The senior officer shall assume command of a Law Enforcement incident.  Command may be transferred or passed as outlined in this procedure.

Law Enforcement Fire and EMS Joint Response Incidents:

The senior member/officer is identified by wearing the appropriate Branch, Group or command vest.


Unified Command

Unified Command is a team effort process, allowing all agencies with responsibilities for an incident, either geographical or functional, to established a common set of incident objectives and strategies that all can subscribe to.   This is accomplished without losing or abdicating agency authority, responsibility or accountability.


Multi-Agency Coordinating System (MAC)

A formal MACS consists of a Multi-agency coordinating group (MAC group) made up of jurisdictional/agency representatives.  It can also consist of facilities, equipment, procedures, information systems, internal/external communications systems integrated into a common system that ensures effective interagency and interjurisdictional coordination.


Area Command

Area Command is an organization established to oversee the management of multiple incidents that are each being handled by an Incident Command System organization; or To oversee the management of a very large incident that has multiple Incident Management Teams assigned to it.


Command Facilities:

Command facilities are those areas that serve as focal points for specific support functions for emergency operations.


        Command Post:

A designated physical area that serves as the center of all on scene for emergency operations.  Command posts are developed in proportion to the incident being managed. For instance, a vehicle fire may be managed from the cab of a fire apparatus, an MVA from an ambulance, a dwelling from a designated command vehicle a multi-alarm incident from the county communications bus.

A command post shall be established anytime an incident will require the extended use of emergency services resources.  Such incidents may be as small as a motor vehicle accident with victims trapped to a complex incident such as a major hazardous materials incident.

The incident commander shall establish the area to be used for the command post.  The command post shall be identified by displaying a green emergency light, whenever possible.



Staging areas shall be used to keep emergency apparatus available within three to five minutes of the emergency scene.  The first arriving unit in staging shall become the Staging Area Manager.

Staging areas may or may not be a location where emergency vehicles are located.  (e.g. two floors below the fire floor of a high-rise fire, or at a triage area at a mass casualty incident.)

Level I Staging: refers to apparatus standing by along the response route as close to the scene as possible without congesting it.  The rule of thumb is the cross-street one block away from the incident.

Level II Staging: refers to apparatus being staged in a parking lot or other area in order that they may be detailed to an assignment.  This is usually only used on major incidents for apparatus responding on greater alarms.

In the absence of other orders, applicable SOPs, or whenever incoming apparatus are ordered to “Reduce speed”, the next due engine leader or EMS leader shall select an area that is within the time parameters for staging and sign “on location” designating the staging area.  All other apparatus will locate themselves accordingly and sign “on location – staging”.


The Staging Area Manager Shall be Responsible for the Following:

  • The selection of a safe and a large enough area for staging.  Command shall notify Central Communications as to the location of the staging area.
  • The orderly parking of resources.
  • Communications from the staging area to the command or operations.
  • Accounting for all resources and crews entering or leaving the staging area through the use of an Incident Check-In List (ICS form 211).
  • The Staging Area Manager shall identify himself by leaving on warning lights and/or 4 way flashers on the vehicle.  All other apparatus shall turn all emergency lights off unless required to provide safety.  The staging area manager may be identified by wearing the STAGING vest.
  • Staging areas shall be located off main highways and roadways whenever possible so long as the safety of the emergency personnel and apparatus are not compromised.



At large or complex incidents a base area may be established.  A base area is a location that places possible needed resources within five to ten minutes of an incident (e.g. forest fire task force staging areas, or a serious incident at a chemical facility, etc.)  The base area may also provide eating, resting, sleeping facilities, etc., as determined by Command.  The base area may also provide eating, resting, sleeping facilities, etc., as determined by Command.

A base area shall be established by order of Command at anytime that the staging area becomes too small to facilitate the equipment that might be required to handle an emergency.

The Base Manager shall be responsible for the same items as the staging area manager as they refer to base activities.

Command shall be responsible to announce the need for a base, although, the Staging Area Manager’s report will indicate such a need.


Incident Command Forms (NWCG Series)

Incident command forms, to include the Field Operations Guide (ICS420) are used to assist the incident commander or other command officers by displaying incident conditions, assignments and status.  The guidelines for the use of Incident Command Forms are covered in NWCG forms catalog.


Expansion of the Incident Command System:

Whenever an incident begins to escalate in a rapid fashion it may becomes necessary to begin the expansion of the ICS.  Such a system shall be designated to address the needs of the incident.  Command assignments shall be filled with qualified individuals.

