Emergency Transportation Operations
photos of traffic merging onto congested highway, congestion in snowstorm, variable message sign, cargo, variable speed limit sign in a work zone, and a freeway at night
Office of Operations 21st Century Operations using 21st Century Technologies

Incident Command System

Coordinating response resources from the various responding organizations is crucial to the safe and timely clearance of traffic incidents. This requires:

  • Clear command hierarchy
  • Designated responder roles and responsibilities
  • Clear procedures

The ability of all responders to communicate clearly and effectively The Incident Command System (ICS), long familiar to public safety responders, is the heart of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) required by the Department of Homeland Security for the management of all hazards. ICS provides the framework for command, control, and coordination of resources at the scene of the emergency. An objective-based system, it emphasizes common terminology, integrated communications systems, and comprehensive resource management.

Model Procedure Guide for Highway Incidents

The Model Procedures Guide for Highway Incidents was developed in cooperation with the National Fire Service Incident Management System Consortium (NFSIMSC). The NFSIMSC has prepared six previous incident management model procedures guide, primarily for the firefighting audience. The guide specifies the command and control procedures for managing resources on scene at highway incidents. The guide establishes procedures by which the resources of various responding organizations are managed to resolve an incident. The potential target audience for this guide includes not only public safety, but also transportation and private sector agencies and organizations. This guide was completed in 2003.

Incident Command Training Course

Building off the completed Model Procedures Guide for Highway Incidents, an ICS training course targeted specifically for transportation audiences has been developed. This training includes the National Incident Management System as developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Homeland Security. FHWA has also developed a simplified guide to ICS.