What is an Incident Action Plan?

What is an Incident Action Plan

What is an Incident Action Plan (IAP) you ask? To answer this question, you must not only ask what it is, but you must also know what elements go into making a good Incident Action Plan and why they are needed. Let’s break it down.

An Incident Action Plan is a written plan that contains objectives and information that is used in the management of an event or incident. An IAP is developed daily so that it can reflect the true nature of what’s occurring for that operational period. IAP’s are normally distributed and reviewed at briefing each day, allowing a chance for anyone to ask questions if needed. It is a way to share pertinent information for the incident or event and provide a resource tool for everyone to have and reference. Think back to your training with NIMS/FEMA and the “Planning P” and remember that each step in it can guide you in developing your IAP.

Your Incident Action Plan should include Incident goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics. Operational resources, assignments, critical updates, a health and safety plan, maps, medical and communication information, roles and responsibilities, and more depending on the nature of the event. The IAP is truly a game plan for everyone involved regardless of if it is a winter storm, hurricane response, civil unrest, pandemic, wildfire, flood, or a planned event. The primary audience for the IAP are the tactical supervisors in operations, however many others have an interest in it.

These IAP’s are an asset to anyone involved. Can you imagine not being sure of who the Incident Commander is (in fairness some incidents can have 100’s of personnel on it so forgetting names is highly likely), or perhaps having no phone number, call sign or even radio channel to contact Operations.  What if you did not know the medical plan or the location of a landing zone to safely have someone air lifted out or you’re not from the area and had no bearings of locations and needed a map. The Incident Action Plan can give you all this and more. The IAP should give you all this and should be a tool that is being used routinely.

So next time you are involved in an incident or have a planned event coming up make sure to develop an IAP.  Remember, a well thought out and detailed IAP can make all the difference for your personnel working and why would you not want to provide them a tool that can allow them to better perform and be prepared?


Contact us to learn more about IAP Development, or sign up for our Developing an Incident Action Plan Workshop!

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