Title:
EMERGENCY OPERATIONS INCIDENT COMMAND KIT AND METHOD OF USE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention is directed toward a system for preparing and dealing with emergency or crisis situations. In particular, the present invention comprises a comprehensive kit that provides leaders with the equipment, instructions, records and communication templates needed to guide an organization through a crisis or disaster. The kit is comprised of various electronic and communication equipment housed in protective custom foam packing as well as office supplies and a full set of intellectual management tools combining essential elements of the National Incident Management System and the Incident Command System to enable interoperability with arriving first responders and other local, state, or federal resources. The kit is stored and contained within a durable, mobile, water-resistant, impact-resistant, protective enclosure.



Inventors:
Clark, Robert Lee (Copperas Cove, TX, US)
Knight, Anita Ault (Waco, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/536034
Publication Date:
04/03/2008
Filing Date:
09/28/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D71/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20020175099Cellular telephone bagNovember, 2002Wu
20080230432Blister PacksSeptember, 2008Bobbett et al.
20080302695Blister Pack with Fold LinesDecember, 2008Meeren et al.
20040020495Miniature condom inside hollowed out hazelnut sealed with wood fillerFebruary, 2004Davis
20060278561Blendable stick for coloration of wood and furnitureDecember, 2006Schierlmann
20060207907Beverage container having a displaySeptember, 2006Meehan
20050126940Hydrating case for moisture-containing lens and hydrating method using itJune, 2005Nakagawa
20080206501DISPOSABLE VASEAugust, 2008Looije et al.
20050045512Shipping package system for fragile panelsMarch, 2005Carroll Jr.
20080047864TWO STACKING POSITION SQUARE CONTAINERFebruary, 2008Mctavish et al.
20030006162Inflatable boxJanuary, 2003Smith



Primary Examiner:
PRANGE, SHARON M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ANITA AULT KNIGHT (RALEIGH, NC, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. An incident command kit, comprising: intellectual management tools, said intellectual management tools selected from the group consisting of computer software applications and physical documents, said intellectual management tools being configured to facilitate the understanding and use of the Incident Command System in responding to an emergency incident; office supplies; incident response equipment, said incident response equipment comprising electronic equipment and communication equipment; a foam storage member, said foam storage member being custom configured to secure and protect said electronic and said communication equipment; and a protective enclosure member, said protective enclosure being configured for containment of said intellectual management tools, said office supplies, said incident response equipment, and said foam storage member, said protective enclosure member being reversibly sealable, said protective enclosure member being configured for a watertight seal.

2. The incident command kit of claim 1 wherein said protective enclosure member has an extendable handle.

3. The incident command kit of claim 2 wherein said protective enclosure member has wheels.

4. The incident command kit of claim 3 wherein said protective enclosure member is comprised of fire resistant material.

5. The incident command kit of claim 4 wherein said protective enclosure member is comprised of chemical resistant material.

6. The incident command kit of claim 5 wherein said protective enclosure member has a pressure equalization valve to equalize the pressure differential between said enclosure member and the ambient, said pressure equalization valve having a membrane to repel water, dust and dirt.

7. The incident command kit of claim 5 wherein said foam storage member material is selected from a group consisting of polyethylene foam, polyurethane foam, and cross-link foam.

8. The incident command kit of claim 7 wherein said incident response equipment is further comprised of a plurality of hooded rain ponchos and a plurality of lightweight, color coded vests.

9. The incident command kit of claim 8 wherein said color coded vests each contain a transparent pocket feature on the front and back side of said vest, wherein each pocket feature contains a tag having a front side and a back side, said tag bearing printed material identifying an Incident Team Member role on said front side, said tag bearing printed material listing the corresponding responsibilities of said team member on said back side.

10. The incident command kit of claim 9 wherein said electronic equipment is comprised of one or more items selected from the group consisting of a notebook computer, a weather radio, a 6-in-1 personal safety device, a portable printer, a power inverter, a hand-cranked flashlight, a battery powered flashlight, and a digital camera.

11. The incident command kit of claim 10 wherein said communication equipment includes a two-way radio.

12. The incident command kit of claim 11 further comprising a task board, said task board having a front side and a back side, said task board having a hard protective coating on said back side, said task board having a dry-erase surface on said front side, said task board configured for placement on top of said electronic and said communication equipment for protection thereof, said task board having an aperture for aiding in removal thereof.

