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Incident Command System - Awareness Level

Introductory Information:

As a result of completing this course, participants will be able to implement an Incident Command System during the initial stages of an emergency. Although the course does not qualify participants to serve as an Incident Commander, it will explain what actions to take to control the situation before the Incident Commander arrives. This course also serves as a refresher training for Incident Commanders.

Main Topics Covered in this Course Include:

  • Why Use It?
  • Building Blocks
  • Who's Involved
  • Action Plan
  • Resources (more information)

Opening Remarks:

SafeResponse has developed this on-line Incident Command System Awareness and Refresher training program for personnel working for federal, state, and local government agencies. This includes law enforcement personnel, fire and EMS personnel, Road Commission employees, and others who may be first on the scene of a hazardous materials emergency.


Certificates of completion can be printed by the participant once a 70% or greater score is achieved. The participant may take the quiz as many times as necessary in order to reach the 70% mark. A representative from the employer will have to sign each certificate. In order to be certified, all participants must complete the required information within the registration process. In addition, each participant must complete the training on an individual basis. If you ask someone else to go through the program for you, you will not learn the information that will be necessary to protect your health and safety. This will also render your certificate null and void.

Legal Requirements:

When your agency responds to a hazardous emergency, the Occupational Safety and Health Act and state OSHA laws require that you use an Incident Command System (ICS). This is a system for managing personnel who are involved in the response. Using an Incident Command System will help to reduce the chaos that occurs during emergencies. It will also help to protect employee safety. Law enforcement personnel are covered by these OSHA requirements.

According to OSHA and state OSHA programs, the senior emergency response official who responds to an emergency shall become the individual in charge of a site-specific incident management system. All emergency responders and their communications shall be coordinated and controlled through the individual in charge of the ICS.

As a member of a law enforcement agency, you may be the first person to arrive on the scene of a hazardous materials emergency. Although you may not be in charge of the Incident Command System, you need to be familiar with the system in order to make effective decisions before more senior officials arrive. The decisions you make could affect your safety and the safety of others.

By taking this Incident Command System course, you will learn about your role in the system. You will also learn about the decisions that must be addressed, especially during the initial phase of the emergency response.

Getting the Most out of the Program:

  1. Before starting the course, click on each Section Tab at the top of the Introduction page. This will tell you how the course is organized.
  2. You do not need to complete the course in one session. Plan 20 to 30 minute blocks of time for each module.
  3. This course should take (on average) 3 hours to complete. Use this number if you are required to track time spent during training.
  4. Use the "Stop" link on the left hand side of the page to mark your place before leaving the course. When restarting a session, it will be helpful to back track to the end of the previous module to review the summary before you start on the new module.
  5. You should try to complete an entire module before ending your session. Also, if your computer system crashes during your session, you may have to start your current module all over again when you return.
  6. Each of the modules of this course has a summary and questions at the end. Completing these questions will reinforce what you have learned.
  7. At the end of the course, you will have to take a short quiz. In order to receive a certificate, you will have to get a minimum score of 70%. Certificates of completion can be printed by the participant once the 70% or greater score is achieved. The participant may take the quiz as many times as necessary in order to reach the 70% mark. Passing the test will confirm that you have met OSHA training requirements for Incident Command System Awareness.
  8. Many of the questions in the quiz are based on information that appears in the the links that occur throughout the course. You will get a better score on the quiz if you click on any words or phrases that are linked to another resource.
  9. Finally, online learning is based on content and learner responsibility. As a learner, you have even more responsibility when taking this course. If you skip a section or fail to review all the material, it could result in an injury to you, a fellow employee, or a member of the general public. For this reason, we urge you to get as much out of this course as you can.