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An Incident Command System (ICS) refers to an incident management mechanism that has been standardized and used on the scene of the incident (Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2011). It basically enables available personnel, equipment, facilities, and procedures to be implemented within a familiar organizational setting (Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2011). On the other hand, a Unified Command brings together Incident Command Systems from different organizational settings, such that the response to the incident can be carried out in an organized and coordinated fashion (United States Department of Labor, 2011). However, while carrying out the combined action, there should be a common agreement to pinpoint individual organization responsibilities.
The operation of an ICS in an Emergency Operation Center (EOC) depends on the organizational structure in place. One thing that must be noted is that in an EOC setting some officials may feel uncomfortable, the surroundings may be on familiar, officials can make unpopular decisions, and there could be inadequate information (Foot, 2011). Hence, to provide strategic support and direction, an ICS is used. The ICS ensures that the organizational tree is a functional one by assigning duties properly, for example, creating a finance division, planning division, logistics division, and operations division. This will ensure that all personnel are assigned duties based on their functions in order to avoid conflict of interest. The ICS also enables the establishment of an Incident Command Post (ICP), where the incident commander will be in a position to delegate roles and oversee operations (Foot, 2011). The ICS also enables the existence span of control in which an incident is divided geographically and designs the functions and operation areas (Foot, 2011). In this regard, an ICS enables the incident to managed professionally in EOC, where challenges may be experienced due to lack of a proper plan to control activities appropriately.