Emergencies can occur anywhere and at any time. Therefore, it is essential to have a system which can provide required resources, equipment and personnel to the needy on time. One such system which helps nursing homes assign staff for different emergency duties and designate equipments and supplies for the needful people is known as nursing home incident command system. It’s a proven management system and has been successful in different business, military and health practices for so many years.
ICS has proved its efficiency in more than 30 years of emergency and non-emergency situations. It has been tested by all levels of government and the private sector.
The system mainly supports five major functional areas and that are commands, operations, planning, logistics and finance/administration.
Every area has different personnel for its smooth functioning. Let us discuss the hierarchy of the functional officers in ICS:
Incident commander: this person is responsible for organizing and directing the facility’s emergency operations. Every direction is given by this person. He orders evacuation and sheltering in place. The incident commander can assume three different functions with the help of command team which includes:
Public information officer: the person acts as a medium between the media and the public for interfacing incident related information requirements. He acts as a conduit for all information which is flowing out from facility related to emergency and facility status. He also supervises any communication needed for family and residents of the victims. There is only one PIO who works under the orders of incident commander.
Liaison officer: the person is a point of contact for external agencies, organizations, private entities and other’s representatives. They help in conveying information related to facility to these organizations. Any interaction with the state licensing agency, local emergency operations center, the red cross and police also falls under his duties.
Safety officer: he is responsible for monitoring the emergency’s impact on facility operations. He will communicate incident commander for operational safety. He also looks after the safety of residents, staff, visitors and other members of the facility.
Operations section chief: this person organizes and directs all activities related to resident care and services, dietary services, environmental services. These services are meant to take care of the residents and the staff, meet food service needs and manage facility grounds.
Planning section chief: this person collects and analyses all the information related to the incident across the departments. He collects all information from other section chiefs for doing long range planning in coordination with the incident commander. With all this information, the chief creates a Facility’s Incident Action Plan. This plan has general objectives and strategies for the effective management of the incident. The plan is revised after every 8 hours.
Logistics section chief: he is responsible for handling those operations which provides personnel, food, and other supplies to support any facility during an incident.
Finance section chief: his task is to monitor the use of financial assets. He maintains an account for financial expenditure.