13. The incident command kit of claim 12 wherein said office supplies are comprised of one or more items selected from the group consisting of a clip board, a dry erase board, a marker, a file folder, a portable file folder holder, a writing utensil, a note card, a roll of tape, a pair of scissors, and a whistle.

14. The incident command kit of claim 13 wherein said computer software application is comprised of one or more of the group consisting of an incident briefing form, an incident objective form, an emergency contact form, a staff sign-in and sign-out log, a volunteer sign-in and sign-out log, an emergency communication plan, and a map.

15. The incident command kit of claim 14 wherein said physical documents are comprised of one or more of the group consisting of an incident briefing form, an incident objective form, an emergency contact form, a staff sign-in and sign-out log, a volunteer sign-in and sign-out log, an emergency communication plan, and a map.

16. A method for implementing an emergency incident response, comprising: selecting an incident command kit, comprising: intellectual management tools, said intellectual management tools selected from the group consisting of computer software applications and physical documents, said intellectual management tools being configured to facilitate the understanding and use of the Incident Command System in responding to an emergency incident, said computer software application is comprised of one or more of the group consisting of an incident briefing form, an incident objective form, an emergency contact form, a staff sign-in and sign-out log, a volunteer sign-in and sign-out log, an emergency communication plan, and a map, said physical documents are comprised of one or more of the group consisting of an incident briefing form, an incident objective form, an emergency contact form, a staff sign-in and sign-out log, a volunteer sign-in and sign-out log, an emergency communication plan, and a map; office supplies, said office supplies are comprised of one or more items selected from the group consisting of a clip board, a dry erase board, a marker, a file folder, a portable file folder holder, a writing utensil, a note card, a roll of tape, a pair of scissors, and a whistle; incident response equipment, said incident response equipment comprising electronic equipment and communication equipment, said communication equipment including a two-way radio; a task board, said task board having a front side and a back side, said task board having a hard protective coating on said back side, said task board having a dry-erase surface on said front side, said task board configured for placement on top of said electronic and said communication equipment for protection thereof, said task board having an aperture for aiding in removal thereof; a foam storage member, said foam storage member being custom configured to secure and protect said electronic and said communication equipment; and a protective enclosure member, said protective enclosure being configured for containment of said intellectual management tools, said office supplies, said incident response equipment, and said foam storage member, said protective enclosure member being reversibly sealable, said protective enclosure member being configured for a watertight seal, said protective enclosure member having an extendable handle and wheels, said protective enclosure member being comprised of fire resistant and chemical resistant material; transporting said kit to a remote, off-sight location; using the contents of said kit to assemble an Incident Command Team; using the contents of said kit to communicate with said Incident Command Team; using the contents of said kit to manage, record and report on all phases of an incident response in a format compatible with the National Incident Management System and the Incident Command System.

17. The method of claim 16 wherein said protective enclosure member has a pressure equalization valve to equalize the pressure differential between said enclosure member and the ambient, said pressure equalization valve having a membrane to repel water, dust and dirt.

18. The method of claim 16 wherein said foam storage member material is selected from a group consisting of polyethylene foam, polyurethane foam, and cross-link foam.

19. The method of claim 18 wherein said incident response equipment is further comprised of a plurality of hooded rain ponchos and a plurality of lightweight, color coded vests, said color coded vests each containing a transparent pocket feature on the front and back side of said vest, wherein each pocket feature contains a tag having a front side and a back side, said tag bearing printed material identifying an Incident Team Member role on said front side, said tag bearing printed material listing the corresponding responsibilities of said team member on said back side.

20. The method of claim 9 wherein said electronic equipment is comprised of one or more items selected from the group consisting of a notebook computer, a weather radio, a 6-in-1 personal safety device, a portable printer, a power inverter, a battery powered flashlight, a hand-crank flashlight, and a digital camera.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention is directed toward a system for preparing for and dealing with emergency or crisis situations from an operations management perspective. In particular, the present invention comprises a comprehensive kit that provides leaders with the equipment, instructions, records and communication templates needed to guide an organization through a crisis or disaster.

