In what meeting are the proposed incident strategies and tactics developed by the operations section?


Welcome to Lesson 2, ICS Forms and the Planning "P". At the conclusion of this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Describe the process by which the IAP is developed and implemented, using ICS forms, consistent with the Planning "P".

Notice to all NIMS ICS All-Hazards Position-Specific and IS-201 ICS Forms Class Students:

The Planning Cycle, or "Planning ‘P’" as it’s generally referred to, establishes a continuum for Incident Action Planning (IAP) during both emergency and non-emergency operations. The Planning "P" as defined in the Planning "P" video is an integral tool for the NIMS ICS All-Hazards Position-Specific coursework. The Planning "P" used in that coursework and video is a slight modification of the Planning "P" identified in NIMS, which is used in this course.

The timing of the Command and General Staff meeting, as noted on the Planning "P", accounts for the difference in the planning cycles. NIMS places this meeting between the Incident Command/Unified Command Develop/Update Objectives Meeting and the Preparing for the Tactics Meeting. The Planning "P" used in the previously mentioned coursework and the video recognizes the flexibility of the Command and General Staff meeting, and relies on the needs of the incident to determine the timing for the meeting.

Lesson Introduction (continued)

The Incident Action Plan (IAP):

  • Is defined as an oral or written plan containing general objectives reflecting the overall strategy for managing an incident
  • May include the identification of operational resources and assignments
  • May include attachments that provide direction and important information for management of the incident
  • Should be considered a work in progress during the initial stages of incident response

Planning Process Overview

Sound, timely planning provides the foundation for effective incident management. The planning process represents a template for strategic, operational, and tactical planning that includes all steps that an Incident Command/Unified Command (IC/UC) and other members of the Command and General Staff should take to develop and disseminate an IAP.

The planning process may begin with the:

  • Scheduling of a planned event
  • Identification of a credible threat
  • Initial response to an actual or impending incident

The process continues with the implementation of the formalized steps and the staffing required for the development of a written IAP.

Planning Process: Five Primary Phases

The five primary phases should be followed in sequence to ensure a comprehensive IAP. These phases are designed to enable the accomplishment of incident objectives within a specified time.

The primary phases of the planning process are essentially the same for the IC who develops the initial plan, for the IC and Operations Section Chief revising the initial plan for extended operations, and for the Incident Management Team (IMT) developing a formal IAP.

The five primary phases are:

  1. Analyze the Situation, Including Future Developments
  2. Establish Incident Objectives and Strategy
  3. Develop the Plan
  4. Prepare and Disseminate the Plan
  5. Execute, Evaluate, and Revise the Plan

1. Analyze the Situation, Including Future Developments

The first phase includes gathering, recording, analyzing, and displaying situation, resource, and incident-potential information in a manner that will facilitate:

  • An ICS-201 or other initial incident tracking resource, such as a status board or jurisdiction-specific forms, which are often used to capture initial incident command objectives, resource status, and immediate actions and may be used to provide an initial briefing for additional command personnel
  • The ability to determine the resources committed and those that may be required, including Command and General Staff who may be needed to develop and implement an effective IAP
  • Increased situational awareness of the magnitude, complexity, and potential impact of the incident

This phase is the vertical leg of the Planning “P”.

2. Establish Incident Objectives and Strategy

The second phase includes formulating and prioritizing SMART incident objectives and identifying appropriate strategies to meet incident challenges (ICS-215 and ICS-215A).

SMART objectives are:

  • Specific—what exactly are we going to do, with whom, and for whom?
  • Measurable—is it measurable and how do WE measure it?
  • Action-Oriented—what are the performance expectations?
  • Realistic—can it be accomplished as proposed?
  • Time frame—when will we accomplish this objective?

Within the Planning “P”, this is the phase when the IC/UC develop the initial incident objectives or revise the incident objectives for the next operational period.

3. Develop the Plan

The third phase involves determining the tactical direction and the specific resources, reserves, and support requirements for implementing the selected strategies and tactics for the operational period (ICS-215, ICS-215A, ICS-202, ICS-203, ICS-204, ICS-205, ICS-206).

This phase in the Planning “P” includes a meeting of the Command and General Staff, with each position making a determination as to what they forecast, how they prioritize their resource needs, and how they will achieve specific objectives. This is the preparation for the Planning Meeting to finalize the IAP.

4. Prepare and Disseminate the Plan

The fourth phase involves preparing the plan to include the detail that is appropriate for the level of complexity of the incident.

Within the Planning “P”, this step includes:

  • Giving an update on the situation, resource status, and incident potential
  • Reviewing and reconfirming objectives
  • Identifying geographic operational lines, establishment of Branch and/or Division boundaries, and identifying functional Group assignments
  • Assigning specific tactics for each Division and/or Group
  • Identifying operational facilities and reporting locations
  • Confirming resource orders
  • Communications, Medical, and Traffic Plan requirements and considerations
  • Finalization, approval, and implementation of the IAP

5. Execute, Evaluate, and Revise the Plan

The planning process includes the expectation to execute and evaluate planned activities and check the accuracy of information to be used in planning for subsequent operational periods. The General Staff should regularly compare planned progress with actual progress during the operational period.

Within the Planning “P”, this phase of the planning process is the lower right corner and bottom half, which now completes the Planning “P” and the operational period in which it was used.

Lesson Summary

  • During all stages of incident management, planners should gather, assess, and disseminate information
  • ICS forms are valuable tools to assist in developing a simple plan that can be communicated through briefings
  • Frequently, the initial plan must be developed very quickly and with incomplete situation information
  • Using the ICS forms to gather information provides a template for strategic, operational, and tactical planning