Hospital Incident Command System (HICS)


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by Paul V. Richter, MA, FASHE, CHSP

In October 2006, hospitals across America were introduced to the fourth version of an Incident Command System developed to assist in the management of events that a hospital might experience, be they emergency incidents or ones of an administrative nature, such as planning for a large event within the community or even relocating to a new facility. An incident Command System is mandated for hospital licensure by some states and is one of the Emergency Management Standards requirements for accreditation by the Joint Commission. Putting all the regulatory requirements aside, this system is a tried and proven way to handle events requiring much coordination.

In the December 11, 2006 CDC’s Advance Data from Vital and Health Statistics, the article entitled Training for Terrorism-Related Conditions in Hospitals: United States, 2003-2004 states, “Training in Incident Command Systems is widespread, but almost one-quarter of the Nation’s hospitals remain untrained in this method of responding in an organized fashion to a chaotic event.” Hopefully this monograph will help assist hospitals in closing that training gap.


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