The Incident Command System (ICS) provides for responder safety by giving the Incident Commander (IC) the ability to appoint and use an Incident Safety Officer (ISO). While the Incident Commander retains the overall responsibility for the safety of responders, the Incident Safety Officer is responsible for monitoring and assessing safety hazards and unsafe situations, and developing measures to ensure personnel safety in individual incidents.
The Department's Technical Response Officers (TRO) also can respond to predetermined types of incidents as Safety Officers. Their responses are in addition to the "duty" Safety Officers. Numerous NIOSH Firefighter Fatality reports suggest this practice as a risk reduction strategy.
In addition to monitoring and assessing hazards, the Safety Officer also ensures that responders follow safe practices, including:
- Wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Working in teams in hazardous areas
- Having back-up personnel available to react to an unexpected event
- Using an accountability system to track personnel
- Following departmental and recognized safety practices
In addition, they can serve as a partner to the duty Safety Officer on incidents that require an entry into an IDLH to investigate and/or identify/monitor hazards.