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Developing and Effective and Useful Incident Action Plan (IAP)

The Incident Command System emphasizes orderly and systematic planning and the Incident Action Plan is the central tool for planning during a response to a disaster emergency. The Incident Action Plan is prepared by the Planning Section Chief with input from the appropriate sections and units of the Incident Management Team. It should be written at the outset of the response and revised continually throughout the response.

Incidents vary in their kind, complexity, size, and requirements for detailed and written plans. In an initial response for an incident that is readily controlled, a written plan may not be necessary. Larger, more complex incidents will require an Incident Action Plan to coordinate activities. The level of detail required in an Incident Action Plan will vary according to the size and complexity of the response.

The plan must be accurate and completely transmit the information generated during the planning process. The plan must be prepared and distributed prior to the Operations Shift Briefing. A plan must be prepared for each operational period. A planning process has been developed as part of the Incident Command System to facilitate the development of an Incident Action Plan in an orderly and systematic manner. The following explains the planning process required to develop an Incident Action Plan. Following the planning steps will allow for the development of an Incident Action Plan in a minimum amount of time.

Developing effective and organized Incident Action Plans is crucial to the strategic and tactical goals of all managed incidents. A weakness in the IAP will translate into ineffective incident operations and may jeopardize the safety of personnel and the successful mitigation of the incident. This course focuses on developing, documenting and communicating effective Incident Action Plans through case studies, individual and group exercises and classroom simulations. The program will be delivered in the ICS format and integrating the new NIMS content.

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