Incident Command System
During an emergency, the City uses the Incident Command System, which is a standardized approach to command, control, and coordination used by public agencies to manage emergencies. In the City of Cedar Rapids, the Fire Chief is designated as the Incident Commander. Incident command is used to respond to emergency calls for service every day.
When large scale disasters occur, the City utilizes an Incident Management Team to provide a coordinated response to the disaster. The Incident Management Team is comprised of individuals from almost every department in the City. When the incident is too large for the local resources to mitigate, Cedar Rapids has mutual aid agreements with area agencies to provide resources to the incident. The Fire Department utilizes these agreements, also known as mutual aid agreements, several times a year when there is a large fire or chemical leak, for example.
If further assistance is needed, the City works with the Linn County Emergency Management Agency, Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The National Incident Management System (NIMS) was adopted as response framework as part of an after action review of the response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The guiding principles of this framework is flexibility, standardization, and unity of effort. Resources requested outside of the Incident Management System diminishes response effectiveness and capabilities to protect the safety and health of the community. NIMS provides resources management, command and coordination, and communication and information management.