Public Policy Center, University of Nebraska


Date of this Version

Summer 2007


The Dialogue, Summer 2007


US Dept of Health & Human Services


How can disaster behavioral health responders at the State and local levels use the techniques and tools of the Incident Command System (ICS) to target their response to and preparedness for disaster to work within the overall disaster response structure?

Denise Bulling: Disaster behavioral health is more than a set of clinical interventions or the delivery of psychological first aid. The behavioral health response has to be organized and deployed in a way that fits with the greater response to disaster or our ability to reach those who could benefit from education or intervention will be limited. ICS principles provide a common base from which to begin a conversation about organizing a comprehensive behavioral health response to disaster that fits within an overall response structure. ICS is a standard, on-scene, all-hazards incident management system that is already in use by firefighters, hazardous materials teams, rescuers, and emergency medical teams.