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An incident response team (IRT) or emergency response team (ERT) is a group of people who prepare for and respond to an emergency, such as a natural disaster or an interruption of business operations. Incident response teams are common in public service organizations as well as in other organizations, either military or specialty. This team is generally composed of specific members designated before an incident occurs, although under certain circumstances the team may be an ad hoc group of willing volunteers.

Incident response team members ideally are trained and prepared to fulfill the roles required by the specific situation (for example, to serve as incident commander in the event of a large-scale public emergency). As the size of an incident grows, and as more resources are drawn into the event, the command of the situation may shift through several phases. In a small-scale event, usually only a volunteer or ad hoc team may respond. In events, both large and small, both specific member and ad hoc teams may work jointly in a unified command system. Individual team members can be trained in various aspects of the response, either be it medical assistance/first aid, hazardous material spills, hostage situations, information systems attacks or disaster relief. Ideally the team has already defined a protocol or set of actions to perform to mitigate the negative effects of the incident.

Examples of incidents

Incident response teams address two different types of incidents. The first of these types is public. This covers larger incidents that affect a community as a whole, such as, natural disasters (hurricane,[1] tornado,[2] earthquake,[3] etc.), terrorism, large-scale chemical spills, and epidemics.

The other type is organizational: this would be an incident that happens on a smaller scale and affects mostly just single company or organization. Examples of organizational incidents can include: bomb threats, computer incidents such as theft or accidental exposure of sensitive data, exposure of intellectual property or trade secrets, and product contamination.

Incident response teams

Predefined roles are typically filled with individuals who are formally trained and on standby at all times, during scheduled hours. These teams are organized by ranks with a clearly defined chain of command. Examples include:

Volunteer and ad hoc teams

Other teams that can be formed for response are ad hoc or volunteer groups. Many of these groups are created under the notion that the true first respondents are the civilians at the incident. Due to this these teams are generally made up of individuals that have jobs unrelated to the situation, but respond due to their proximity, or personal attachment, to the sight of the incident. Examples include:

See also


  1. ^ "What is a hurricane?".
  2. ^ "Tornado Facts and History - StormAware".
  3. ^ "The Science of Earthquakes".
  4. ^ "History of S.W.A.T." Los Angeles Police Department. Retrieved 2017-05-04.
  5. ^ North-West Mounted Police (NWMP)
  6. ^ Dominion Police
  7. ^ Police, Government of Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted. "History of the RCMP | Royal Canadian Mounted Police". Retrieved 2017-05-04.
  8. ^ a b "AllGov – Departments". Retrieved 2017-05-04.
  9. ^ "Terrorism". Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved 2017-05-04.
  10. ^ "Joint Terrorism Task Forces". Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved 2017-05-04.
  11. ^ "Hazardous Materials Management (HAZMAT)". Retrieved 2017-05-10.
  12. ^ "National Registry of EMTs". Retrieved 2017-05-10.
  13. ^ B_TARGETjobs, Ross (2017-05-12). "Firefighter: job description". TARGETjobs. Retrieved 2017-05-10.
  14. ^ "Suburban Fire Department, Urban Mentality: The Fast-Attack Engine Company". 5 October 2012.
  15. ^ "Industrial Firefighters Are Firefighters, Too!". November 2005.
  16. ^ "Different Types of Firefighter Careers". 2014-12-13. Retrieved 2017-05-10.
  17. ^ "Types of police jobs and careers – Discover Policing". Retrieved 2017-05-10.
  18. ^, San Jose Police Department -. "San Jose Police Department". San Jose Police. Retrieved 2017-05-10.
  19. ^ "Community Emergency Response Teams |". Retrieved 2017-05-10.
  20. ^ "Community Emergency Response Team". Community Emergency Response Team. 2020-05-29.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)