An Incident Command System (ICS) is a management system designed to enable effective and efficient responses to emergencies of any scale, large or small, by integrating five functional areas for management of all major incidents:

The National Precedent

The original Incident Command System was established in the mid-1970s by the US Forest Service and a number of California agencies. It was designed to improve and help coordinate responses to catastrophic wildfires in California. By 1981, ICS was used widely in Southern California in response to fire and non-fire incidents, and its success led to its application in a broad variety of emergency situations.

In March 2004, ICS was included as a mandate in the National Incident Management System, which is managed by the Department of Homeland Security. It applies to Federal, State, and Local Governments, and to all first-response agencies such as police and fire departments.

Suffolk's Response

While colleges and universities are not first response organizations, Suffolk University recognizes its role in the community, and the importance of protecting its students, faculty, and staff in the event of an emergency. Planning for the Suffolk Incident Command System began in 2005.

Currently, many members of the Suffolk community have been certified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in Incident Command.

Incident Support Team – This group is made up of the Chief of Staff and representatives from; Public Affairs, Provost’s Office, Deans of Students, Facilities, Human Resources, ITS, OEHS, the Risk Manager, SUPD, Media Services, and Government Relations and Community Affairs. This is a tactical level group that meets monthly and provides guidance and logistical support for preparing for incidents that may affect the University, and supporting the incident commander during an actual event, as appropriate. The primary responsibilities include:

Suffolk University also has a separate College of Arts and Sciences Safety Committee (CAS) comprised of representatives from Environmental, Health & Safety, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, NESAD, Communication/Journalism, and Electrical Engineering that meets quarterly.


Reviewed byDate
Incident Support Team11/11/2015