Certification Examination Standards Implementation 6 and 7 – Operational Procedures and Incident Management Requirements

Certification Examination Standards Implementation 6 and 7 – Operational Procedures and Incident Management Requirements

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By Daryl Lee Spiewak, CEM, TEM, MEP, Lead Trainer for the CEM® Commission

Last month we discussed the fourth and fifth sections of the Implementation standards – Crisis Communications and Public Information and Warning, Notifications, and Communications. This month we will describe the sixth and seventh sections of the Implementation standards — Operational Procedures and Incident Management.

The Standard – Operational Procedures

The NFPA® 1600 version 2013 requires an entity to “develop, coordinate, and implement operational procedures to support the emergency management program” for response to and recovery from the impacts of hazards identified during the hazards analysis process.

The procedures shall provide for life safety, property conservation (minimizing property damage), incident stabilization, continuity, and protection of the environment under the jurisdiction of the entity including procedures for access control, response personnel identification and accountability, and mobilization and demobilization of resources. Finally, the standard requires that “procedures shall allow for concurrent activities of response, continuity, recovery, and mitigation.”

Similar to the previous standards, this one does not specify how to develop and implement these procedures or what format is required. It only specifies that an entity must have operational procedures, and they need to cover specific topics at a minimum. Emergency managers may not be directly involved in developing the content of these procedures, but as an important member of the entity’s planning team, the emergency manager ensures that procedures include all the requirements of the standard and includes those procedures in the entity’s emergency management plan and the exercise and training activities.

The Standard – Incident Management

  • Incident Management System. The Incident Management requirements of NFPA® 1600 version 2013 state, “The entity shall develop an incident management system to direct, control, and coordinate response, continuity and recovery operations.” At first glance, this standard seems rather simple, but it is a comprehensive one covering an incident command system (ICS in the USA), the emergency operations center (EOC), communications, the organization or structure (the ICS/EOC interface), situational analysis, incident action plans or management by objectives, resource management, and donations management. That is a lot of material for the emergency manager to know about and implement in order to manage incidents effectively.
  • Emergency Operations Center (EOC). The standard does not dictate the size, dimensions, location, personnel or equipment required to establish an emergency operations center. So those criteria are not a part of the certification examination. The standard does state that emergency operations centers may be physical or virtual and permanent or temporary. It also requires that both the primary and alternate EOCs are capable of managing response, continuity and recovery operations. This doesn’t mean the entity must have a single EOC to perform all of these tasks.

For long-term recovery operations, many entities now are establishing a separate “emergency operations center” or “recovery center” to manage that specific task, while the main EOC is used for managing the entity’s response and continuity tasks. The entity’s policy and procedures will dictate how that is accomplished.

  • Communications. Upon activation of an EOC, the standard requires that “the entity establish communications and coordination between incident command and the EOC.” This could be by direct contact, through the dispatch center, or by using liaison officers, the Internet, amateur radio or runners.
  • Organization or Structure. The incident management system must “describe specific organizational roles, titles and responsibilities for each incident management function.” Include “procedures and policies for coordinating mitigation, preparedness, response, continuity and recovery activities.” Then ensure that the activities specified therein are coordinated with stakeholders.
  • Situational Analysis. The emergency operations center must have situational analysis procedures “that incorporate a damage assessment and a needs assessment to identify resources to support activities.”
  • Incident Action Plans. “Emergency operations/response shall be guided by an incident action plan or management by objectives.” The plan may be written or verbal. In the United States, the incident action plan must be written for hazardous materials incidents.
  • Resource Management. The emergency operations center needs procedures to manage incident resources. In addition to maintaining a current inventory of internal and external resources, procedures “shall include the following tasks:
    • Establishing processes for describing, taking inventory of, requesting, and tracking resources;
    • Resource typing or categorizing by size, capacity, capability, and skill;
    • Mobilizing and demobilizing resources in accordance with the established incident management system; and
    • Conducting contingency planning for resource deficiencies.”
  • Donations Management. The standard requires that the entity have procedures in place to manage donations of human resources, equipment, material and facilities.


For information and discussion on Implementation (6 and 7): Operational Procedures and Incident Management Requirements, refer to the recommended FEMA Independent Study courses and other related references mentioned below. Do not confuse these general resource requirements with the specific procedures found within your organization. While an emergency manager needs to understand and know local procedures to be effective in the position, those procedures could easily differ from the general procedures discussed in the study references and are not found on the certification exam. The applicable FEMA Independent Study (IS) courses candidates should review when studying the Implementation Requirements are:

  • IS-1a – Emergency Manager: An Orientation to the Position
  • IS-100 series - Introduction to Incident Command System, ICS-100
  • IS-200 series - ICS for Single Resources and Initial Action Incidents
  • IS-230d – Fundamentals of Emergency Management
  • IS-559 – Local Damage Assessment
  • IS-700a – National Incident Management System (NIMS): An Introduction
  • S-775 –EOC Management and Operations

For those taking the IAEM-USA version of the exam, review the following additional references:

  • IS-701a – National Incident Management System (NIMS) Multiagency Coordination System (MACS) Course
  • IS-703a – National Incident Management System (NIMS) Resource Management

Next Month’s CEM® Corner

Next month we will describe the Emergency Operations/Response Plan and the Business Continuity and Recovery sections of the Implementation standard. We will also provide a recommended list of FEMA Independent Study courses and/or other references to study.

IAEM Bulletin, September 2014

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