Key Personnel/Identification of Roles and Responsibilities
The Planning Section, headed by the Planning Section Chief, is responsible
for the collection, evaluation, dissemination, and use of information
about the development of the incident and the status of resources.
Planning must include an assessment of the present and projected situation,
constantly considering contingencies (remember Murphy’s Law!).
Proactive incident management depends on an accurate assessment of the
incident’s potential and a prediction of likely outcomes.
In addition to assessment of the situation status, there is a critical
need to maintain information about resources committed to the incident
and projected resource requirements.
Responsibilities of Planning Section Chief
The Planning Section Chief is responsible for managing information about
the incident status and resources, and for assisting the IC. These two
major responsibilities include a number of activities. The Planning Section
Chief manages information by:
- Collecting information regarding the incident
- Evaluating information received from a variety of
- Disseminating information to the IC, Operations, and
incident response personnel, as necessary.
- Preparing the incident action plan in conjunction
with the IC and other Section Chiefs.
Also, the Planning Section Chief assists the IC in:
- Developing an effective incident action
plan based on projected needs.
- Modifying the incident action plan to meet changing
- Anticipating changes in resource needs.
- Preparing alternate strategies and tactical options
based on incident potential.
For example, in the case of a wildfire, the Planning Section Chief could
monitor weather forecasts to determine if winds will spread the fire,
and examine maps of the surrounding area to determine if evacuation should
be planned before the fire spreads.
Units Within the Planning Section
The Planning Section Chief may establish various Groups (in this case, “units”)
under Planning, as needed.
- Situation Status Unit (SITSTAT) gathers
information and analyzes the situation as it progresses.
- Resource Status Unit (RESTAT) records the
status of resources, including those already committed to the incident,
anticipated needs, and the projected impact of additional resources responding
to the incident.
- Documentation Unit records and protects all
documents relevant to the incident. Examples of incident documentation
include incident reports, communication logs, injury claims, and situation
status reports. In major incidents, thorough documentation is critical
to post-incident analysis.
- Demobilization Unit is responsible
for the development of a plan for the demobilization of the resources
committed to an incident and assisting in the implementation of that
- Technical specialists may be assigned anywhere
in the ICS organization (such as to a Division or a Group within the
Operations Section) as needed.
Technical specialists are persons with relevant special skills
or knowledge that may be applied to support incident operations. Examples
include bomb squad members, SWAT teams, or hostage negotiators.