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Emergency Operations Plan

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The Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) is comprised of sets of processes an organization defines for how it will respond to and recover from hazardous events. There are three main components of an EOP: planning, response, and recovery. Planning is performed in the creation and documentation of the EOP, while response and recovery use the EOP to direct activities during those phases.

Within these phases there are six critical elements that The Joint Commission identified as Emergency Management Standards, which must be addressed. These elements are:

  • Communications
  • Resources and Assets
  • Safety and Security
  • Staff Responsibilities
  • Utilities and Clinical
  • Support Activities

To support these efforts and processes, eICS plans offer flexible organization charts, allowing an administrator to construct the hierarchy, or chain of command, appropriate to their facility, agency, or organization. Administrators also specify the Incident Response Guides (IRGs) to make available. This allows diverse organizations to make use of ICS by building the plans that make sense for their organization and the types of incidents they encounter.

Administrators can also set up multiple plans to accommodate varying standards and incident command requirements. Only one plan can be active at a time. However, setting up multiple plans can help easy the transition from one incident command model or standard to another.


The Planning phase is the time to set up the system and prepare for incidents. During this phase, you should configure your plan, including the:

  • IRGs that direct response by position during an incident.
  • IC positions, based on the IRG, that are activated when an incident is created.
  • Depth chart, or list of candidates for specific positions. 
  • Files, associating them with positions and IRGs.

Development of the plan can also include contact information associated with specific positions, which is different from contact information for the person filling the position, as well as specifying the positions that are automatically activated at the start of an incident.

Each facility should have a plan. Facility Administrators see only the plans associated with their facility, but Domain Administrators can see the plans for all facilities in their domain. A default plan is configured at the domain level. Any administrator can use it as the basis for creating their a facility plan. 

To learn more about Facility and Domain Administrators, go to the article About User Roles


During the Response phase, the primary goal of the IC plan is to maintain awareness of assigned ICS positions, access contact information, and verify user response and availability. The following is an example of the typical response process.

If you want to... Then...

Stand up ICS,

  1. Create the incident in eICS by selecting the appropriate IRG.
  2. The Incident Commander (top level) position is automatically activated and contacts for that position in the depth chart are notified.
  3. Based on the IRG, contacts in the depth charts for other ICS positions are notified.

Respond with availability,

In eICS, change your status to show availability, or call in to update your IC status.

Review initial objectives and priorities,

View the incident dashboard and revise elements as necessary. Add files and contacts. Otherwise, manage the incident.

Determine staffing capabilities for ICS positions,

Check contact response statuses. Assign contacts to ICS positions; notifications are automatically generated. As the incident progresses, change assignments as necessary.

The IC plan pulls together the file library, contacts, and notification features, allowing all positions to view the plan and access the files and information they need. Command personnel can manage the positions activated for the event, note vacant or filled positions, and identify specific people in each position throughout the duration of the incident. When changes occur, command staff can easily update the plan and make changes available in real time.

Note: It is common in some organizations for in-house staff to fill positions until more senior personnel arrive. In such cases, the individual stepping in may need to perform the tasks of several positions simultaneously.


Recovery involves assessing the strengths and weaknesses of your organization's plan and response and then identifying and implementing steps to improve these.

eICS automatically tracks and logs assignments, including the start and end time. This tracking creates a record of the positions activated, including information about who served in each position and how the assignment might have changed. Reviewing this information can lead you to add IC positions to your response guide for that type of incident. eICS also provides access to forms and reports that will assist you in assessing your response.

During an incident, users can identify procedures and processes that need improvement and add these issues to the improvement plan. Then, after the incident has ended, your after action group can review these log entries, objectives, and messages to determine what, if any, changes need to be made to the IC plan.

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