2. Background Information

Emergency situations or incidents are a daily occurrence both in the United States and abroad. Such incidents vary in size and scope and may include a number of disaster situations and causes associated therewith. Emergency incidents may be caused by natural disasters, such as tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, winter storms, floods, or earthquakes. Additionally, other origins of emergency incidents include those caused by human mistake or folly, such as fires, hazardous materials spills, and multi-casualty accidents. Finally, all too many such incidents are the product of the darker side of human behavior, such as bomb threats, rampage shootings, terrorist acts, and other acts of criminality.

Furthermore, the majority of the aforementioned incidents are not preventable by those governments, organizations, and persons affected. Therefore, the necessity arises of preparing for and dealing with all such incidents whether occurring in singular or in combination. In order to more effectively deal with the effect of such emergencies, a government-initiated management system called the Incident Command System has been developed over the years. The Incident Command System was designed to offer a scalable emergency response to incidents of any magnitude. As part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, this system has been expanded and has become the National Incident Management System. Accordingly, this system is designed to grow and shrink by enabling an organization responding to emergency or incidents to modify their operations relative to the magnitude of the incident, allowing more resources to be smoothly added into the system when required, while also allowing an efficient release of resources when no longer needed. As the Incident Command System becomes more widely used and accepted, leaders from all types of organizations are finding it essential to understand and implement its principles accordingly.

The general organization of the Incident Command System consists of five, major management activities that are expected to apply and are typically filled dependent upon the size and complexity of the incident. These five sections encompass the general staff and include: Command, Operations, Planning, Logistics, and Finance/Administration. Additionally, three positions exist in the command staff, which report directly to the Incident Commander, those being, the Information Officer, the Safety Officer, and the Liaison Officer.

At the top of the command structure, the Incident Commander is the single person in charge at the incident and initially fills all five general staff positions. As the incident grows, the tasks covered by other sections may be delegated. The new positions take the title of Section Chief and report directly to the Incident Commander. The Incident Commander is responsible for all activity on the incident as well as creating the overall incident objectives. The Operations Section Chief responsibilities include directing all actions necessary to meet the incident objectives. The task of the Planning Section Chief includes collection and display of incident information, primarily consisting of the status of all resources and overall status of the incident. The Logistics Section Chief responsibilities are to provide all resources, services, and support required by the incident. Finally, the Finance Section Chief is tasked with tracking incident related costs, personnel records, requisitions, and administrating procurement contracts required by Logistics.

Additionally, as previously mentioned three additional positions exist within the command staff, which report directly to the Incident Commander. The Public Information Officer serves as the conduit for information to internal and external stakeholders. The Safety Officer monitors safety conditions and develops measures for assuring the safety of all assigned personnel. Finally, the Liaison Officer serves as the primary contact for supporting agencies assisting at an incident.

Although the aforementioned describes the structure and function of the Incident Command System, an organization will only be successful in dealing with an emergency if it has planned for and is able to implement key Incident Command System management concepts. In order to properly use such a system, first the span-of-control must be properly limited to insure that the number of responsibilities being handled by, and the number of resources reporting directly to, any one individual is in the proper relation. Next, a consolidated incident action plan must be developed to ensure that the entire incident response structure is working in concert toward the same goals by providing a coherent means of communicating the overall incident objectives in the context of operational and support activities.

Another key management concept of the Incident Command System involves management by objective. The Incident Commander and the Planning Section must develop strategic objectives that clearly define what the Incident Command System response team is trying to achieve. These strategic objectives should be documented in tangible form and communicated routinely, at least semi-annually, throughout the organization. This, in turn, not only keeps the response team in focus and constituents prepared to respond appropriately, but it also provides a standpoint to later benchmark the effectiveness of the response against the objective set.

The Incident Command System should also be implemented utilizing the principles of unity of command, modular organization, and comprehensive resource management. Under the principle of unity of command, each participating individual reports to only one supervisor. The modular organization principle merely means that the size and focus of the Incident Command System organization may be altered depending on the magnitude of the incident as necessary. Comprehensive resource management ensures that all assets and personnel are tracked and accounted for. Resource management further includes processes for categorizing, ordering, dispatching, tracking, and recovering resources as necessary.

