EMAC International

NIMS version: March 1, 2004
Get Adobe Reader Download the NIMS Document.pdf (7.4MB)


Tab 4
NIMS - The Logistics Section

A. Supply Unit

B. Facilities Unit

C. Ground Support Unit

D. Communications Unit

E. Food Unit

F. Medical Unit

The Logistics Section meets all support needs for the incident, including ordering resources through appropriate procurement authorities from off-incident locations. It also provides facilities, transportation, supplies, equipment maintenance and fueling, food service, communications, and medical services for incident personnel. See Figure 4-A. The Logistics Section is led by a Section Chief, who may also have a deputy. Having a deputy is encouraged when all designated units are established at an incident site. When the incident is very large or requires a number of facilities with large numbers of equipment, the Logistics Section can be divided into two branches (Figure 4-B provides an example).

Figure 4-A


Figure 4-B


[Top of Page]


The Supply Unit orders, receives, stores, and processes all incident-related resources, personnel, and supplies. canadadrugs.com

Once established, the Supply Unit also has the basic responsibility for all off-incident ordering, including

all tactical and support resources (including personnel)

all expendable and nonexpendable supplies required for incident support.

The Supply Unit provides the support required to receive, process, store, and distribute all supply orders. The unit also handles tool operations, which include storing, disbursing, and servicing of all tools and portable, nonexpendable equipment.


The Facilities Unit sets up, maintains, and demobilizes all facilities used in support of incident operations. The unit also provides facility maintenance and security services required to support incident operations.

The Facilities Unit sets up the ICP, incident base, and camps, as well as trailers and/or other forms of shelter for use in and around the incident area. The incident base and camps may often be established in areas having existing structures, which may be used in their entirety or only in part. The Facilities Unit also provides and sets up necessary personnel support facilities, including areas for

food and water service;


sanitation and showers; and

This unit also orders, through supply, such additional support items as portable toilets, shower facilities, and lighting units.

Note that providing shelter for victims is a critical operational activity, which will be incorporated into the IAP. Sheltering will normally be conducted by appropriate nongovernmental organization staff, such as the American Red Cross or other similar entities.

[Top of Page]


The Ground Support Unit

maintains and repairs primary tactical equipment, vehicles, and mobile ground support equipment;

records usage time for all ground equipment (including contract equipment) assigned to the incident;

supplies fuel for all mobile equipment;
provides transportation in support of incident operations (except aircraft); and
develops and implements the Incident Traffic Plan.

In addition to its primary functions of maintaining and servicing vehicles and mobile equipment, the Ground Support Unit also maintains a transportation pool for major incidents. This pool consists of vehicles (e.g., staff cars, buses, pick-ups) that are suitable for transporting personnel. The Ground Support Unit also provides up-to-date information on the location and status of transportation vehicles to the Resources Unit.


The Communications Unit develops the Communications Plan (ICS205) to make the most effective use of the communications equipment and facilities assigned to the incident, installs and tests all communications equipment, supervises and operates the incident communications center, distributes and recovers communications equipment assigned to incident personnel, and maintains and repairs communications equipment on site.

The Communications Unit’s major responsibility is effective communications planning for the ICS, especially in the context of a multiagency incident. This is critical for determining required radio nets, establishing interagency frequency assignments, and ensuring the interoperability and the optimal use of all assigned communications capabilities.

The Communications Unit Leader should attend all incident-planning meetings to ensure that the communication systems available for the incident can support tactical operations planned for the next operational period.

Incident communications are managed through the use of a common communications plan and an incident-based communications center established solely for the use of tactical and support resources assigned to the incident.

Advance planning is required to ensure that an appropriate communications system is available to support incident operations requirements. This planning includes the development of frequency inventories, frequency-use agreements, and interagency radio caches.

Most complex incidents will require an Incident Communications Plan. The Communications Unit is responsible for planning the use of radio frequencies; establishing networks for command, tactical, support, and air units; setting up on-site telephone and public address equipment; and providing any required off-incident communication links. Codes should not be used for radio communication; a clear spoken message—based on common terminology that avoids misunderstanding in complex and noisy situations—reduces the chances for error.

