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About the Improvement Plan

The improvement plan is a review measure used during the recovery process and on an ongoing basis to address shortcomings or issues observed in relation to incidents, exercises, and drills.

Incident management is a cyclical process. eICS allows you and your users to identify issues and recommend action items to improve the process. Issues can be reported at any time, but it is during the recovery process that review and evaluation of the planning and response efforts takes place.

Evaluation of the issues produces additional action items that are recommended to improve incident management. Personnel designated to review the incident can see the issues and items added by other users, and they can add or change action items and apply agreed upon changes to improve the plan and response.

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Electronic ICS provides a powerful and comprehensive set of features designed to support and enhance your ongoing efforts to assess your response and improve your plan. Just as you use eICS to plan for all types of incidents, to respond to actual incidents, and to run exercises, you can use the system's established methods, features, and options for recording and tracking improvements to your plan and response strategies.

During an incident, you can mark entries as potential improvements via the event log in the incident dashboard. After the event, you can assess these items to determine whether to include them as improvements to your plan.

In addition, after an incident you can assess and flag objectives, messages, and other events from the incident or exercise to assess whether each item should be included in your next round of improvements.

Compliance and Standards

Your organization probably runs drills and exercises on a regular basis to test your plan and response. Exercises help you document response activities in order to prove your organization followed the processes outlined in compliance objectives. This, in turn, helps provide support for accreditation and prove compliance with established emergency management standards.

Electronic ICS features aid you in identifying potential opportunities for improving the plan, response guides, and response activities.

Exercises

Organizations can spend 12-18 months planning and setting up an exercise.

The exercise is designed to address an overall objective, such as successfully completing a set of activities. For a hospital, this might be triaging and transporting patients and ensuring they get the appropriate care. For a business, this might be evacuating the building due to a crisis and handling any resultant injuries. For any type of organization, this might be a cyber-attack or other IT-related situation.

After the exercise, a "hot wash" occurs. Exercise participants and stakeholders meet to discuss the exercise and evaluate performance across the board. Results can include small to large changes, from adding new objectives to a particular position to developing new strategies that call for restructuring the ICS chart or enhancing the appropriate incident response guide.

Built-in Recovery

An organization wants to do their best to plan for the unexpected, which is anything outside normal, daily operations. This can range from a disaster to an operational disruption, such as needing to swap out a server in your IT department. Use eICS to improve your plan and response guides.

Remember that eICS provides built-in recovery features. For example:

  • After an incident or an exercise, building your improvement plan in eICS is a key part of building your after action report.

  • Use eICS to address daily operations and disruptions. Note situations that may not be addressed in your plan and its incident response guides and include them as improvement items.

  • During an incident or exercise, keep your eyes open for situations or gaps that may need to be addressed in your plan. Make use of eICS's built-in features to flag events for later evaluation. After an incident, use eICS features to assess the incident's messages, objectives, and other events and to build improvement plan items from them.

  • After a hot wash or other post-response activities, regularly review the plan and the items added to it, assign responsibilities where appropriate, follow up on in-progress items, and keep aware of action item due dates.

All identified improvement and action items can be tracked and monitored through the Improvement Plan features in eICS. Identifying and tracking improvement opportunities during the course of or after an incident helps you continually improve your plan, and contributes to improving your overall operations plan.

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