Unity of Command

A disorganized command structure may lead to units that self-dispatch to an incident or task, and do not have accountability to a supervisor. It is important that there is an established process for communications within the delegation of authority system, as well as free sharing of information between units.


Neglecting a review of prevention measures in a post-incident investigation is often a cause of future incidents, especially when the incident was neutralized or managed successfully. Successful incident responses often provide false assurance that the control measures are effective. No assumptions should replace maintenance, observations, reviews, and audits after an incident. Post-incident investigations should prioritize prevention measure reviews so that the root cause of the control failure or success is established, documented, corrected, or enforced if required.

Tailoring, Flexibility and Robustness

No plan fits all incidents, and not all incidents may have been identified in the risk assessment. For this reason, the emergency plans should be tailored to fit the context of the incident, and the action plans should be flexible to consider these changes.


Using complex terminology, abbreviations, or technical language during an incident could lead to misunderstanding, miscommunication, and errors that may escalate an incident to a crisis. Terminology should be in plain English and clearly defined in the emergency plan so that nothing is left to individual interpretation.

Personnel Training and Competence

Human and cultural factors must be taken into account when planning emergency operations. Human factors include the perceptions and intentions of individuals and groups, capabilities and competence, experience, knowledge and skills of personnel, as well resistance to change. It is often the case that a director may not hold that title during an incident, but may be influenced or influence other personnel when being reassigned or losing their span of control.

Human factors should be defined and understood so that responsibilities are assigned accordingly, and enable the stakeholders to execute their duties. Resources must be held accountable, and therefore must be competent, trained, and skilled to use tools and techniques to achieve their goals. There should be training programs and mechanisms in place to measure skills and knowledge on a continuous basis in order to maintain preparedness.

Common Pitfalls in Incident Management Implementation

by | Oct 30, 2015 | Publications | 0 comments