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Appendix B: IMS facilities

IMS uses standardized terms to describe the facilities from which IMS functions are carried out. IMS functions may be carried out in pre-designated, permanent structures, or in temporary structures set up only for managing an incident. Incident facilities are established by the incident commander only when they are needed (depending on the requirements and complexity of the incident). In IMS, it is important to be able to identify the basic incident facilities on the ground as well as on a map. A standard set of map symbols is used in IMS and included in Chart 10: IMS Facilities.

Chart 10: IMS facilities

FacilitySymbolSymbol descriptionFacility descriptionWhoLocationNumber per incident
Incident command post (ICP)The symbol used for an Incident Command Post. A black lined square divided into two triangles by a diagonal line running from lower left to upper right with the lower triangle being black and the upper being white.A black lined square divided into two triangles by a diagonal line running from lower left to upper right with the lower triangle being black and the upper being whiteThe physical location where the primary command functions take placeIncident commander, unified command, command and general staff and may include other personnelOutside of the present and potential hazard zone but close enough to the incident to maintain commandOnly 1
Incident tele-communications centre (ITC)The symbol used for an Incident Telecommunications Centre. A black lined white square with the letters ITC in it.A black lined white square with the letters ITC in itTelecommunications for an incident set up and managed at the ITCITC manager and telecommunications unitClose enough to the incident for a timely response but far enough to be out of harm’s wayOnly 1
Area command postThe symbol used for an Area Command Post. A black lined square divided into two white triangles by a black diagonal line running from lower left to upper right; with black lettered ‘Area’ inside the upper triangle.A black lined square divided into two white triangles by a black diagonal line running from lower left to upper right; with black lettered ‘Area’ inside the upper triangleThe location from which Area command manages multiple incident management teams and has similar characteristics as an ICPArea incident command, area command and general staffOutside of the present and potential hazard zone for the assigned incident but close enough to maintain commandMultiple
Staging areaThe symbol used for a Staging Area. A black circle on white background with a black lettered ‘S’ in it.
or The symbol used for more than one Staging Area. A black circle on white background with a black lettered ‘S’ in it. More than one staging area may be designated by the addition of a number beside the letter (e.g., ‘S1’).
or The symbol used for more than one Staging Area. A black circle on white background with a black lettered ‘S’ in it. More than one staging area may be designated by the addition of a number beside the letter (e.g., ‘S2’).
A black circle on white background with a black lettered ‘S’ in it. More than one staging area may be designated by the addition of a number beside the letter (e.g. ‘S1’)A temporary location where resources are checked-in as available to be assigned for response and/or wait for tactical assignmentsAvailable resourcesClose enough to the incident for a timely response (normally within five minutes travel time to the incident), but far enough to be out of harm’s wayMultiple
BaseThe symbol used for a Base. A black circle on white background with a black lettered ‘B’ in it.A black circle on white background with a black lettered ‘B’ in itThe location where logistics and administrative functions are coordinated and where out-of-service resources are locatedLogistics and finance and administration sections, base manager and out-of-service resourcesClose enough to the incident for a timely response but far enough to be out of harm’s wayOnly 1
CampThe symbol used for a Camp. A black circle on white background with a black lettered ‘C’ in it.
or
The symbol used for more than one Camp. A black circle on white background with a black lettered ‘C’ in it. More than one camp may be designated by the addition of a number beside the letter (e.g., ‘C1’).
or
The symbol used for more than one Camp. A black circle on white background with a black lettered ‘C’ in it. More than one camp may be designated by the addition of a number beside the letter (e.g., ‘C2’).
A black circle on white background with a black lettered ‘C’ in it. More than one camp may be designated by the addition of a number beside the letter (e.g. ‘C1’)Provides support services such as food, water, sleeping areas and sanitation facilitiesCamp manager and out-of-service resourcesWithin the general incident area at strategically planned sitesMultiple
Air baseThe symbol used for an Air Base. A black circle on white background with a black lettered ‘A’ in it.A black circle on white background with a black lettered ‘A’ in itThe location from which both airplanes and helicopters can operatePersonnel related to aircraft operationsPre-existing locationsMultiple
HelibaseThe symbol used for a Helibase. A black circle on white background with a black lettered ‘H’ in it.A black circle on white background with a black lettered ‘H’ in itA designated location where helicopters may be parked, maintained, fueled and equippedHelibase manager and personnel related to aircraft operationsWithin the general incident area at strategically planned sitesMultiple
HelispotThe symbol used for a Helispot. A solid black circle numbered in association with a capital H, as in H-1 and H-2.A solid black circle numbered in association with a capital H, as in H-1 and H-2Temporary locations where helicopters can land, take off, load and offload resourcesHelibase manager and personnel related to aircraft operationsWithin the general incident area at strategically planned sitesMultiple
Marine baseThe symbol used for a Marine Base. A black circle on white background with a black lettered ‘M’ in it.A black circle on white background with a black lettered ‘M’ in itThe location where marine related operations are coordinatedMarine base manager and personnel related to marine operationsA marine base may be a permanent, pre-existing facility or a temporary facility within the general incident area.Multiple
Emergency operation centre (EOC)The symbol used for an Emergency Operations Centre. A black lined square on white background with black lettered ‘EOC’ in it.A black lined square on white background with black lettered ‘EOC’ in itA facility where resources and information are coordinated to support the incident siteEOC directorTypically in a pre-determined location outside of the incident areaOnly 1
Emergency information centre (EIC) or joint-EICThe symbol used for an Emergency Information Centre. A black lined square on white background with a question mark.
orThey symbol used for a Joint-Emergency Information Centre. A black lined square on white background with a question mark. The letter ‘J’ may be added to signify a Joint-EIC which contains representatives from multiple organizations.

