Expanding Incidents

An incident may start small and then expand. As the incident grows in scope and the number of resources needed increases, there may be a need to activate Teams, Units, Divisions, Groups, Branches, or Sections to maintain an appropriate span of control. The optimal span of control for incident management is one supervisor to five subordinates; however, effective incident management may require ratios different from this. The 1:5 ratio is just a guideline.

The ability to delegate the supervision of resources not only frees up the Incident Commander to perform critical decision-making and evaluation duties, but also clearly defines the lines of communication to everyone involved in the incident.

Next, we'll review the major organizational elements that may be activated during an expanding incident.

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