Within the Incident Command System (ICS) there are many
designations that not all ARES or RACES people understand. The
purpose of this web page is to collect those
designations and related terms in one place and present their
Setup when an event requires multiple Incident Commanders. The
Area Command coordinates local, state and federal organizations.
"Two or more individual incidents located in the same general
proximity which are assigned to a single Incident Commander or
Unified Command to facilitate management"
May be with or without Area Command.
Multi-Agency Coordination System (MACS) mode numbers
A numeric classification system of Mode 1 to Mode 4,
with 4 being the most severe, is used to quickly describe an incident
and predetermine the necessary dispatch and support actions.
The size and complexity of each incident determines its
mode class. The Incident Commander (IC) has responsibility
for identifying each incident's mode. The IC ensures the mode is
communicated to all assisting agencies.
- Mode 1 - Routine Operation Routine emergency response.
(If any emergency can be called routine - pl) No significant impact
on local resources. No alerting of backup elements is necessary. May
involve only one agency but may also require minimum cooperation or
support from other response agencies.
- Mode 2 - Mutual Aid Resources An emergency which exceeds
the capabilities of initial on-scene personnel and equipment,
involves multiple response agencies and requires mutual aid support.
- Mode 3 - County Resources Magnitude of the incident
exceeds the capabilities of routinely available mutual aid and
requires full mobilization of county resources.
- Mode 4 - State and Federal Assistance Situation exceeds
available county resources and requires substantial mobilization
of out-of-county, State and/or Federal resources.
The kind of resource describes what the resource is, e.g. Patrol
Vehicle, Helicopter, Fire Engine, Plow, etc.
In referring to response capabilities, an Incident Type 1 resource
possesses the highest response performance. Type 4
possesses the lowest response capability. Types are used to classify
resources based on size, capability and other factors. (i.e. the reverse
of the mode designation magnitudes - pl)
All tactical resources at an incident will be in one of three
- Assigned - Resources working on a tactical assignment under
the direction of a supervisor
- Available - Resources ready for deployment.
- Out-of-Service - Resources that are not ready for available
or assigned status (all not in A or B above).
Reasons for being
out-of-service can include:
- Equipment service required
- Rest (personnel)
- Staffing (insufficient personnel to operate the equipment)
- Environmental (darkness or weather)
A Staging Area is a temporary location at (yes, the ICS manual
says AT) an incident where personnel and equipment are kept while
awaiting tactical assignment. In all cases, equipment and resources
(people) in a staging area are always in or on available
status. That is to say, ready to go out on assignment within three
There may be multiple Staging Areas assigned for specific needs.
For example: Medical, Fire, Police, etc. Each staging area should
have different access routes for incoming and outgoing resources.
Each staging area must be located out of any possible line of
direct hazard effects, to minimize risk to resources.
Staging Areas should be large enough to accommodate anticipated
resources and have room for growth.
Camps are temporary locations within the general incident area,
which are equipped and staffed to provide sleeping, food, water and
sanitary services for incident personnel.
ARES/RACES Liaison to Served Agencies
The ARES/RACES to Served Agency liaison must be
fully authorized to represent their group. That is to say
they must be authorized to make decisions and commitments on
behalf of their organization.
Communication Support Persons
From the ICS-400 Guide, the number of people to support specified
numbers of communication locations. Please note that the ICS terms
have been changed to reflect ARES/RACES equivalents (Dispatcher to
Amateur Radio Incident Communication Leader = 1
Amateur Radio Incident Staffing Leader = 1
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