Incident complexity is determined by a variety of factors, including political sensitivity, threats to life and property, organizational complexity, jurisdictional boundaries, and risk values. The level of complexity is rated from one to five. In this article, we will explore the different types of incidents and discuss factors that may increase the complexity of an incident.
Cost considerations of responding agencies
The complexity of an incident can be determined based on a five-point scale, from Type 5 (least complex) to Type 1 (most complex). Various analysis tools have been created to help determine the factors that affect the complexity of an incident. For example, a large complex incident often requires outside resources and support. Although there are many factors that influence complexity, one of the most important is the number of people involved. When an incident is large, it may require the assistance of an entire command and general staff.
Number of systems and data involved
Complexity is determined by a number of factors, including the number of systems involved and the amount of data compromised. Although these factors do impact the level of risk, the number of users affected by the incident does not affect the level of complexity. Regardless of these factors, a well-defined severity level can help IT and DevOps teams understand the impact and priority of an incident quickly. It will also reduce the time spent explaining the severity of the incident to the teams involved.
Incident complexity is typically assessed on a five-point scale. Type 5 is the least complex and Type 1 is the most complex. Many analysis tools are available to evaluate important factors affecting incident complexity. Large complex incidents usually require outside resources and support. A single resource may consist of six or more personnel. The Command and General Staff is activated only in large complex incidents.
Risk of life and property
The complexity of an incident is dependent on its type, which is measured by FEMA on a five-point scale. Type 5 incidents are the least complex and are most amenable to management and mitigation. Type 4 incidents are more complex than type 5. They have different levels of impact and require a different level of response.
Complexity is a key factor for incident planning. The complexity level determines the level of training, staffing, and resources required to effectively manage the incident. Incident complexity is impacted by many factors, including the nature of the incident and the impact on local, state, and national communities.
Roles of responding agencies
Depending on the complexity of an incident, a variety of responding agencies may be involved. Each agency has a distinct role and may have a different motivation for responding. But as the incident becomes more complex, the response agencies may be required to work together to address its challenges.
A single tactical resource may consist of a person or a piece of equipment. These resources include the personnel needed to operate and maintain them. An example of an equipment resource is a service patrol unit, which is called on to stabilize an incident on a highway. The goal is to minimize the impact of the incident on drivers, as much as possible.
Once an ICS response team has been established, it can expand as necessary to meet the needs of the incident. Initially, a single person will take on the role of incident commander, and he or she will manage the incident until command authority transfers to another individual. The commander will also appoint a command staff, which assigns responsibility for key activities such as safety and public information. This may include a liaison officer.
Resources available to respond
As the response to a complex incident progresses, it is essential to establish and document the response strategy. The planning phase should include identifying and establishing incident-wide objectives, measurable objectives for each operational period, defined strategies and tactics, and an incident action plan. In addition, these objectives must change over time to reflect changes in the incident and the response to it. To support these objectives, the incident management process should incorporate data-based decision support to support incident planning.
The ICS helps ensure that the appropriate resources are available and prepared for a complex incident by ensuring information management within the incident command center (ICS). Communication within the ICS is essential for ensuring smooth operations. All members of the command team should use clear text and avoid agency-specific codes and jargon. Major resources should be designated by common names and “typed” according to their capabilities.