ICS Communications Toolkit

ICS Communications Toolkit

Denver, CO, December 22, 2010 -- School Safety Partners released today a free school safety app that helps school staff and first responders mount a counterattack against school shooters and manage a broad range of life-threatening emergencies.

Designed for sharing critical data among laptops and computer tablets such as the Apple iPad, the program provides a communications toolkit for the Incident Command System (ICS), allowing trained school personnel to instantly take emergency action as a team and synchronize their efforts with response agencies.

The ICS Communications Toolkit is also a portable app which can be run from a USB flash drive without installation, or it can be copied to a computer desktop.

Version 1.0 of the app can be downloaded at www.SchoolSafetyPartners.org/resources/ICS_Communications_Toolkit.pdf and is freely distributable. Using the cross-platform Adobe PDF Portfolio technology, it combines an overview of the Incident Command System for Schools with a portfolio of 22 electronic ICS Forms released by FEMA.

The streamlined forms help the safety team maintain focus under intense pressure and make faster life-saving decisions. Each interactive form includes quick instructions for filling in response data.

A user on a laptop can search the entire portfolio of forms or browse the portfolio using the animated user interface. The user can then select an individual form, extract it, fill it out, and immediately distribute it to others on the safety team.

Since they are PDF files, the forms can be read on laptops, netbooks, computer tablets, and Internet-enabled mobile devices. Although the Apple iPad does not currently support navigating PDF Portfolios, it is an ideal receiver for the individual ICS Forms. Its screen can be rotated as needed to read forms that are formatted in either portrait or landscape mode.

Different forms are used by the Incident Commander, Public Information Officer, Liaison, and those dealing with planning, operations, logistics, administration, and the safety of the response operation itself.

FEMA's ICS Forms cover all critical decision points during crisis reponse. For example, the Incident Briefing provides the Incident Commander with essential information regarding the incident situation and the resources allocated.

The Incident Radio Communications Plan provides information on all radio frequency or trunked radio system talkgroup assignments. Resource Status Cards, or T-Cards, give updates on resources, transportation, and support vehicles and personnel.

Completed forms can be readily distributed electronically and later added to after-action reports and incident documentation.

Schools can also modify the program, adding content specific to a particular campus or community, such as maps, floor plans, procedure charts for lockdown and other life-saving protocols, radio procedures, agreements with response agencies, a contact directory, and a copy of the school's safety plan. The app automatically adds each new element to the program interface for easy access.

School Safety Partners offers free assistance to school districts in creating custom editions of the school safety app.

Future versions of the ICS Communications Toolkit will include Flash tutorials and tools to help build custom content. Schools, school districts, and first responders are encouraged to share their ideas to improve the safety app. Denver-based SchoolSAFE Communications has developed a crisis communications workshop that incorporates the app in joint planning, training, drills, exercises, and evaluations bringing together schools and their community partners.

College credit is available to those completing FEMA's online courses on the Incident Command System. According to School Safety Partners, reviewing the ICS Communications Toolkit provides excellent preparation for the ICS online exams.

 ICS Communications Toolkit
Download the ICS Communications Toolkit [9 MB]
This cross-platform app is an Adobe PDF Portfolio.
For the best experience, open in Acrobat 9 or Adobe Reader 9, or later.
Click here to download a free Adobe Reader.

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