 

A black lined square on white background with a question mark. The letter ‘J’ may be added to signify a joint-EIC which contains representatives from multiple organizations.A facility to coordinate emergency information activities such as: press releases, receiving public inquires, media briefings and monitoringCommunications personnel and other personnelTypically in a location outside of the incident area that the public has access toOnly 1
Family and friends assistance centre (FFAC)The symbol for a Family and Friends Assistance Centre. A black lined square on white background with black lettered ‘FFAC’ in it.A black lined square on white background with black lettered ‘FFAC’ in itA secure and centrally located facility for family members and friends of potential victims to obtain information and a range of support servicesSupport service personnelRelatively close in proximity to the incident but far enough that families and friends will not be required to pass by the incident siteOnly 1

Common considerations for IMS facilities

When setting up IMS facilities, the following items should be considered:

  • Mobility: The facility should be either mobile or be able to be evacuated if necessary. Alternatively, having facilities that are transportable may be beneficial.
  • Accessibility: The facility must be accessible by one or more means. This will be necessary for activation, deactivation, re-supply, reinforcement, mobilization, demobilization, deployment, evacuation or other purposes.
  • Safety and security: The facility must be free from the impacts and dangers of the incident. The safety and security of incident responders must be assured at all times.
  • Adequate space: Facilities should have adequate space for the purposes they are to serve, whether they are work areas, shelters, rest areas, feeding facilities or sanitation conveniences.
  • Support: The facility must have adequate resources (personnel and equipment) to make it functional.
  • Technological requirements: Some facilities may require certain technologies to operate such as electrical power and telecommunication and computing systems.
  • Co-location: Many IMS facilities may be co-located; meaning the sharing of the same land space, structure, floor within a building or office. The following items should be considered in regards to co-locations:
    • determining whether co-location is appropriate should be based on each unique incident
    • co-location can maximize resources such as transportation, accommodations and telecommunication systems
    • co-location can reduce travel times for resources and make liaising easier
    • it is recommended that large indoor spaces such as warehouses or arenas be used to accommodate multiple functions by creating and organizing appropriate working spaces for each function
    • avoid co-locating incompatible activities that may interfere with each other
    • avoid adding unnecessary distance and travel times. For example, co-locating the Staging Area in a Camp may result in the available resources being too far from the incident.

IMS facilities details

Incident command post

The incident command post (ICP) is the physical location where the primary command functions take place. There can be only one ICP for each incident (including incidents that involve multiple jurisdictions and/or organizations). The ICP typically houses the incident commander (or unified command) and the command and general staff. It may also include other designated incident response personnel.

The location of the ICP may change during an incident. Initially, an ICP may be established in a fire truck, police car or tent. Once the incident escalates in size, risk and/or complexity, the incident commander will designate a more appropriate or permanent ICP location such as a trailer or building. Typically, the ICP will be positioned outside of the present and potential hazard zone but close enough to the incident to maintain command.

