Introduction: Hospital disaster manuals and response plans often lack formal command structure; instead, they rely on the presence of key individuals who are familiar with hospital operations, or who are in leadership positions during routine, day-to-day operations. Although this structure occasionally may prove to be successful, it is unreliable, as this leadership may be unavailable at the time of the crisis, and may not be sustainable during a prolonged event. The Hospital Emergency Incident Command System (HEICS) provides a command structure that does not rely on specific individuals, is flexible and expandable, and is ubiquitous in the fire service, emergency medical services, military, and police agencies, thus allowing for ease of communication during event management.
Methods: A descriptive report of the implementation of the HEICS throughout a large healthcare network is reviewed.
Results and conclusions: Implementation of the HEICS provides a consistent command structure for hospitals that enables consistency and commonality with other hospitals and disaster response entities.