Radio networks for large incidents will normally be organized as follows:

1. Command Net.
Links together: incident command, command staff, section chiefs, branch directors, division, and group supervisors.

2. Tactical Nets.
Several tactical nets may be established to connect agencies, departments, geographical areas, or specific functional units. The determination of how nets are set up should be a joint planning, operations, and logistics function. The Communications Unit Leader will develop the overall plan.

3. Support Net.
A support net may be established primarily to handle changes in resource status but also to handle logistical requests and other nontactical functions.

4. Ground-to-Air Net.
To coordinate ground-to-air traffic, either a specific tactical frequency may be designated, or regular tactical nets may be used.

5. Air-to-Air Nets.
Air-to-air nets will normally be predesignated and assigned for use at the incident.

Top of Page]


The Food Unit determines food and water requirements; plans menus, orders food, provides cooking facilities, cooks, serves, maintains food service areas, and manages food security and safety concerns.

Efficient food service is important, but especially so for any extended incident. The Food Unit must be able to anticipate incident needs, both in terms of the number of people who will need to be fed and whether the type, location, or complexity of the incident indicates that there may be special food requirements. The unit must supply food needs for the entire incident, including all remote locations (i.e., camps and staging areas), as well as supply food service to operations personnel unable leave operational assignments. The Food Unit must interact closely with the following elements:

Planning Section, to determine the number personnel that must be fed;

Facilities Unit, to arrange food-service areas;

Supply Unit, to order food;
Ground Support Unit, to obtain ground transportation; and
Air Operations Branch Director, to obtain air transportation.

Careful planning and monitoring is required to ensure food safety before and during food service operations, including the assignment, as indicated, of public health professionals with expertise in environmental health and food safety.

Note that feeding victims is a critical operational activity, which will be incorporated into the IAP. Feeding activities will normally be conducted by members of an appropriate nongovernmental organization, such as the American Red Cross or similar entities.

[Top of Page]


The primary responsibilities of the Medical Unit include the following:

develop the Incident Medical Plan (for incident personnel);

develop procedures for handling any major medical emergency involving incident personnel;

provide continuity of medical care, including vaccinations, vector control, occupational health, prophylaxis, and mental health services for incident personnel;

provide transportation for injured incident personnel;
ensure that incident personnel patients are tracked as they move from origin, to care facility, to final disposition;
assist in processing all paperwork related to injuries or deaths of incident assigned personnel; and
coordinate personnel and mortuary affairs for incident personnel fatalities.

The Medical Unit is responsible for the effective and efficient provision of medical services to incident personnel. The Medical Unit Leader will develop a medical plan, which will, in turn, form part of the IAP. The medical plan should provide specific information on medical assistance capabilities at incident locations, potential hazardous areas or conditions, and off-incident medical assistance facilities and procedures for handling complex medical emergencies. The Medical Unit will also assist the Finance/Administration Section with the administrative requirements related to injury compensation, including obtaining written authorizations, billing forms, witness statements, administrative medical documents, and reimbursement as required. The Medical Unit will ensure patient privacy to the fullest extent possible.

Note that patient care and medical services for those who are not incident personnel
(victims of a bioterror attack, hurricane victims, etc.) are critical operational activities associated with a host of potential incident scenarios. As such, these activities are incorporated into the IAP as key considerations of the Plans and Operations Sections. These sections should be staffed accordingly with appropriately qualified Emergency Medical Services public health, medical personnel, technical experts, and other professional personnel, as required.



COMMAND INSTITUTE - Specialized Training Series
NMS SeriesCOLTS - Comany Officer Leadership Training Symposium
Taking It To the Streets Series Structural Anatomy Series First-Due Series
EMAC International 1-800-963-3622
Download Center|Home| Training|Consulting|Our Expertise| Contact us
Copyright © 2005 EMAC International • 1220 L Street N.W. Suite #100-290, Washington, D.C. 20005-4018
Telephone: 800-963-3622 • Fax: 202-449-3794 • Email: