Back to Incident Command System

Incident Facilities
  • Incident Command Post
  • Incident Base
  • Incident Camp
  • Staging Area
  • Incident Helibase
  • Helispot
  • Drop Points

The Incident Command Post is the first priority for a facility at an incident. It is the location where the primary command functions are carried out. There is only one per incident and is usually located with other facilities such as Incidnet Base. It shouldn't be relocated because that would hinder the top most commands of the incident. Communications is usually found here so the command team can communicate easily. The Planning function is usually done here also. There must be large adequate room to spread out. Situation Reports and status displays might be neccesary for the incident to be shown. Agency representatives for the incident usually located here also. An expanded ICP is needed for unified commands, long term incidents or when on-scene communications, planning and command staff are needed. The ICP is located on an incident map by a square with the bottom right corner triangle of the square filled out.

The Incident Base is the location of the primary support activity of the incident. The Logistics section can be found here. This is where the firefighters come to rest and relax. The Incident Base must be large enough to handle the facilities such as sleeping arrangements, secure area for inmate crews, food processing, supplies/warehouse setup, and sometimes a pre-liminary staging area. There is only one base per incident. There are usually pre-designated incident bases in the area so it is easy to secure and setup a location without too much hassle. An easy Incident Base can be the county fairgrounds, a local group campground, or other large gathering area that can be taken over for a week or more. There will always be a Base Manager assigned and sometimes a seperate frequency just for base operations. The incident base is located on the incident map by a capital B in a circle.

Incident Camps are temporary locations geographically named to provide services close to the incident scene. You can find all the services of an Incident Base at a Camp although it is usually setup for temporary purposes and can be moved at a moment's notice. It is a subset of a Base and geographically placed at the entrances and exits of an Incident. Sometimes they go hand in hand with the Staging Area of the incident. Camps are found on the incident maps as a C with a circle around it.

Staging Areas play a key role in the incident. It is the location where all available resources stage before they are assigned somewhere. Several can be used at different geographic locations but the majority of the direct attack staging areas must be within 5 minutes of tactical operations of the incident but out of the line of danger. It can be relocated as the incident moves. All resources at a staging area must be available on a 3 minute notice. That means out the gates at the 3 minute mark. A Staging area prevents freelancing of equipment on an incident and minimizes communication needs since the staging manager can direct resources face to face. It provides control and assist the check-in of personnel who arrive at the incident privately and not in an engine. The IC also knows how many resources are available and can plan for contingencies using those resources. The staging areas usually have seperate access routes for incoming/outgoing to ease congestion, and security controls at the gates and throughout the area to protect the equipment. The environment must also allow for refueling and sanitation of the equipment etc.

The Incident Helibase is the location where the helicopters are parked, serviced, and refueled. These can be made out in a field near the incident, or at an airport. They try to keep them away from the normal fixed wing routes between air attack bases. The name of the base is designated by the name of the incident. Large incidents can have more than one. Sometimes fire and contract copters work out of a remote helibase while the Natl Guard and other "milair" help prefer to work out of an actual airport. Either way, a firefighting crew must be on hand at a helibase for fire protection/crash rescue purposes. You can find the Helibase on the map by a H in a circle. Helibase managers are onsite, monitoring "Take Off Landing Coordinator (TOLC)" frequency.

A Helispot is a location on the incident where it is safe for copters to land and take off. The Helispot managers are onsite to coordinate the landings and take offs as well as loading and unloading of equipment and personnel as needed. These are temporarily located as the incident grows and can be found at parking lots, meadows and large clearings. Helispots are found on the incident map by filled in circles with the letters H-# next to it, the # designating what number it is.

A Drop Point is similar to a helispot, but used for ground supplies. Large supply vehicles can drive up to a drop point and literally drop supplies off on the edge of an incident for the ground teams to come by and pick up. Drop points are located all around the fire. If you're an inmate crew you can usually pick up sharpened tools at the drop points and some quick water, food, radio batteries, updated instructions, or have your crew bus waiting to pick you up or drop you off elsewhere. The drop points are located where road meets incident or trail. On an incident map, they are a filled in dot with the letters D-# next to them with the # designating which number is it.