ICS General Briefing Tip Sheet

For use when section chiefs and unit leaders meet

Overview and Purpose

    • Briefings are short, regularly scheduled meetings to share information which is related to Incident Development and Ongoing Operations. They serve as an efficient means to inform the group on the current status of the system and raise Collective Situational Awareness.
        • Green – Objective met or will be met within the operational reporting period.
        • YellowObjective at-risk of not being met within the operational reporting period,
          may take additional resources or time (What Planning and Logistics support is needed to complete the objective?)
        • Red – Objective will not likely be met within the operational reporting period.
          (Report the impact this may have on Operations, Planning, Logistics)
    • Strongly consider handing out a printed list of Daily Objectives (usually a 24-hour Operational
      Period, maybe shorter).
    • Consider only “negative reporting” – Section Chief(s) report only those issues which are:
      • Unforeseen – new development, change in operational status:
        • Did this create an unanticipated Operational Demand? (Planning did not see it).
        • Did this create an unanticipated Logistical Demand (Logistics not prepared for it).
      • Operational Objectives that are still:
        • Status Red
        • Status Yellow
    • Share information concisely.
      • EACH MEMBER – Use a Checklist – See Examples
    • Be strongly facilitated:
      • Leader determines the flow
    • Set time after briefing for:
      • Team problem-solving.

Logistics of the Briefing:

    • Designated space that has minimal distractions.
    • If possible, plan on no seating (except for those with mobility issues) to establish the briefings as stand-up meetings – the best briefings have everyone standing except those taking notes or running IT support functions.
    • Be prepared for sites will calling in, have the appropriate IT equipment that will enable everyone to be heard.
    • Consider making posters; e.g. display “ground rules” for the Briefing. (see below)
  • Designate an administrative assistant who will be responsible for taking notes and issues that need
  • Prepare ground rules for the Briefings:
    Example of ground rules for Briefings (these are often posted in the Briefing area on longer-term events):

    • Be on time and be prepared to report:
      • Status of red and yellow objectives, needed resources from Logistics and Planning;
      • Unforeseen events and suggested remediation or Go Team
    • Be respectful:
      • No phone use in the briefing; actively listen; be situationally aware.
    • Be brief:
      • If there are no concerns, state “No issues to report” or “All objectives are Green.”
    • No prolonged problem-solving discussions:
      • Direct these to an after-briefing meeting.
Briefings are NOT for:
  • Problem Solving; “Problem solving” should not occur during the briefing. If an immediate resolution isn’t suggested and accepted by the team during the briefing, the issue should be managed later (off-line) with the appropriate collaborators. Briefing issues that cannot be resolved immediately should be prioritized for follow-up within a defined time (e.g. 24-72 hours – or longer if logistically difficult).
  • Determining Fault, or Focusing on Individuals; Briefings should update everyone on the status of the system and raise situational awareness around potential risk(s).