1. It takes enormous practice (training and exercises) to maintain competency in ICS. Commercial enterprises are rarely able to dedicate the resources needed to maintain even a minimal competency level. If you’re a firefighter, police officer, or other responder, ICS is an integral part of your job. That’s not true for most companies.
2. ICS’ organizational structure and roles are different than a company’s day-to-day organizational structure and roles. That causes confusion. In the heat of a crisis, you want to minimize confusion, not create it. Example: why should the Director of Corporate Communications have to become the PIO (Public Information Officer) during an emergency? Who benefits from that? (If you think it’s the first responders, see the next point)
3. If your organization adopts ICS and you tell first responders “We use ICS”, they’ll have certain expectations. What’s the operational period? Where is your EOC? When was the last IC briefing? Who is the Planning Section Chief? If you’re not honest-to-goodness ICS competent, better not to even pretend; it’ll just be another source of confusion to them and to you.
Here’s the good news. Most companies don’t have to worry about the complexities of ICS. A crisis management team should be able to do the following:
- Assemble when necessary
- Assess a situation to understand what’s happened
- Prioritize and make decisions
- Communicate to those who need to know what’s going on