Additionally, an Incident Command Post must be designated for any particular incident. The Incident Commander operates at the Incident Command Post during response operations. Accordingly, the Incident Command Post may be located in a vehicle, trailer, tent, or within a building.

The final concept critical to the successful implementation of an Incident Command System involves the use of integrated communications. A common communications plan is essential for ensuring that responders can communicate with one another during an incident. Communication equipment, procedures, and systems must be interoperable. Hence, developing an integrated voice and data communications system must occur prior to an incident.

Although the aforementioned systems and concepts have developed and proven effective over time, inventors have attempted to develop a kit to provide the leadership of an organization with the tools needed to implement such a system in an emergency situation. The typical answer to this recognized need has involved simple, but crude devices. One such device involves the use of a standard 40 gallon plastic or metal garbage receptacle filled with items that might be needed in an emergency, such as an ax, a fire extinguisher, a siren, a first-aid kit, a pry-bar, an AM radio, a whistle, and the like. Although this type of kit, by providing some tools that may be needed in an emergency in a single location, is better than no preparation, it is a far cry from a well-planned system that provides all the tools needed to respond to an incident using the Incident Command System. Additionally, this type of system or kit is typically heavy and cumbersome to transport; therefore, it is not always readily available when needed.

Responding to these shortcomings, certain prior art developed in an attempt to provide a more compact, portable system that can be transported and used as needed. One such system, disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,515,974, issued to Higson on May 14, 1996, involves the use of a portable case that houses certain articles, including a flashlight, first aid kit, and fire extinguisher among others. This kit even goes a step further by providing a written booklet disclosing information relative to disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes. This kit is a clear advance in the state of the art, in that it provides some tools necessary to respond to certain disasters along with limited information in a portable, suitcase style package. However, not only is the kit in Higson, itself, susceptible to destruction in the event of disaster, it also fails to provide all the essential elements needed for a leader to set up and implement the Incident Command System in response to an emergency incident.

Another attempt at responding to the aforementioned need is disclosed in United States Patent Application Publication No. 2006/0108241 by Smith, published on May 25, 2006. Smith is most specifically geared toward a method of preparing for emergencies involving single building structures. Smith also discloses a kit for use in the method. The disclosed kit involves a mobile, plastic box containing items such as a flashlight, a mobile telephone, and binders for information about the building, personnel, and a list of local emergency response agencies' contact numbers. Similar to Higson, the kit in Smith provides some tools necessary to respond to certain disasters. Smith also provides additional information geared to a particular building and its occupants in an effort to help responders in the event of an emergency. However, the kit in Smith also fails to provide all the essential elements needed for a leader to set up and implement the Incident Command System in a portable package that is not susceptible to destruction in the incident itself.

In view of the limitations associated with the prior art, a substantial need exists for a system that provides all the essential elements needed for a leader to set up and implement the universally recognized and accepted Incident Command system in a portable package that is not susceptible to destruction during the incident triggering the response.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The general purpose of the present invention, which will be described subsequently in greater detail, is to provide a comprehensive kit that provides leaders with the equipment, instructions, records and communication templates needed to guide an organization through a crisis or disaster.

In view of the foregoing, it is an object of the present invention to provide an incident command kit that is highly durable.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an incident command kit that is highly mobile.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an incident command kit that is weather and water-proof.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an incident command kit that includes high quality electronic equipment.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an incident command kit that includes high quality communications equipment.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an incident command kit that includes high quality computer hardware.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an incident command kit that includes emergency response software applications.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an incident command kit that includes emergency response guides, forms and instructional material.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an incident command kit that includes emergency management tools that incorporate essential elements of the National Incident Management System and the Incident Command System.

It is another object of the present invention to provide an incident command kit that includes emergency management tools that enable seamless interoperability with arriving first responders and other local, state or federal resources.

In satisfaction of these and other related objectives, the present invention encompasses an incident command kit that provides organizational leaders all the equipment, instructions, records and communication templates needed to implement the Incident Command System in the event of an emergency in a durable, compact, and portable protective case.