The logical expansion of ICS shall be based upon National Incident Management Systems (NIMS). Such expansion may include the various Command Staff functions and the General Staff Positions.

The Command Staff Includes:

  • Public Information Officer (PIO)
  • Liaison Officer
  • Safety Officer

Supplemental Personnel May Include:

  • Scribe
  • Field Observers
  • Assistants
  • Deputies
  • Intelligence


The Command Staff:

Public Information Officer (PIO):

A PIO shall be assigned anytime the incident commander deems it appropriate.  Such periods will generally be defined as those that require extensive amounts of time involvement with the press, or incidents, which involve sensitive issues e.g. civilian deaths.  Specific statement content issues are covered in Appendix B entitled “Public Information Officer”.  The PIO shall report directly to the Incident Commander.  The PIO may be identified by wearing the PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER vest.

Responsibilities of the PIO:

  • Review and authorizes all news releases as directed by Command, processes requests for interviews with department personnel, and releases information concerning the departments actions, business affairs or positions.
  • Selects a suitable location which does not interfere with Command or Operations and which does not subject media representative to any hazards.
  • Receives periodic briefings from Command.
  • Acts as the single point of contact between the emergency services and the news media.
  • Develops news releases in concert with Command.
  • Escorts the media and VIPs through the incident scene after the area has been declared safe by Command.
  • Acts as the supervisor for others assigned to the PIO function in the event that the incident requires such as effort.


Joint Information Center (JIC):

Physical location where public information staff co-locate

Provides the structure for coordinating and disseminating critical information


Liaison Officer:

A liaison officer shall be assigned during those operations that require the use of multi-agencies.  Such agencies may include any municipal agency, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, New Jersey State Police, County Health Department, County Fire Marshal’s Office, United States Department of Treasury, U.S. Postal Service, etc.  It is not anticipated that routine interaction with the Township Police Department would necessitate the need for a liaison officer; however, the use of many police departments may require such a position to be established.  The liaison officer shall report directly to Command.  The liaison officer may be identified by wearing the LIAISON OFFICER vest.

Responsibilities of the Liaison Officer:

  • Coordinate all responding non-emergency agencies. He shall provide information on where and to whom to report.
  • Provides briefings regarding the situation to responding agencies.
  • Facilitates the needs of responding agencies.
  • Insures adequate communications between Command and the appropriate agency representative by supplying radio equipment, runners, etc.


Safety Officer:

A safety officer shall be appointed by Command during incidents, which require such a function.  All major incidents should have a safety officer assigned.  The safety officer shall report directly to Command.  The safety officer may be identified by wearing the SAFETY OFFICER vest.

The safety officer has the authority to stop immediately or modify operations, which may cause imminent serious injury to emergency personnel on the incident scene.  The safety officer must immediately communicate the cessation or change in the operation to Command.  The safety officer has no authority to change strategy, action plans or tactics, but may suggest that Command do so.

Responsibilities of the Safety Officer: 


  • Surveys the entire incident from a safety perspective.
  • Makes appropriate recommendations to Command concerning safety aspects of the incident.
  • Is briefed by Command on the strategy to be applied to emergency incidents.


The Command Functions:

The command functions are assigned when it becomes necessary to begin delegating the various responsibilities of the emergency to others to facilitate effective on-scene decision-making.


The Command Functions Include:











The Operations function is responsible for the implementation of strategic decisions through application of tactical initiatives.  The Operations Section Chief (OSC) reports to command.


The OSC will be assigned by Command and is identified by wearing the OPERATIONS vest.  The OSC is commonly known as “OPS”.


All tactical operations become the responsibility of the operations officer.  Group and Division supervisors will report to OPS.



The planning function is established when there becomes a need on the emergency scene to develop complex or lengthy operations plans or when the need exists to process complex technical information.


The planning function is responsible for all information management as it pertains to the emergency.  It is also responsible for the development of on going situation and status reports.


The Planning Section Chief (PSC) develops Incident Action Plans (IAP) and other supporting plans and shall brief command.  Planning shall coordinate through the Command with Logistics and Liaison to insure the availability of any special resources. The PSC shall report directly to Command.  Inform Command of risks and benefits of the Plan. 


The Planning Section Chief shall report directly to Command.


The IAP will consist of all appropriate ICS forms as the incident dictates.



The logistics function is established and is responsible to supply the incident with supplies or services to maintain an effective emergency response force.  Examples include, but are not limited to communications unit, food unit and medical unit.  A medical unit assigned to logistics section provides emergency medical treatment to emergency personnel.  This unit does not supply treatment for civilians.


The Logistics Section Chief (LSC) shall report directly to Command.


