AmeriCorps Disaster Response: A Case Study of the Incident Command System in Missouri

Incident Command System
Implementing Organization: 
AmeriCorps Disaster Response Team
Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS)

The Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) Spring 2016 Capstone class worked with the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to study the AmeriCorps Disaster Response Teams’ (A-DRTs) experiences under the Incident Command System (ICS) during recent deployments to the December 2015 flood in Missouri.

The researchers analyzed existing research and collected primary data on the Incident Command System (ICS) to better understand strengths and weaknesses of the model in responding to the flood.  

The study found that:

  • ICS was effective during the Missouri disaster, especially for those members who were already familiar with it. Members and leaders agreed that the ICS model significantly improved the disaster response process.
  • However, a more standardized, comprehensive approach to training for future A-DRT cohorts will make ICS more broadly successful.
  • Overall, members and leaders had a positive experience during their deployment.

In order to improve upon the experience of ICS in Missouri and to use the system for larger disasters, improving collaboration, the work assignment process, and communication is important, since a larger scale will present challenges in each of these areas. The member experience could be further enhanced by increased opportunities for relaxation, continuation of morale-boosting activities, and replication of the Missouri deployment’s food and accommodation practices.


CNCS Program(s): 
AmeriCorps State and National
AmeriCorps NCCC
CNCS Focus Area(s): 
Capacity Building
Disaster Services
Outcomes Category(s): 
Disaster Assistance Provided
Year Published: 
Date Posted Online: 
September 28, 2016
Back to Top