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Police Bureau

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Phone: 503-823-0000

Fax: 503-823-0342

Non-Emergency: 503-823-3333

1111 S.W. 2nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

0700.00, National Incident Management System (NIMS) and Incident Command System (ICS)

Directive 700.00, National Incident Management System (NIMS) and Incident Command System (ICS)     

About the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and Incident Command System (ICS):

  1. Through Presidential Directive (Homeland Security Presidential Directive 5 (HSPD-5)), the Secretary of Homeland Security was directed to develop and enhance the ability of the United States to manage domestic incidents by establishing a nationwide, systematic and comprehensive approach to incident management via National Incident Management System (NIMS). By adopting NIMS and its accompanying structures, emergency management personnel from various disciplines are able to work together to prepare for, prevent, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the effects of incidents. Components of NIMS include:

1.1.   Preparedness Effective emergency management and incident response activities begin with a host of preparedness activities conducted on an ongoing basis in advance of any potential incident. Preparedness involves an integrated combination of assessment; planning, procedures and protocols, training and exercises, personnel qualifications, licensure and certification, equipment certification, and evaluation and revision.

1.2.   Communications and Information Management – Emergency management and incident response activities rely on communications and information systems that provide a common operating picture to all command and coordination sites. NIMS describe the requirements necessary for a standardized framework for communication and emphasized the need for a common operating picture. This component is based on the concepts of interoperability reliability, scalability, and portability, as well as the resiliency and redundancy of commendations and information.

1.3.   Resource Management Resources (such as personnel, equipment, or supplies) are needed to support critical incident objectives. The flow of resources must be fluid and adaptable to the requirement of the incident.  NIMS defines standardized mechanisms, and establishes the resource management process to identify requirements, order and acquire, mobilize, track and report, recover and demobilize, reimburse, and inventory resources.

1.4.   Command and ManagementThe Command and Management component of NIMS is designed to enable effective and efficient incident management and coordination by providing a flexible, standardized incident management structure.  The structure is based on three (3) key organizational constructs: The Incident Command System (ICS), Multiagency Coordination Systems, and Public Information.

1.4.1.      The NIMS specifically requires the ICS be institutionalized as a best practice standard for emergency management across the country. The ICS is a standardized method for managing emergencies that: enables a coordinated response among various jurisdictions and agencies; establishes common processes for planning and managing resources, allows for the integration of facilities, equipment, personnel, procedures, and communications operating within a common organizational structure. The ICS can be used for planned events, natural disasters, and acts of terrorism.

1.5.   Ongoing Management and MaintenanceWithin the auspices of Ongoing Management and Maintenance, there are two (2) components: the National Integration Center (NIC) and Supporting Technologies.


  1. The Portland Police Bureau has adopted the National Incident Management System (NIMS) to ensure effective and efficient emergency response management, thus in turn adopts the principles of the Incident Command System (ICS), which include command management and incident action planning:

1.1.   Command Management: Effective incident management relies on a firm command and control structure for managing resources, making decisions, and assigning tasks. Although information is exchanged freely through the ICS structure, strict adherence must be paid to this top-down management approach when managing incidents in the field.

1.2.   Incident Action Planning: Centralized, coordinated incident action planning should guide all response activities. An Incident Action Plan (IAP) provides a concise and consistent means of capturing and communicating overall incident priorities, objectives, and strategies for both operational and support activities.  Incidents must have an action plan. However, not all incidents require a written plan. Most initial response operations are not captured with a formal IAP. However, if an incident is likely to extend beyond one operational period, become more complex, or involve multiple jurisdictions and/or agencies, preparing a written IAP will become increasingly important to maintain effective, efficient, and safe operations.

2. The Portland Police Bureau will utilize the Incident Command System (ICS) for both planned and unplanned events. ICS can be scaled for event size; routine police response to emergencies, up to natural disasters, civil disorder, or any large-scale incident. Using ICS for all incidents or planned events helps improve and maintain skills needed for the large-scale incidents.

3. The Police Bureau will ensure its members are trained utilizing ICS coursework appropriate to their rank and grade.


  1. Incident Command System (ICS): Management Functions

1.1.   Command: Sets the incident objectives, strategies, and priorities and has overall responsibility for the incident.

1.2.   Operations: Carries out the operations to reach the incident objectives, establishes tactics and directs all operational resources.