Finance and Administration:

The Finance function is established when the need is developed to track the financial impact of emergency operations or project and track the cost of various non-public resources. These resources may be tracked by item cost and quantity, man-hours expended, equipment rental, etc.


The Finance/Administration Section Chief (FSC) shall report directly to Command.


The FSC may be involved in recovering costs due to emergency operations from responsible parties after the incident is concluded.


The Use of the Command Functions:

Primarily the operations officer will be the most normal expansion of the incident command system.  The OSC is routinely utilized in cases of automobile extrications where it is necessary for more than one tactical objective to be carried out (extrication and EMS delivery).


At larger incidents the OSC will be necessary to deal with a wide variety of on-scene tactical operations that require constant monitoring and coordination.


The planning section is the next most likely command function to be unitized.  The planning function would be particularly helpful during periods of time when resources are committed to hazardous materials incidents.


The logistical section is set up only at major campaigns and is developed to support on-scene resources and those that may be used in the future.  The finance section is rarely used and would most probably not be set up unless the incident was to develop to a scale where actual dollars were required to manage the incident.


Branches, Division and Groups:

Branches, divisions and groups are used to divide the emergency scene into manageable segments.  Division and groups report to OSC or in the event that no operations function has been established, to Command.  It is possible in particularly large operations to have a group or division report to one of the other functions. For instances an EMS Group may report to the Logistics Section Chief.


Resources that are assigned to divisions or groups will report directly to their respective commander.  Communications between such units shall be via face-to-face communications whenever possible.  Communications between the divisions or group supervisor to the OSC or Command shall also be face-to-face when ever possible.



Divisions are responsible for the tactical operations that are taking place in a specific geographic area.  Division supervisor’s report to the OSC or if an operation has not been established, to Command.



Groups are established to achieve specific tasks at the emergency scene.  Group supervisors report to the OSC if one has been established.  In the event that operations have not been established the group supervisor will report to Command.


Groups function as a unit on the entire emergency scene and are not confined to any geographical boundary.


Strike Teams and Task Forces:

Strike Teams and combinations of companies, which are nearly identical in their functions and are assigned to cover specific situations.  Four Water Tenders may be assigned as a water supply strike team for a fire operation.  Only the leader of the Strike Team communicates to Central Communications.


Task Forces are combinations of companies, which are varied in their functions and are assigned to cover a wide range of situations.  An engine company, truck company and EMS unit may be assigned to a task force to investigate alarm system reports during severe weather.  Only the leader of the Task Force communicates with Central Communications.


Emergency Operations Center (EOC):

Incidents that effect large areas of a given municipality may be managed from a predetermined command post, commonly known as an emergency operations center (EOC).



Designation of the Incident Scene:

The incident scene shall be broken down to facilitate coordination at the scene.  The division of the incident scene shall be at the discretion of the incident commander.  Only the officers assigned to command a division, group, strike team or task force shall communicate to the incident commander or operations as appropriate.  The following examples show typical schemes for dividing an incident scene.


Examples of Divisions and Groups:

The four sides of the incident site shall be designated as Divisions.  Division designations proceed clockwise around the building, beginning with Division A as shown in the figure below.  Division A shall be identified as the side which faces the street or which has the main building entrance.  If a building has more than one entrance, Division A shall be identified as the side where the Command Post is located.  EMS units may be designated with Divisions and/or Groups.




Exposures to the incident site shall be designated similarly to the side of the building as shown in the figure below.  Adding a number to the exposure designation shall designate successive exposures moving away from the fire building.



Multistory buildings may be broken down by floor as shown in the figure below.  Each floor shall be designated as a Division using the floor number.  The basement, roof, and lobby shall be designated using those names as Division names.  A medical unit may be set up on a floor not involved in the incident.



Groups may operate across several Divisional boundaries as shown in the figure below. Groups shall be designated by the name of the function to be performed.  (e.g. The Ventilation Group may be assigned to perform ventilation on each floor of a multistory building.)




The Five Reasons to Communicate:

All units shall respect the five reasons to communicate.


They are:


1)     Additional resources are required.


2)     The assignment is completed.


3)     You are unable to complete an assignment.


4)     An immediate safety hazard exists.


5)     If you have information that has a direct bearing on the incident.


If these five reasons are consistently adhered to there will be a tremendous reduction in the amount of communications on the emergency scene and a noticeable improvement on the efficiency of communications.


Upon the establishment of command or the formation of a formal command post, all further communication between the incident and Central Communications shall be through that unit.


