Amateur Radio Emergency Services Association (ARES)

 Sumter County, Florida

Incident Action Plan


The Incident Action Plan (IAP) is a written plan that defines the incident objectives and reflects the tactics necessary to mange an incident during one operation period in order to effect successful outcomes in any situation, especially emergency operations, in a timely manner.  The Plan is developed at the incident level through the incident action planning process for, usually, the next operational period.  Note, staffing changes occur at the end/beginning of operational periods.

The IAP starts with identifying the strategy to achieve a solution to the confronted problems. The strategy should be broad in nature and define what has to be done. Once the strategy has been defined, the Incident Commander (IC) or the Operations Section Chief needs to select the tactics. Tactics are the operations that need to be completed in order to accomplish the strategy. If the strategy defines where you want to go, then tactics are the signposts along the path to get you there. They provide the answers to the "how" and "where" of the IAP. Tactics are measurable in both time and performance.

The IAP also includes whatever support actions may be necessary to make the plan operable, e.g., unique teams, tools, water supply, utility control, food, etc. Once the IAP is developed, the IC may start issuing directives and committing resources. These directives define objectives that must be completed in order to achieve the IAP goals.  IAP's are not necessarily fully complete before orders are given, but sufficient information must be in place for the resources to achieve positive results effectively.

Once the plan is established and resources are committed, it is necessary to assess the effectiveness of the plan. Information must be gathered and analyzed so that necessary modification and updating may be done to improve the effectiveness of the plan, if necessary. This step is part of the continuing size-up process. Ongoing progress reporting by operational or management units allows the IAP to be modified based on current conditions.

IAP's generally are not written for day-to-day operations. However, on large-scale incidents or special events, such as wildland fires, natural disasters, haz mat spills, parades, sporting events, etc., there should be a written plan for each operational period that is developed during a Planning meeting.  When only a few units are engaged actively in a simple incident, the IAP is developed in the mind of the IC.

The IAP includes the strategy and tactics for the incident as well as the supporting operations that must occur. The IC must ensure that operating resources and managers know the overall strategy. This information normally is conveyed when orders are issued to arriving companies and other officers. On large, complex incidents of long duration, the IAP must be written down. Naturally, the initial IAP is in the mind of the IC until sufficient staff arrives to create an overall plan and commit it to writing.

Incident Action Planning Guide (pdf)

Incident Action Planning Steps (pdf)

Event Planning

The Incident Action Plan is great way to prepare for exercises or events as it offers a structured planning format.  In addition, the familiarization with the process makes ARES an even more valuable tool for the emergency management organizations that we support.  After the event, it is also important to have an after-action review and tailor future training and planning around those findings.   The IAP is also a good way to prepare and train for future incidents so that a plan is already on the shelf.

Incident Action Planning Forms

Form Authored By Size
IS-201 Incident Briefing (4+ pages)
Incident Commander for new IC 4+ pages + attachments

The Incident Briefing (ICS 201) provides the Incident Commander (and the Command and General Staffs) with basic information regarding the incident situation and the resources allocated to the incident. In addition to a briefing document, the ICS 201 also serves as an initial action worksheet for first operational period and a permanent record of the initial response to the incident.

IS-202 Incident Objectives (3+ pages)
Planning Section 3+ pages +attachments

The IS-202 describes the basic incident strategy, incident objectives, command emphasis/priorities, and safety considerations for use during the next operational period.

IS-203 Organization Assignment List
Planning Section Resources Unit    + pages + attachments

The IS-203 provides the information on the units that are currently activated and the names of personnel staffing each position/unit. It is used to complete the Incident Organization Chart (ICS 207) which is posted on the Incident Command Post display. An actual organization will be incident or event-specific. Not all positions need to be filled. Some blocks may contain more than one name. The size of the organization is dependent on the magnitude of the incident, and can be expanded or contracted as necessary.

IS-204 Assignment List Planning Section Resources Unit  + pages + attachments
The IS-204 informs Division and Group supervisors of incident assignments. Once the Command and General Staffs agree to the assignments, the assignment information is given to the appropriate Divisions and Groups.
IS-205 Incident Radio Communications Plan Communication Unit Leader  1+ pages
The IS-205 provides information on all radio frequency or trunked radio system talkgroup assignments for each operational period using the IS-215 form.
IS-205A Communications List Communications Unit Personnel  1+ pages
The IS-205A records methods of contact for incident personnel.  This form is completed at check-in and indicates all methods of contact for personnel assigned to the incident (radio frequencies, phone numbers, pager numbers, etc.), and functions as an incident directory.
IS-206 Medical Plan Medical Unit Leader or Safety Officer  1+ pages
The IS-206 provides information on incident medical aid stations, transportation services, hospitals, and medical emergency procedures.
IS-207 Incident Organization Chart Planning Section Resources Unit Leader 1 page
The IS-207 is a visual wall chart depicting the ICS organization position assignments for the incident and which elements are currently activated.
IS-208 Safety Message/Plan (Optional) Safety Officer 1+ pages
The ICS 208 expands on the Safety Message and Site Safety Plan
IS-215A Incident Action Plan Safety Analysis Safety Officer 1+pages
The purpose of the Incident Action Plan Safety Analysis (ICS 215A) is to aid the Safety Officer in completing an operational risk assessment to prioritize hazards, safety, and health issues, and to develop appropriate controls.
IS-216 Radio Requirements Worksheet (Reference) Communications Unit Leader 1+pages

The IS-216 lists are communications resources, whether they are being used or not, whereas the IS-205 lists only those being used for the operational period.


 Last Update:  09/12/2016    Copyright Sumter County ARES. All Rights Reserved.