Incident Management System - IMS

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Document Reference
Core IMS Training
General IMS Training
Training For IMS Positions
IMS Support Documents


This documentation will refer to the Incident Management System (IMS) because that is the direction taken by Emergency Management Ontario (EMO) and this document was written in Ontario Canada.

IMS is built on the ICS (Incident Command System) and the names can be easily interchanged. Many will argue that IMS is ICS.

IMS can be thought of as the ICS expanded to include an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), as well as shelters and multiple organizations and agencies responding, who have each implemented the IMS internally.

National Incident Management System (NIMS) is a US Federal directive to implement a standard IMS Nationally.

EMRG - Ottawa ARES has adopted the use of IMS (Incident Management System) for managing service delivery to our clients in an emergency.

While the IMS structure is standardized, determining how to use IMS for Amateur radio, and how to align Amateur radio's use of IMS with the IMS structure of clients is the challenge.

IMS For Amateur Radio will be used in parallel with an ICS/IMS-100 course. The goal is to apply ICS/IMS to amateur radio, not to write an ICS/IMS course, or define a "new" IMS.

The key objectives for the IMS For Amateur Radio documentation include:

  • create an awareness of the broader picture that Amateur radio must address with IMS.
  • introduce the concept of Amateur radio as a service provider to multiple clients, rather than being volunteer "employees" of Emergency Mangement.
  • provide a guide, with examples, of how to use IMS to manage Amateur radio emergency communications delivery.
  • provide a list of recommended ICS/IMS forms for use by Amateur Radio, with notes on how to apply the form for Amateur radio.
  • provide a guide for creating and using IMS identification, to identify key IMS roles.
  • provide a guide for managing resources, meaning people, equipment and transportation, including local and outside volunteers.

This web page is a work in progress and documents should be considered draft. As Emergency Management Ontario (EMO) and the City of Ottawa Office of Emergency Management (OEM) finalize their IMS implementations, the IMS for Amateur radio documents will be updated to align with their direction.


Document Reference

AR-IMS-010 Introduction Describes the set of documentation that supports understanding and implementing IMS for Amateur Radio
IMS 109-AR Communications Log Log sheet template

Core IMS Training

This set of training documents covers all aspects of using IMS for Amateur Radio from introduction to working with multiple EOCs.

AR-IMS-011 IMS Overview Short introduction to IMS for Amateurs and clients.
AR-IMS-012 EMO IMS100 Addendum Extends the scenarios in the EMO IMS100 Course to include Amateur Radio and describes the Amateur Radio IMS structure that would be used.
AR-IMS-013 Basic IMS Provides more detail on how Amateur Radio would use IMS, including scenarios for public service events as well as emergencies.
AR-IMS-014 Intermediate IMS More detail on operating under IMS, using forms and Amateurs accountability when located in a client site.
AR-IMS-015 Advanced IMS Advanced IMS concepts, hands on exercises and details on how to work with multiple EOCs for different clients.

General IMS Training

This set of training documents covers specific aspects of using IMS for Amateur Radio, focusing on resource management, use of forms and identification of IMS positions for Amateur Radio.

AR-IMS-021 IMS Resource Management Resources (people and equipment) must be logged and tracked from the time they arrive to the time they are demobilized and head home. This is critical to create a permanent record of the event and for accountability, in order to locate someone, or identify who was in an area if something happens.
AR-IMS-022 IMS Identification It is important to indentify the Amateur Radio IMS positions, while not creating confusion with client IMS. Amateur groups typically don't have a lot of money either, so the solutions are cheap and won't cause confusion.
AR-IMS-023 IMS Forms IMS is a standards based solution, so Amateur radio should use forms as they were created, and limit the use of forms to only those that add value. Custom forms will be created where there are no good options using existing ICS/IMS forms.

Training For IMS Positions

These documents explain the roles and responsibilities for each of these IMS positions. Each document includes templates for tasks to complete, which forms to fill in, who gets the completed forms, etc. This can be used as training material and as a guide to fulfilling the position in an emergency.

AR-IMS-031 Director
AR-IMS-039 Resource Unit Leader
AR-IMS-032 Liaison
AR-IMS-040 Staging Manager
AR-IMS-033 Safety Officer
AR-IMS-041 Group Supervisor
AR-IMS-034 Information Officer
AR-IMS-042 Division Supervisor
AR-IMS-035 Operations Section Chief
AR-IMS-043 Branch Director
AR-IMS-036 Planning Section Chief
AR-IMS-044 Net Control Station
AR-IMS-037 Logistics Section Chief
AR-IMS-038 Admin and Finance Section Chief

IMS Support Documents

These documents are references or guides to support IMS implementation. They are not training material, but must be reviewed as part of training.

AR-IMS-051 Understanding Emergency Response Provides an overview of the complexities of emergencies and how Amateur radio must manage its service delivery to multiple clients simultaneously.
AR-IMS-052 Why Not Use ARCT Provides a review of the ARCT (Amateur Radio Communications Team) concept and explains why this is an incomplete solution.
AR-IMS-053 IMS Forms User Guide Provides instructions for Amateurs using IMS forms, to explain any additional instructions for Amateur radio use of the forms.


The objective and benefit of IMS forms is standardization across all agencies and organizations, across North America. With everyone using the same IMS forms, resources can be moved across the county or country, and integrate together. Each agency or organization can use the forms that have benefit and add value in their plans. The goal of IMS is to assist and standardize, not hinder and overload the users.

Amateur radio will use the IMS forms as written, without modification. Some groups modify the forms for Amateur radio, in some cases keeping only the name and form number the same. Modifying the forms diminishes the goal of standardization.

Many forms come with notes to assist users filling out the forms. To make it easier for Amateur Radio, there is document with a set of Amateur Radio specific notes that covers all forms. This includes where to enter Amateur Radio information like a call sign, where to enter your ARES group name, or where to enter the call sign for a repeater.

Amateurs are volunteers and only work with the forms in exercises and a hand full of real events, so only the forms that add value are used.

The following is a preliminary list of ICS forms that appear to have relevance for Amateur radio use of IMS. Some may be added or removed over time. The Resource Status Cards (ICS 219) need more investigation on how to implement them for Amateur Radio, but it might provide a way to track resources and implement accountability for resources in the field.

ICS 201: Incident Briefing
ICS 202: Incident Objectives
ICS 203: Organization Assignment List
ICS 204: Resource Assignment List
ICS 205: Incident Telecommunications Plan
ICS 207: Incident Organization Chart
ICS 210: Resource Status Change
ICS 211: Check-In List
ICS 213: General Message Form
ICS 214: Activity Log
ICS 215-A: Incident Safety Analysis
ICS 215-G: Operational Planning Worksheet
ICS 219: Resource Status Card (T-Card)
ICS 219-1: Header Card - Gray (Used as label card for T-Card racks)
ICS 219-5: Personnel Card - White
ICS 219-7: Equipment Card - Yellow
ICS 219-10: Generic Card - Purple

These forms are available from EMO IMS Forms.

Some additional background about IMS can be found here.

For more information about IMS, please visit US ICS Information and US FEMA Forms.

Anyone wanting to provide feedback is encourgaged to write: Peter Gamble (VE3BQP) ims at