Arizona Emergency Net - Maricopa

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Every Monday night, the Arizona Emergency Net – Maricopa meets on 2 meters FM for training and exercise in the public service communication arts. We focus on preparation and readiness for public service – be it scheduled events like bike races or drills, or emergencies such as storm damage or terrorist attacks. Someone has to be ready. This net is dedicated to addressing that challenge. The Arizona Emergency Net – Maricopa also activates during threats or emergencies affecting Maricopa County

8-1-2011 - Incident Command System (ICS) - KF7CCC


What is an incident? Could be anything out of routine - disaster, wildfire, family BBQ. ARRL had an article about running Field Day using ICS.

The ICS is a standard way of organizing resources to respond to an incident. The ICS and the National Incident Management System (NIMS) incorporate a number of principles, among which are:

* Common terminology: all agencies use the same terms. This makes communications among agencies easier (both in terms of responding to an incident and knowing who does what).

* Span of control: each supervisor has a limited number of subordinates (usually between 2-7, with 5 optimal). This keeps the supervisor from being swamped with info, and also means the subordinates don't get lost.

* Unity of command: for any person there is only one supervisor. This prevents a situation where different people expect the same resource to do different things at the same time.

* Unified command: agencies work together without affecting individual agency authority, responsibility or accountability. This means an agency can't dodge blame just because they're acting in the ICS.

An Incident Command System might have the following positions:

Incident Commander: Ultimately responsible for the incident; top-level coordinator of everyone else.

Public Information Officer: Communicates with public/media.

Safety Officer: Makes sure people responding to the incident are operating safely.

Liaison Officer: point of contact for other agencies.

Also under the Incident Commander are several sections:

Operations: tactical activities focused on reducing the immediate hazard, saving lives and property, restoring normal operations.

Planning: collects information, evaluates it and sends it to incident management people who need it.

Logistics: supplies, ground support, facilities, food, communications, medical.

Finance/Admin: who pays for this? Everyone checking in our out of an incident goes through Admin.

Ham radio operators provide communications services, so they fit under Logistics.

- If you're an amateur radio resource, you'll be part of a group of 3-7 other hams that makes sure the responders have what they need.

- You will probably be supporting the heroes, not being one.

- You will be a backup to the existing communications systems. If things go well, that might mean you're the person who makes the coffee.

Some hams are in Amateur Radio Communications Teams (ARC teams). There are 4 ARC team classifications:

Type 4: Single operator, UHF/VHF mobile, vehicle

Type 3: Two operators, 1-2 vehicles, HF capability (usually means at least one non-tech)

Type 2: Field/base station, digital capable, own generator, 4 operators, at least 2 Generals. Self-sufficient.

Type 1: Full type 2 station with 4 type 4 stations, 12 operators including 1 supervisor, 1 assistant supervisor.

ARC teams are categorized with the ICS resource typing mechanism. Someone who needs a field station with a generator can ask for an ARC type 2 team and know what they'll get.

What is the difference between ICS and NIMS? ICS was in response to the California fires. NIMS came about after first responders (mostly police) had trouble communicating during 9/11. NIMS includes ICS as a component.

If you participated in Ragnar, you were under the ICS. Most MCECG events use the ICS - as does the NDMS drill.

The cost for FEMA Independent Study Courses is: free. You can take the courses and exams online at



Filetype: MP3 - Size: 8.16MB - Duration: 1:11:21 m (16 kbps 16000 Hz)