Incident telecommunications centre

Incident command manages telecommunications in an incident using an incident telecommunications centre (ITC). The ITC is established for use by the command, tactical and support resources assigned to the incident. A manager runs the ITC and reports to the telecommunications unit leader within the logistics service branch.

Area command post

An area command post is the location from which area command manages multiple incident management teams. It has similar characteristics to an ICP.

Staging area

A staging area is a temporary location where resources are checked-in and await tactical assignment. As an incident expands, additional resources may be required. In order to manage and track the additional resources effectively and avoid too many resources being deployed at the same time, one or more staging areas will be established. Only resources having a status of ‘available’ are held in a staging area. Staging areas can be set up to meet specific functional needs (e.g. paramedic, fire, police, public works equipment, etc.). Therefore, there may be more than one staging area in an incident. Each staging area should have a staging area manager who reports to the operations section chief or the incident commander if an operations section has not been established.

Staging areas should be located close enough to the incident for a timely response (normally within five minutes travel time to the incident) but far enough away to be out of harm’s way. Staging areas should have reliable access routes and must be large enough to accommodate available resources.

Base

A base is the location from which primary logistics and administrative functions are coordinated and administered and where out-of-service resources are located. When an incident is expected to continue for an extended amount of time, resources may be required to rotate in and out of operation. The out-of-service resources will be located at the base. A base manager will operate within the facilities unit of the logistics section if activated.

There should only be one base per incident, but the base should be able to support operations at multiple sites if the incident is complex. The base should be located close enough to the incident for a timely response but out of the immediate impact zone.

Camp

Camps are equipped and staffed to provide support services such as food, water, sleeping areas and sanitation facilities. A camp may also provide space for minor maintenance and servicing of equipment. Not all incidents will necessarily need to have camps. Each camp will have an assigned camp manager who will operate within the facilities unit of the logistics section if activated.

A camp should be geographically separate from the base and located within the general incident area at strategically planned sites. Multiple camps may be used and they may be relocated to meet changing operational needs.

Air base

An air base is the location from which both airplanes and helicopters can operate. Airbases are usually permanent facilities such as airports that already exist. An air base may be used to provide operations support to an incident such as fuelling and maintenance services.

Helibase

A helibase is a designated location in and around an incident area where helicopters may be parked, maintained, fueled and equipped for incident operations. A helibase is supervised by a helibase manager who reports to the operations section chief.

Helispot

A helispot is a temporary location where helicopters can land, take off, load and offload personnel, equipment and supplies. Large incidents may require several helispots. A helispot is supervised by the helispot manager who reports to the helibase manager.

Marine base

A marine base is the location where marine related operations are coordinated. A marine base may be a permanent, pre-existing facility or a temporary facility set up during an incident. A marine base is supervised by a marine base manager who reports to the operations section chief.

Emergency operations centre (EOC)

An emergency operations centre (EOC) is a facility where resources and information are coordinated to support the incident site. In some cases such as a nuclear incident response or health incident, a response may be directed out of an EOC. An EOC must have appropriate technological and telecommunications systems to ensure effective communication in an incident. EOCs may be established at a variety of levels including a municipal emergency control group (MECG) or First Nations community emergency control group (ECG), a ministry action group (MAG) or for overall provincial coordination such as the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre.

Emergency information centre (EIC) or joint-EIC

A facility specifically designated and sufficiently equipped for emergency information. Typically, a community will establish an emergency information centre (EIC) to coordinate emergency information activities such as: press releases, receiving public inquiries, media briefings and monitoring. A joint-emergency information centre (joint-EIC) may be set up so that multiple organizations can share resources and operate out of one common emergency information facility.

Family and friends assistance centre (FFAC)

A family and friends assistance centre is a secure and centrally located facility for family members and friends of potential victims to obtain information and a range of support services. It is often a multi-agency operation, staffed by personnel from social services, volunteer organizations and other governmental and nongovernmental organizations.

The location of the FFAC should be relatively close in proximity to the incident but far enough away that families and friends will not be required to pass by the incident site. It should be easily accessible; if the location is not easily accessible to the public, preparations should be made to provide transportation for the victims’ families and friends to and from the FFAC.

Other required facilities

Other required facilities not listed above may be established to meet the needs of an incident. Each of the major functions may require separate facilities for their incident-specific activities. These unique facilities may include mass casualty triage facilities, facilities for those grieving or a volunteer coordination centre.

Updated: July 18, 2022
Published: March 24, 2022