Often times, in an emergency situation such as severe weather, flooding or fire, an organization's property is severely damaged or destroyed. If, as in most cases, that organization stored items necessary to deal with such an emergency on-site, those items, equipment and tools are damaged or destroyed as well, leaving the responding leaders without the tools necessary to readily implement their planned Incident Command System. In the preferred embodiment of the present invention, the aforementioned incident command kit is provided in a waterproof, fire-resistant, crush-resistant, protective case. This feature of the kit is essential to ensure that the valuable equipment and intellectual tools provided inside the case are in tact and readily available when needed, no matter the type or extent of crisis or disaster encountered.

Next, once a crisis or disaster strikes, the pre-planned Incident Commander, must not only be able to locate the in-tact, incident command kit, but the Incident Commander must also quickly transport the kit to a remote location to set up an Incident Command Post. The case of the present invention facilitates this activity by providing an extendable handle and wheels to ensure ready and easy portability to whatever remote location may be necessary to set up the Incident Command Post. Thus, whether the emergency is a natural or human-caused disaster, the incident command kit of the present invention provides the Incident Commander with a kit that will not only survive the disaster, but will also be in condition for easy transport to a remote location for the establishment of an Incident Command Post.

Once the Incident Commander has reached the location for the Incident Command Post, it is imperative that certain electronic and communication equipment be available and in working condition. In order to fulfill this need, the incident command kit of the present invention provides such equipment within custom foam storage receptacles located within the protective case. The preferred embodiment of the present invention first provides the Incident Commander with a start-up ready laptop and portable printer complete with a portable power solution, ink cartridges, and paper. Optionally, the laptop may also be provided with wireless service capability as well to facilitate necessary communication via the World Wide Web. Additionally, the kit provides a flash drive for data back-up and storage and a digital camera with any necessary battery packs and cabling to ensure photographs may be taken and downloaded immediately for viewing, printing or electronically forwarding to appropriate personnel. Furthermore, since many times the Incident Command Post will be located in a make-shift area such as a trailer or automobile, a power inverter is also provided to ensure uninterrupted battery charging and power to the aforementioned electronic equipment as necessary to prevent critical downtime in an emergency response situation.

Once the Incident Commander has established an Incident Command Post, it is imperative to set up an appropriate communication system to facilitate the response to the emergency situation. Integral to this is not only the ability to communicate with the Incident Commander's subordinates, but also the ability to communicate with other response teams as well as the ability to receive information or warnings from authorities. To supply a solution to this need, the kit of the present invention provides various radio and/or satellite communication equipment. First, a high-powered (up to 5 watts) radio for communication with local responders is supplied in one of a variety of frequency ranges. Additionally, General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) two-way radios are provided as well. Finally, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) AM-FM weather radio is also provided to ensure any warnings or information from authorities may be received in a timely manner. Therefore, not only does the kit of the present invention provide appropriate electronic and communication equipment, it provides them in a package to ensure the equipment both survives the initial emergency incident and is “ready to go” once the Incident Command Post is set up.

Once the Incident Command Post is set up and the Incident Command Team is organizing, a number of other necessary physical items will be found safe and secure within the kit of the present invention, either in the molded foam storage section or mesh storage pouches. Accordingly, the kit contains items such as a 6-in-1 personal safety device, both hand-cranked and battery powered flashlights, batteries, multipurpose tool, power cords, compact high-capacity first aid kit as well as a number of other items needed in an emergency situation. Additionally, other items are provided to aid in the Incident Command Teams organization, such as color coded Incident Command Team vests and rain ponchos as well as all the supplies needed to facilitate the setting up of a mobile office, including clipboards, a dry erase board with markers, files and folders with a portable holder, writing materials, whistles, note cards, tape, scissors, and various other items essential to the running of an Incident Command Post.

Finally and most importantly, the Incident Commander and the Incident Command Team staff must be able to implement the Incident Command System in a systematic approach using the appropriate procedures and reporting formats in order to achieve a successful response. The preferred embodiment of the kit of the present invention further provides comprehensive, crisis management and recovery guides, action lists, software and documents to facilitate the success of the incident response. Accordingly, the kit includes a quick-start guide, action lists, emergency records and forms, checklists, a communications plan, and maps as well as other necessary incident management material. In the preferred embodiment, both hard copies and software are included. As such, the Incident Commander and Incident Command Team are guided through a system that incorporates the essential elements of both the National Incident Management System and the Incident Command System enabling seamless interoperability with first responders from the local, state, or federal level.

