Environmental Health & Safety

Amherst College Incident Command System

Emergency - Call Amherst College Police 

(413) 542-2111 

(Ambulance, Fire, Haz-Mat, Police)

March 2012




Amherst College utilizes the standardized Incident Command System (ICS) for all campus emergencies and incidents, both man-made and natural, in an effort to best protect life, limb, property and the environment. The ICS is specifically designed to provide an integrated organizational structure for emergencies, both large and small. The system can be adjusted to meet the needs of the college, as well as the other agencies and jurisdictions that were or may be requested to respond.

  • ICS integrates personnel, facilities, equipment, plans and procedures, and communication operating within a common organizational structure, designed to aid in the management of all resources during a event.
  • The ICS can be used for both emergencies and large scale planned events such as dignitary and sporting events that could overwhelm the normal operations of the College.
  • This system is used by local, state and federal jurisdictions and functional agencies, both private and public, in order to efficiently organize field level incident management operations.

Every ICS must have an Incident Commander (IC). The IC is responsible for all activities, including the development of strategies and tactics, as well as the request and release of resources. The person assuming this role has the overall authority and responsibility for incident operations. The IC may change frequently depending on the size and complexity of the event. Most often, the IC at Amherst College begins with the first arriving Amherst College Police Officer. As the incident evolves, the IC might be passed to a Sergeant, a Chief Officer, a College Administrator, or the Amherst Fire Department, depending on the type of event.

When an outside emergency response agency, such as the Amherst Fire Department is requested for incidents like an explosion, fire, motor vehicle accident or hazardous material incident, the responsibility for the incident becomes theirs, making the highest ranking firefighter, captain or chief officer the IC, until it is transferred back to Amherst College, after incident stabilization.

The National Incident Management System (NIMS) is a set of scalable principles for “all hazards” that provides a systematic, proactive approach to guide local, state, federal agencies and the private sector, including the College to work together to prevent, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the effects of incidents, regardless of cause, size, location, or complexity, in order to reduce the loss of life, limb or property and harm to the environment.

The 5 key components of NIMS are;
  • Emergency Preparedness Planning
  • Communications and Information Management
  • Resource Management
  • Command Systems Management
  • Maintenance and Training

In order to function properly within the ICS and NIMS protocols, participants must be trained. Effective communication, procedures and response actions at all events are dependent on a good working knowledge of the above, especially when the emergency or incident is multi-jurisdictional.