1.3.   Planning: Supports the incident action planning process by preparing incident action plans, tracking resources, collecting/analyzing information, and maintaining documentation.

1.4.   Logistics: Arranges for resources and needed services to support achievement of the incident objectives.

1.5.   Finance/Administration: Monitors costs related to the incident. Provides accounting, procurement, time recording, and cost analysis.

2. Incident Command System (ICS): Command Staff

2.1.   Incident Commander: Possesses overall responsibility for managing the incident by establishing objectives, planning strategies, and implementing tactics. The Incident Commander is the only position that is always staffed in ICS applications. On small incidents and events, the one person-Incident Commander – may accomplish all five (5) management functions. Incident Commander responsibilities include:

2.1.1.      Require clear authority and knowledge of agency policy,

2.1.2.      Ensure incident safety,

2.1.3.      Establish the Incident Command Post,            Set priorities through incident objectives and implementation strategies            Create the Incident Command System organization specific to the incident in need of management,            Approve the Incident Action Plan,            Coordinate Command and General Staff activities,            Approve resource requests and use of volunteers and auxiliary personnel,            Order demobilization as needed,            Ensure after-action reports are completed.

2.1.4.      Authorize information release to the press/media.

2.2.   Safety Officer: Monitors incident operations and advises the Incident Commander on all matters relating to operational safety, including the health and safety of emergency responder personnel. 

2.3.   Public Information Officer (PIO): Responsible for interfacing with the public and media and/or with other agencies according to incident-related information requirements. The PIO develops accurate and complete information on the incident’s cause, size, and current situation; resources committed; and other matters of general interest for both internal and external consumption.

2.4.   The Liaison Officer: Serves as the point of contact for representatives of other governmental agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and/or private entities. Representatives from assisting or cooperating agencies and organization coordinate through this position. 

3. Incident Command System (ICS): General Staff

3.1.   Operations Section Chief: Develops and implements strategy and tactics to carry out the incident objectives. The Operations Section Chief organizes, assigns and supervises the tactical response resources. To maintain span of control, the Operations Section Chief may establish branches, groups and/or divisions. 

3.2.   Planning Section Chief: Oversees the key activities of collecting, evaluating, and displaying incident intelligence and information. The Planning Section Chief also prepares documents for Incident Action Plans, tracks resources assigned to the incident, and maintains incident documentation.  It is up to the Planning Section Chief to activate any needed additional staffing.

3.2.1.      Planning Section Support Units:            Resource Unit- Establishes check-in function at incident location and works to achieve total accountability and tracking of all incident resources (personnel and equipment). Track resource status as Assigned, Available or Out of Service.            Situation Unit- Prepares and maintains the situation displays such as maps, forms, weather reports, victim or damage assessments and other reports from technical specialists.            Documentation Unit- Collects and organizes incident information, forms, Incident Action Plans, information releases and reports. Establish a duplication service, files copies of all official forms and reports, provide incident information to appropriate requesters, and provide status reports to appropriate requesters.            Demobilization Unit- Evaluates logistics and transportation capabilities required to support demobilization. Prepares and obtains approval of Demobilization Plan including required decontamination, monitors and assists in coordinating the demobilization plan.

3.3.   Logistics Section Chief: Assures there are adequate resources for meeting the incident objectives. The Logistics Section Chief maintains span of control by adding Branch Directors and Unit Leaders. Additionally, the Logistics Section Chief oversees the chief activities of ordering, obtaining, maintaining, and accounting for essential personnel, equipment and supplies. This position also provides communication planning and resources, supplies food services for responders, sets up and maintains incident facilities and provides medical services and support transportation to incident personnel. 

3.3.1.      Logistic Section Support Units:            Supply Unit Obtains additional personnel, supplies and equipment to support the mission.            Food Unit- Obtains necessary equipment and supplies to operate food service to the mission.            Ground Support Unit- Provides all ground transportation during an incident. In conjunction with providing transportation, the Ground Support Unit is also responsible for maintaining and supplying vehicles, keeping usage records, and developing incident traffic plans.            Communications Unit – Establishes appropriate communications for the incident.  Prepares and implements radio communications plan.            Facilities Unit – Obtains and activates incident facilities. Prepares layouts of incident facilities and obtains personnel to operate facilities. Provides facility maintenance services such as sanitation, lighting, and cleanup.            Medical Unit- Responsible for the effective and efficient provision of medical services to incident personnel.

3.4.   Finance/Administration Section Chief: This role is filled for any incident that requires incident-specific financial management. The Finance/Administration Section Chief is responsible for contract negotiation and monitoring, time keeping, cost analysis, compensation for injury or damage to property, and documentation for reimbursement (e.g. under mutual aid agreements and assistance agreements).

3.4.1.      Finance Section Support Units:            Compensation/Claims Unit-Responsible for financial concerns resulting from property damage, injuries, or fatalities at the incident.            Cost Unit- Responsible for tracking costs, analyzing cost data, making estimates, and recommending cost savings measures.            Procurement Unit – Responsible for financial matters concerning vendor contracts.            Time Unit – Responsible for recording time for incident personnel and hired equipment.

4. Incident Command System (ICS): Position Titles

4.1.   Incident Command System supervisory titles are important because they allow many different agencies to work together under a common organization structure. Using consistent titles ensures that personnel from different organizations have the same credentials and qualifications.

4.1.1.      Section:  The organization level with responsibility for a major functional area of incident management (e.g. Operations, Planning, Logistics, Finance/Administration). The person in charge of each section is designated as a Chief.

4.1.2.      Division: The organizational level having responsibility for operations within a defined geographic area. The person in charge of each Division is designated as a Supervisor.

4.1.3.      Group: An organizational subdivision established to divide the incident management structure into functional areas of operation. The person in charge of each Group is designated as a Supervisor.

4.1.4.      Branch: An organizational level used when the number of Divisions or Groups exceeds the span of control, a Branch is charged with either geographical or functional responsibilities. The person in charge of each Branch is designated as a Director.

4.1.5.      Strike Team: A set number of resources of the same kind and type with common communications operating under the direct supervision of a Strike Team Leader.

4.1.6.      Task Force:  A combination of mixed resources with common communications operating under the direct supervision of a Task Force Leader.

4.1.7.      Single Resource: An individual, a piece of equipment and its personnel complement, or a crew or team of individuals with an identified supervisor that can be used at an incident.


Organizational Level


Support Position

Incident Command

Incident Commander


Command Staff



General Staff












Strike Team/Task Force


Single Resource Boss

5. Incident Command System (ICS): Intergovernmental Coordination Options

5.1.   Emergency Operations Center (EOC)/Emergency Coordination Center (ECC): Supports the on-scene incident response by relieving the Incident Commander of the burden of external coordination and securing additional resources. An EOC is: a physical location, staffed with personnel trained for and authorized to represent their agency/discipline, equipped with mechanisms for communicating with the incident site and obtaining resources and potential resources, managed through protocols, applicable at different levels of government.

5.2.   Incident Management Team (IMT): An IMT is an incident command organization made up of the Command and General Staff members and appropriate functional units in an ICS organization and can be deployed or activated as needed. National, State, and some local IMTs have formal certification and qualification, notification, deployment, and operational procedures in place. In other cases, IMTs are formed at an incident or for specific events. 

5.3.   Joint Information Center (JIC): May be established to coordinate all incident related public information activities. The JIC serves as the central point of contact for all news media. When possible, public information officials from all participating agencies should co-locate at the JIC.  Upon establishment of the JIC, the Police Public Information Officer (PIO) will respond or liaison with the JIC.

5.4.   Unified Command: Unified command (UC) is an important element in multijurisdictional or multiagency domestic incident management. It provides guidelines to enable agencies with different legal, geographic, and functional responsibilities to coordinate, plan, and interact effectively. In a Unified Command structure, the individuals designated by their jurisdictional authorities jointly determine objectives, plans, and priorities and work together to execute them.


  • Originating Directive Effective: 3/14/16
    • Rescind:
      • Directive 741.00, Chemical Biological and Radiological Agents and Weapons
      • Directive 755.00, Aircraft Crash Procedures
      • Directive 761.00, Hazardous Material Incidents
      • Directive 762.00, Mobilization
      • Directive 763.00, Operational Conditions (OPCON)
      • Directive 785.00, Earthquake Procedures
      • Directive 790.0, Evacuation Procedures
  • Next Review Date: 3/14/18
  • Review By: Emergency Management Unit