Best Practice Guide
The importance of incident command when responding to major incidents
In emergency management, major incidents are commonly defined as events that require an extraordinary allocation of resources, due to the location, severity, type, and/or number of victims. The management of these incidents, which are varied by nature, usually involves responders coming together from multiple rescue services, including in the healthcare sector. Due to the severity of these incidents, agencies often come from different jurisdictions, even geographies.
However, inter-agency, inter-service cooperation to ensure optimal resource use and improved patient outcomes isn’t simple. After all, responding agencies bring with them a unique set of competencies, experiences, systems, and terminology.
Melding everything together, especially in the midst of a disaster, can be an operational nightmare, often impeding the goal of rapid access to advanced major incident management.
Over time, though, it has become abundantly clear that major incident command, control, and coordination arrangements have to improve, especially to address pressing issues, like limited spans of control, a need for clearer lines of command within organisations, as well as communication across organisations. In turn, the incident management community has prioritised creating standardised incident command frameworks.
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