Assigned Radio Channels:


Emergency scene communications shall be transmitted on radio channels as follows:


Communications Channels:


Fireground Tactical Operations:

All fireground communications shall be on the assigned channel(s) this includes all fire units responding to and operating at emergencies.  Fireground operations will in most cases be on an assigned Operations (OPS) channel, usually OPS1.


EMS Routine Communications:

All routine EMS communications to Central shall be on the assigned zone response channel.  Incidents involving Multiple EMS units, on-scene communications should be on the assigned OPS channel.


EMS Communications at the Fire Operations:

EMS units assigned, as Medical Units at tactical fire operations shall remain on an assignment frequency, Medical Units shall not initiate any communications on the tactical fireground channel.  If contacted by the Incident commander for an assignment, the BLS Unit shall acknowledge the assignment.  All further communication required for the treatment of emergency service personnel or civilians shall be handled as EMS routine communications.


Incident Command Functions: 


All messages from a formal command post to Central shall be on the channel assigned by Central Communications.


Helicopter Evacuation Crafts to Helispot Manager (LZ): 

All communications regarding the incident to the MedEvac helicopter shall be on assigned channel unless directed otherwise.


Reporting Intervals:


Command to Central Communications:


A report shall be given upon the arrival of the unit assuming the command function.


A progress report shall be given from the emergency scene to Central Communications at least every ten (10) minutes.  The report shall include the current situation and status.


“Incident Under Control” or “Fire Under Control” shall be issued by the IC at anytime that the incident is stabilized.  Stabilization would include, the forward progress of the fire has been stopped, all victims have been extricated, the flow of a toxic substance has been stopped, etc.


Staff Officer to Command:


Staff officers shall report directly to command.  There should be no routine need to do so by radio.


General Staff:


The General Staff, with the occasional exception of the OSC, shall report directly to Command and should require very little, if any, radio traffic between Command and the functional officers.


In case of the operations function there may be a considerable amount of radio traffic between both he and Command depending upon the dynamics of the situation.  Reports should be provided to the OSC every five (5) minutes.


Groups and Divisions:


Group and Division supervisors may be required to utilize extensive radio communication to report to their appropriate supervisor.  As always, face-to-face communication shall be the best option when relaying large amounts of technical information or transmitting lengthy reports.  Reports should be given every five minutes.


Strike Teams and Task Forces:


Strike teams and task forces shall report to their OSC.  Only the supervising unit shall transmit to the OSC.  Additional channels may be assigned to these units to act as a tactical communications channel.


Single Resources: 


Single resources shall report to Central Communications every ten (10) minutes.


Resource Designation (Definitions): 


Resources for the purpose of the Burlington County Incident Command System (BCICS) shall be known as the following to allow for a common terminology to be developed within the department.


Command Car – a passenger vehicle utilized to transport command officers to the scene of emergency incidents.  These vehicles are frequently utilized as the command post.


Crew – 3 to 7 persons who are assigned a specific task on the emergency scene, such as search, ventilation, etc., without their physical apparatus being committed.  Such crews shall always have a supervisor and designation of the crew shall be the apparatus utilized to respond to the scene, (e.g., 1612’s officer).  A crew operates under the direct supervision of a crew leader.


The term company may be applied to all of these resources to define that units are staffed to the emergency service minimum standards for staffing. (e.g., Engine Company, Truck Company, EMS Unit, Marine Company, etc.)


Engine – apparatus utilized to apply water to the fireground and equipped with hose and standard engine company equipment.  Engines may also perform Truck or Rescue Company functions.  Some engines are equipped to provide initial BLS.


Ladder  – apparatus designed specifically for the purpose of providing firefighting access to elevate positions and/or placing an elevated master stream device in service and equipped with a full compliment of ground ladders, as well as large amounts of forcible entry and ventilation equipment.  Ladders may also perform rescue company functions.


Rescue – a unit equipped to respond to extrication assignments and carrying a vast array of heavy extrication equipment.   Rescues also carry limited Hazardous Materials resources.


Marine Unit – a unit that is capable of performing emergency operations on water or ice.


Water Tender – a unit of at least 1500 gallons, which delivers large quantities of water to an emergency scene.


Brush Fire Unit – (BFU) a unit equipped with four-wheel drive for accessing wildland fires or other off-the road incidents.


Basic Life Support (BLS) Unit – an ambulance unit capable of providing basic life support care and transportation.


Advanced Life Support (ALS) – a unit equipped to supply advanced life support services but incapable of supplying patient transportation.


Medical Unit – a BLS unit assigned to support firefighting or other hazardous situations.  The Medical unit is reserved for emergency services personnel injuries.