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In the Incident Command System, a Unified Command is an authority structure in which the role of incident commander is shared by two or more individuals, each already having authority in a different responding agency. Unified command is one way to carry out command in which responding agencies and/or jurisdictions with responsibility for the incident share incident management.
A Unified Command may be needed for incidents involving multiple jurisdictions or agencies.
If a Unified Command is needed, Incident Commanders representing agencies or jurisdictions that share responsibility for the incident manage the response from a single Incident Command Post. A Unified Command allows agencies with different legal, geographic, and functional authorities and responsibilities to work together effectively without affecting individual agency authority, responsibility, or accountability. Under a Unified Command, a single, coordinated Incident Action Plan will direct all activities. The Incident Commanders will supervise a single Command and General Staff organization and speak with one voice.