In summary, the present invention provides a blend of unique properties essential to a successful Incident Command System not found singularly or in combination with any known prior art system. The kit of the present invention combines a highly durable, mobile, weather-proof, water-proof protective case containing a plurality of essential high caliber, professional equipment and office equipment as well as a complete set of intellectual tools to enable a leader to respond aggressively to control an incident, emergency, or disaster situation. The kit components and the emergency response guides, forms and instructional material, when used together serve as a set of emergency management tools and a system that incorporates essential elements of the National Incident Management System and the Incident Command System into the user's emergency management process and enables seamless interoperability with arriving first responders and other local, state or federal resources.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Applicant's invention may be further understood from a description of the accompanying drawings, wherein unless otherwise specified, like referenced numerals are intended to depict like components in the various views.

FIG. 1 is an external perspective view of the apparatus of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the open case of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the open case of the present invention with some materials removed.

FIG. 4 is another perspective view of the open case of the present invention with additional materials removed.

FIG. 5 is another perspective view of the open case of the present invention with additional materials removed.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of various contents of the kit of the present invention.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of additional contents of the kit of the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of additional contents of the kit of the present invention.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of additional contents of the kit of the present invention.

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of additional contents of the kit of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring principally to FIG. 1, an incident command kit is shown and generally referred to by the numeral 10. Incident command kit (10) provides all the equipment, instructions, records, and communication templates needed to set up an Incident Command Post and implement the Incident Command System in the event of an emergency in a durable, compact, and portable form.

Still referring to FIG. 1, protective case (12) is shown. Protective case (12) is a waterproof, fire-resistant, chemical resistant, crush-resistant structure with an open cell core. In the preferred embodiment, case (12) has a polypropylene copolymer wall construction; however, other suitable materials are contemplated and may be substituted. In the preferred embodiment, protective case (12) includes an ethylene propylene diene monomer o-ring to ensure proper seal and to ensure case (12) is watertight. Additionally, in the preferred embodiment, case (12) includes a pressure equalization valve with a microporous expanded polytetraflouroethylene (ePTFE) membrane to continuously allow the free passage of gasses and vapors, equalizing the pressure differential between the enclosure and the ambient, while repelling water, dust, and dirt. Finally, in the preferred embodiment, protective case (12) adheres to the following standards and certifications: MIL-C-4150J, ATA 300, Def Stan 81-41/STANAG 4280, and Ingress Protection (IP). Still referring to FIG. 1, protective case (12) includes extendable handle (14) and wheels (16) for maximum mobility.

Referring to FIG. 2, in the preferred embodiment of the present invention, protective case (12) includes various pouch features (18) for additional storage of office supplies and various items included in incident command kit (10). FIG. 2 also shows the significant, open-cell space provided for various mobile communication, guides, forms, and software, as contained in incident command kit (10). FIG. 3 shows the aforementioned supplies removed, revealing task board (20). Task board (20) consists of a hardback protective covering on one side (shown). Removal of task board (20) via finger slots (22), reveals the other side, which doubles as a dry erase board. The dry erase board section of task board (20) may further be used for recording, tracking, and posting tasks, objectives, and goals of the Incident Command Team.

Referring to FIG. 4, protective case (12) is shown with task board (20) removed, revealing custom foam storage unit (24) adapted for protection of critical communication and electronics equipment. Custom foam storage unit (24) may consist of a number of separate units custom cut for protection of specific equipment and stacked layer upon layer for maximum protection and compactness. Custom foam storage unit (24) may be manufactured from a variety of foam materials including polyethylene, polyurethane, or cross-link foam. The preferred embodiment of incident command kit (10) includes start-up ready laptop computer (26) situated in custom designed foam storage unit (24) along with various other items equally so protected. FIG. 5 shows incident command kit (10) with laptop (26) removed, revealing additional electronic and communication equipment protected via custom foam storage unit (24) including digital camera (28) with removable memory card, laptop battery and power cord (30), Universal Serial Bus (USB) cable (32), NOAA AM-FM battery powered weather radio (34), GMRS two-way radios (36), additional batteries (38), and 6-in-1 personal safety device (40). In the preferred embodiment, 6-in-1 personal safety device (40), is a hand held, crank-powered, device incorporating a super bright light emitting diode (LED) flashlight, a mobile telephone charger, an emergency FM radio, a signal flasher, a 130 decibel emergency siren, and a directional compass.

