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Nursing Home Incident Command System- A Management Tool for

by Denis

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The nursing home incident command system is a uniform management tool which helps its users to respond to any event through a standard approach. It is an effective tool which has been shaped to help nursing homes assign staff for the management duties at the time of emergency. It also helps them to designate equipments and supplies for the effective execution of assigned duties.

The incident refereed here is any occurrence or event caused by humans and natural phenomenon requiring responsive actions to prevent or mitigate the life loss and property damage or any kind of harm to the environment. It mainly originated during the year 1970 in the catastrophic California wildfires. Personnel evaluates the incident discovered that inadequate management was the main reason of the heavy losses.

The nursing home incident command system should be an essential part of any facility’s emergency operations plan (EOP). In order to ensure effective and proper utilization of NHICS, facilities should provide the staff with comprehensive training and exercise system. NHICS works on the basis of the concepts promoted by the National Incident Management System. It works as a resilient incident management model guiding the facilities to manage any situation either emergent or non-emergent consistently.

It is considered that regardless of the nature of any emergent or non-emergent event, this incident management tool should be activated in early stages of any event so that it can be ensured that a consistent process is activated during the escalation or de-escalation of size, complexity and scope of any system. The utilization of NHICS is also believed to promote “interoperability” with the other emergency responders like fire ems, police, EMS because they also use some version of ICS during their emergency situations.

The utilization of NHICS helps us to develop a consistent and disciplined approach to incident management in any type of smaller emergent and non-emergent situations which can be expected at any facility in routine basis.

Some of the emergent and non-emergent events handled by ICS are:

Emergent events:

Fire alarm system activation

Power failure

Extreme weather conditions

Fire or smoke condition

Internal or external flooding

Prolonged hot or cold weather conditions

Missing or eloped residents

Mechanical system failure

Events occurring outside facility

Other threats consistent with the facility’s Hazard Vulnerability Assessment (HVA)

Some non-emergent events

VIP visits

Grand parties and celebrations

Training exercises and drills

Life safety system disruptions

The Nursing Home Incident Command system mainly works in five different functional areas. To name them are command, operations, planning, logistics, and finance or administration. For better execution, each area is handled by its own functional officials like incident commander, public information officer, liaison officer, safety officer, operations section chief, and planning section chief.

This system has proved its efficiency in the last 30 years. It has been utilized by various government and non-government organizations. If NHICS will become a part of the facility’s emergency management culture, it can be easily implemented on large events which are associated with major disasters.

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