Referring to FIG. 6, a number of additional electronic, communication and other equipment necessary for a successful Incident Command System is shown removed from protective case (12). Portable printer (42) is shown complete with spare ink cartridges and paper. Additionally high-powered radio (44) is included for communication with local responders. One or more USB flash drives (46) are also provided for data back-up and storage. Additional items included in incident command kit (10) include power inverter (48), a battery powered flashlight (50), a multipurpose tool (52), a lock (54), and a compact high-capacity first aid kit (56).

FIG. 7 shows various supplies included in incident command kit (10), removed from protective case (12). Such materials are needed to facilitate the setting up of a mobile office, as is inevitably necessary when implementing an Incident Command System. These materials include clip boards (58), dry erase boards (60), markers (62), file folders (64) with portable holder (66), writing utensils (68), note cards (70), tape (72), scissors (74), sanitary hand cleaner (75) and whistles (76). Also included in the kit are various other office supplies that would normally be needed in an office setting to facilitate the Incident Commander setting up office at the Incident Command Post.

FIG. 8 shows intellectual incident management tools (90) included in incident command kit (10), removed from protective case (12). These intellectual tools (90) provide comprehensive, crisis management and recovery guides, action lists, software and documents to facilitate the success of an incident response. As shown in FIG. 8, intellectual incident management tools (90) include quick-start guide (78), action lists (80), emergency records and forms (82), checklists (84), communications plan (86), and maps (88). In the preferred embodiment, both hard copies and software are included. Preferably, quick-start guide (78) provides information to assist the Incident Commander in initially setting up the organization and structure of the Incident Command System once the Incident Command Post is established. Forms that may be included in quick-start guide (78) are incident briefing forms, organizational structure forms, incident objective forms, medical plan forms, and general message forms. Action lists (80) may include emergency operations activity lists, emergency operations activity logs, and organization assignment lists among others. Emergency records and forms (82) may include initial or update incident reports, emergency contact information, emergency notification and recall forms, bomb threat reports, staff sign-in and sign-out logs, volunteer sign-in and sign-out logs, terrorist threat report forms, volunteer data input forms, and emergency operations telephone call logs among others. Checklists (84) may include transfer of command checklists, assignment checklists, and notification checklists. Communications plans (86) may include both radio and telephone emergency communications plans. Finally, maps (88) may include national, state, regional, local, and facility maps as well as any other specific emergency or evacuation maps that may be deemed necessary. The aforementioned examples of intellectual management tools (90) provided in incident command kit (10) are merely illustrative. A number of other intellectual management tools (90) may be provided or tailored to a particular organization or organizational structure to ensure that the organization leader is provided with the guidance, instructions, tools and techniques for effective decision making and planning.

Finally, FIGS. 9 and 10 also show a number of items included in incident command kit (10). Referring to FIG. 9, hooded rain ponchos (92) are included in incident command kit as well as other items needed to deal with particular weather related response challenges. Referring to FIG. 10, five lightweight Incident Command Team vests (94) are shown. In the preferred embodiment, vests (94) are color coded to distinguish and identify the role the response member fulfills within the organizational structure of the Incident Command Team. Furthermore, vests (94) include front and back pockets (96) with identification name tags (98) to further designate the team member's role on the Incident Command Team. Additionally, identification name tags (98) include a quick reference guide on the back of tags (98), which specify the specific responsibilities that correlate with that team member's role. Thus, if team members are assigned new roles or need a reminder of the responsibilities assigned to their specific role, they need only remove name tag (98) from their assigned vest (94) to quickly review their designated responsibilities.

Although the invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments, this description is not meant to be construed in a limited sense. Various modifications of the disclosed embodiments, as well as alternative embodiments of the inventions will become apparent to persons skilled in the art upon reference to the description of the invention. It is, therefore, contemplated that the appended claims will cover such modifications that fall within the scope of the invention.